Dumbass nation: Our biggest national security problem is America's "vast and militant ignorance"

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  37 comments

Dumbass nation: Our biggest national security problem is America's "vast and militant ignorance"
It is the root cause of our problems with China. It's why some people don't want to get vaccinated. It's why some people still gleefully follow Donald Trump. It explains why Congress can't get together in a bipartisan fashion to deal with infrastructure, health care and gun control. It's why we have problems understanding climate change. It explains voter suppression. It's why "critical race theory" has become controversial, why elements of our population on the left and right are at war with...

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



www.salon.com   /2021/10/28/dumbass-nation-our-biggest-national-security-problem-is-americas-vast-and-militant-ignorance/

Dumbass nation: Our biggest national security problem is America's "vast and militant ignorance"


8-10 minutes   10/28/2021



With  apologies to Paul Simon , and despite all of the information available to the mortal man, there are still millions of Americans who currently believe they're gliding down the highway when in fact they're slip slidin' away.

As President Biden prepares to travel to Europe to meet with the Pope and our NATO allies next week, there remains a huge national security problem for him to grapple with, one that hasn't been addressed in any meaningful fashion for many years.

It is the root cause of our problems with China. It's why some people don't want to get vaccinated. It's why some people still gleefully follow Donald Trump. It explains why Congress can't get together in a bipartisan fashion to deal with infrastructure, health care and gun control. It's why we have problems understanding climate change. It explains voter suppression. It's why "critical race theory" has become controversial, why elements of our population on the left and right are at war with each other and why some believe the earth is flat and the Holocaust didn't occur. It's why some of us believe we're still the "No. 1" nation in the world when — other than having the largest military — we clearly lag behind other major nations in many critical factors. More than anything else it explains why we fail.

The United States is a nation of militantly ignorant people, arrogant in their beliefs, unable to change their minds and unwilling to try. We lack education. 

And the lack of education in this country is such a problem that national security adviser Jake Sullivan described it this week as a critical issue for our national security. "I do consider it a national security problem," he told me during a White House briefing on Tuesday. "In fact, it's Dr. [Jill] Biden who has repeatedly said — and the president frequently quotes her — that any country that out-educates the United States will outcompete the United States, and that is a fundamental national security issue."

In part because of COVID-19, we have  500,000 fewer students  enrolled in colleges this year. Does anyone really think we can compete in the modern workplace with just a high school education?

I coached high school football for many years. I can tell you firsthand that the quality of education of the "average" student today would have been below the level of a remedial education when I was in high school. There are scores of students who are functionally illiterate as well as scientifically and mathematically illiterate, and have no idea how government works or what their responsibilities in a democracy are. Many scream about "rights." Fewer understand responsibility.

Many are hoping and praying to find a menial job where they can "survive," and rarely do they dare to dream they might thrive. Many cry out for universal health care, but don't believe we'll get it. Some don't even understand how to get a decent salary, paid medical leave and other benefits, let alone how joining a union could help them accomplish those tasks. They don't know what socialism or capitalism are — other than thinking that one is bad and the other is American. They don't know our history, have no view of the future and are moribund in a present they fear, hate and don't understand.

We have to do better. The reasons are clear. Biden is correct: Without a competitive education, we sentence our progeny to industrial servitude while those who are educated amass power and wealth. Look around. We're in a new space race with China. We're behind in hypersonic technology. Our scientists say we must have a nuclear rocket to beat the Chinese to Mars, but millions of people believe that  Clorox might treat the coronavirus . Some even tried it.

Biden wants to provide free or affordable post-secondary education, and has pointedly reminded us how useless a mere high school diploma is today — and that frightens some of us. George Carlin warned us that the overlords of society want you smart enough to operate the machinery, but no smarter than that. Some believe that to be true. Others in Congress tell us that such educational outlays in the budget are cost-prohibitive — while at the same time nodding reflexively each time we increase our  bloated military budget .



This is not a recent development. Our dedication to education has fallen steadily during the last 40 years — and like most of the rot that has occurred in this country, I place the blame at the feet of Ronald Reagan and the ultra-conservatives he used to get elected and that he helped bring into the mainstream.

If you don't want to accept that Reagan was a feckless fool who destroyed unions, education, the free press and health care, and took us down the road to ruin, then look at the stench stirred up by George W. Bush and his infamous "No Child Left Behind" education policy.

That moronic mantra became every child left behind, creating an entire generation of Americans who were taught how to pass tests — but never how to think critically.

Many of those children who grew up being trained to pass tests are adults now and beginning to populate mid-level management positions in the American workforce. They have become part of what H.L. Mencken described as a "vast and militant ignorance" a century ago, which reminds us that arrogant ignorance isn't a new phenomenon — only that No Child Left Behind exacerbated the problem. "Team America World Police" and "Idiocracy" look more like documentary films than satire these days.

What's the most striking example of the lack of education? Two words: Donald Trump.

And I have one real question I'd like answered: Will someone please stop sending me emails from Donald Trump and his children, relatives, underlings and minions, begging me for money and guaranteeing me private time with the Donald?

Don Jr. even sent me an email telling me he was going to tell his daddy if I didn't give some amount of money NOW! I also got promised a football if I contributed to Donald Trump — who isn't even officially running for office yet, but certainly has honed the art of conning people out of their hard-earned cash to a laser-like precision.

I know dozens of other White House reporters who are apparently on the Donald's email list, and none of us signed up for his systematic harassment and panhandling. He's an internet stalker and homeless vagrant rolled into one.  Apparently the former president took the White House correspondents' email list with him when he fled D.C. Since I'm also getting email from the Sarah Sanders campaign and a few other close Trump associates who hold office, I can only assume they are sending me their scatological musings because Trump has shared the email list with his itinerant, angry, brain-dead acolytes.

They all send me content designed to make the uneducated howl at the moon and scratch themselves like a junkyard dog with fleas. These "press releases" from Trump's moronic disciples are met with yelps of pleasure from their fans. Poor grammar and spelling aside, these fecal releases usually make no sense and appear to be the mutterings of simpletons who've ingested tainted hallucinogens.

The idea that the most qualified candidate in the Republican Party for the highest office in the land could once again be a guy who was impeached twice and encouraged us to ingest Clorox and  shine ultraviolet light  inside our bodies — that's something even an overabundance of psilocybin in your bloodstream can't explain.

But a lack of education explains all of it, including but not limited to Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Our lack of education is the single greatest threat to the existence of our nation. Jake Sullivan is right: It's a national security issue.

"And though my lack of education hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall," Paul Simon also told us.

Today, I'm not sure how many people can even read that.



Article is LOCKED by author/seeder
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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago
The idea that the most qualified candidate in the Republican Party for the highest office in the land could once again be a guy who was impeached twice and encouraged us to ingest Clorox and   shine ultraviolet light   inside our bodies — that's something even an overabundance of psilocybin in your bloodstream can't explain.

But a lack of education explains all of it, including but not limited to Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Our lack of education is the single greatest threat to the existence of our nation. Jake Sullivan is right: It's a national security issue.
 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

20 or 30 years I came upon the phrase "aggressive ignorance". This is the phenomenon of some ignoramus getting in people's faces and spouting nonsense with great confidence without even realizing how stupid they sound. 20 or 30 years ago it was an occasional occurrence, not it seems to be a way of life for some. 

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
1.2  dennis smith  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

Joe Biden is the single greatest threat to America. You are spitting into the wind thinking otherwise.

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
2  Veronica    one month ago

I do not understand why education and being education has become a negative thing.  Why do people want their children stupid?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Veronica @2    one month ago

Ironically I guess, I think the internet, the greatest source of information in history, is largely responsible for the pervasive ignorance we see now.  On the internet all information, both true and insanely false, can look the same . Many people see something they want to agree with and just go with it, even if it is made up. 

Not sure there is a way out of this. 

 
 
 
Veronica
Junior Guide
2.1.1  Veronica  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    one month ago

Sadly, I think you are correct.

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
2.2  Sparty On  replied to  Veronica @2    one month ago
I do not understand why education and being education has become a negative thing.

Because it hasn't.

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
3  Sparty On    one month ago

Opinions do vary ...... vastly in this case.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sparty On @3    one month ago
Opinions do vary

Yes they do. Unfortunately a lot of opinions are dumbasses aggressively defending themselves. 

Every opinion is not equal, and the belief that they are is disastrous for the society. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
3.1.1  Sparty On  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    one month ago
Every opinion is not equal,

Interesting ..... i think i might have read that line in a novel.

1984 i believe .......

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sparty On @3.1.1    one month ago

If you think all opinions are equal you have my sympathy. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
3.1.3  Sparty On  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.2    one month ago

And you have my deepest sympathy because you clearly believe you are the arbiter of which opinions are equal and which are not.

The megalomania built into that attitude appears to be very deep seated unfortunately

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sparty On @3.1.3    one month ago
And you have my deepest sympathy because you clearly believe you are the arbiter of which opinions are equal and which are not.

If you don't know if your opinions are better than a QAnon nutcase or an illiterate gang banger then you need help. 

The idea that all opinions are valid just because someone has them will destroy this country.

By the way , you misuse the definition of megalomania. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
3.1.5  Sparty On  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.4    one month ago

C'mon John, you can do better than that.

No one takes crackpots opinions serious.   I don't listen to half the stuff that comes out of BLM or antifa either.   That goes without saying.

And yes, i've applied "megalomania just fine in this case.   According to Merriam Webster:

: a condition or mental illness that causes people to think that they have great or unlimited power or importance

The great and unlimited power to deem which opinions are valid and which are not.   A great power indeed.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.6  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sparty On @3.1.5    one month ago
The great and unlimited power to deem which opinions are valid and which are not.   A great power indeed.

Absurd conclusion. 

I can determine , at times , which opinions are valid or not. I would have to be a moron not to be able to do so. A lot of people have that ability.  But you are the only one trolling this seed with the opinion that no one should "judge" morons opinions. 

I think I will lock this article because I dont want to deal with the inevitable trolling. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
3.1.7  Sparty On  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.6    one month ago
Absurd conclusion. 

That is about what i would expect you to say John which rings true to the definition

You call it trolling i call it a difference of opinion.

I rest my case .....  shut her down.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
PhD Expert
3.1.8  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.6    one month ago

Our education system is controlled at all levels by leftists

From grade school to grad school liberals mislead and indoctrinate our young people, instead of educating them..

The teachers unions and school boards are packed with progressives.

This is not an opinion, but an inconvenient truth...for some

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
3.1.9  Sparty On  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1.8    one month ago

Yep, organizations like the NEA are not concerned with your kids education.    "Education" for them is just a means to an end. 

They are concerned with consolidating their power and collecting more money so they can consolidate their power even more.

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
3.1.10  dennis smith  replied to  Sparty On @3.1.3    one month ago

JR seems to think he knows everything about everything.

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
3.1.11  dennis smith  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.4    one month ago

Are you now the opinion arbitrator? 

 
 
 
dennis smith
Masters Silent
3.1.12  dennis smith  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.6    one month ago

I think I will lock this article because I dont want to deal with the inevitable trolling.

Take your ball and run home.

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
3.1.13  Sparty On  replied to  dennis smith @3.1.10    one month ago

Must be a tough burden to bear ....

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
4  Buzz of the Orient    one month ago
"Our dedication to education has fallen steadily during the last 40 years..."

Au contraire.  The fall of American education started much earlier than that.  I've posted my feelings about this before so here we go again.  

When I was a teenager, and that was 70 years ago, we Canadian high schoolers used to mix with the high schoolers from Buffalo who crossed the Niagara River border to enjoy summer vacation in Crystal Beach, Ontario, located just west of the Niagara River on the north side of Lake Erie.  The Buffalo kids would bitch about the fact that their final marks were only 97 or 98 instead of others who got perfect 100% marks while we Canadian kids who had to bust our asses in school to get an honours grade of 75% or better listened in amazement.  We used to joke back then that one could major in basket weaving at the University of Miami.  Think about it, our brains weren't smaller than American brains, we weren't less intelligent, we didn't even LOOK different than they did.  But as I think back to those days I realize that the American kids were coddled and the quality of their education was designed to make them feel successful and superior, and it succeeded because where else would the belief of being "exceptional" come from.  

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
4.1  Sparty On  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    one month ago

With that thought ....

Hard to believe we've survived down here in the dumb old US of A.

DOH!

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
4.1.1  evilgenius  replied to  Sparty On @4.1    one month ago
Hard to believe we've survived down here in the dumb old US of A.

We should be doing better than surviving.

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
4.1.2  Sparty On  replied to  evilgenius @4.1.1    one month ago

I know, it's just awful down here isn't it?

So awful all those immigrants are trying to get into this awfulness

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
4.1.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Sparty On @4.1.2    one month ago

LOL.  Your comment made me think of a line from the movie Casablanca.  There is a conversation between Captain Renault (Claude Rains) and Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) where Renault asks Rick why he came to Casablanca.  Rick replied "It was for the waters."  Renault replies "For the waters?  This is the desert." and Rick answers "I was misinformed."

Maybe all those immigrants are misinformed.  Don't people believe that in America the streets are paved with gold?

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
4.1.4  Sparty On  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.1.3    one month ago

Not sure what they believe but they seem to think the answer is here.   They certainly aren't listening to all  the partisan politics about how bad the USA is that's for sure.   That said, what's going on down on the border is a travesty to say the least.   Breaks my heart to see what people are doing to their own children.

It's totally unbelievable if i wasn't seeing it with my own eyes.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
4.1.5  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Sparty On @4.1.4    one month ago
"Breaks my heart to see what people are doing to their own children."

What I've never understood is why it was necessary to separate the children from their parents.

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
4.1.6  Sparty On  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.1.5    one month ago

I'm talking about the kids that get left alone in the desert or thrown over a wall ..... it's unconscionable to me a parent.   And yet somehow we are talking only about the ones that have gotten separated from their parents (under two administrations) but get taken care of well.

Interesting isn't it?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
4.1.7  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Sparty On @4.1.6    one month ago

Desperation?  The desire that maybe if they (the parents) aren't allowed to immigrate, maybe they think that then at least their kids will have a better life.  I find it difficult to understand as well that parents can abandon their kids in that way.  I guess it's one hell of a mess down there.

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
4.1.8  Sparty On  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.1.7    one month ago

A mess that won't go away by trying to ignore it like the current admin tried.

I attribute much of this mess to Biden policy or lack of it.   They helped enable it and did little to control it.

Now they are trying to stuff the Genie back in the bottle .... too late.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
5  Trout Giggles    one month ago

Schools need to go back to teaching kids how to think...critically. More problem solving is required in high school courses and it doesn't have to be related to math or science. Just take an every day problem and present it to the classroom and ask the students how do we solve the problem?

 
 
 
Sparty On
PhD Principal
5.1  Sparty On  replied to  Trout Giggles @5    one month ago
Schools need to go back to teaching kids how to think...critically.

Bazinga!

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
5.2  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Trout Giggles @5    one month ago

That is absolutely an understatement!!!

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
6  Jack_TX    one month ago
I coached high school football for many years. I can tell you firsthand that the quality of education of the "average" student today would have been below the level of a remedial education when I was in high school. There are scores of students who are functionally illiterate as well as scientifically and mathematically illiterate, and have no idea how government works or what their responsibilities in a democracy are. 

He's completely correct here.  We have utterly mismanaged our schools for decades.

He squawks about standardized testing, ignoring the fact that football coaches have always been one of the primary reasons that we need standardized testing.

He complains about Trump, and he certainly has a point.  But representing this as a partisan situation is idiotic, especially given the abject ignorance on math, science, and money regularly displayed by elected Democrats and their vocal supporters.  Rampaging partisanship is rarely a sign of high intelligence.

Our educational system is driving our transition to a culture of feelings over facts, and that trend seems to be accelerating.  It's no coincidence that almost every measure of economic inequality is accelerating in tandem.

 
 
 
freepress
Freshman Silent
7  freepress    one month ago

The willfully ignorant who deep down know better makes what they are doing a sin. They are lying to themselves to justify a politician or a political party.

They parrot every bit of Republican propaganda especially about Covid, "it's a hoax", "it will go away with the warm weather", "take hydroxychoriquine", "take vitamins", "take Horse dewormer", the list of excuses and lies goes on and on and on.

All while the states who vote Republican suffer the biggest loss of lives and lose their own base while they die off of a deadly disease, A disease that is a "hoax", then flip from the "hoax" mantra to what they can take that is unproven to work on a disease that is supposed to be non-existent.

They tout the Trump vaccine but none of them will take it.

 
 
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