Shameless Ignorance and Shameful Prejudice 720.3

A while ago, I spoke about my frustration trying to keep up with the uprisings in the Middle East and Northern Africa, the nuclear meltdown in Japan, the status of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the federal and state budget cuts. Now I have to add the tornado in St. Louis, wildfires in Texas, and Kobe Bryant’s ankle injury.

Many listeners chided me for worrying so much, proudly proclaiming their informational isolationism, a conscious and guiltless decision to limit their concerns to things that immediately and directly affect their lives.

It sure would be easier, but I can’t adopt this strategy because I believe I have two ethical obligations to understand and care about matters that impact dramatically the lives of so many people, even if they are strangers. (Okay, I admit the ankle injury doesn’t meet this test.)

First, I think all citizens have a responsibility to know enough to form intelligent opinions, especially on issues of public policy relating to whom and what they vote for. Second, it just feels wrong to not consciously feel empathy and compassion for fellow human beings who are suffering or serving our country.

In a democracy, every citizen is a public official, and there are responsibilities that come with our rights. I treasure our privilege to think and speak freely and to select our leaders, but the exercise of these privileges undermines rather than advances the theory of a government for and by the people if shameless ignorance and shameful prejudices become prevalent.

Maybe I could learn to fret less, but I still must do my best to do my part.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 5

  1. Every “citizen” has the responsibility to vote after becoming informed, not after watching a few political commercials or programs trying to evoke an emotional response. Not every person has the ability to comprehend the complexity of world events or the capacity to make good judgements about the same. For every person with knowledge, experience and intelligence in a subject, there is (and need be) hundreds to trust them, donate money and support to help them effect change. If we all stand around and talk, where is the concensus? Who will fix things and whom do we follow? So with that said, we can’t expect everyone to be informed on every subject. We have to pick and choose. Sounds eliteist but, it may be better for some to worry only about whom to vote off the island!

  2. Jim,
    Did you know how the oil wealth is shared, by Gaddafi, with the people of Libya? Read on…
    Hard to believe……..but true
    Some facts (that mainstream media will never tell you) about this “terrible dictator and blood sucking monster” Gaddafi who “terrorizes” his own people and Libya:
    – Credits to Libyan citizens are given with NO interest.
    – College & University Students get paid the 80% of salary for the profession they are studying for.
    – If you’d be unable to get the employment the state would pay the full salary as if you were employed.
    – When you got married the couple got an apartment or house for free.
    – You could go to college anywhere in the world. The state paid 2,500 euros plus for accommodation and a car.
    – The cars were sold at factory cost.
    – Libya does not owe money, (not a cent) to anyone. No credits.
    – Free education and health care.
    – 25% of population are with a university degree.
    – No beggers on the streets and no homeless (until this bombing.
    – Bread costs $0.15.
    Jim, Stop Worrying for the welfare of the Libyan people..Just worry that your hard earned taxed money is spent on making their life miserable!

  3. When we inform ourselves, it gives us the opportunity to share in the pains and joys of others. We may be moved to reach-out in a physical way (send $$ etc.), but we can always reach out with a short prayer. There is a brotherhood that exists between us that cannot be denied. How comforting it is to know that we care – even for those we will never meet.

  4. Mr.MICHAEL JOSHEPHSON
    EVERY YEAR AS THE SPRING COMES, AS THE NATURE PUTS ITS GREEN COSTUME ON, AS THE BIRDS START SINGING THEIR HAPPY SONGS, AND AS THE SUN SENDS ITS WARMNESS TO EARTH, I AM ONE OF THE MANY ARMENIANS WHO ARE OVERWHELMED BY THE MIXED EMOTIONS DURING THIS TIME.
    ON APRIL 24,THE ARMENIANS COMMEMORATE THE TRAGEDY AND THE PAIN OF THEIR ANCESTORS WHICH TOOK PLACE BACK 1915 BY THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE.
    ALL THESE YEARS WE HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING NOT ONLY THE AGONY BUT ALSO THE FRUSTRATION OF NOT TO BE ABLE TO SEE THE ENTIRE WORLD TO ADMIT THE TRUTH.
    IS IT THE TIME YET FOR THE WORLD TO RECOGNIZE THIS HUMAN TRAGEDY AND TO CALL IT AS “ARMENIAN GENOCIDE” AND HOLD THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE FOR THIS CRIME, OR JUST CONTINUE TO BE INDIFFERENT TOWARDS THE DENIAL.
    AS THE GOVERNMENTS MAKE THEIR FOREIGN POLICIES BASED ON THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF THEIR ALLIES, AS BEING SOMEONE WHO HAS EXPERIENCED THE SIMILAR PAIN IN THE HISTORY, WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO COMMENT FOR THE HUMANITARIAN AND THE MORAL SIDE OF THIS MATTER.
    WOULD YOU SAY THAT “DENYING THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE” IS ALSO A “SHAMELESS IGNORANCE AND SHAMEFUL PREJUDICE” AS YOU STATED IN ONE OF YOUR ARTICLE?
    BEST REGARDS,
    NIGOHOS BERANIAN

  5. No wonder the US and other capitalist countries do not like Libya because:
    Gaddafi would not consent to taking the IMF or World Bank credits
    at high interest rates,
    USA needs oil,
    LIFE Standard is more secured in Libya…all most all kind of services are free of cost in Libya.
    Question: How many lives USA will take for a liter? (oil)

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