a term used in law to describe a situation in which an individual seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts which would render him liableSo let's look at how the urban dictionary defines the term:
Knowingly ignoring something for no good reasonWell, that's not how I think of the term. I like this definition from rational Wiki.
Wilful ignorance is the state and practice of ignoring any evidence that appears to contradict one's preconceived notions
Some examples: President Obama is a muslim or President Obama is not a citizen or climate change theory is a big conspiracy or evolution is only a theory.
People holding these views are wilfully ignorant in my opinion. There is a nice opinion commentary on this phenomenon in todays NYT called "Building a Nation of Know-Nothings" by Timothy Egan. One paragraph that deserves some thought:
The Democrats may deserve to lose in November. They have been terrible at trying to explain who they stand for and the larger goal of their governance. But if they lose, it should be because their policies are unpopular or ill-conceived — not because millions of people believe a lie.
It does appear that the TEA Party is especially adept at choosing know-nothing candidates. Sharon Angle, Rand Paul, Joe Miller, and our own local TEA partier Doug Hoffman. At least in the case of the first three individuals, it seems to say alot about the people who support these candidates.