As the joke goes:
Q: What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?
A: I don’t know and I don’t care.
What are we to make of this in today’s political environment? The First Lady wears a jacket that conspicuously says: “I don’t really care, do you?” Her explanation, she doesn’t care if the “left-wing media” criticizes her. She wishes the media would focus on what she does, not what she wears. Fair enough, but what her husband does with which she either agrees or refuses to comment on has enormous consequences for immigrants, the environment, America’s role in the world and much, much more. What about those who disagree with the policies? What about those who don’t care?
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:24
The fact is, there are only four positions one can take in the ignorance and apathy debate.
I know and I care.
I don’t know but I care.
I know but I don’t care.
I don’t know and I don’t care.
Only the last position works with the joke.
One wonders what Jesus would have said if those who crucified him knew what they were doing and didn’t care? Would he have called them “a basket of deplorables” as Hillary Clinton called Trump’s supporters? According to the Bible, Jesus said that those who disagreed with him simply didn’t hear or didn’t understand the words of scripture.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Matthew 22:29-33
Good answer assuming the dilemma is we don’t know but we care. If we all would just read the Bible (or modern science or whatever irrefutable scripture we cherish) and understand it properly we could perhaps agree on how to solve the problems of the day.
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Those pesky facts! What are they and can we agree on them?
Even if we understood the problems we all face, we might not agree on the facts or the solutions or we might not care to solve the problems or we might not have the will to do what’s necessary. We might know but not care or we might choose to ignore the facts.
The real issue raised by Moynihan’s statement is how to deal with people with different opinions. Reasonable people, educated people, can disagree. [Unreasonable and uneducated people can disagree too.] Political systems exist to deal with these disagreements (democracy, dictatorship, etc). Unfortunately all political systems have their defects as the economist Kenneth Arrow proved with his Impossibility Theorem.
Sadly, there isn’t any easy way to settle all such disagreements. Such unsolvable problems are not unique to politics. Something as pure as mathematics has its own irreconcilable problems [See Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem.]
As Pascal said: The heart has its reasons of which reasons knows nothing.
So, where does this leave us? In despair, I’m afraid. I suppose we could refocus on what the First Lady wears disregarding her counsel not to do it. But, this too is fraught with danger. Be careful with those shoes.