Letter: Too many are sleeping with the enemy in Richmond and beyond

Dear Editor,

Re: “Whose ideas are fit to print?” Voices, Jan. 31.

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Eve Edmonds is entirely correct in stating that “our greatest enemy is ignorance” when it comes to understanding how advantageous it is to fully comprehend the important issues that affect our lives.

Unfortunately, we live in a world in which far too many people are not only far too comfortable with ignorance but might even view lack of knowledge and understanding as something to be aspired to, rather than overcome.

To be informed to the extent that objective, educated judgements can be made in relation to important and/or controversial issues requires four basic attributes: a high level of curiosity, an open mind, patience, and the courage to change one’s mind in the face of new knowledge — atributes that are increasingly discouraged or subsumed in a world awash with the simplistic, reductionist ideologies of the so-called ‘populist’ movements that are gaining influence around the world.

There are two kinds of opinion: the everyday, casual conversation, pub or dinner-table type of opinions.

And then there are informed opinions based on experience, exhaustive objective study and analysis, as well as valid evidence and facts.

Ignorance does not detrimentally affect the former, which is part of common social interaction, but it is ruinous to the latter, which provides the basis and incentive to progressively educate ourselves and to effectively solve the social, economic, environmental, and ideological challenges and problems that beset us.

I believe the responsibility of the press is to ensure that the insubstantial and immaterial does not drown out the substantial and meaningful.

To not do so would simply add to the problems we face rather than play a part in helping us solve them.

Ray Arnold


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