Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Unknown, Unknowns

Donald Rumsfeld, in 2004 tried to provide a Copernican concept to the American people but found himself without a vehicle to deliver it. The MSM was unable to translate the ideological depth of Mr. Rumsfeld’s high-level explanation of the Americas’ war in Iraq at the time. What he said, I imagine, is virtually impossible to understand in a shallow sound bite therefore his detractors seized on his quote as an error in leadership. Not because it wasn’t genius, but because they were incapable of understanding him through MSM sound bites. Do an internet search on “unknown unknowns” and you’ll find the ignorant misrepresentations of the quote I’m referring to. This work is in retaliation to destructive malignment of genius like these.
The quote:

"As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."

Our Secretary of Defense, God bless him, gave the American people the ultimate “big picture” in all that the human mind has encountered and ever will ever encounter. The true genius, in my opinion is contained in the last part of his quote; “concepts” we don’t know we don’t know. The humility required to admit that not only does an authority figure not know something, but also admit that there exists uncharted “intellectual real estate” is nothing short of genius and a requirement for democratic leadership. Citizens and volunteer armies agree to be led through trust developed by integrity! We all know leaders cannot fully manifest the future they describe and we envision. Leaders should not be held responsible for taking actions that lead to a future that is not identical to our best wishes. A leader is accountable only to his or her word and vision!

Pragmatically, posting this quote has taken it back [in terms of cyber space] from the ignorant detractors who used it against Rumsfeld. This FR page will likely show up in similar searches for key words as the ones I used to find the alignment of genius referenced above. But more importantly, we should take a step in an ideological direction for a moment. In our human experience, we come to know that we don’t know we don’t know concepts when we truly start to explore the world and societies around ourselves. Without exploration there can be no rationalization for that which we don’t know we don’t know. You know things that I don’t. You’ve experienced things that I haven’t. This exchange can introduce us both to concepts we don’t know we don’t know. In feeding you my experience I humbly hope to extend your scope of understanding and responsibility by revealing to you something you didn’t know you didn’t know. I’m sure you’ll return the favor in another post, at a later date. Thanks in advance...




  • Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Unknown, Unknowns

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