Lately, I have been asking myself a thought-provoking question which I am sure many of you are asking yourselves. At what point does ignorance become chosen or willful, and at what point does this ignorance endanger the lives and well-being of others? For anyone with eyes and ears, it is impossible to not see the injustices all around us in our modern society. When the Department of Homeland Security has recently issued more than one Domestic Terrorist Threat for minority populations such as religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, and certain ethnic groups, we must know that it didn’t reach this point overnight, and this level of hatred and threat took time to build.
The question is, why is anti-intellectualism so prevalent in the far right-wing more than ever before? Why are science and historical facts a threat to this sect of the population who seek minority rule by force through any means possible no matter how unethical? I have a few of my own theories, but let’s take a look at commentators who specialize in the study of fighting the suppression of truth, facts, and reality. I am going to quote some lines from this article in the Austin American Statesman.
According to the Paul Krugman from the New York Times, he published a piece in the Austin American Statements titled, “The Right-Wingers Have Gone All in on Ignorance.” Let’s observe a few quotes from this piece. “One often sees assertions that those attacking Critical Race Theory have no idea what it’s about, but I disagree; they understand that it has something to do with assertions that America has a history of racism and of policies that explicitly or implicitly widened racial disparities.” I think Mr. Krugman is on to something. He knows that the far right-wing has an inkling of what Critical Race Theory is about, but they either don’t want to admit the truth or choose to be ignorant about the fact that Critical Race Theory has something to do with exposing the history of America’s racism. By exposing the true history of racism in America, the right-wing would have to repent and take responsibility (as many white people should) for their continued pursuit to oppress racial minority groups and uphold their own power and privilege to the detriment of those unlike themselves.
Let’s further review this article and observe another quote from Krugman. “What underlies this cross-disciplinary commitment to ignorance?” On each subject, refusing to acknowledge reality serves special political interests. Climate denial caters to the fossil fuel industry; evolution denial caters to religious fundamentalists; tax-cut mysticism caters to billionaire donors.” The quote, “A picture is worth 1000 words says it all in many cases.” This is the same place in the Artic 100 years ago. Yes, polar ice has been melting due to Climate Change which creates dangerous climates and threatens lives and geographical locations. Yet even with a picture like this, the far right still denies that Climate Change is possible.
And the last quote from Krugman, he restates the article’s title with good conscience, “Right-wingers have gone all in on ignorance, so they were bound to come into conflict with every institution — including the U.S. military — that is trying to cultivate knowledge.”
At this point, denying that LGBTQ+ lives are vulnerable to great harm and even death within and outside of the Church, denying that gender-affirming care can save lives, denying that our country indeed has a history of racism which is still pervasive today, denying science, refusing vaccinations, and denying climate change are just some examples of willful anti-intellectualism. These examples are anti-life which are against the very core of the Catholic faith and Catholic Social Teaching. Disagreement about preferences is one thing; denying science and history resulting in the endangerment of lives and public health are quite another.