Duh, Duh, Part Duh
The following excerpt is from The Week, February29, 08, from Susan Jacoby's new book, The Age of American Unreason -- the essay was first published by The Washington Post, and The L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service.
" . . . 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. 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 manifestitation 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 coutnry with a mind taught to aim at low objects ought to be the first item on the change agenda. "
Have a nice Week. If you have little kids, read to them. If you have older kids, turn off the TV and hand them a book. Pick up one yourself. If you don't have kids but have a dog, take a walk. Give your dog a nice book to read. Weather looks good for the rest of the week. We live in Paradise. Smile.