Don’t Let Know-Nothings Dumb Us All Down

24 08 2008

. . .by cynically conspiring to devalue the “power of the individual human mind to think” (as Spencer Tracy’s Clarence Darrow-esque character put it in Inherit the Wind.) Daryl puts his own good mind to use in this rant against ignorance as a potent political weapon.

What say we start now to repurpose academic “accountability” laws, use that concept to hold the conspiracy of know-nothings accountable to the people for all they’ve done to sabotage intelligent human consciousness and collaboration, thereby interfering with our ability to understand and address our real common problems, to progress (survive?) as a species!

Henry Drummond:  Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we’ll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind!

Judge:  I hope counsel does not mean to imply that this court is bigoted.

Henry Drummond:  Well, your honor has the right to hope.

Judge:  I have the right to do more than that.

Henry Drummond:  You have the POWER to do more than that.
[The Judge holds Drummond in contempt of court]

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8 responses

24 08 2008
JJ

I blogged the Celebrity Conspiracy of Anti-Intellectualism as Academics being played out in Florida public education here.

Then today comes a NYT feature following up on how it’s affecting the science classroom with real high school kids here in my state whose lives and choices affect mine, you know, fully sentient citizens ready to get driver’s licenses, guns, voter registration cards, scholarships and head off for “higher education” — as heavily armed from birth AGAINST enlightened human learning, thinking and intellectual development as the Know-Nothings could manage.

24 08 2008
Obi-Mom Kenobi

The NYT article that JJ references is just so terribly sad.

24 08 2008
Lisa G.

That was a good article. Thanks for linking it.

24 08 2008
JJ

If they were intentionally poisoning public wells and drinking water, it would be a monstrous crime, right? Certainly not constitutionally protected speech!

Plotting to spread willful ignorance to sicken and poison domestic society, is unethical and inexcusable at best, and quickly rises to treason-terrorism at worst. I have HAD it with politely pretending this is just freedom and normal politics at work.

24 08 2008
JJ

Of course thirsty young minds have to drink what’s available, and hope it’s healthy. I was thinking back to this, my own irrational childhood indoctrination, timely as football season opens at colleges across the country:

SEC football was my community of faith as an impressionable child and the very bosom of my higher education — did you know “alma mater” literally means “nurturing mother?” — and so I remain helpless as a child in its visceral sway despite all later education, experiences and analytical skills I acquired.

. . .We Shall Overcome doesn’t apply to overcoming the imprint of our own most powerful childhood stories. They are with us for life, below our rational mind in the lizard brain and not going anywhere. Maybe the best we can hope for is that they are no worse than the occasional sports meltdown. . .

Bowl games are packed with power of story and I’m not talking mere “football” or even sports as story — I mean money, media, high-stakes competition, individuals and institutions, science and technology, family drama, stereotypes and labeling, cheating, lying, aggression and violence, superstitions and magical beliefs from fan voodoo to locker-room prayer and back, and of course, the injustice of those flawed and frequently game-changing official rulings . . .

26 08 2008
JJ

A smart Chronicle of Higher Education blog I like, here argues that our revolutionary digital technology makes our kids into Know-Nothings. The blogger’s book is titled, “The Dumbest Generation:”

. . .50 million minds diverted, distracted, devoured . . .

I see Know-Nothingism quite differently from Mark Bauerlein, as you’ll know if you’ve been Snooking with us here, and/or reading the sparkling cultural commentary of digital-AND-discursive Favorite Daughter, but at least his is an intelligent argument inviting educated human discourse from other engaged intellects — as opposed to purposefully ignorant god-botting that dumbs down kids’ natural curiosity and higher order thinking skills. [check out a recent example from The Meming of Life.]

28 08 2008
JJ

It is Know-Nothing to swallow political identity smears and then regurgitate them all over the blogosphere, much less to teach them to your own kids as “truth.” I stumbled into an unfortunate Christian homeschool conversation where the Honorable Barack Obama was being smeared as a baby-killer, literally.

Unbelievable? Sure. Untrue? Yep.
But did they believe it was true anyway? You’d better believe it. . .and we’d all better work hard to debunk that kind of useful-idiot ignorance as homeschooling’s god-given identity, if we don’t want all home education equated with Know-Nothingism and then justifiably restricted, or even banned, as child abuse and neglect.

From “Homeschool Hegemony”:

It’s all based on hardheaded, hardball political hegemony — not reason, science, history, understanding, not even fact. It is de-volution of the human mind to purposely confuse belief and identity symbols with science and education.

And when we do it anyway, the evidence suggests it quite logically makes “us” — whoever we tell ourselves we are in our little sub-societies — look pretty stupid.

14 02 2011
Cocking A Snook!

[…] budget right now, in a public middle school classroom near Baltimore televised for all the people who still are able to believe in promoting, protecting […]

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