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Ignorance is a deadly poison

Commentary

When I was 7-years-old, there was a pond where the local boys usually went for a swim. On this day there were several of us there. I had not yet learned to swim, and carelessly jumped into the water over my head. That was easy to do at age 7 since I was not very tall. I was flailing in the water, unable to keep my head above the surface. One of the older boys jumped in and pulled me to safety. I was lucky to have been careless in the presence of so much available help. My careless ignorance could have ended it for me right there, had not Jimmy Mason noticed and helped me.

I suggest more people have died or been killed more than other cause simply by ignorance of one kind or another. I think that we in the modern world could easily class most famine, wars, catastrophes, disease, and yes even plagues, on simple ignorance. That’s a main reason we search for understanding. That’s why in our progress of acquiring knowledge, we have worked to overcome some of the forgoing examples.

As we give the government more and more power over the education of our children, we are in danger of having them indoctrinated in ways that make them easier to control for the benefit of the government, rather than for growth in their own lives. When I graduated from high school in Gowanda in 1945, there was no such thing as a Secretary of Education in the federal government. In educational authority each state was on their own. President Carter named Shirley Hufstedler the first Secretary of Education in 1979. I believe the rationale used by the feds was that some states were not as effective in their education as others. This was probably true, but the feds didn’t make it better. What really happened was they reduced the best, closer to the level of the least. An important fact of life is, that inevitably, a strong centralized government has always served those in control of government, more than the people. There is no constitutional right for the feds to supervise or dictate the education of our children.

We now see a lot of shouting down, rioting in the street, and name calling. These are the weapons of those without intelligent arguments. If they had intelligent arguments, they would use them. They have only the tactics of mayhem and discord, not of the people, for the people, and by the people, unless the people are ignorant.

Our federal government has been slowly deteriorating into more control by it, and less control by the people. The biggest cause of many politicians, is just to get reelected. Their main cause is their seemingly honorable life in congress. This being more important than helping America to grow. Passing a law without even reading it is an abomination of party loyalty, but an easy way to get party support in the next election. Party loyalty is what brought Hitler’s Germany down. Ignorance does not attract loyalty.

There is usually plenty of work to do, that you are being paid for. Whether you are picking grapes, sweeping the street, or passing laws in Congress, there are those who do no more than they must, and go along to get along, depending on others to do the work. This leads to a loss of effectiveness in any human undertaking. It also results in giving people a sense of uselessness, which is often due to their own negligence.

America carries not the promise of success, but of opportunity for it, which is its trump card, an opportunity for positive growth. Those who twist it around to be simply an opportunity for a ride on the trolley on easy street, do themselves and others a great disservice. Ignorance is one thing that inevitably fails. An ignorant populace is the only kind that needs help. Good schools are our saviors. May God bless America, and its promise.

Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Comments may be sent to editorial@observertoday.com

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