Daily Archives: April 5, 2017

The Misunderstanding of the Present and the Ignorance of the Past

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Since things are going to be busy I am going to post this short little article. I am amazed at the intellectual laziness of President Trump and much of his administration. As I have noted before I have never seen an administration more ignorant of history than this one. That stems from the top. Our President is not an intellectual by any means, but this could be excused if he was not intellectually lazy and apparently not interested in learning anything new that does not already fit into his rather limited world view. It is obvious based on his Twitter feed that he spends hours a day watching Fox News rather than consulting with key advisers, studying policy, and attempting to understand foreign affairs, or anything else related to the being the President. His quip during the run up to the healthcare debacle “Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated,” sums up the man.

Besides his deep unrelenting narcissism, his paranoid and conspiracy filled worldview, his propensity to be untruthful even in small things, his lack of intellectual curiosity, his lack of interest in day to day policy, and his unwillingness to learn either from his mistakes or the mistakes of others is dangerous and unforgivable. As Benjamin Franklin said: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” Sadly our President has not shown a wiliness to learn.

French historian Marc Bloch, who died fighting for the resistance in Nazi occupied France noted that: “Misunderstanding of the present is the inevitable consequence of ignorance of the past…

This is nothing new, Isaac Asimov noted that “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Despite the high bar set by our Founders, who were men of the Enlightenment who believed in reason and seeking truth for truth’s sake, we have a terrible record in our practice, and we are observing the dreadful results every day.

The understanding of the past and the ability to relate it to the present, or have advisors who can, is sine qua non, or an indispensable and essential part of being the President. History does not suffer fools gladly, and for nations, the price of willful ignorance by their leaders is always high, and often fatal.

With that I wish you a good day,


Padre Steve+

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