Originally posted by Phranny
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Issac Asimov
It is this adoration of ignorance that su ...[text shortened]... knowledge than the average 8 year old, I do not see the reign of ignorance ending any time soon.
When 'liberal' Americans blame only ignorance for the USA's woes, there seems to be a
presumption that if there was more education (meaning more money spent on it) then
all these woes should disappear. That presumes that all Americans are willing to learn
*and willing to change themselves* if given enough educational opportunities.
But the evidence of history has shown that many Americans seem quite satisfied with
themselves as they are--full of ignorance and prejudices. Many Americans have shown
they are unwilling to learn and unwilling to change themselves if that would mean having
to give up their cherished prejudices. These many Americans are *willfully ignorant*.
And what motivation would they have to change? Let's consider a white man of low
education and economic and social status. What does he have to make himself feel
good about himself? Well, if he embraces racist and sexist ideologies, then he can feel
superior to non-white people and women just for being a white man, and no one can
ever take being a white man away from him. So his identity has a deep investment in
these racist and sexist ideologies. Would exposing him to a 'cultural sensitivity' class
(or whatever it's called) be enough to motivate him to abandon these racist and sexist
ideologies and lose self-esteem in the process? I doubt it. His self-esteem--his sense of
superiority over other people--is much more important than the objective merits of his beliefs.
As I wrote earlier, my advice to immigrant parents who want their children to succeed in
American schools would be: "Discourage them--gently if possible--from becoming 'Americanized'."
The more 'Americanized' that children become, the more likely they will become to accept
mediocrity, at best, in academics and to celebrate anti-intellectual populism as an ideal.