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From the Editor: In The Age of Information, Ignorance is a Choice

Senior Editor Roman King takes an intensive look at the societal paradigms of ignorance in the modern era

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by Roman King | U.S.

Welcome to another From the Editor. Apparently, the first one wasn’t bad enough to get the column slashed after one week, so we’re back again. I’ll give the standard warning right now: the views and opinions portrayed in From the Editor do not represent 71 Republic, LLC, as a single entity. Any complaints or critiques about the opinions presented should go to me and no-one else. Thanks! Let’s get going.

The year is 2017. Technological advancements are reaching an all time high, and the methods of which we both send and receive information are getting more efficient, more powerful, and more prone to shattering when we drop them on a concrete surface. With the continued development of computer processors, graphics cards, and other such technologies, the average American holds in their pocket a device over one million times more powerful than the computers used to launch the Saturn V rocket. That device, of course, is the smartphone.

The most recent iteration of the iPhone is the iPhone 7. The iPhone 7 has a quad-core processor that clocks in at about 2.34 GHz. It has a six-core graphics card. The highest priced option can hold 256 GB of storage, and the device has a whopping 2 GB of RAM. No, I’m not advertising the iPhone, and I’m not trying to suggest the iPhone’s line of phones is superior to Samsung’s offerings; as a matter of fact, Samsung’s phones have similar specs. I’m telling you this because fifteen years ago, this was the standard for desktop computers. I have an old Pentium 4 Dell computer with specs not too different from this; as a matter of fact the iPhone 7’s processor is more powerful, and it holds the same amount of RAM.  The fact that technology has evolved to the point where what was once the standard for desktop computing now fits in your pocket, with a myriad of better features and applications, shows the incredible developments made in the sharing of information.

Why am I telling you this? If you’re reading this, you probably already have at least somewhat of a grasp on the incredible power of modern technology. Why am I standing on a soapbox telling you of the wonderful creations of Our Lord and Savior, Tim Cook? Well, with the incredible development of technology comes an increased development in the knowledge accessible with such devices. Vice Chairman of the Libertarian Party Arvin Vohra, whom I admittedly disagree with personally on certain issues, has made many statements saying that you can get an education at the same quality of a public school with only the resources available on the Internet, and he’s not completely wrong. The Internet holds such a vast swath of knowledge, available at the swift of a few keystrokes, that I wouldn’t completely contest Vohra’s claim. The development of technology has put us into the Age of Information — at this point, I would claim that there is no excuse to be ignorant or ill-informed, save for intentional apathy or a will to be ignorant.

There’s a certain joy to ignorance. After all, ignorance is indeed bliss. There’s a reason people not involved in politics, philosophy, or other such intense intellectual and informative hobbies are happier. The more you find about the workings of the real world and just how screwed things really seem to be, it can be difficult to look at the world through the rose colored glasses and see things in a positive light. I would contend, however, that as a citizen and member of society, each and every one of us has the moral obligation to be at the least knowledgeable of what our government is or is not doing. Perhaps we could claim ignorance twenty or thirty years ago as an excuse to not give a flying toss about the workings of the world outside of our friend groups, but we don’t have that luxury anymore. In the Age of Information, ignorance is a choice, and yet we are still, as a society, choosing ignorance. This is, generally speaking, unacceptable. I would contend that is a civic duty to be generally informed, but hey; we’re libertarians here, and I would never force you to undertake a path of action you don’t want to take.

Rather, this is just a suggestion: people, take a few minutes out of your day to read the news. Check out the Associated Press every once and a while. Get a subscription to the free news services your phone most likely provides. Listen to NPR on your way to work. Fuel yourself. Ignorance is not an excuse anymore.

 

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