RSS

The American Stupidity CultThe largest danger to America is not terrorism, it is anti-intellectualism

06 Mar

:

:
dumb

Since 9/11 Americans have become a country of Chicken Littles. Instead of viewing the tragedy as what it was, the misguided and heinous actions of religious zealots Americans chose to miss the lesson entirely. Instead they became paranoid about nebulous forces beyond our comprehension bent on destroying us. Why, people asked, mainly white people, because people of color and other minorities are used to being hated for their individual characteristics, do they hate us when they don’t know us and we have done nothing to them? Because it was inconceivable to many of them that people can hate you for no reason, never having experienced it before and having denied it exists except in very isolated cases for so long they could not understand the very real issues that contributed to the event. So, in typical American style they made things up and bought into any explanation that allowed them to hold onto their own world views, including the fact that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with it. According to a Psychology Today article about a third of the American people still believe that Hussein was involved even though it has been proven he was not. They want , perhaps need, to believe it so they do. And that combined with a long standing anti-intellectual movement in America is the crux of our problem.

Partially because of the advent of the internet and social media we now have platforms were people dumber than Belem;’s donkey can spout ignorance and if it is congruent with what people want to believe is true they will swallow it whole and thank the moron for giving them misinformation to comfort them. When corporations took over media truth and reason lost out to entertainment and succor for those who hold outlandish, false and fiction based belief systems. This desire to have belief trump fact is, actually, older than the internet. In his 1964 book Anti-intellectualism in America , Richard Hofstader, a Pulitzer Prize winner describes how anti-reason and anti-science have been infused into the political and social systems of America. The internet and social media and the corruption of the media by corporate greed has only exacerbated what he described.

This is especially true in politics. A prominent Republican governor himself has dubbed his party the party of stupid people. All Republicans are not stupid and certainly there are Democrats who are not in danger of being recruited by MENSA, but the Republican Party in my view cultivates ignorance. According to statistics the more educated you are the more likely you are to vote Democrat. If statistics do not impress you look at the allegiance of many Republicans to Fox News, an entity that no one rational believes is “fair and balanced” or particularly interested in telling the truth. One of their mainstays, Bill O’Reilly just recently was exposed as an habitual liar. Will that lessen his popularity with his base? I do doubt it. If the right wing of the Republican Party had a slogan it would surely be “ We don’t need no stinkin’ facts!”

But the erosion of reason in America is not confined to politics or politicians, they are just the beneficiaries. According to a Gallup poll 18% of Americans believe that the sun revolves around the earth—sorry Copernicus your research and the grief you took for it does not matter to these folks, but then they probably never heard of you anyway so don’t feel bad. The Theory of Evolution, a basic tenet of western education has been called into question not because of new science or new discovery but because people do not want to believe it, just like some people did not want to believe it more than a hundred years ago There are people who believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and they have no interest in any fact that contradicts that. There is a museum about 60 miles from my house that shows dinosaurs and people interacting, in other words they believe The Flintstones was a documentary.

Part of the rapidity of the decline of reason in America is due to the decades old idea of balanced reporting. This made it incumbent upon news outlets to tell the other side, even if the other side was presented by a lunatic. As a result there was an erosion of belief in facts and science. You can always find a supposedly reputable scientists who is trying to make a name for him or herself by pushing forward some different interpretation of data. Lacking the skill to make real discoveries they, instead, try to pick apart the findings of other scientists. This is one reason we have people who do not understand evolution or that the sun does not revolve around the earth. If they understood the Theory of Relativity they would have that in their cross hairs as well, but as stupid as they are they pick their fights carefully. It is easier to convince the gullible that Pebbles rode a small dinosaur to kindergarten than it would be to explain Einstein’s work, it is import not to tax their little brains too much or they might mistake you for one of those evil thinner who are seeking truth and dashing dearly held myths in the process. And lord knows we don’t want anything to do with truth seekers, they are dangerous!

This anti-intellectualism means that our society is in a permanent state of uncertainty. No one is accepted as an expert anymore without having to pass litmus tests of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation , and other qualifiers. No matter what degrees are held ( actually holding a lot of degrees is cause for some people to distrust you automatically) or what research you have done if your person characteristics are not congruent with my beliefs then you are just not to be trusted or believed in.

The very people who scream about religious freedom are the same ones who believe if President Obama actually was a Muslim that would be cause to remove him from office. These same people want to put God back in schools as they so eloquently put it, although that image makes me think of a white haired deity sitting in a school desk, but are horrified and outraged if the same school adds Muslim or Jewish or any other holidays besides Christian to their school calendar. The same people who constantly cry about their freedoms being eroded and the government being too intrusive want to ban gay marriage and abortions. The same people who want to stop all social welfare programs are the ones who are living on food stamps and collecting the earned income credit.

Logic is not a flower that grows in most of their gardens needless to say.
We have to reclaim our intelligence in this country. Stop allowing people who are trying to provide erroneous facts or information a platform so that they can make money. If they have a valid discovery or invention or idea, let them publish it, that is easy now on the internet. No interviews with people who can “prove” that aliens built the pyramids or that the moon walk was filmed in Arizona. We have to go back to a time when reason, logic and facts dominate the discussions and intellectualism is not viewed as something to be feared.

If we do not turn this ship of fools around we will not have to worry about any terrorists, we will be destroyed from the inside out.
The American Stupidity Cult:The largest danger to America is not terrorism, it is anti0intellectualism

Since 9/11 Americans have become a country of Chicken Littles. Instead of viewing the tragedy as what it was, the misguided and heinous actions of religious zealots Americans chose to miss the lesson entirely. Instead they became paranoid about nebulous forces beyond our comprehension bent on destroying us. Why, people asked, mainly white people, because people of color and other minorities are used to being hated for their individual characteristics, do they hate us when they don’t know us and we have done nothing to them? Because it was inconceivable to many of them that people can hate you for no reason, never having experienced it before and having denied it exists except in very isolated cases for so long they could not understand the very real issues that contributed to the event. So, in typical American style they made things up and bought into any explanation that allowed them to hold onto their own world views, including the fact that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with it. According to a Psychology Today article about a third of the American people still believe that Hussein was involved even though it has been proven he was not. They want , perhaps need, to believe it so they do. And that combined with a long standing anti-intellectual movement in America is the crux of our problem.

Partially because of the advent of the internet and social media we now have platforms were people dumber than Belem;’s donkey can spout ignorance and if it is congruent with what people want to believe is true they will swallow it whole and thank the moron for giving them misinformation to comfort them. When corporations took over media truth and reason lost out to entertainment and succor for those who hold outlandish, false and fiction based belief systems. This desire to have belief trump fact is, actually, older than the internet. In his 1964 book Anti-intellectualism in America , Richard Hofstader, a Pulitzer Prize winner describes how anti-reason and anti-science have been infused into the political and social systems of America. The internet and social media and the corruption of the media by corporate greed has only exacerbated what he described.

This is especially true in politics. A prominent Republican governor himself has dubbed his party the party of stupid people. All Republicans are not stupid and certainly there are Democrats who are not in danger of being recruited by MENSA, but the Republican Party in my view cultivates ignorance. According to statistics the more educated you are the more likely you are to vote Democrat. If statistics do not impress you look at the allegiance of many Republicans to Fox News, an entity that no one rational believes is “fair and balanced” or particularly interested in telling the truth. One of their mainstays, Bill O’Reilly just recently was exposed as an habitual liar. Will that lessen his popularity with his base? I do doubt it. If the right wing of the Republican Party had a slogan it would surely be “ We don’t need no stinkin’ facts!”

But the erosion of reason in America is not confined to politics or politicians, they are just the beneficiaries. According to a Gallup poll 18% of Americans believe that the sun revolves around the earth—sorry Copernicus your research and the grief you took for it does not matter to these folks, but then they probably never heard of you anyway so don’t feel bad. The Theory of Evolution, a basic tenet of western education has been called into question not because of new science or new discovery but because people do not want to believe it, just like some people did not want to believe it more than a hundred years ago There are people who believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and they have no interest in any fact that contradicts that. There is a museum about 60 miles from my house that shows dinosaurs and people interacting, in other words they believe The Flintstones was a documentary.

Part of the rapidity of the decline of reason in America is due to the decades old idea of balanced reporting. This made it incumbent upon news outlets to tell the other side, even if the other side was presented by a lunatic. As a result there was an erosion of belief in facts and science. You can always find a supposedly reputable scientists who is trying to make a name for him or herself by pushing forward some different interpretation of data. Lacking the skill to make real discoveries they, instead, try to pick apart the findings of other scientists. This is one reason we have people who do not understand evolution or that the sun does not revolve around the earth. If they understood the Theory of Relativity they would have that in their cross hairs as well, but as stupid as they are they pick their fights carefully. It is easier to convince the gullible that Pebbles rode a small dinosaur to kindergarten than it would be to explain Einstein’s work, it is import not to tax their little brains too much or they might mistake you for one of those evil thinner who are seeking truth and dashing dearly held myths in the process. And lord knows we don’t want anything to do with truth seekers, they are dangerous!

This anti-intellectualism means that our society is in a permanent state of uncertainty. No one is accepted as an expert anymore without having to pass litmus tests of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation , and other qualifiers. No matter what degrees are held ( actually holding a lot of degrees is cause for some people to distrust you automatically) or what research you have done if your person characteristics are not congruent with my beliefs then you are just not to be trusted or believed in.

The very people who scream about religious freedom are the same ones who believe if President Obama actually was a Muslim that would be cause to remove him from office. These same people want to put God back in schools as they so eloquently put it, although that image makes me think of a white haired deity sitting in a school desk, but are horrified and outraged if the same school adds Muslim or Jewish or any other holidays besides Christian to their school calendar. The same people who constantly cry about their freedoms being eroded and the government being too intrusive want to ban gay marriage and abortions. The same people who want to stop all social welfare programs are the ones who are living on food stamps and collecting the earned income credit.

Logic is not a flower that grows in most of their gardens needless to say.

Let me make it clear that I am not writing this from the point of an academic snob. Intelligence and educational attainment often have very little to do with each other. I am simply tired of people who are stupid and proud of it. They do not let any facts, no mater how well documented interfere with their beliefs. That is simply unacceptable. The collection of information and facts accomplished by the works of generations of scholars, thinkers and just plain folks should not, must not, be discarded because it is not congruent with what you wish was true.
We have to reclaim our intelligence in this country. Stop allowing people who are trying to provide erroneous facts or information a platform so that they can make money. If they have a valid discovery or invention or idea, let them publish it, that is easy now on the internet. No interviews with people who can “prove” that aliens built the pyramids or that the moon walk was filmed in Arizona. We have to go back to a time when reason, logic and facts dominate the discussions and intellectualism is not viewed as something to be feared. Stop attacking colleges by trying to turn them into online ignorance mills churning out diplomas. Much of what you learn in college is from other people, not from books.  Stop trying to take down public school systems so  for profit schools can be established by the 1% to make more money.

If we do not turn this ship of fools around we will not have to worry about any terrorists, we will be destroyed from the inside out.

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

One response to “The American Stupidity CultThe largest danger to America is not terrorism, it is anti-intellectualism

  1. Jeff Nguyen

    March 7, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    “Logic is not a flower that grows in most of their gardens”…what a great line. Critical thinking and the need to actively, rather than passively, analyze every piece of information disseminated by the corporate media outlets is no longer a luxury but a life saving necessity. Great essay and insights here, Minerva5.

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: