How Ignorant Are Typical Americans?

While major American universities continue to be held in high regard throughout the world, Americans themselves do not. We are not and have never been a country of intellectuals. Far from it. The typical American regards higher education as frou-frou. In short, we are, as the late Richard Hofstadter’s Pulitzer winning Anti-Intellectualism in American Life shows, a country that finds intellect suspicious at best and contemptible at worst. We almost pride ourselves on our ignorance.

A weird pattern emerges. College costs money–lots of money–but becoming educated also requires considerable mental effort, something Americans apparently don’t grok since the price tag is hidden in the future or in some sort or arcane cult, a knowing for the sake of knowing society. Any sort of effort to find stuff out is almost unAmerican. We are the pinnacle, so we just KNOW or KNOW someone who KNEW, don’t we?

Add to this wonderful ethos the profound fear that’s soaked this land since Septebmer 11, 2001, and you end up with a country that provides a home to quiveringly blank people. As proof, I offer the sheep running this school:

“Kentucky Teacher Resigns Over Parents’ Dumb Ebola Fears”

Yes, the teacher and her husband show that the United States indeed has some intelligent, knowledgeable people left. However, the mere fact that people RUNNING a SCHOOL stick to an insane sanction rather than learning about the disease, about geography, and educating the parents and students, proves my point, doesn’t it?

Those folks in Kentucky had what those in education profession call a “teachable moment.” This map might have been a boon to the generally geographically illiterate American:

How Big Is Africa

Did anyone at this school do any research before making a decision? Did they look at a map? Look up the transmission vectors for ebola? Did they feel any responsibility to educate themselves?

What sort of model are they providing for their students? I fear they displayed model ignorance, model fear, modern modern America.


UPDATE: “Former St. Margaret Mary Teacher: ‘Resignation Had Nothing to Do with Kenya or Ebola'”


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