Who Needs Educated Citizenry?

In the case of public higher education, the answer to the “crisis” in the “rising cost of higher education” might be to spread that cost around to the motherfucking citizenry that benefits from having an educated populace.  If we really believe that we “need” our citizens to get an education in order to have a “thriving economy in the 21st century,” then this is a no-brainer.

Yes, this sounds eminently reasonable. Or it would if we lived in a country where at least 51% of the citizenry agreed that having an educated populace is a good idea and then somehow managed to force their elective representatives to get behind it. And that’s not really happening right now.

Look at all those Fundamentalist fanatics screaming down evolution, global warming, and progress. Do they pine for educated citizenry? Probably not since the educated people are not as easily zombified and terrorized into compliance.

And what about politicians? Have you listened to any of the debates among the presidential contenders? Which one of the candidates looked like he couldn’t wait to have more educated voters?

The mainstream journalists? They keep churning out those articles on how horrible, mean, commie-pinko Profs brainwash the good, simple-minded American kids in order to turn them into Liberal activists and steal their good, homey values.

A day doesn’t pass by that I don’t find (or receive from my readers) a link to an artcile where educators are vilified. Even I sometimes feel almost convinced that a teacher equals an enemy of humanity. The vitriol against used-car salesmen and telemarketers is a thing of the past. Now it’s dump-on-the-teachers season.

The only people who get portrayed as even more nasty and dangerous than the teachers are college students. Every time I come to campus to teach my students, I look around and see smart, curious, hard-working kids who somehow manage to hold down two part-time jobs, put themselves through school and organize student clubs. Then I wonder where all those boozing, rowdy, angry, stupid students are who – as I am being told all the time – only care about hooking up, getting drunk and razing the town to the ground.

Some idiot millionaire offers scholarships to kids for dropping out of college and everybody applauds him.

So where is this society that wants educated citizenry? I’m not seeing it.

Are you?

25 thoughts on “Who Needs Educated Citizenry?”

  1. Probably not since the educated people are not as easily zombified and terrorized into compliance.(Clarissa)

    Really? In my experience the more educated they are the more convoluted their fears are. You need look no further than the average educated persons idea’s on Al Qaeda, not very good unfortunately.

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    1. On the contrary, people educated in international politics and the tactics of asymmetrical warfare have a much more nuanced and reasonable view of the threat posed by al qaeda than does the average Joe whose only knowledge of the subject comes from FoxNews and Tom Clancy novels.

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    1. College campuses were the place where the bulk of the resistance to the Iraq war took place precisely because people were smart enough to realize that it was a stupid lie that Al Qaeda was behind Hussein’s regime.

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    1. So you think that college graduates supported the war on Iraq more than people who never went to college? That is a novel idea for me.

      I’m not disagreeing, I have no idea what the breakdown was.

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  2. So, if we agree with your liberal principles, then we’re intelligent, thoughtful, educated people.

    If we disagree, then we’re heretics to ‘progress’.

    Sounds like trading-in religions to me.

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    1. Which liberal principles are you referring to exactly? The evolution? That’s hardly a “liberal principle.” The global warming, the progress? These are not principles either. I don’t think I listed anything else.

      It really annoys me when people try to translate me and come up with something weird. How does it follow from my post that I’m against educated, intelligent, thoughtful conservatives? Can I see the exact quote from me where I denounce such people and call them heretics or anything of the kind?

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      1. Try raising any legitimate questions about global warming in a room full of Gorites and see how fast you’re strung up.

        And there are holes in evolutionary theory, as there are in any theory. However, in polite company, it’s not even permitted to speak of it. If you’re not a nodding donkey, then you’re nothing but a vile freak.

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        1. “However, in polite company, it’s not even permitted to speak of it.”

          – You and I must hang out in very different polite companies, I guess.

          And I still haven’t seen a list of any Liberal principles I have defended in this particular post.

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      1. Raise a legitimate question about global warming and I promise I won’t be a big meanie liberal. 🙂

        Do tell about those holes in evolutionary theory, while you’re at it.

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  3. No Im saying that just because youre educated doesnt mean youre not ignorant. In fact there are countless(really smart people) who get lead around by their noses. Human nature(fear) rarely thinks logically.

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  4. It bothers me that so many people, both sides of the Atlantic, have bought into the myth that education is beneficial primarily for individual enrichment. The more we pay, individually, for that education, the worse it becomes, because we have to justify it to ourselves. I can’t help but wonder if it is all a marketing ploy to make us be willing to pay higher and higher prices for said education.

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  5. As for the human causes of the global warming (and the very existence of global warming), Alexander Cockburn has been publishing many interesting pieces arguing against the existence of global warming. Here is an example: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/12/24/anthropogenic_global_warming_is_a_farce.html

    Cockburn is a regular writer for The Nation, which means that he is as Liberal as they get. And nobody is excluding this opinion from the pages of the ultra-Leftie The Nation.

    In the meanwhile, any Conservative journal or newspaper would never ever publish articles that are against the Conservative dogma even to a tiny degree.

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  6. I like the link Cockburn provides, climate4you.com. It has given me some pause in my thoughts on the matter.

    As for Cockburn’s article itself, could one of the scientists reading this blog could weigh in on Gehrlich and Tscheuschner’s publication on the falsehood of the greenhouse effect? 🙂

    And you are right. It’s a good thing when a publication is brassy enough to publish things that go against its prevailing political ideology. And any scientists who suppressed empirical evidence contrary to a prevailing consensus in the interest of politically-motivated consistency of course acted reprehensibly.

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  7. Patrick :
    and P.rhoeas proves my point.

    You know, pointing out that your beliefs are wrong might not necessarily mean that she’s biased. It could just as easily mean that your beliefs *really are wrong.*
    The fact that you seem content to attribute anything which disagrees with what you already believe to a nefarious cabal of meanie liberals strikes me as nothing so much as a defense mechanism against ever having to change your mind about anything. And yes, for the record, I would characterize such an attitude as being profoundly anti-progress.

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  8. Education as a means to the end of employment is probably an easier sell than education for better citizenship (read, critical thinking), and learning for its own sake is really a tough sell.

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    1. A harder sell, but not an impossible one – believe it or not, universal benefit was the argument that pushed it through the Lords when compulsory secondary education was brought in here.

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  9. I think it is obvious that the USA is on a decline. Asia is rising. I say if people want to disappear up their orifices with fundamentalism and anti-intellectualism, they should go on right ahead.

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