Ignorance does not equal bliss

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By Ben Carlson

There is an old adage that says those who don’t bother to vote shouldn’t complain when politicians make decisions they don’t like.
The same goes for those who refuse or don’t bother to read their local newspaper.
Twice during the past two weeks some who live on Harry Wise Road have said during fiscal court meetings that they weren’t fully aware of circumstances surrounding a developer’s desire to build a subdivision there because “not all of us take The Anderson News.”
That certainly is their choice, but like choosing not to vote, it is one that comes with inherent consequences.
Included in those consequences is not being aware of significant changes to their community. Nearly every week this newspaper and thousands like it print legal notices for local government bodies which outline their plans to alter or adopt laws, spend money or weigh issues such as zoning changes.
News articles oftentimes accompany those legal notices, giving readers additional insight to the issues.
Additionally, those who do read newspapers — and that’s a vast majority — understand that they are the most trusted source of news in America, according to research conducted by Scarborough USA.
What’s more, the research shows that 70 percent of Americans read either a printed newspaper or its online component each week.
Here at home we exceed that figure in Anderson County, and are proud to bring you actual verified facts that can’t be found on someone’s Facebook page, blog or, in the case of the Harry Wise Road community, a scathing handout circulated among residents that was woefully short on facts and long on unsubstantiated innuendo.
We understand that not everyone is particularly engaged nor are they overly interested in what is going on where they live. Many work elsewhere and are content to commute home from their jobs and close their front doors to the world.
When it comes to information about taxes and spending, they prefer to hear the talking heads on Fox or MSNBC lambaste the left or right and quietly fume behind those closed doors.
Meanwhile, they are missing information about taxing and spending right where they live — along with a chance to have an actual impact on those decisions.
No, articles and legal notices about tax rates, budgets and zoning changes aren’t particularly exciting, and often require one to use his or her own power of discernment to decide if what is being proposed is good or bad.
We get that, but those articles and notices are also vital information that, if ignored, can hit you squarely in the wallet.
There’s another old adage that says forewarned is forearmed, and yet another that says ignorance is bliss.
The first is easily obtained by subscribing to your local newspaper for a year, which in our case costs less than half of the average monthly cell phone bill.
The second is just as easily obtained by not subscribing, but comes at a much higher price: allowing others to make decisions on your behalf without any input from you — including building a subdivision in your own back yard.