Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why We No Longer Deserve Nice Things, #1

(This is going to be a recurring post, as I describe the many and sundry ways that we, as a nation, have so far strayed from good sense that it'd be better to simply build a wall around the continental United States and call it "AmeroDisney" than let any of us loose on an undeserving world.)

We begin with an axiom:  That authoritarians prefer a populace to be ignorant rather than informed, because the more people think, the less likely they are to fear and the more likely they are to criticize.

Sound about right?

Good, we'll continue.

The State of Louisiana, in particular its Governor and legislature, was the butt of much good-natured ribbing as it was revealed that the overwhelmingly Republican and conservative factions there had enabled thousands of school students to become eligible for vouchers that could get them into private schools.

Now, over and above the obvious corollary that a school voucher program bleeds money away from public schools in favor of these private schools, there is the matter of the curriculum taught at these schools.  These schools are invariably Christian-oriented, so their textbooks are chosen with that in mind.

And here's where We No Longer Deserve Nice Things.

In an attempt to disprove the Darwinian theory of natural selection, and the massive array of good scientific results and evidence supporting the evolution of life, the textbooks and the companies that publish them make the completely ridiculous assertion that the Loch Ness Monster ... is real.


I kid you not.

They want to teach Young Earth Creationism to the youth of Louisiana (or to as many as possible), then unleash these uneducated and frankly intellectually crippled young people out into the world.  And they want to teach it by asserting that humans and dinosaurs coexisted - and even, according to one report, state that dinosaurs were actually the fire-breathing dragons of legend.

Louisiana is not alone in this.  Texas, one of the largest consumers of textbooks in the nation, regularly edits out all reference to science; large swaths of various state legislatures, the United States Congress, countless school boards around the country (including, I am distressed to say, my own locality), and possibly one Presidential candidate* think that The Flintstones was a documentary, and not a cartoon based on The Honeymooners.

This is part and parcel of a general trend in this country that has been seen developing over the past thirty-plus years.  The trend includes:
Celebrating stupidity and even teaching it in order to guarantee that the great mass of the next generation are incapable of thinking critically;
Denying solid scientific evidence (evolution, mass vaccinations, anthropogenic global climate change, etc.) in favor of either willful ignorance or willful blindness;
Demonizing intellect and praising ignorance; and
Putting higher education (with its emphasis on free inquiry) so far out of the reach of the average American student that it becomes impossible to get a degree without incurring a lifetime of debt.

What is the end state of all of this, you may ask?

Simple.  The object, I believe, is to reduce the vast bulk of succeeding generations to imbecility.  After all, all the education they need is the ability to read a sign and do simple sums.  They won't need to think critically, as all media will be geared (as it is already, in a growing and distressing way) towards a healthy mixture of fearmongering and stupidity.  University studies have already shown that viewing one particular news source actually makes you less informed, which shows that the plan is working.

And this is why we no longer deserve to have nice things.

*Depending on which way you hold the Etch-A-Sketch on any given day.


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