Regarding Those Who Are Wilfully Ignorant

By Jonathan Timar

I’d like to tell you a little story.

Once upon a time a baby was born, let’s call her Grizelda. What? You don’t like the name Grizelda? Well too bad, it’s my story and I can name the kid anything I want.

Anyway, for a long time Grizelda ate nothing but her mother’s milk. But eventually it came time for Grizelda to start eating other foods, and one of the first foods her mother chose for her was mashed peas from a jar. Unfortunately her mother had a habit of unintentionally scraping the roof of her mouth with the spoon every time she fed Grizelda a spoonful of peas, and has a result, Grizelda began to dread eating the peas, and eventually flat-out refused them.

One day when Grizelda had grown a little older she went to visit her grandmother. That evening her grandma cooked pork chops with boiled peas on the side. Grizelda took on but of the peas and found the flavourless and unappetizing, and left the remainder of them on her plate. When grandma noticed this she, being old-fashioned as she was, told Grizelda that unless she ate everything on her plate, she wouldn’t be allowed to leave the table. With no alternative, Grizelda at the peas, hating every bite, and vowed never to touch a pea again, and she was true to her word for many years.

Convinced of the evil of peas, Grizelda would not even consider tasting them, or anything which might contain them. When anyone suggested she try a pea she would sneer and turn her nose up, disgusted at even the idea of letting a pea anywhere near her mouth. She couldn’t imagine how anyone could like peas, and was actually quite convinced that anyone who did was involved in some conspiracy. Surely peas were a food created to inflict punishment on the population and line the pockets are unscrupulous farmers and grocers.

The one evening when she was much, much older Grizelda was at a dinner party. It was a classy five-course meal, so when Grizelda was served a bowl of split pea soup as the first course she nearly panicked. How was she going to get out of this one without looking rude? She had no choice, she was going to have to eat the soup.

With some trepidation she dipped her spoon into the thick pasty soup. As she lifted it to her mouth the aroma of sweet slow cooked peas and delicately smoked bacon found its way into her nostrils. It was enticing, and far removed from tasteless boiled spheres her grandmother had served her as a child. When she finally tasted it she was amazed to discover that not only did she not mind the flavour, she loved it! It was sweet and salty, meaty, hearty, and just damn good!

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    How could it be that this soup was made from peas and yet was so delicious? It flew in the face of everything she knew to be true. And yet the evidence was indisputable. There was no way to argue against taste. Grizelda was forced to accept that she had been terribly ignorant indeed.

    What is the moral of this story? Well to put it bluntly, you have the right to an opinion, but you do not have the right to your ignorant opinion. Ignorance serves no useful purpose, and when ignorance takes control, everyone loses.

    Let’s imagine another scenario. Millions of people have seen Avatar. Weeks after it’s release, this film is still selling out. Personally, I think it’s a piece of overhyped crap. I mean com’on! It’s derivative nonsense! It’s got a dumb story and if it weren’t for the special effects no one would give two craps about it! I mean, I haven’t actually seen it, but it’s obviously way overblown!

    I don’t actually think that about Avatar. In fact, I have no opinion about it at all. I haven’t seen it, I barely know what it’s about. I’m rather indifferent about it really, it’s just not grabbing me, but I’ll probably give it a chance eventually just to see what it’s all about.

    But once upon a time I had that opinion about Harry Potter. Then I saw one of the movies and had to eat my shorts when I discovered it was actually really good.

    A lot of people hate Stephen Harper. Ask those people why they hate him, what specifically about his policies has offended them, how they specifically believe their life has gotten worse because of him, and very few will have an answer for you. They don’t know. Ignorance at work.

    Here’s what I think: If your opinion has no basis, if you have not explored the facts, if you’re coming from a place of *ignorance*, do us all a favour, and keep it to yourself.