Ron Smith 1, Senior Content Director

March 28, 2014

3 Min Read

Ignorance, I think is merely a lack of knowledge. I have to admit to a certain amount of ignorance about some things—quantum physics, for instance. And I have no idea what calculus is except maybe algebra on steroids.

I could read up on calculus, probably, and maybe tune into a program on the National Geographic Channel to learn more about quantum physics. I don’t think I will ever master either subject, but maybe I could understand a little more about what they are.

Ignorance, therefore, is curable.

And then you have stupidity. Stupidity, I think, is ignorance on steroids. Stupidity denotes a lack of knowledge but also another element—a refusal to admit that lack of knowledge and bewilderment that anyone could suggest that what you assume is true could be wrong.

You can’t cure stupid. Stupid wants no facts to muddle its opinion, ill-formed though it may be.

Stupid pretty much defines the comment I received earlier this week following the blog on farmers as the backbone of America. I’ll disguise the crudeness out of respect. Here it is:


Seriously? Ag and Ag related industries are responsible for more cancer, more cancer deaths, the entire gender-bending of the last 3 generations and the toxic pollution of 100% of all navigable waterways in the USA... and you think them the backbone of the USA? More the @#$%&* (anatomical description of a body part below the waist and above the knees) of the USA.


Where to begin? Let’s just take it as a whole. Nothing about that bears any resemblance to truth. One wonders where the writer—anonymous, naturally—gets his information. Gender-bending?  What is that, anyway? Pollution of 100 percent of the navigable waterways? Please! Cancer deaths from agriculture? Proof unavailable.

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Refuting with evidence any of his assertions would be an exercise in futility because he has no desire to consider anything other than his own uninformed opinion. Where does he get his information? Not from reputable science.  Maybe the internet: If it’s on the internet it has to be true, right?

The comment, sadly, is indicative of what agriculture faces in an era in which information, opinion and outright falsehoods, are distributed with no regard for authenticity, no editor to fact check, no credible filter to separate the wheat from the chaff. And too much chaff makes it into the flour.

I suppose this commenter buys all his food at the supermarket and needs no assistance from agriculture. As long as he has clothing stores why should he be concerned about cotton or wool for his clothing or leather for his shoes?

Or maybe he would prefer to import all his food and fiber from China—no pollution there and food safety is never an issue.

Since the writer has enough energy to type a note, one must assume that he is eating regularly, so he owes more to America’s farmers than he’s willing to admit. And because of those farmers he has the time and technology to send me stupid comments.

Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of the nation


Also of interest:

It’s back to school for farmers and ranchers

Texas A&M pays homage to Dr. Norman E. Borlaug on 100th birthday

Ag law tabbed “Almost a Miracle,” by Chairman Lucas

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith 1

Senior Content Director, Farm Press/Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 40 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. More recently, he was awarded the Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Plant Protection Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Johnson City, Tenn. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and three grandsons, Aaron, Hunter and Walker.

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