How Ignorant Are We

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How Ignorant Are We

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Here's a question for you: In 1950, would it have been possible for anyone to know all of the goods and services that we would have at our disposal 50 years later?

For example, who would have thought that we'd have cellphones, Bluetooth technology, small powerful computers, LASIK and airplanes with 525-passenger seating capacity? This list could be extended to include thousands of goods and services that could not have been thought of in 1950. In the face of this gross human ignorance, who should be in control of precursor goods and services?

Seeing as it's impossible for anyone to predict the future, any kind of governmental regulation should be extremely light-handed, so as not to sabotage technological advancement.

Compounding our ignorance is the fact that much of what we think we know is not true.

Scientometrics is the study of measuring and analyzing science, technology and innovation. It holds that many of the “facts” you know have a half-life of about 50 years. Let's look at a few examples.

You probably learned that Pluto is a planet. But since August 2006, Pluto has been considered a dwarf planet. It's just another object in the Kuiper belt.
Because dinosaurs were seen as members of the class Reptilia, they were thought to be coldblooded. But recent research suggests that dinosaurs were fast-metabolizing endotherms whose activities were unconstrained by temperature.

Years ago, experts argued that increased K-12 spending and lower pupil-teacher ratios would boost students' academic performance. It turned out that some of the worst academic performance has been at schools spending the most money and having the smallest class sizes. Washington, D.C., spends more than $29,000 per student every year, and the teacher-student ratio is 1-to-13; however, its students are among the nation's poorest-performing pupils.

At one time, astronomers considered the size limit for a star to be 150 times the mass of our sun. But recently, a star (R136a1) was discovered that is 265 times the mass of our sun and had a birth weight that was 320 times that of our sun.

If you graduated from medical school in 1950, about half of what you learned is either wrong or outdated. For an interesting story on all this, check out Reason magazine's “Half of the Facts You Know Are Probably Wrong” .

Ignorance can be devastating.

Say that you recently purchased a house. Was it the best deal you could have gotten? Was there some other house within your budget that would have needed fewer extensive repairs 10 years later and had more likable neighbors and a better and safer environment for your children? What about the person you married? Was there another person available to you who would have made for a more pleasing and compatible spouse?

Though these are important questions, the most intelligent answer you can give to all of them is: “I don't know.” If you don't know, who should be in charge of making those decisions? Would you delegate the responsibility to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Donald Trump, Ben Carson or some other national or state official?

You might say, “Stop it, Williams! Congressmen and other public officials are not making such monumental decisions affecting my life.”

Try this. Suppose you are a 22-year-old healthy person. Rather than be forced to spend $3,000 a year for health insurance and have $7,000 deducted from your salary for Social Security, you'd prefer investing that money to buy equipment to start a landscaping business. Which would be the best use of the $10,000 you earned — purchasing health insurance and paying into Social Security or starting up a landscaping business? More importantly, who would be better able to make that decision — you or members of the United States Congress?

The bottom line is that ignorance is omnipresent. The worst kind of ignorance is not knowing just how ignorant we are. That leads to the devastating pretense of knowledge that's part and parcel of the vision of intellectual elites and politicians.


Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams

About Walter E.Williams

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. Williams is also the author of several books. Among these are The State Against Blacks, later made into a television documentary, America: A Minority Viewpoint, All It Takes Is Guts, South Africa's War Against Capitalism, More Liberty Means Less Government, Liberty Versus The Tyranny of Socialism, and recently his autobiography, Up From The Projects.

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American Patriot
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American Patriot

Who would of thought that the U.S. would not make it to it’s 250th birthday before it started a complete melt down. Not even 17 yrs since 9-11 when & probably the last time we would be all united. What a shame….it was a good ride while it lasted.

JoeUSooner
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JoeUSooner

“… ignorance is omnipresent.”

THE most profound statement I have heard in years!!!

Thank you, sir.

GomeznSA
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GomeznSA

As the old saw goes – what’s the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care – or as the yutes would text IDK & IDC – and they wonder why they are unable to have coherent thoughts……………… The only minor quibble that I have with Dr. Williams column is that there were indeed forward thinking folks ‘back in the day’ who not only saw the future – at least in part – but often were the inventors of that future tech or at least the catalysts for it. See the genesis of ‘waldoes’. We call… Read more »

Old marine
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Old marine

Old Marine >>>
We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle >>>>>> WINSTON CHURCHILL

Richard Hilton
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Richard Hilton

Well if your a democrat especially a Chicago democrat there is no limit to the ignorance displayed. How pitiful the democrats are becoming I have never seen them act like this I do believe that they have turned into the Communist party and this Country is doomed because of it. Sure am glad I won’t live to see it finally happen at 71 years old I know I won’t have to live that way but I feel sorry for the rest of you.

Bud
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Bud

Way too much common sense. It just won’t fly. LOL

Priest
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Priest

Curse the darkness or light a candle, your choice.

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@P, I choose the darkness that clothes me in secrecy and does not give away my position. Candle lighting violates light and noise discipline and draws a hell of a lot of enemy fire!

durabo
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durabo

Technologically-superior America is criminally ignorant of world events and history. The current generation of “March For Our Lives” mush-brained activists will plunge our beloved republic into Marxism. We ol’ geezers are prepared to stand and fight.

Marc Disabled Vet
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Marc Disabled Vet

@durabo
I hear Ya ! Our Fathers and us have made ,
a decent life here in the USA. Now ! our dumbass
kids are gonna tear it down. All because we wanted
to have something nice for ourselves . Sure we could
have left them a smoldering mess but we didn’t.
So they want to do it themselves.
Thank God I’m Old ! I would hate to see what it
will become. ( my grand kids are included in the stupidity)
I’m gonna fight right up till I die , maybe mine will see the light?

durabo
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durabo

Marc Disabled vet, God bless you for your service, sir! You and I, as fellow veterans, are prepared to fight shoulder-to-shoulder.
“No retrocederemos, ni siquiera para tomar impulso”. (We will not back up, even to pick up momentum)

Durabo
Naval Aviation veteran

Darren
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Darren

I can’t help but facepalm at the misspellings in the headline. 🙁

Erin
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Erin

Pretty sure that was intentional.

Darren
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Darren

I guessing it wasn’t since it’s been changed.