It’s impossible to argue with ignorance

By JAMES PHILLIPS,

I have come to a crystal-clear understanding that trying to respectfully converse with individuals that are emotionally charged and ignorant to facts is a fool’s errand and a complete waste of time. Now, more than ever before, there is an abundance of people at-the-ready to unleash a verbal assault if you either speak your opinion, or offer one contrary to theirs. Having your own opinion, and having knowledge and ability to defend your beliefs, is an important part of life and a significant piece of who you are as an individual. I remember the statement, “if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything” and it still rings so true. But when people are blinded by emotional driven inner-fury, and refuse to accept facts or differing opinions, you are simply wasting time and wasting your breath.

It’s absolutely impossible to disagree and respectfully debate someone who is sincerely ignorant to facts. Now, I know that the word “ignorant” carries a negative connotation, but I’m not meaning it in a demeaning way whatsoever. I’m using the word just as it’s defined by Merriam-Webster, which is — “lack of knowledge, education or awareness”. Ignorance is not confined to any group and can be found in abundance in all backgrounds regardless of socio-economic standing, race, gender or national origin. Frankly, ignorance has nothing to do with intelligence, it has everything to do with an individual’s effort in learning, or their lack thereof.

I bring-up this subject because of a troubling occurrence I recently learned of, and one that happens every day in our current society. Someone I know very well was verbally assaulted by an individual that is a preacher, at least in title and self-proclamation, for merely writing her opinion on a social media outlet. After joining a conversation with friends, they simply expressed their opinion on the subject being discussed. This preacher man that they have known for the better part of two decades proceeded to  unload with disparaging remarks and profuse name calling while never once offering an intelligent opinion, or an explanation of his stance.

I cannot intelligently speak to why this so-called community shepherd reacted with such immaturity and meanness, but his failure to simply offer his opinion, or a differing point-of-view leads me to believe he is overly emotional and full of anger that is fed by his own ignorance.  

In our current tumultuous times this appears to be the accepted norm by many people when it pertains to attacking another individual’s view-points. Verbally assaulting another person, and lowering oneself to the juvenile action of name calling, in response to the sharing of their opinion puts on full display the intolerance and ignorance that has overtaken dissention. Believe me when I say, it is possible to respectfully disagree while passionately expressing and defending one’s position, but this requires actual knowledge on the subject rather than emotionally charged ignorance.

I’m a passionately opinionated individual, which you may have come to understand if you have read any of my previous opinion columns. My beliefs run deep, but I do my very best to show respect, listen to others and accept when I’m either incorrect or flat-out wrong. I don’t understand why, but it seems extremely hard for people to admit being wrong even when faced with undeniable facts. That can pose a problem because no one is always right and nobody is never wrong.

I have crossed paths with multitudes of people that are quick to ferociously defend their position but when it’s time for them to back-up their stance with facts they are irrationally ignorant on the issue they so maliciously defend. It appears that they just don’t understand that emotional intensity never has, and never will, change facts, truth or reality.

I find it utterly mind-boggling how people are quick to verbally assault others but when it comes to actual facts they’re obliviously ignorant. Most of these individuals have never even taken the time to educate themselves on the matter they so doggedly argue. Not only is their ignorance frustrating, their lack of knowledge leaves them only attacking your position rather than explaining their view-point. 

The question that has formulated in my head is; do these people even have a position, opinion or original thought, or is attacking others opinion the only way the know how to express themselves? Emotionally driven ignorant rants and personal attacks on others is not having an actual opinion, it is simply arguing which accomplishes absolutely nothing.