Thursday, June 16, 2005

Willful Ignorance is Not a Virtue

I really don't want to keep putting stuff out here about the Terri Schiavo mess, as it appears clear that the autopsy results make clear what most folks already knew (and even bloggers on the right are acknowledging the results and moving on). However, Ms. Schiavo's parents have indicated that they do not accept the findings. Their basis, beyond grief over the extended vegetative state and eventual death of their daughter, is unclear. However, unless it is some unknown medical doctrine, they lose. (I think it is safe to presume that if the autopsy had proven what the parents thought, they would not dispute its medical accuracy.)

What I find funny is that the same people who are questioning the results of the autopsy are the same types of people who are accepting, without question, the crap put forth by the Bush Administration on a regular basis. Bush said that global warming needed more research before he could come to a conclusion on it. Well, the study from last week that (again) showed the existence of global warming has been ignored by Bush -- it is the equivalent of a child closing his eyes in the hopes that whatever she wishes to see will miraculously disappear. In the case of global warming -- just change the data altogether!

Another example would be the failure to find WMD in Iraq. The main reason (I'll even call it "one of the main reasons" to be as generous as possible) for going to war was proven wrong. Wrong. Not almost, not nearly -- wrong. Hell, the Duelfer report told us that before the damned election, and folks like the Chicago Tribune editorial board chose to cherry-pick out the facts they liked. Over 1700 dead U.S. soldiers and unknown amounts of dead Iraqis. Yes, they have purple fingers (I know these folks noticed that!) but as ink dye fades from skin, so are the hopes that this war will be one resolved in the foreseeable future. On May 30, VP Cheney told us that the insurgency was "in its last throes" -- the next day, Iraqi officials reported that Iraqi civilian deaths were up one third from April to May. In addition, May 2005 was the deadliest month for reservist US forces. Whatever stuff these folks don't like is ignored or refuted (just ask Newsweek).

A related example is the lazy jingoism so rampant in our country these days. This is best shown by those ubiquitous yellow "Support our Troops" ribbons on cars (which, as 100 Monkeys Typing notes, is a directive, not a declarative like "I support our troops"). How many of these folks are actually willing to become one of those troops? I am all for supporting our troops (particularly because of my brother-in-law in the Navy), and I think the best way to support them would be to ensure their judicious deployment.

I'm not saying that folks on the left don't employ the same type of willful ignorance, but the right has certainly cornered the market as of late. Whatever the eventual political persuasions of my children, I certainly hope that they will take in all of the data before making their conclusions. If not, their conclusions (as of those noted above) will be suspect.