(My Clovis News Journal column for January 22, 2016)
“I don’t know” can be one of the smartest things you ever say. At least, when you honestly don’t know.
Whenever possible, it should be followed up with finding out what it was you didn’t know. Once you discover a gap in your knowledge, how can you be content to leave it unfilled?
"I don't know" can also be one of the dumbest things you say when you say it because you don't want to know, or don't want to speak the truth.
You can claim you don't know who would be the best president, what government should do, or which laws should be enacted, but you could know. Easily. You don't even need to find out anything new. The answers are inside you. You've known since you were five years old, or younger, that it's not OK to start a fight or take what doesn't belong to you. It takes years of schooling to trick people into believing exceptions exist.
Once you remember what you've known you can see no one is suited to preside over any other person who didn't specifically sign an agreement to be represented by that person. Voting for them isn't enough. Even in the event of a landslide only a small minority of the population voted for the declared winner.
The question of what government should do about anything must be answered with "Nothing. Get out of the way. Stop." Unless everyone lies to children about starting fights and stealing being wrong.
In the same way, if a law violates anyone's liberty it shouldn't be passed or enforced. Not ever.
"I don't know" only works in these instances until you think. You just lost your excuse.
Maybe you wish to avoid the truth by saying you don't know when actually you'd simply rather not face what it is you are supporting.
People seem to believe they look enlightened by not condemning acts which violate person or property, and those who habitually commit those acts. They pretend they are keeping an open mind. They are mistaken.
You don't need to be a victim of murder to come out against murder. Not only murder- the ultimate violation of person- but lesser violations as well. Those who insist you can't understand the complexities involved until you have been on both sides are lying.
So admit you don't know when you honestly don't know. But don't hide behind "I don't know" when facing the truth would make you uncomfortable.
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