Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Greatest Threats to Democracy: Ignorance and Apathy
By Paul Balles
November 26, 2012
Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care.--Jimmy
Yesterday I was angry. Today, I'm tired; but I refuse to be
I'm tired of a world full of hostile maniacs who get
their kicks out of slaughtering each other.
I'm tired of the power
brokers whose only concern is whether or not the storms of nature and the
storms of mankind will affect their outsourced pocketbooks.
tired of the hundreds of members of the UN who let America and Israel get
away with any self-serving decision the two giants want.
of an ignorant America that doesn't know what's going on in the world and an
apathetic America that doesn't care.
Only a few very sensitive
people will care whether or not I'm tired or what I'm tired of, or why. That
makes me angry.
Ignorance angers me, but I refuse to let it yield to
The ancient Greek thinker Plato called
“Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil."
Herodotus, Greek Father
of History, was just as strong in his belief that "The only good is
knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance."
believed that "There is no darkness but ignorance."
warfare and knowledge, Napoleon Bonaparte said “The only victories which
leave no regret are those which are gained over ignorance.”
America’s fourth president and Father of the American Constitution, James
Madison, knew that “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people
who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which
American journalist, essayist, magazine editor,
satirist, and critic of American life and culture, H.L. Mencken wrote
"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual
Speaking about the power of propaganda, John F. Kennedy
said “No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will
regard it as the truth.”
In their ignorance, Americans boast a lot
about "our democracy". Israelis (mistakenly) brag about being the only
democracy in the Middle East.
The soul-mate to ignorance about what
constitutes a democracy is apathy. Here are Tweedledee: “I don’t know”
(ignorance) and Tweedledum: “I don’t care” (apathy).
apathetic is literally to be without passion,” wrote Erwin Raphael McManus
in Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul.
“Voter apathy was, and will
remain the greatest threat to democracy,” argued former governor of Michigan
Though others in government know the truth in
Pingree’s argument, they do their best to keep public apathy. Does it
Observed French social commentator and political thinker
Charles de Montesquieu “The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not as
dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.”
Montesquieu became famous for his articulation of the theory of
separation of powers into sovereign and administrative (further divided into
executive, legislative and judiciary).
“All over the place,” notes
Noam Chomsky, “from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is
constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only
role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.”
Americans are ignorant of political realities at home, they’re even more so,
as well as apathetic, about international politics. They’re not alone!
How can two windbags (US and Israel) swagger in front of the rest of the
world--195 UN member nations—who sit apathetically under the control of
these two internationally dictatorial regimes?
To know and to care
are the only antidotes for ignorance and apathy.