Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Willfully ignorant vs. aggressively skeptical

Posted by auroracitizen on August 15, 2009

The following post was reprinted from Seth Godin’s Blog.

Willfully ignorant vs. aggressively skeptical

Challenging the status quo is what I do for a living. Either that or encourage other people to do it.

But there are two ways to do it, and one of them is ineffective, short-sighted and threatens the fabric of the tribe. The other seems to work.

I heard someone screaming about death panels and how the government was not only going to kill his grandmother, but would take out Stephen Hawking himself if it had the chance.

The screaming is a key part, because screaming is often a tool used to balance out the lazy ignorance of someone parroting opposition to an idea that they don’t understand. (If you want to write to me about this post, please write to me about the screaming part, not about whether or not you agree with the facts or the science. That’s what the post is about, the screaming.)

If you want to challenge the conventional wisdom of health care reform, please do! It’ll make the final outcome better. But if you choose to do that, it’s essential that you know more about it than everyone else, not less. Certainly not zero. Be skeptical, but be informed (about everything important, not just this issue, of course). Screaming ignorance gets attention, but it distracts us from the work at hand.

It’s easy to fit in by yelling out, and far more difficult to actually read and consider the facts. Anytime you hear, “I don’t have the time to understand this issue, I’m too busy being upset,” you know that something is wrong.

Brands face this as much or more than politicians do. I witnessed a knock-down fight between two teenagers over which operating system was best. There are generations of arguments between Ford and Chevy owners. Motorcycle gangs are often parochial in their choice of bike. And in each case, the less people know, the more they yell.

If you want to change what your boss believes, or the strategy your company is following, the first step is to figure out how to be the best informed person in the room.

We think it applies. Facts are essential. Opinions drawn from facts are worth listening to. Opinions without facts to support them are just yelling. We love your informed opinions — thanks for joining the conversation.

Use the envelope and pencil icons immediately below to forward this post to friends or leave a comment.

31 Responses to “Willfully ignorant vs. aggressively skeptical”

  1. Council Cop said

    I've got an idea… why don't we get to the bottom of the issue regarding the allegedly cooked town council minutes !

    Let’s have a movie night at council and we can follow along with both sets of minutes that were apparently drafted and see if they jibe with the video of the meeting. That sounds like a simple solution to me.

    Of course we would have to send out invitations and block off a special place for the media in order to ensure we really do clear the air.

    We could even have guest speakers including the Mayor, Councilor MacEachern and Councilor Buck, and if we have time, we could maybe even include some former employees of the town just to stir things up a bit and make it fun. It could be a blast.

    All the proceeds from the pop corn could also go towards the town’s integrity commissioner and legal funds, which clearly both need to be bolstered.

    We can see once and for all where the truth lies and then we might just be able to get on with the addressing the next issue on council’s agenda.

  2. Anonymous said

    but if the books were cooked as you say,

    (considering everyone knows the mins don't match the video!!! But be carefull what you say you might get sued by MorMac)

    It would have been at phyllis's demand to do it…and there is the problem!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous said

    The first question for me: Did staff "cook" the minutes as Councilor Buck claims?

    Are there other citizens who feel staff are acting improperly? Any examples?

    The was a guy before council a few weeks ago whining about some bylaw and the deputy clerk. What was that all about? It did sound like he was there to give them his stamp of approval.

    If staff are "offside" then the Mayor (and coucnil) have a responsibility to bring them "onside" and the rest is a distraction.

  4. Anonymous said

    I (oops personal pronoun) think the poster meant
    it "was" Important (as opposed to your "is") because this blog ( and hence the post)" is" no longer of interest.

    Wonder what the teachy-preachy thingy was all about.

    Let the people say whatever, however. Room for all voices, styles.

    P.S. This blog is full of personal pronouns AND royal personal pronouns.

    What was it about the comment that brought out your pettiness is my question.

  5. Anonymous said

    August 19, 2009 9:24 AM / August 18, 2009 6:30 PM

    Your 6:30 post "was" important to you? Or it is important to you?

    You're not "ridiculous." You feel insecure about your writing style. You can work on that! Simple changes can add clarity to your writing. For example, instead of "I say I give up," write "I give up."

    I've read articulate posts on here that argue issues from all sides. This blog doesn't seem as one-sided as you suggest. Certainly the owner has bias (isn't some bias inherent in having an interest in the town's affairs?), but I don't see evidence that he censors or filters comments based on viewpoint.

    Learn from the articulate posters (whatever their position is!) And yes cut down on the personal pronouns, especially the royal ones (as you use elsewhere)!

  6. Heather said

    To the person who posted "My doctor told me my daughter gave me a good idea but I should stop being involved with this blog."

    (And to everyone else, pardon me for humouring the passive-aggressive),

    How can you even tell who's saying what about you, vs somebody else if nobody uses a nickname??

    I think you're worrying too much about what other people think. Have a great day, just the same!

  7. Anonymous said

    Anonymous August 18, 2009 6:30 PM
    Your posting was important to me.
    I checked in to this blog because my daughter told me it would help me connect to my community.
    When I wrote something I was slammed.
    Once someone said I was someone on council.

    I don't think this blog is good for me.

    I think it is for some people who want to be right by slamming down everyone else.
    Maybe someone who thinks about Aurora the way I do will make a blog I can feel comfortable with.

    My doctor told me my daughter gave me a good idea but I should stop being involved with this blog.

    I know someone will write some nasty thing that I use too many personal pronouns.

    I understand that some blogs are different.
    I'll keep with others but drop this one.
    Just thought it was important for me ( personal pronoun not withstanding) to document my experience.

    Some people on this blog seem to me to be very angry and don't really want to hear from someone who sees/feels/thinks in a different way.
    For me that is a serious problem and maybe they have too much influence in Aurora and are turning it into a town that really doesn't care about an Aurora citizen, like me (another personal pronoun).
    I'm not clear how anyone can write personal views without personal pronouns but I'm sure someone can tell me how ridiculous I am.

    Some people here are cruel to the very people who are kind to me.
    I don't know some of the council people but the ones who are kind to me are not popular on this blog.
    I guess people on this blog will call me uninformed, lacking facts and RMA.

    I say I give up on this blog. I think my decision will please a lot of people who post here.

  8. Anonymous said

    Heather said, "Maybe it's me, but how the hell do you keep track of who's winning??"

    Really does sum up this blog, and why it seemingly spins in one direction, then another.
    Round and round and round over the same ground. Yawn.

  9. Tim the Enchanter said

    Right on Heather!
    I know you've only mentioned it about six times but the concept of a user name seems lost on these folks.
    C'mon guys!
    You can demonstrate a little imagination and make it easier to exchange shots/ideas – whatever.
    And while we're at it, why don't we drop the "Your Mother Wears Army Boots" crap.
    If people actually care about how this village is run why don't we hear any ideas about how to prevent a repeat of this sort of silliness?
    This council simply has too much leeway to pursue its own agenda.
    For example. Has council completed any town business since this whole IC/lawsuit/code of ethics cluster f**k blew up in its face?
    Comments anyone?

  10. Anonymous said

    Anonymous, August 18, 2009 8:39 AM,

    It's strange that you don't know me, don't know my views on the by-election that wasn't, but manage to evaluate and dismiss me.

    Bit of a problem with real life?
    Not a question you'd ask.
    A head shaker.

  11. Heather said

    I can understand that lots of us are close to these issues…but when Anonymous argues with Anonymous, and makes pokes and jabs…

    Maybe it's me, but how the hell do you keep track of who's winning?? At least if Elizabeth, Robert the Bruce, Hoist on your Own Petard, White Knight, etc, and I want to point fingers at each other, or corroberate something, we know who we're talking to.

  12. Hoist On Your Own Petard said

    "Freedom of speech as long as you say what I want, written to my taste?"

    That pretty well sums up the mayor's attitude, doesn't it?

  13. White Knight said

    First of all, with respect to the original post, I don't think in general people are interested in facts today. They get off on spin, suspicions, inuendo and gossip. However, Aurora is different. Council, and by that I mean the majority of six, spends taxpayers' hard-earned money on bogus quests for "the facts" in an attempt to achieve their personal vendettas and rout out those who don't conform. All this is done under the guise of a code of conduct and a search for integrity. They wouldn't know integrity if they fell over it.
    There is a huge parallel here with the Salem witch hunt and I think Aurora should apply to be twinned with Salem, MA instead of Leksand, Sweden…. although, who knows, perhaps they too have witch hunts in their history too?

  14. Anonymous said

    August 17, 2009 6:24 PM:

    You had the same attitude about my request for a by-election.

    You can go away now.

  15. Anonymous said

    Anonymous August 17, 2009 11:31 PM
    All's got a view.
    Some like the view, some not so much.

    Who knows who writes, one, many, who cares.
    Anonymous is well, anonymous.
    What's the point of holier-than-thou pontifications?

    Let them rip on a blog that loves freedom of speech… oh but not for all, for certain views, certain people…

    And what's that about?
    Freedom of speech as long as you say what I want, written to my taste?

  16. Anonymous said

    Yes, falling back on old habits. We had a spate of these posts months ago. Talk of "us" and "we" and "many", and what entertainment value there was in the expressions of outrage and dismay over the mayor and her cohorts.

    How these multitudes were so amused and enjoying gales of laughter from the pained postings of their fellow residents. But these amused accounts were all from the same, single, solitary author.

    Are the shameful shenanigans at the Town Hall analogous to the Salem Witch Trials? No, of course not. But if someone is trying to articulate the depth of their anger over this stain on our town's reputation, they might be prone to hyperbole and exaggeration.

    Feelings run deep. They shouldn't be diminished and derided with a rehashed, insult-to-the-intelligence, "oh, wot a jolly jape", kind of comments campaign. More spin and misdirection.

    Yes, "we was punked" – back in November, 2006.

  17. Anonymous said

    To Mr. or Mrs. "We was Punked":

    You somehow forgot to mention the biggest joke of all… our Mayor and Council and the entire charade they have submitted our town to. Don't overlook the witch hunt they have been busy at on our dime but it's only funny to a point.

    The good news for the Mayor is that the guy that was apparently most culpable for the Salem Witch Trails denied all wrong doing and was actually upset that he couldn't clear the community of all its witches (as one would be), but he did go on to become governor, so if history repeats itself once again then our infamous Mayor is headed for the big time in Provincial politics, while leaving nothing but carnage behind her.

    "No need for an artificial laugh track" indeed.

  18. Anonymous said

    I'm an Auroran, and she ain't my sister?
    North Korea?
    Salem Witch Trials?

    You people crack me up.
    And here for a while you guys had me me believing you were serious and had a point.

    Joke was on me But that was then and this is now.

    We was punked.

    We get it now and all of us are rolling on the floor, laughing.

    Good stuff here!

    I see it all now: Councillor Buck is like our own Aurora Dame Edna.


    No need for an artificial laugh track.

    I'm healing already.
    Laughter is the best medicine I hear told.

  19. Anonymous said

    Here is the last amazing parallel between Aurora Council's current witch hunt and the Salem Witch Trials…

    “A period of atonement began in the colony following the release of the surviving accused witches. Samuel Sewall, one of the judges, issued a public confession of guilt and an apology. Several jurors came forward to say that they were "sadly deluded and mistaken" in their judgments. Reverend Samuel Parris conceded errors of judgment, but mostly shifted blame to others. Parris was replaced as minister of Salem village by Thomas Green, who devoted his career to putting his torn congregation back together. Governor Phips blamed the entire affair on William Stoughton. Stoughton, clearly more to blame than anyone for the tragic episode, refused to apologize or explain himself. He criticized Phips for interfering just when he was about to "clear the land" of witches. Stoughton became the next governor of Massachusetts.”

    We can only hope that Aurora starts to heal after the next election in 2010.

  20. Anonymous said

    Could history in fact be repeating itself here in Aurora ? Here is yet another ominous quote from the Salem Witch Trial website… (it makes you think, eh ?)

    " Scholars have noted potentially telling differences between the accused and the accusers in Salem. Most of the accused lived to the south of, and were generally better off financially, than most of the accusers. In a number of cases, accusing families stood to gain property from the convictions of accused witches. Also, the accused and the accusers generally took opposite sides in a congregational schism that had split the Salem community before the outbreak of hysteria. While many of the accused witches supported former minister George Burroughs, the families that included the accusers had–for the most part–played leading roles in forcing Burroughs to leave Salem. The conclusion that many scholars draw from these patterns is that property disputes and congregational feuds played a major role in determining who lived, and who died, in 1692."

    It’s too bad that Salem did not have a code of ethics, or maybe they did before the Commissioner was burned at the stake !

  21. Anonymous said

    The Town’s Code of Conduct webpage obviously needs to be revised, especially as it relates to Section 4, “Refusal to Conduct Inquiry”, which states the following:

    “If the Integrity Commissioner is of the opinion that the referral of a matter to him or her is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith, or that there are no grounds or insufficient grounds for an inquiry, the Integrity Commissioner shall not conduct an inquiry and shall state the reasons for not doing so in the report.”

    Nowhere does it state that if the council does not agree with the findings or recommendations made by the Integrity Commissioner that the Commissioner can then be immediately dismissed, along with his or her findings and that all possible efforts can then be taken to once again reinitiate the complaint process until the desired outcome has been achieved by the Mayor.

  22. Anonymous said

    I find it more than a bit ironic that the code also states that “if applicable, confirm to the Member of Council your satisfaction with the response of the Member of Council or, if applicable, advise the Member of Council of your dissatisfaction with the response:”

    This statement seems to be rather moot given that Council itself appears not to care what anyone else has to say, including the integrity commissioner, if the expressed concerns do not fit with their predetermined agenda.

  23. Anonymous said

    Given the overwhelming feeling that we may be embarked on a great number witch hunts in Aurora I’m wondering if we should change our twin town to Salem ?

    Check out the following quote from a website concerning the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. It all sounds kind of hauntingly familiar if you ask me:

    “From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges.

    Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft; dozens languished in jail for months without trials until the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts subsided”

  24. Anonymous said

    "She ain’t a “sister”."

    And you ain't an Auroran.

  25. Anonymous said

    August 12th, 2009


    For one thing, I, The Mississauga Muse based my opinions of Councillor Buck and Aurora Council exclusively on newspaper articles as well as the contents of Councillor Evelyn Buck’s Blog.


    All I really needed to know about Councillor Buck and Aurora Council can be found in just one document “COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES NO. 07-32 Council Chambers Aurora Town Hall Tuesday, December 11, 2007″ showing Councillor Evelyn Buck in attendance.

    So, I’d sure love to take back.


    She ain’t a “sister”.

  26. Anonymous said

    Hi there. First I want to thank whoever shared the link .

    Next, I want to thank the Aurora citizen for setting the tone for the comments here with "Willfully ignorant vs. aggressively skeptical"

    Especially the part, "If you want to change what your boss believes, or the strategy your company is following, the first step is to figure out how to be the best informed person in the room"

    This is also true when you want to stand up to your evil empire municipal government (aka Fight City Hall)

    I have been researching the City of Mississauga through Freedom of Information (FOI) since Jan 2007 as well as filing FOI's on Brampton, Kingston, Toronto Ajax etc.

    I've spent well over $3,000 in my attempt to be "the best informed person in the room" regarding on how municipalities have managed to dupe me for three decades.

    Now I admit to just surfing the Town of Aurora website briefly but it looks like they have a complaints system against Council and Committees but not even a word search could locate one for filing AGAINST STAFF.

    I mean a formal complaint procedure for the public against Aurora Staff. Form to fill in etc.

    Anyone know if there is a formal public complaints process and I've just missed it with a quick surf and search?

    Reason for asking? If there isn't it leaves zero doubt what Aurora Council's "priorities" are. Meaning the same as Mississauga's…

    The Mississauga Muse

  27. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    I am deeply disturbed to hear of the apparent trend of bullying coming from councilor Granger.

    Yelling at a child is completely unacceptable.
    I believe we need to hear more about this incident and from both sides.

    Apparently this same councilor has been bullying a vendor at the farmers market informing them that they are not "allowed" to use volunteers from the NetworkNeighbourhood organization.
    Regardless of the fact that he does not hold any authority to enforce such a thing, what an evil spirited way of beating down on community spirit, restricting volunteerism and threatening citizens.

    These are serious allegations and need to be brought before the next integrity commissioner.

    I'm not sure I fully understand what happened in respect to the incident at Canadian Tire, only can assume it was negative and now can only wonder if there are any more incidents that haven't been brought to light.

    This councilor has lost a significant amount of credibility in my eyes and I don't want him associating in any way with the Farmers market if this is what he believes to be acceptable behavior.

  28. Anonymous said

    It I thought about destructive yelling in Aurora, I'd come up with Ev Buck.

  29. Anonymous said

    Anyone out there read Evelyn's blog Grist for the Mill? This Aurora Citizen blog "Willfully ignorant vs. aggressively skeptical" explains Granger to a tee. What a buffoon! I wonder if the girl was so traumatized by Granger if she is still selling ice cream? Imagine yelling at a young person in front of the whole farmers market. This is who Aurora wants representing us at the Market? And Granger couldn't stand it when a citizen approached him in Canadian Tire, but he can yell at a young girl. What a jerk!

  30. Anonymous said

    What a great piece. It does explain the obvious in Aurora.

  31. Anonymous said

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