"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."
by:
Confucius
[Kung Fu-tse] (551-479 B.C.) Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher
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I recall in high school or junior high that the more education you get the more you realize what you don't know. It seems to me that the political divide is also on this point.
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    That's why we are for the most part unknowledgeable - we don't travel, we don't read, we hate discussing politics and religion, we are angry, and above all we don't listen or if we are quiet our mind is racing.
     -- RobertSRQ     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Would someone please explain this to Anonymous.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Learning to make the distinction between facts and opinions is a start. There is what we 'know' and what we don't know, but ignorance is not wanting to hear anything that is contrary to what we believe.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Said well most everyone. Anonymous is standing in today for the pridefully ignorant. ;-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Except Confucius, who had the knowledge without the ignorance. Reminds me of my mother telling me; "The more you know, the less you think you know".
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
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    There is some basic knowledge that everyone must know; there is knowledge that everyone ought to know; there is knowledge that would be good if everyone knew it; and there is knowledge that is only useful in specific circumstances and does not need to be known by everyone. Archer points out one of those basic, first pieces of knowledge and a skill that everyone must know. Without it, one cannot distinguish between objective reality and wishes and dreams. If you live your life based on the way you wish things were; how you hope things will be, you are bound for disappointment. It is the failing of Marxism and so many other 'isms', because they refuse to recongnize reality and exercise willful ignorance, and even rejoice in their lack of knowledge.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Good everybody. Archer and Ken I think it is also true that regardless of facts the world is made of opinion, whether the facts like it or not. Thus our politcal leadership in a "mob" ruled democracy reflect the educational level or opinon level of the majority. Now I would not have it any other way, for the safety of the political system, but I also beleve that we suffer somewhat to be ruled by ignorant opinion rather that absolute fact. Thus it is always in a democracy.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Nothing is new: 3500 year Vedic verse: "He who understands understands not and he that understands he understands not understands"
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    Waffler, the 'world' is not "made of opinion." The world is the world, and there are a great many different opinions about it. Perception is NOT reality -- reality is reality, and our perception of it is just that, our perception. As I have said previously, confusing opinion with fact is the error, and thus the danger of real democracy. I am glad, Waffler, that you agree that in a democracy we suffer under the rule of ignorant opinion. If you could just remember that 'self-government' is not 'majority rule,' you might begin to understand the responsibility required in a free country, that a republican form of government has a limited jurisdiction, and that the power of the ignorant majority could never threaten the rights of the rest because in fact the majority do not 'rule' no matter what they say. The majority in fact do not have a say in what I may be allowed to do -- it is time Americans realized that and stopped cow-towing to those that lay claim to their labors and fruits thereof. In a representative republic that respects and protects the inalienable rights of the People, no one has to fear the arbitrary will of government officers or the passions of the ignorant no matter what their numbers. In a democracy, our lives and livelihood are always at risk. The USA is not a democracy for very good reasons -- of course, don't expect a party politician to state that fact.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    You are wrong Archer, it is a common place that the world is made of opinion. Perception changes thngs, spirituality changes things, "Love Changes Everything". I did not say that I dislike democracy because it can be in error soemtimes, I still think like Chruchill that in the long run it is the best type of government. While the power of an ignoranat majority may be tough to take on occasion it is much better than the power of an ignorant minority. Over time it has been shown that majority knows best and its opinons are better than those of the minority. The USA is a democracy.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    You make me laugh, Waffler. Your ignorance of your own group-think is what keeps you stuck in the same mindset. You argue using terms like 'common knowledge' (i.e. collective agreement whether true or not) and 'majority rule.' Somehow you twist an argument against 'majority rule' into 'minority rule.' The issue is 'control' -- for me, neither a majority nor a minority may regulate my life -- that is my job, no one else's. Just because we elect representatives does not mean whatever they say goes -- that is the point! Yes, we vote for various things, but we do not have the power individually or collectively to vote away people's property or their hard earned savings. That is the delusion that follows the idea that we are a 'democracy.' There are those that wish to control others -- and if they can't manage to do it by themselves, they will try to rally enough people to force the issue. In America, the People are to be safe from such mobocracy, that is why it is NOT a democracy and never will be as long as Congress, the President, and the neighbors like you respect the inalienable rights upon which this country was founded. The fact that you do not respect the rights of others and do wish to control their rights to reproduce, to regulate people's actions, to use government to intimidate, to seize property/money/labors from the people in order to give to other people just goes to show the mindset of a collectivist that uses the guise of democracy to further their own goals. You either believe in Freedom or not -- sounds like you do not.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer you apparently fail to differentiate in your thinking between private life and public life. In private life no one regulates your life. No one to my knowledge on this site is discussing peoples private lives let us have an understanding unless otherwise stated that we are discussing public life. In public life where two or more meet and agree to do things together discussions, compormise and consensus is required. I have made several more posts at the last Von Mises quote, please read. Majority is to a Democracy the same thing a King is to a Monarchy, thus it can equally be said of both, "The King or Majority is dead, Long Live the King or Majority". The majority is not monolithic but changes constantly and with different issues. If you like the idea of "Knowing ones own mind and keeping ones own counsel" do you not believe it is a good policy for everyone. If you have a population of such personalities who know their own minds and keep their own counsel and they feel a need to do something together based on the idea of a majority vote, does that make the decision by these self posessed personalites innately wrong. Think for a moment man think. Your twisted thoughts expressed on this site is that the majority innately do not know their own minds or keep their own counsel. Your kind of thinking is the same as dictators and tyrannts which they believe therefore gives them the authorty to take over public life. Be careful man be very careful it sounds like you do not believe in freedom.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    I'd like to find in any political governing documents wherein it declares we are a Democracy. Where did the founder's say we were an expressed "Democracy"? Oh, wait, our founder's expressly deplored "Democracy". If Democracies and Republics can exist at the same time, then why did Aristotle argue the way he did? What did Machiavelli actually mean then when he condemned Democracies and glorified in publicly elected representatives in a Republic? Geeze... Read history, get an education, go to school, give it a rest, get a life, move on!
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Hey Logan fuck demorcray. It is majority rule for me, what did all those ass holes say about majority rule? You have long ago agreed that we are a majority ruled society, don't worry about the word so much, it makes you crazy. Einstein's strength was in his ability to use thought experiments. He just closed his eyes and thought things through, developed the math later. Try it some times Logan it is a refreshing activity.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    "The world is the world" and it is if you mean the untouched physical world you may be right but even that gets touched and changed by biological life. The world of man however is strongly effected and created by opinion. Architecture, music, art, landscaped gardens are an opinion. Style is an opinion. Most of everything on this site are opionins. The Supreme Court does not diseminate facts it disseminates opinions which become "facts of law". Election results are an expression of an opinion. You truly do live in a cave if you do not understand the role and influence of opinion in life Archer.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    I understand you better than you realize, Waffler. A collectivist is a 'group-thinker,' he/she identifies with the crowd, with the status quo, with popular opinion. He sees nothing as it is, for 'perception is reality.' He believes there is no truth, or perhaps truth is whatever one says it is like in 'my truth' and 'your truth.' Therefore majority rule is 'law'. But laws are immutable, and passions come and go. The key here is 'rule' -- who 'rules', who makes the 'rules', who enforces the 'rules?' and 'why?' Because the majority says so? Of course people's lives are shaped by their opinions, and some people's opinions are that others should agree and OBEY their 'rules.' Freedom of religion is the freedom of opinion -- it also means freedom from someone else's dogma or 'rules.' When we elect representatives to manage the commonwealth, we are not granting them power over us, to tell us what we may ingest, what we may believe, support, or defend. They have been contracted to honor and defend the Constitution which delineates the boundaries they may not cross with their 'rules' and statutes. Even if the majority of them or those that elected them think that they have the power to take property away from one sect of people to pay the Treasury to be later spent on projects from which they privately profit, the law does not support it. Freedom of expression such as in the arts is an in alienable right as long as that 'expression' does not violate any one else's rights. That is the dividing line -- to cross it is to invite tyranny.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I don't nor do most people agree with the crowd in America, we all go along until the next election (political speaking) because that is the ground rules or rules of engagement in our system of public business. Now in private matters of product choice, styles, clothing, housing, life style etcetera people are totally free to choose, the fact that they observe parents, family, peers, and the general public and do similar things and style is also a fact of life for good or bad. Man is generally a social animal. If he were not then we would not be discussing opinion and I would agree with you that it would not matter. Your personality Archer is more suited to be a mountain lion which I understand lives alone except for the brief mating season. He occupies a 7 miles square or 50 square mile area alone except for the other species which he takes for his meals. He does tolerate any other lions or their opinions, his world is made of "fact". I noticed today that even hummingbirds in my backyard guard the feeder and chase other hummingbird new comers away. Kings or tyrannts also do not have to tolerate any thing called opinion. Humans for some reason do not always behave that way, they often help each other and do things together and socialize. I think tyranny can often come from an idea like you expressed above "I understand you better than you realize." I heard Mrs. Palin make a similar remark in one of her governor speeches. She stated an opinon and then said "I know you all believe that too." In those words she is putting her beliefs into others or telling people what they believe rather than asking them, treating them fairly. I had a female boss or better yet bitch of a boss like that. That like your statement above can be the start of tyranny. It appears to me that you have the potential to be as tyrannical as anyone regardless of your cynical claim of loving freedom. Your questioning of my free thinking approach is telling concerning your mentality. You think if I sound individualistic (at least to your sensibilities) then I must be consistent and always take and "individualistic" stance as opposed to what you otherwise categorize as my "collectivist" approach. I think you need to free your mind and free other people from your categorical thinking.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Your response is just more group-think, Waffler, I don't expect you to see it easily -- 60 years of conditioning is tough to break. "I don't nor do most people agree with the crowd in America, we all go along..." LOL, 'most people' are by definition 'the crowd,' and yes I do understand that you believe that "we ALL go along..." You constantly justify your opinions with 'most people' and 'we all.' There is a fundamental difference between you and I -- you wish to majority 'rule' others with the power of the crowd to enforce it, I wish to take care of myself and my family without interference from crowds, committees, neighbors, and government -- my sovereignty is not a threat to you and your party, only a threat to your plans (held up by your group's opinions) for me. That must really irk a collectivist.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    We go along Archer with the result of political elections. We don't revolt or take over things by force. That is part of our freedom to be free of such nonsense as taking things into our own hands, We confer vote and follow the vote. You do also unless you are in jail for a violent uprising, are you? Your crap about taking care of yourself is just crap, you live in a interdependent world, quit lying to yourself and to everyone else.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    ..laughs.. Wow, Waffler... "fuck democracy"? I never thought I'd live to see you say it. Good call Archer, but Waffler perhaps will never understand how society can operate while keeping the rights of the individual in tact, and what it actually takes to actually keep both a society and the individual free at the same time. Is this a battle of semantics? Not really. Why? Because a few of us here have diligently sought to understand the ideas behind what the founder's actually wanted to perpetuate, and afterwards we have looked at current trends today to see how -- because of the change of words -- society has redefined its own history. The why and how society would do this is another story, but such is the cycle of history. Should we just "go along to get along" when we see history repeating itself towards the destruction of the rights of the individual and the eventual destruction of our society? We're arguing ideas, but we have to argue ideas through words -- that's the tool of our operation. When terms are redefined from their original meanings, what words are currently used to replace those old meanings? Either there are words to replace them, or these ideas are lost to time. Long live the Republic, and everything the founder's defined it to be.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Oh, and Waffler, since you've brought it up again ("It is majority rule for me"), can you please explain how -- as you supposedly are all for majority rule all of the time -- you would tell such heroes as Paul Rusesabagina why you support the massacre of the Hutu coming against and killing 77% of the Tutsi population within his country and the genocide that followed? Geeze, talk about "protection of the majority" for the minority. Majority rule all of the time? What is your legitimacy number then for the majority to legally, morally, legitimately, or ethically vote to rape a women, kill a child, or cause genocide among large portions of its people? If mere majority vote is your only stipulation for legitimacy, it appears you're the one that's... well... screwed.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Confucius say, "Fuck democracy. Majority rule." Too funny. Waffler says, "That is part of our freedom to be free of such nonsense as taking things into our own hands..." Moses smell the roses. 'Freedom to be free from taking things into our own hands'? If that isn't collectivist rhetoric, I don't know what is. Whose hands then are free to take into their own hands? Freedom from freedom IS the collectivist dogma -- freedom from responsibility in actuality. Talk about nonsense. Just stay away from me, Waffler. Obviously, you and your crowd do not trust individuals to act on their own behalf but to simply goose-step until the next 'election' in hopes we can get 'our man' in office who will do for us what we should have been doing for ourselves. What utter imbecilic shite.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Quit being an ahole Archer. America has been free from armed rebellion because we have elections and we respect the democratic processes as established in the constitution. Get a life man I mean really. You obviously prefer goose steppers to take over by force. Such a result would fit your tyrannical mind set.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Yeah, Archer, you tyrannical bastard! How dare you preach individual freedom, accountability, and education wherein the masses (as a collection of individuals) should adhere to a reasoned codex of laws, rules, and regulations in deciding how to fulfill its operations justly, legitimately, and rightfully to the individual and society! How dare you, you "goose stepper", speak against a debased currency and property violating taxations! How can you bear to sleep with yourself at night? You should know that freedom only comes through the collective, that resistance is futile, and that you WILL be assimilated! How dare you, you traitor, adhere to the doctrines and philosophies of our founders! Damn you, sir! = )
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Heil Logan, Heil!
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    ..LAUGHS.. Waffler, how do you possibly get "Heil" out of anything I've ever stated? They droppin' some acid in the water over there in Arkansas? I'm not the one who accepts a foundation of government that legitimizes the Hutu/Tutsi genocide; of anyone, it's me that should be accusing you of your Hitleresque tactics and ideology. How do you think the German people got to where they did in accepting -- or even allowing -- Hitler? They were in a massive state of group-think wherein each individual just capitulated to what they perceived was the majority -- which actually kinda was because everyone basically went along with it even if they didn't agree with it -- which is exactly how you think, talk, and probably act. This is rock solid history, we read it in college history books all the time -- or at least I do -- I'm not fully convinced you read much other than these blogs. Should they have had or been educated in the principles of a Constitutional Republic (as opposed to many other types of Republics) that was fashioned on an outside reasoned list of laws that exist in nature, they would have seen past Hitler's facade and millions wouldn't have died. Instead, the individuality of Hitler's Germany was dummied down so much that the people kowtowed because they figured the government could do anything it wanted to so long as it had majority consent, and since the government was automatically doing something (mass genocide) it MUST have had the majority's consent. Historically, we know that, in fact, the majority would not have condoned such actions -- but it is written into the annals of history that such Democracy group-think made the people so damned stupid that they never individually stood up against the evil likes of Hitler -- I mean, if everyone was going along with it... it wasn't really SO bad, was it? So why don't you come goose-steppin' over here to my side of the river, it's not quite that bad over here -- we can throw a bratwurst on the grill.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Hitler used the same tactics that Palin uses. She gives a speech states her opinion and then says "I know that is what you believe also" without ever asking people what it is they believe. In Pennsylvania yesterday she said "In Pennsylvania we believe this and that" hell she is not even from Pennsylvania. Who is she to use the word we in reference to Penna. Your denial of the concept majority rule for months and arguing about it did not endear me with a love of freedom. Hitler and the Nazi party was a small gutter group and yes infiltrated German society. The majority failed in its oversite role, I agree.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    I actually agree with you on something, I'm not fond of Palin -- nor of McCain for that matter (I think they're warmongers. I think about as much of them as I do of Bush family, the Clintons, Gore, or Obama). Oversight (which I think is a good word for the situation) of the majority is the exact reason why legitimacy should not simply rest on the majority's consent. Democracies lead to group-think if the citizenry lends itself to the ideology that whatever they decide is the establishment of legitimacy. When the majority falls into this pattern, as history has shown they always do, the majority of people go along with whatever the political establishment deems is necessary, because the people naively believe that government has the majority's consent; this means that the road to lost liberty is not usually because of the proactive tenacity of the people, but because of the apathetic group-think that comes to a people who allows government to rob them of their rights because they think their neighbors are also in agreement with this. However, if the mindset of the people is focused on individual and inalienable rights, then the people are far less likely to be hoodwinked by a Hitleresque regime (not much unlike the Bush regime) and simply kowtow to what they perceive is the majority's consent, because they can reason and adhere to principle instead of relying on the facade of the majority's consent. A society focused on individuality does not discredit a government "of, by, and for the people" -- it only serves to enhance it.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Just because a group follows one idea or opinion doesn't always mean they are right. it's ironic that the "majority" that should know better, takes another persons views and ignores them or scoffs at them like a 4 year-old. this person doesn't feel heard, and has low esteem within the group. I've been there myself, and until I learned about group-think, i didn't know what was causing people to behave this way.
     -- Anonymous     
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    Archer; Waffler, You're both arguing your philosophical opinions as though they're facts.
     -- Dekker451, Tacoma     
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    Very intelligent quote. This is a quote that everyone should learn from. P.S- God is our deliverer. he loves everyone. he will forgive you if you ask him to.
     -- Kayte, B.G.     
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     -- Anomynous      
     
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