1. It changes opinions
The whole point on ignorant people is that they don’t know they are ignorant. To the person writing an ignorant article, they are just expressing their opinion.
Of course, it’s not the job of each person to patiently hand hold each person’s hand through their Platonic cave, but if you care about changing opinions, that happens to be the most effective way to proceed. Weigh what is most important to you. There are three options:
- Ignore the writer because you have more important things to do
- Point out flaws in the writer’s argument or counterpoints for them to consider
- Make fun of them, because you value feeling good about yourself more than either helping people (remember there are people reading your comments that are in the same boat as the author) think and change or encouraging any sort of dialogue that isn’t self-congratulatory
2. It can strengthen your own views
If you simply read books and articles that support what you already think, and associate and converse with people who think the same way you do you brain is going to atrophy.
You will forget why you arrived at your own view, how to talk about it with a diverse audience and where the strong and weak points even are.
I consider viewpoints to be parallel to religious beliefs. If you were born a Christian and never converse or involve yourself in non-christian culture, there’s no congratulations to be had in having what you consider the “right” belief. All you’ve done is managed to hold on to what was given to you without ever knowing why.
Nietzsche says “Truth is not something one person might possess and another not possess.” I think ignorant people are expressing a kind of truth in their own experience that we can use to inform how we think about the issue on a meta level.
Another example: John Hick’s metaphor for pluralism is the three blind men touching an elephant. Perhaps the bro touching the gnarly tail has no idea that the whole thing is an elephant and he’s entirely wrong about the big picture of what he’s getting at. But he isn’t wrong about his experience, and that there is room for that as a part of the whole.
3. Not reading ignorant articles won’t make people stop being ignorant
It will just make it so that you don’t interact with them. And vice versa. Impasse.
4. Because you don’t want to be ‘that guy’
We make fun of archaic conservative dinosaurs that want to ban books or censor all the things that make them clutch their pearls. Don’t become one.
The internet is a form of capitalism. Articles circle around the net for a reason, either it is a thing people really think (in which case, see above) or it’s entertaining–in which case, the mission has been accomplished.
Producer’s note: for more Thought Catalog articles on this topic I recommend, Just Because You Think An Idea Is Ignorant Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Worth Sharing and I Could Write On The Same Site As Adolf Hitler.