The Virtue of Guarded Ignorance

On this cold, rainy, February night I sit alone reading the wonderful works of Bertrand Russell. I ingest the words: “The kind of virtue that can be produced by guarded ignorance is frail and fails at the first touch of reality”. What is the nature of today’s political landscape if it is not one littered with the trappings of guarded ignorance? A diaspora of corporatists thundering out empty words from the comfort their mahogany lecterns, a collection of “enlightened men” aggravating the restlessness of the masses and ignoring deprivations the poor.

But this discontent is not some attempt at cheap populism, not a rehash of the conventional anti-political gibberish that makes the bulk of our citizens turn toward the private tyrannies of the corporate world. This is not an acquiescent bow to the false magnanimity of the free market. This is a principled critique of the increasingly oligarchic nature of our political system, a system which was allegedly formulated with the intention to grant the “common man” (whatever that is) an opportunity to ascend the social ladder. Yet the current state of affairs would have one to suspect that upward mobility is a convenient illusion of America’s past perpetually eluding the average citizen’s grasp.

What are we to think when the media reports that corporations can spend an unlimited amount of money in elections to get candidates into office? Ferguson’s investment theory of politics has for some time stood by the thesis that elections are no more than a collection of investors formulating ways to carve out the country in the interest of capital gain but these recent developments should provoke many to question whether the aim of the current system of power is to consecrate what we know as democracy or cast this nation into the dark channels of plutocracy. These are the questions that burden the mind of the citizen today. And the media greets these cries of unrest with deafening silence! How long must the people endure the farce that is the “American Dream”? How long must they endure the poverty that undermines what democracy means?

These are queries which deserve the utmost attention if we are serious about maximizing the potential of social democratic initiatives in America. Partisanship aside, the people of this country must unite under one umbrella and speak out against the injustice that is foisted upon them with such indifference and malevolence. They must overcome the alienating effects of the modern technocratic enterprise. As the late Dr. King said so eloquently in his speech to the people of Canada in 1967 “Alienation is a form of living death”. Indeed, we must not submit to the siren-song of defeat. Rather we must march beneath bright banners in the streets, beneath the cracking cries of the least, beneath the hardened clubs of the police, beneath the words our teachers speak. We must march beneath the sounds of the mass of rumbling feet. 


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