This is from Stanley Cohen's States of Denial (Polity Press, 2005 , p146), who is quoting Norman Geras' (yes, that old Norm) The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust (Verso, 1998, p96), on what could be called "purposeful ignorance" (or minimisation for that matter) about on-going genocide, mass murder, and ethnic cleansing, and its perverse relief effects:
Literal denial to your fellow citizens--who know that you know--requires further tactical collusion. You have moved from sight to insight, but your meta-insight tells you that it would be wise (for the time being, until things change, until the public wakes up, until things blow over) to play a little dumb in public. Geras nicely captures the nuances of not-knowing, even about mass murder: 'There are the people who affect not to know, or who do not care to know and so do not find out; or who do know or do not care anyway, who are indifferent; or who were afraid for themselves or for others, or who feel powerless; or who are weighed down, distracted or just occupied (as most of us) in pursuing the aims of our own lives.'I would recommend the book as a whole, but does this passage remind you of anyone or any group of persons in particular?