The Dumbing of America

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    Jul 22, 2011 11:48 PM GMT
    So much for the "change" election--it just exacerbated the anti-rational tendencies.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/15/AR2008021502901.htmlThat leads us to the third and final factor behind the new American dumbness: not lack of knowledge per se but arrogance about that lack of knowledge. The problem is not just the things we do not know (consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth); it's the alarming number of Americans who have smugly concluded that they do not need to know such things in the first place. Call this anti-rationalism -- a syndrome that is particularly dangerous to our public institutions and discourse. Not knowing a foreign language or the location of an important country is a manifestation of ignorance; denying that such knowledge matters is pure anti-rationalism. The toxic brew of anti-rationalism and ignorance hurts discussions of U.S. public policy on topics from health care to taxation.

    There is no quick cure for this epidemic of arrogant anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism; rote efforts to raise standardized test scores by stuffing students with specific answers to specific questions on specific tests will not do the job. Moreover, the people who exemplify the problem are usually oblivious to it. ("Hardly anyone believes himself to be against thought and culture," Hofstadter noted.) It is past time for a serious national discussion about whether, as a nation, we truly value intellect and rationality. If this indeed turns out to be a "change election," the low level of discourse in a country with a mind taught to aim at low objects ought to be the first item on the change agenda.
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    Jul 22, 2011 11:52 PM GMT
    There are examples of both dumbness and sometimes flashes of logical thought. The most obvious example of dumbness was the election of a junior, partial-term Senator with no experience, and policies consisting of fluff words and grandiose thoughts without substance.
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    Jul 22, 2011 11:55 PM GMT
    That leads us to the third and final factor behind the new American dumbness: not lack of knowledge per se but arrogance about that lack of knowledge. The problem is not just the things we do not know (consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth); it's the alarming number of Americans who have smugly concluded that they do not need to know such things in the first place.

    God, is that the truth

    I've always said ignorance seems invariably coupled with arrogance

    This, to me, is the real problem
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2605

    Jul 23, 2011 12:00 AM GMT
    I`m always struck at how easily so many Americans laugh off this combination of ignorance and arrogance.It`s quite frightening,given the US`s power/influence in the world.
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    Jul 23, 2011 12:11 AM GMT
    LittleDudeWithMuscles said
    I've always said ignorance seems invariably coupled with arrogance


    It's much better to be ignorant but be cognizant of the fact about your ignorance (and then to do some research to be less ignorant), than to be arrogant about one's ignorance.

    Or you can be Doctor Manhattan and be arrogant and all-knowing. icon_lol.gif

    It's never good to be arrogant anyway. But it's the US of A, what can you do about it?icon_sad.gif

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    Jul 23, 2011 12:46 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    q1w2e3 saidSo much for the "change" election--it just exacerbated the anti-rational tendencies.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/15/AR2008021502901.html The toxic brew of anti-rationalism and ignorance hurts discussions of U.S. public policy on topics from health care to taxation.



    True, as illustrated by this recent comment by an RJ liberal on the debt ceiling negotiations:

    Christian73 said

    southbeach1500 saidObama offered $1 trillion in cuts. The flip side of that is an additional $15 trillion added to the national debt.

    Not acceptable.



    Fuck off. You helped to elect these lunatics. Luckily the public understands this and will rout the Republicans (again) next November.


    Again, not a liberal and entirely rational when I tell you again to "fuck off."
  • wild_sky360

    Posts: 1492

    Jul 23, 2011 6:24 AM GMT
    socalfitness saidThere are examples of both dumbness and sometimes flashes of logical thought. The most obvious example of dumbness was the election of a junior, partial-term Senator with no experience, and policies consisting of fluff words and grandiose thoughts without substance.


    But he was perfect for the role, just like his predecessor.
    The pendulum swings