Folks, I'm so tired of ignorance.
I'm tired of the militantly ignorant, especially. I'm tired of people who hold on to their ignorance and refuse to examine it, or - even worse - who are proud of it and bandy it about as if it's a prize fish.
I'm tired of people who can't follow a simple logical path from point A to point B to point C.
I'm tired of people who would rather cling to their ideology (whether political, religious or otherwise) than look at reality.
I'm tired of people who have a complete lack of critical thinking skills.
And I'm really, REALLY tired of these people holding elected office.
I have a prime example for you after the jump.
It seems that Ann Buerkle (R-NY), a freshman GOP representative,couldn't understand why anyone would be asking her about her health benefits. As far as she could tell, they were just regular old employer health benefits, right? Taxpayers weren't involved.
Follow the bouncing logical gaffe, here, okay? In Buerkle's view:
- I have employer-provided health care.
- That means my employer pays for my health care.
- That means it's nobody else's business, so why are these citizens asking about it?
That's it. No recognition of this very basic and central fact: Lady, who's your employer? Oh, that's right, the government is.
There's no recognition of this (to me, blatantly obvious) associated logical path:
- As an elected representative, my employer is the government, which gets its revenue stream from taxes.
- Therefore, taxpayers pay for my health care (as well as my salary).
- Therefore, taxpayers have every right to ask me about my health care.
But it's obvious that unless she had been led by the hand through that logical path by one of her staffers, she would never have seen it. Never.
And she's an elected representative?!? How is this possible? How?
This kind of thing makes me insanely angry. It makes me angry for several reasons:
People elected this moron to represent them. This moron has no critical thinking skills. No appreciation of or understanding of logic. None. And the people who elected this moron probably don't have those things, either.
Frankly, that scares me. It should scare you, too.
How are we supposed to progress as a nation when stupid people (yes, I said it - the militantly ignorant are stupid, no matter how many letters they have after their names) are electing other stupid people? How are we supposed to even manage what's going on right now when we have people who can't understand those very, very basic concepts?
I'll tell you what, folks, I'm pretty despondent about the future of our nation just now. I'm angry with people who think that their belief systems are more important than reality, or even worse, that their belief systems ARE reality. I'm tired of people who would rather cling to an ideology than look at scientific findings and understand that they might be wrong. I'm just tired of it.
These are people who believe that the Founding Fathers freed the slaves, when they were slaveowners. These are people who think you can redefine rape. These are people who are so freaking stupid that they think that cutting taxes somehow makes government work better. These are people who think that the Constitution doesn't protect their religious beliefs, because they can't make those religious beliefs law for everyone.
And yet we have people electing them, thinking that they are somehow equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to keep our country running. This is almost unbelievable.
So how do we solve this? I can think of a few ways, but how are we going to get them past the militantly ignorant, who keep electing morons like Buerkle?
- Require critical thinking, civics, and philosophy of science classes from sixth grade on, every year. This is the first, and probably the best, of my suggestions. But as long as the militantly ignorant keep electing their own to school boards, I don't see it happening - they hate most education, because it means their children might not think the way they are trying to indoctrinate them to (i.e. militantly ignorant and proud of it), and we can't have that. Critical thinking requires you to learn to question your beliefs. So does science. And civics classes - actually knowing what the Constitution says? Horrors! No, no, these people say, leave our children to our indoctrination. We don't want them knowing anything more than the three R's -and not much of that, either. We want them to have a B.A. or an M.B.A, but we also want them to preserve what they were trained to believe as children. The B.A. isn't to get an education, it's just to get a ticket into a job that pays well. Education? What's that? A ticket to work, that's all. Broadening of minds? Learning about other ways of living? Learning about science and philosophy and enriching your mind with other viewpoints? Heresy! Get those damn librul ideas out of our schools!
- Require some kind of test on understanding of the issues to allow people to vote, or run for office. While this is obviously not going to work (it's too much like the way in which bigots kept blacks from voting), I can dream, can't I? I can wish we could insist that people who can't pass a simple logical-skills test are obviously not qualified to vote or hold office. I can wish for an educated, critically-thinking populace that votes on actual issues instead of just voting the party line. But as long as we have mob democracy - and let's not pretend we don't - this one will never fly. (Except that our Founders felt an educated voting population was important, which brings us back to item 1. How do we implement that, when the militantly ignorant have built a fortress around education by claiming so many school board seats (and legislative seats)?)
- Final option: Leave the country for someplace more sane. Obviously, I'd rather not do that, but this is becoming intolerable.
I'm pretty despondent over the state of our nation. This just underlines why. I don't have any answers this time.