The Impudence of Ignorance

I was reading Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot and had reached a place when I thought I ought to give up the book when I came upon the phrase, the impudence of ignorance, words used to describe a character. I perked up. I’d just been listening to some commentary about Representative Akin’s statements on rape and abortion. A perfect fit! Thing is the phrase applies to more than this one incident, it applies to statements made by many in ads or in promoting a given point of view about the deficit, Medicare or taxes. To what appears to be an increasing number of our fellow citizens, positions are not born from facts, they are faith based. With due respect to their freedom of both speech and religion, a faith based position may make sense within a given context but is still based on faith rather than on fact. What evokes one to think of the impudence of ignorance when hearing these statements is that not only do they not acknowledge the role of faith, they also ignore facts. If there is a divergence between faith and facts, shouldn’t the issue of reconciling the two be the responsibility of those who make the statements? Since that’s not likely to be, the responsibility falls on the rest of us to indeed make sure we know the facts. At the risk of sounding cute, I’d suggest that would be a good way to turn impudence into impotence.