Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's Not Ignorance, It's Hubris

Another day, another guy gets arrested at the airport for trying to bring a gun.

Another day, another celebrity arrested for DUI.

Another day, another couple's prayers go unanswered because the stick turned blue and the condom package is still sealed.

I was listening to an NPR piece one day (I'd link it if I could remember which) where the reporter was discussing some kind of health issue, I think it was unwanted pregnancies and condom use (and the lack thereof). The reporter began by asserting that was an issue of the lack of education, and then followed it up interview clips with private people who all said "I know I was running a risk, but we had sex without a condom anyway."

Then it's not about education (and the lack thereof), is it?

This is one of those things where I want to throw a boot through the tv screen or toss a radio off a tall building. I'm sick of the "it's a lack of education" excuse. In children that's applicable; in adults it damn well isn't.

It's predicated on the idea that if you present the facts to a person, he (or she) will make a sound (usually obvious) decision. Is that the case? A hell of a lot of the time: no!

How many times do people get arrested for DUI? How many of them really had no idea that drinking might deteriorate their driving skills, and that if only they had known...? Only the Forrest Gumps of the world. Most of the DUIs are from people who honestly thought they weren't drunk and were fit to drive, or they just didn't care and decided to chance it anyway. Education and ignorance wasn't a factor.

Same thing with condom use. If you're an adult and you're capable of functioning on your own in modern society (you can hold a job, pay the bills, etc.), you know what condoms can and cannot do. If you decide to have sex and not use it, you know what the risks are. You've just chosen to accept them. Maybe you want to procreate. Or likely you just don't like them for any number of reasons. Still, it's not a "I had no idea!" situation.

There are plenty of things in the world that go poorly or unexplained: how the government truly works; which laws apply; how tax, spending and lending policies affect the economy both at a macro and a personal level; why the annual global temperature is supposed to be rising yet last winter was especially severe. Education is a valuable tool and it needs to be used. But it needs to be expunged as an excuse for human hubris and poor decision making.

Another day, someone takes the cigarette out of his mouth and blows a huge plume of smoke at the tv during an anti-smoking commercial.

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