This is a subject that I have been meaning to write about again for sometime. You can call it a rant if you like. Because a rant is exactly what I would call it. The longer I think about it, the more things I can think of to add to it. This rant gets longer every time I ponder it. I can more and more angry until I just want to explode! Which of course leads to an angry rant, which is rarely composed well. So I have to sit back and calm down a bit. And by then, I don't feel like writing it. I'm in a rare place this morning. Placid, calm, and clear headed, while thinking about what is wrong with this country. I have written about it before, so some of this will be redundant. But the good thing about having your own blog is that you can write about what ever you want, when you want. So here goes!
There is something very wrong with this country. And it is unique in many aspects to this country. To a far less degree, there is something wrong with the UK and Australia I imagine, but mostly, the United States has something dearly wrong with it. We have become a people who no longer value education. Let me elaborate. The founding of this country saw people like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison come to prominence. These were thinkers, people of great intellect who were able to see things as they really were, then. Thomas Paine was one of the great enlightenment intellectuals, as was Thomas Jefferson. Benjamin Franklin was an astute politician AND inventor, and James Madison was one of the finest political and legal minds in this countries history. And they were valued for their intelligence.
Through the years, we have seen great thinkers who were able to come up with practical solutions to difficult problems. From John Jay, who wrote many Federalist Papers and became the first Supreme Court Chief Justice, to John Marshall who helped define the way the Supreme Court Works, our Supreme Court has had a myriad of brilliant legal minds. From Thomas Jefferson, who ended the Sedition Act, to Franklin D. Roosevelt who had the courage to do what had never been done in this country, securing us financially for nearly 6 decades before his regulations were largely removed in the late 90's and early 2000's, our Presidents have been intelligent and courageous. Many a Senator and Representative have stood in the halls of congress and stood up for what they believed in and what was best for the country. From John Quincy Adams who served even after he was president, to Ron Paul, we have had a plethora of good congressmen who had the courage to speak up and say the truth. Agree or disagree with Ron Paul, he understands, truly, the effect of spreading our military around the world has on our economy, security, and national perception. And finally, the people, who have chosen these leaders, have in large part made wise decisions through out the year. The extremists and anti-intellectuals have not one in large part. Until now.
We have a problem in this country. A raging sweeping torrent of ignorance and anti-intellectualism is dragging us down to the depths. It is frightening to know and understand that Fox News is the largest cable news network in this country. In large part, its watchers have exchanged learning and knowledge, for the opinion of Shawn Hannity and Glenn Beck. On nearly every issue, the opinion of a few crackpots and a news opinion show have garnered more support than scientists and experts in various areas. From Global Warming and evolution, to separation of church and state and corruption, the view of others has become the fact. The entire evening is completely monopolized by opinion shows. Whether its Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann, the entire cable news evening is dominated by opinionated individuals.
It would be one thing if people did their fact checking. I enjoy Keith Olbermann allot, but when ever he says something that is outrageous, my wife and I break out the laptop to find out if its true. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most Americans. Nothing is more disheartening to me than to watch Hannity or Beck with my parents and watch them get angry and upset over things Hannity and Beck say without backing anything up. They simply accept it to be true. My wife is known for asking "I wonder if thats true" when Olbermann makes a new claim. But not most Hannity and Beck watchers. They accept their largely unsupported claims as fact.
Online, many of these same viewers enjoy believing they are fact checking by visiting World Net Daily and Newsmax. Unfortunately both of these sites have gotten in trouble for simply making things up to back up their claims! The main source of information for World Net Daily's Obama birth certificate story was a blog in which the person later said it was always intended to be a joke! Newsmax has been sued twice and lost for printing lies and false stories. Yet they remain a bastion of conservative respect!
I once did not believe in Evolution. However, I have been studying the actual evidence for evolution for over five years now. I had no clue the vast amount of evidence for evolution. I will go so far as to say that evolution can be proven fact is not a single fossil was ever found. The evidence is strong enough that you could throw out fossil evidence completely and still prove it easily! Yet, how many people believe in their hearts that there is no evidence for evolution? MILLIONS! Whats worse, almost all of them have steadfastly refused to even look at the evidence for evolution. Someone tells them its not true, so they believe it. The worst claims are that if they saw evolution happening in front of them, they would believe it. The problem is, if they looked at the evidence, there are many proven cases of seen and observed evolution NOW! It CAN be seen in real life happening! Yet, they refused to study before having an opinion!
Global Warming is another. There are only a few classes of scientists that actually study climate change and the environment. These scientists are nearly 100% in agreement that global warming is happening and is caused by humans. The evidence is enormous for this. Yet most people are content to sit back and believe someones opinion, or a scientist who doesn't work in this field, and believe its not happening or isn't our fault. Some even go so far as to believe its a hoax! Considering who benefits and who doesn't, that claim doesn't even make logical sense! Further, the evidence for global warming is right in front of our eyes and easily accessible to people to go read it. Yet, people simply refuse to go study the evidence. They CHOOSE to remain ignorant on the issue!
There are some who believe this country was founded to be a christian nation. Never mind the fact that the writer of the Declaration of Independence was a Deist, that the writer of the Constitution also wrote the Separation of Church and state laws in Virginia, and never mind that our first president is quoted saying that he carries a bible to stop people from questioning him but that he detests christianity, they believe it must be a christian nation! Deliberate and calculated ignorance for their own personal gain!
Today, one of the big problems in politics is that we have people who agree with tons of views, yet vote against those views constantly. The people vote in favor of the corporations and against their own best interests repeatedly. Further, the politicians blatantly campaign for their highest bidder lobbyist in everything from health care reform to bank bailouts, but people still believe them! When Mitch McConnell gets up and tells us that Health Care reform is bad for America, shouldn't hte people be asking why he is saying that and why he is getting out there to oppose it, and ask if it could be because he is the second or third largest recipient of health insurance lobby money? Yet, many people trust him and others of his party to tell the truth about health care reform! They have money at stake to see this fail!!!
But the nasty underside of this is that the people who know and understand and study and follow the evidence are being demonized in this country. If you believe in anything that is inconvenient to someones world you are labeled as someone trying to push an agenda, or trying to destroy america, or destroy families, or destroy faith yadda yadda yadda!
Unfortunately, the group of people MOST responsible for this type of behavior currently are conservatives and the christian right wing. Conservative christians being the worst. They seem to fight with all their heart and soul against anything intellectual. Evolution and global warming are fact. To deny so is to remain deliberately ignorant. When I got home yesterday, one of my family members was on the phone arguing about evolution. "I have never seen any evidence to make me believe evolution is true". Well lucky I walked in. I piped right up. "What was the last book or article or paper you read on evolution and about evidence for evolution". The answer? Crickets. None. Nadda. She had made up her mind that evolution was false, and convinced her self of her own correctness to the point of actually arguing against it without ever picking up a single book discussing the evidence for it. She had read plenty of apologetics against evolution, because that backed up her own ignorant views of science. She pulled out the "its only a theory" nonsense, so I asked her to define a scientific theory and how it is used in science and regarded in science. She didn't know. How can you make a claim about what something IS if you don't know what that think really IS? So I began to enlighten her until she cut me off. "Don't start with all the intellectual garbage". Intellectual garbage.
I was discussing global warming on a forum recently and came to the odd conclusion that some people just don't want to know the truth. At one point I listed the top three or four research sites in the world that had websites. People whose entire life is studying the environment. The answer? A site with a physics scientists signing a petition against global warming. Another site with another scientist not in the field of climatology or the environment stating it was a hoax. Not a single scientist that studies the environment listed among them. Whats worse, none of my sites were even ocmmented on, and the person just continued to believe the nonsense they wanted to believe. It was deliberately choosing to remain ignorant.
On another forum I used to frequent, I went round and round with one person about this being a christian nation. Their favorite tactic was to take a smidgen of a quote to back up their claim. It is unfortunate for them that every quote was completely out of context once I gave the rest of the letter or statement being given. I completely destroyed every claim made! Easily! Yet, they choose to remain willfully ignorant despite the evidence. Call me one of "those intellectual idiots". Intellectual idiots.
And here we come to the problem this country has. This country, by en large, simply ignores or demonizes that which challenges its world view. Whether it is the completely misguided and false view that we have the best health care policy in the world, or that evolution is a fact. Most people demonize the intelligencia and praise the fools who believe despite the evidence. It has become something of a national past time for people to ridicule the really smart people in favor of the now "useful idiots" who give their opinions on tv. This countries problem is that it no longer values intelligence. It values loyalty above all. Remain loyal, keep the faith, don't let your mind be changed.
This mindset comes directly from the countries main religion, christianity. Religion, as can be shown over and over, is a poison to a society, and the poison is reaching critical mass in the united states. From useful idiots hold socialism signs who can't define socialism properly, to people arguing in favor of Walmart over their own best interest, this country is suffering from a rash of anti-intellectualism that has not been seen before. When you can't win with the facts, kill the messenger. Don't like what someone is saying? Demonize them as unamerican, unpatriotic, or hating god and religion. Its much easier to do that then address the fact that what you believe is factually inaccurate. Its much easier to NOT read any information and keep your opinion that you know is approved by your group of fools, than to challenge the status quo.
This country has a problem. And that problem is stupidity and the vilification of intelligence.