Americans are stupid and what's more, they enjoy their stupid, so say some researchers:
And these people vote. With their emotions.
But now, Ms. Jacoby said, something different is happening: anti-intellectualism (the attitude that “too much learning can be a dangerous thing”) and anti-rationalism (“the idea that there is no such things as evidence or fact, just opinion”) have fused in a particularly insidious way.
Not only are citizens ignorant about essential scientific, civic and cultural knowledge, she said, but they also don’t think it matters.
She pointed to a 2006 National Geographic poll that found nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds don’t think it is necessary or important to know where countries in the news are located. So more than three years into the Iraq war, only 23 percent of those with some college could locate Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel on a map.
You can blame the very institutions that supposedly champion education. From elementary school until college, the emphasis is self-centric. Children don't know world geography, it isn't even taught. Maybe a kid will get world history his senior year of high school. What is happening in those intervening years?
Well, the kid learns that subsets of Americans are victims. He learns about oppressed people. He learns to "just say no" to drugs. He learns to walk quietly in line. He learns no context. No world-view. What happened with one person or people defines the world view of the child, if he even remembers it.
It seems to me that the solution is to teach children logically. Start from the beginning. That's one thing I very much enjoy about home schooling--the logical progression. So, this year, the kids are learning world geography and we're doing world history, a survey, from the beginning of recorded time. When we go back and study different periods more in depth, they now have the context to place the event--including the last 200 plus years of American history. They will have seen slavery before. They will have seen war. They will have seen persecution. They will see the roots of today's religious conflict. They will know that the badness they see today is part of the human condition.
It is distressing to see the man-on-the-street interviews where people don't know the name of the Vice President. America thrives on ideas and innovation. It's not encouraging to see the direction that post-modernism has taken the educational system.