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Democracy is certainly not ideal, but until someone comes up a something better, it is, I suppose, the best available option.In answer to your question 'Can we know only what we are prepared to know?' there are many who chose to blank out that which they do not wish to know. This is evident in just about every walk of life. The attitude appears to be 'if it does benefit me or is contrary to my wealth or in my opinion is a waste of my time, then I don't want to know'. This can be very selfish, but I fear it is in our nature. It is very fortunate that some have the ability to control this trait.
If we blank out what we do not wish to know that must mean that we are capable of comprehending that matter.
metaphor ‘know is see’.