Monday, February 2, 2015

The Ostrich Has Landed



Ronald Reagan famously said, It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so.   I must admit that when it came to ostriches, I was like a liberal.  Why ostriches?  Based on discussions over the last several days with more than a few people, it left me thinking of that old anecdote about the ostrich sticking his head in the sand.  In other words, intentional ignorance was their approach to information.  They’ve deliberately decided that “no news is good news” -- choosing to not be knowledgeable.  Willfully choosing to remain ignorant, in my opinion, is just plain un-American.   In fact, our Founding Fathers believed if enough Americans were ignorant, there wouldn’t be an America at all.  The ostrich-like approach of many of our fellow citizens is downright dispiriting.

It is my duty as the Colonel of Truth to present facts, in this instance, about ostriches.  Using National Geographic as our source, I’m pleased to report that, “the flightless ostrich is the world's largest bird. Although they cannot fly, they can sprint up to 43 miles an hour.  Their powerful, long legs can cover up to 16 feet in a single stride.”  But what’s relevant now is that ostriches do not actually bury their heads in the sand.  The misconception originates with one of the bird's defensive behaviors – you see, “at the approach of trouble, ostriches will lie low, pressing their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible. Because their plumage blends well with sandy soil, from a distance, it gives the appearance that they have buried their heads in the sand.”

Maybe the ostrich should become our new national bird.  One only needed to watch an episode of Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” segment polling Americans on current events and what should be common knowledge to recognize the unbridled and unashamed ignorance on full display.  There is a term kids use nowadays to describe the humiliation one senses observing the segment – “secondhand embarrassment.”  Their fifteen minutes of fame is frittered away becoming an infamous fool – frankly, it’s pretty painful to watch.  

So why do I care? Thomas Jefferson said that liberty and ignorance cannot coexist.  In 1816, Jefferson said, If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."   One has to wonder why we would think that two hundred years after Jefferson’s utterance that we’d suddenly become immune from the ignobility of ignorance.  Benjamin Franklin warned us that if we exchanged liberty for security, we’d soon have neither.  How much more foolish, then, to voluntarily surrender liberty to stupidity? 

Winston Churchill was clearly prophetic when he proclaimed, If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.  In a nationwide survey several years ago, more teenagers knew the names of the Three Stooges than knew the three branches of government.  The correlation of age, knowledge, and party affiliation that Churchill points out was proven again last year in an Annenberg study titled, “From ISIS to Unemployment: What Do Americans Know?  It proved that ignorance isn’t just bliss; it’s also an indicator of party affiliation.  Their conclusion, “Republicans tend to do somewhat better than Democrats overall.”  Some specifics; “Republicans are 16 points more likely than Democrats to answer the Common Core question correctly (58% vs. 42%). And 57% of Republicans identify the oil industry as a primary driver of growth in North Dakota, compared with 42% of Democrats.”  Concerning the present Prime Minister for Israel, the Republicans were nine percent more likely to know (46% to 37%).

James Madison, a Founding Father and our fourth President, gave us both the antidote and the prognosis of passing on the prescription for power.  Presciently Madison predicted, Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.  A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both  Madison makes clear that not only is knowledge power – it is the only sure way that the people can prevent tragedy.  Sadly, much of the mainstream media only promotes propaganda that advances their agenda.

Perhaps like the ostrich and my liberal friends, you too can find bliss by burying your head in the sand.  

After all….”What difference does it make?” 

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