Ignorance is bliss- Stupid is expensive

by Craig Masters

It may be time to admit stupid people are not only irritating, but they are becoming too expensive to tip-toe around so we don’t hurt their feelings. The time has come to recognize that being tolerant of programs and practices born of stupidity or ignorance is simply too expensive for the world to tolerate.

To be very clear, ignorance is different from stupid. As it used to be explained, before political correctness corrupted knowledge in the name of feelings, an ignorant person was someone who had not yet learned something, while a stupid person was someone who refused to learn when given the chance. The Binet Scale notwithstanding, in this context the terms ignorant and stupid do not reflect on the mentally handicapped.

A group of people were carrying protest signs and walking along highway 34 east of downtown Loveland Saturday. There were some children in the group protesting about things they could not yet have an understanding. Their ignorance can be blamed squarely on the adults who accompanied them. Others of these protesters were old enough to safely be labeled as stupid. These adults could not have reached their stage of life without having had the opportunity to learn about such topics as world population growth, read about thousands of children starving to death daily all across the globe, and recognize that taxes and greed regularly combine to force farmers to sell their farms which become housing and suburban shopping centers. Since it is nearly inconceivable these adults have not been exposed to these undeniable truths and refused to learn, they must be categorized as stupid.

The signs this group carried indicated that the ’cause’ that inspired them to parade along the highway was their fear of genetically modified food. Fortunately for the growing number of billions of people on earth being supplied food from fewer and fewer acres of land, the amount of food produced per acre has been boosted dramatically by genetically improved seeds and crops. In the decades to come, as the world population continues to increase and the acreage available for farming continues to decrease, the pressure to squeeze more food from less land will rely even more heavily on the success of hybrid crops made available only because of the science of genetics.

While protesting the science that has given us great advancements in food production is stupid, protesting the science that has given us great advancements in our ability to harvest the raw materials we need every single day to produce energy is far more likely to be based on ignorance. Remember, ignorance is lack of knowledge, stupid is refusing to learn.

Signs are sprouting in a few lawns in Loveland encouraging voters to temporarily stop the oil and gas recovery method nicknamed fracking. This is just one front in the political war being waged against the oil and gas industry. The yard signs indicate the residents who live there don’t want anyone to recover oil and gas using modern, extremely technical, hydraulic fracturing techniques until ‘they’ (and by ‘they’ they mean all of us) understand the process. Because these anti-fracking people are ignorant about the process, they would demand we all do without affordable energy and insist thousands lose their jobs. They suggest they don’t necessarily want to stop fracking, they only want a “time out” seemingly for only a few years until ‘they’ have time to learn about the process.

Questions for these anti-fracking people then are:

  • How long will it take them to overcome their ignorance?
  • Are they going to demand every person take time out of their lives to dedicate several years to return to college and post graduate studies in geology and hydraulics and organic chemistry and mechanical engineering and environmental law and politics and … … …?
  • Perhaps they will elect one of their own to put his life on hold to catch up on enough education to then be trusted to make the decision about fracking for the rest of them?
  • If they choose that option, will they then abide by the decision of their own elected representative?
  • Maybe they would trust a governor with a background in oil and gas geology – if he were a democrat of course. Oh wait we already have one and ‘they’ still don’t trust him.
  • What if they waste too much of their “time out” for education studying beer kegs and Obamanomics and never understand what it is they are afraid of?
  • Will most of them even be able to study and learn the technical sciences of the several disciplines involved in the process, let alone learn enough about even some of the complicated equipment and materials to carry on an intelligent conversation with those people who have dedicated years of study and experience to the industry.

The anti-fracking campaign is almost entirely based on a few key lies and exaggerated interpretations of technical data repeated hundreds of thousands of times across the internet. Those who created the initial lies and misinformation did so for their own reasons. Some reports trace the earliest “concerns” about fracking to the Russian natural gas company in an effort to stop northern European countries from breaking the strangle hold Russia has on the energy supplies of Europe. Other reports cite environmentalists intentionally reporting half-truths and  bad science and special effects of deceiving video productions as evidence that proves their point of view. These people are neither stupid nor ignorant, they are liars and criminals motivated by personal interests.

The problem we all face is that the ignorance of those who have been deceived by the liars and criminals is too expensive for the rest of us to be politically correct in the debate. If these people want to stop their lives to take time out to learn enough about fracking to be happy, they certainly have that right. But to force the rest of us to stop our lives and wait for them to catch up is certainly not their right.

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One Response to Ignorance is bliss- Stupid is expensive

  1. Bud Darvis says:

    Fear-mongering protestors have just scored big time. The area just experienced a 3.8 earthquake. I felt quite at home with this baby thump of an earthquake. I am more concerned about seasonal tornadic damage than the less regularly occurring damage from Mother Earth shifting and settling down. Yet I see people who have never stood through an earthquake tremor shaking more than the earth did. Good news for anti-frackers. Now they can point to the earthquake – and the mudslides and avalanches and floods and (why stop there?) sunspots – as the “Direct Results” of fracking. Stupidity and ignorance are not the only two categories that political activists – of all persuasions – fall into. Some are habitual contrarians, and some, who do know the truth, being neither stupid nor ignorant, are unrepentant, chronic liars.

    Craig Masters was right to write this article, and some of the people he described deserved to be spoken to as forcefully as was done. His advice to “catch up on education” is top notch advice to anyone who thinks they know enough about anything to either support or oppose it.

    P.S.: I am undecided on fracking, currently about 60% for it and 40% against it, studying arguments both pro and con. Others may chose to act differently, but I want to look at the issue unantagonistically (towards either opinion), unstupidly, unignorantly, and unmendaciously. So thanks for the informative, properly opinionated, well-composed essay.

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