My friend Dr. Mardy Grothe writes an interesting and insightful post each week. Indeed his offering is the first thing I read Sunday mornings.

His comments usually focus on literary issues in a most clever way. However, last Sunday he uncharacteristically dipped a toe in my accustomed pond. His piece is so good that I asked permission to share a portion as a guest essay here and Mardy graciously accommodated my request, much to your benefit.

You can find him at http://www.drmardy.com/. I recommend that you look for the “Subscribe” function.

This Week’s Theme:
“How Has the Ignorance of Others Affected Your Life?”

This past week news reports  detailed a Tallahassee, Florida charter school principal being forced to resign after [three] parents of students in her sixth-grade art history class filed a formal complaint about their children being exposed to a “pornographic” image. The image in question, it turns out, was a photograph of Michelangelo’s statue of “David.”

This kind of thing is now routinely happening in Florida, thanks to the innocuous-sounding “Parental Rights in Education” bill that governor Ron DeSantis pushed through his rubber-stamp legislature in July of 2022 (this was the legislation critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill). If you currently live in one of the American “red” states, expect similar ludicrousness to be coming to your area soon, as Republican-controlled state legislatures all over the country have begun to eagerly champion the cause of “Parent’s Rights in Education.” Sadly, we’ve now entered an era in which it has become easy to get a book banned or a teacher fired because something that reasonable people would consider acceptable has offended someone’s sensibilities. It all brings to mind an observation from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who wrote in Proverbs in Prose (1819):

“Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action.”

I’m sure you can recall from your younger years when you first witnessed some local ignoramus complaining about evolution being taught in public schools or offering a totally fallacious theory as the absolute truth. We called such people “crackpots” back then, and as I grew older, I learned that almost every neighborhood or community has at least one. All crackpots have one thing in common: there is simply no reasoning with them. A 1910 issue of Life magazine captured a truth about them when it cited an unknown author as saying:

“Against logic there is no armor like ignorance.”

Like all groups, crackpots have their “influencers” as well, and they have been successful in infecting countless others. Just think of the millions of holocaust deniers around the world. Or the millions of U. S. citizens who believed that a duly elected American president was born in a foreign country and was therefore ineligible to occupy the nation’s highest office. More recently, thanks to what is now routinely described as “The Big Lie,” there are tens of millions of Americans who believe that Joseph Biden is also an illegitimate U.S. president.

Ignorance has been historically regarded as simply an absence of knowledge, but this new kind of ignorance—a willful ignorance—is like a metastasis of the original condition. Thanks to the philosopher Karl Popper, it might be viewed this way:

“Ignorance is not a simple lack of knowledge
but an active aversion to knowledge, the refusal to know,
issuing from cowardice, pride, or laziness of mind.”

This week, reflect on how the phenomenon of willful ignorance has shown up in your life, and how you responded when it did. As usual, you will find a number of quotations below to assist you in your reflections:

“To be ignorant of one’s ignorance is the malady of the ignorant.”


“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance
when the need for illusion is great.”


“Ignorance is an evil weed,
which dictators may cultivate among their dupes,
but which no democracy can afford among its citizens.”


“The highest form of ignorance is to reject
something you know nothing about.”


“It is a common sentence that Knowledge is power;
but who hath duly considered or set forth the power of Ignorance?
Knowledge slowly builds up
what Ignorance in an hour pulls down.”


“Stupidity’s the deliberate cultivation of ignorance.”


“Ignorance is not bliss.
Ignorance is impotence; it is fear; it is cruelty;
it is all the things that make for unhappiness.”


“Reason obeys itself;
and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”


“Ignorance is a self-generating state of mind;
one of its characteristics is that
it doesn’t recognize itself as ignorance.”


“The people who are scariest to me are the people
who don’t even know enough to realize how little they know.”


For source information on these quotations, and others on the subject of IGNORANCE, visit: DMDMQ.

My Thought of the Week

is a problem to be corrected,
and not exploited for personal or political gain.”

Speaking of Ignorance

Click me

The Tennessee House of Representatives put another notch in their Ku Klux Klan lynching rope last Thursday. The super-majority Republicans were shocked, shocked! I tell you, to have witnessed three representatives participate in a peaceful protest with students who, not too surprisingly, don’t want to be shot dead by yet another school shooter, as had happened in Nashville two weeks earlier.

For their temerity to speak up for safety and to the horror of the proper decorum Republicans, two young Black men and one White woman, all duly elected representatives, were put on trial to be expelled from the House for their peaceful participation in a peaceful, albeit noisy, protest demonstration that was conducted because kids don’t want to be shot dead.

All three legislators did the same things during the protests, but only the two Black representatives were expelled. The White woman kept her seat in the House. Could this be a more blatant demonstration of racial discrimination?

Many of us had thought we might have moved past this kind of horrific display of racism, but of course, we were only fooling ourselves. Racism and White supremacy were on display for all to see and this was nothing less than a

legislative lynching


Perhaps the Republicans in the Tennessee House, working as they do in the city where 3 little kids and 3 adults were just murdered and in the state where the Ku Klux Klan originated, think they can get away with this. After all, not long ago one of their members recommended a return to lynching.

How is it that people still have to do this?

But they’re wrong.

The whole world is watching and condemning them. We the People won’t allow for their hatred to remain in control. That’s especially so for our Millennials and Gen-Zs and a few of we Boomers who still remember our idealism. Just imagine running a political campaign against the haters in the 2024 election. The campaign writes itself.

Isn’t it odd that people still have to raise a fist in a declaration for equality and respect? No, that didn’t end at the 1968 Olympics, because we are still a nation that tolerates systemic bigotry.

But the ignorance infusing that awful alt-right deed in Nashville on Thursday will prove to be counter-productive to the haters. You and I and so many of us will see to that.

Today is a good day to be the light.


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.


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2 Responses to Ignorance
  1. Edward Kant Reply

    Funny thing…when I read Mardy’s Newsletter last Sunday, I thought of you.

    Knowing you are also a fan of his, I thought that you might comment. That you (and he) made the entire essay and quotes available to your readers is a tribute to you both.

    Keep on keepin’ on…

  2. Jim Altschuler Reply

    I guess I’m idealistic or foolish or a wishful thinker. I keep thinking and/or hoping that one morning i’ll wake up and no one will care what color someone is. Or how tall or short or fat or thin someone else is. Or whether or not someone else believes in God and, if so, what religion others believe in. Or who someone else loves. Or what nation others may have come from. Or someone else’s sexual preference.

    Just an idealistic fool, right? But don’t you, don’t we all, realize that IT’S POSSIBLE! All We The People have to do is let others be our equals. All we have to do is give up our prejudices, our preconceived notions and, ph yeah, learn again to practice the Golden Rule. Well, I can dream … at least until I wake up.