Donald Trump, the all-knowing know-nothing

We're about to find out what it's like to have a president who thinks he knows everything, even as he declares war on knowledge itself

A president's war on knowledge.
(Image credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

As the noted philosopher Donald Rumsfeld said, there are known unknowns (the things you know you don't know) and unknown unknowns (the things you don't know you don't know). When the former secretary of defense issued those words of wisdom just before the Iraq War, the phrase was remarkable not just for its pithiness but because it seemed unusually thoughtful for an administration about to embark on the greatest catastrophe in American foreign policy history, largely because of what it thought it knew but actually didn't.

Today we stand on the verge of a new presidency, one that has a complex and, to be frank, rather appalling relationship to knowledge and certainty. The implications are deeply troubling.

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