The access to information that we take for granted would have made past generations salivate, yet I get the sense that intellectual curiosity is on the decline. Whereas people used to leave the house and go to their local library to choose from a limited selection of books, people today can have almost any book ever published delivered to their doorstep within a couple days, but most people don’t take advantage of this incredible privilege. I actually can’t because I live in developing country, and you can’t imagine how jealous I am of you first worlders and your fancy access to books.
But I’m not here to shame people for being too lazy to read, except for maybe a little. It’s not imperative, for example, that you know what language they speak in Moldova. It’s Romanian, by the way, but they like to call it Moldovan for nationalist reasons. But if you live, vote, and pay taxes in an imperialist country like the US that has goals of regime change in places like Syria and Venezuela, you have a civic responsibility to familiarize yourself with these places. Take a look at this question: “Was the president of Venezuela democratically elected, or is he a dictator?” If you cannot correctly answer that off the top of your head, you should be ashamed of yourself. I won’t even tell you the answer. Go look into it. I don’t want to sound condescending, but I’m ashamed of the state of humanity, and my home country in particular.
And the problem is not just willful ignorance, but people, who have not made any effort to inform themselves, think they are entitled to opinions. Not all opinions are equal. For example: If you don’t know exactly what happened in Iran in 1953, you are not qualified to have an opinion on US-Iranian relations in 2019. If you still get the bulk of your information from cable TV, you are intellectually a child, so shut your mouth when the adults are talking.
Not being educated on these crucial issues is not just lazy, it is immoral. How can you give consent to state-sponsored mass murder when you don’t have all the pertinent details? Willful ignorance is immoral. Outsourcing your innate critical-thinking ability to some TV demagogue instead of exercising sovereignty over your own mind is immoral.
So before you try to give your opinion on something, please ask yourself: ‘Have I considered all sides to this argument? Have I really studied this, or did I just hear or read it somewhere and uncritically accepted it?”