And Dumb Made Honorable: Rise of Evil

I haven’t written anything for the past two weeks because I didn’t really want to say aloud what was on my mind.  I have in my posts used the word stupid on several occasions and I always feel a twinge of remorse for stooping to what is regarded by most as name calling.  But this is a time in history when stupid has taken on importance in ways I don’t think it ever has before, this because stupid now, for a good many, signifies something good and righteous.  Indeed, there has always been dislike of intellectuals in this society and others that would approve of being labelled “western.”


And there have been those who have used their intellects to understand and often castigate those people who they think are stupid and/or ignorant.  I think this is a reasonable game, for those who have reason to believe they think more than others, engage in reason more rigorously, and work hard to stay informed to be scornful on those who do not do such things, especially those who try to influence others.  The scorn of the lazy minded is not about capacities necessarily, though native ability to think well is considered by some who consider themselves to be smart to be inherited, a genetic thing.


Those who do this believe this way excuse themselves from working on the project that is creating sensible societies of thoughtful citizens who have the capacity to make good decisions for self and the society.  This does mean that the teachers begin their work knowing that those they teach can grow more thoughtful and more reasonable through the education they provide.


There are teachers, though, who are not so smart as to be able to help others grow intellectually and these teachers usually teach to something basic and never profound.  They do not, for example, engage their students in conversation about what it means to be human and how human beings should act in the world to make the world more humane.  They do not help students to explore the kind of meanings that allow one to probe deeply into the truth of matters and, of course, discover what is not true and what might be lies.


The science they teach is textbook and this is all they can teach because they have not studied well the principles that make good scientific findings possible.  They teach the content of science and even the methods as content, the series of steps one has to take when doing science.  What it is about method that makes it particularly potent, what gives science its elegance, what makes science something that drives any thoughtful student of science crazy because of what it represents in terms of its genius, makes those who get to know it do back flips over the fact that human beings have invented such a remarkable tool for knowing how things in the universe work and what the effects of their operation are for moving forward into the future with the capacity to make things-yes—but perhaps more importantly, good decisions.


Such is true of good and effective—and good and effective is baseline—teachers and not only those who teach science.  For any teacher in any discipline the human being who is the teacher needs to know considerably more than the “basics,” the basics of the basics the kind of understanding that allows he or she to help explain those basics so that they are meaningful enough to students to know how to work with them, to use the basics to go ever deeper in the meanings they allow one develop and use.


Stupid and ignorant, for most human beings, despite what some, the current republican party candidate for the office of president believe, is learned and those who are made to believe that stupid and ignorant are what make one tough, make one truly American, deserve to be taught a lesson, many lessons because all that stupidity make one is vulnerable.  That vulnerability inevitably produces agony, understanding of a world that is against, not with them and for them and, therefore, worthy of understanding and a proper respect.  Indeed, that people like Donald Trump can convince numbers of people to believe that the only way to make things that are good happen for them is to undermine the possibility for others to grow smart enough to not be like them, stupid and ignorant.  Consider how resentful good numbers of people in the United States of those who are educated and consider how many are very much willing to take the word of others who interpret the world for them.  They are vulnerable because their stupidity and their ignorance allows others who have studied some, enough to sound like they know something, to be convincing.


The world is something of a mess.  The American society is not a society on track to fulfill the intelligent goals that come of foundational principles and the kind of outcomes they are intended to achieve, such things as real and meaningful equality, liberty of the kind that is related to liberation, the real kind integrally involved with the ability to think for one’s self.


Stupidity are being cultivated in our country and the evidence is everywhere around us, the kind of news people are willing to take as legitimate, the kind of movie and television programs they watch, the kind of candidates they nominate for office and the kind of people they are willing to have lead them.  It is evident in the kind of disrespect for education so prominent in the society and the real hatred too many feel toward those who are educated, of truly good intentions, and concerned with the welfare with the many as well as the few, a part of this concern for the health of the planet on which we live.


I am sick and tired of stupidity and ignorance.  I am pissed off, really pissed off not only because it is so prevalent but because it is honored and cherished, a requirement for membership in certain clubs that organize the stupid and ignorant so that they may be a powerful force in the shaping of the policies that affect all, that affect the quality of live people are able to enjoy, that affect the health of the planet and, thus, ever being who lives on it.  I am fucking sick, really sick, of having the lives of those for whom I love and care affected by madness disguised as the popular opinion.  I do not disrespect popular opinion if it is opinion that comes with thoughtfulness and proper amounts of study, the kind of study that makes one an informed person, the two in combination making for a person capable of making sensible, well informed decisions as a legitimate citizen of a democracy make legitimate by the strength of its people’s intelligence and their willingness to accept nothing less than good reason, informed reason as reason to decide what they decide.


We should be teaching one another to be smart, to think that smart is good and worthy of the work it takes to become smart and stay smart.  To this end, no one who is not an intellect, a student of the world, a person with understanding of the value of intellect, one who pushes for continued grow of intellect and knowledge should have a hand in preparing others for citizenship.  And too, those who do teach, who are capable of teaching, need to show, by example the goodness that comes of the work to be knowledgeable and reasonable.  Those who will not work to attain the information critical to good decision making, those who are unwilling to grow ever more reasonable, to participate honestly in the process of making the world a better place to live for all, these people should be harshly chastised for fucking up democracy and fucking over other people by supporting propositions based in bullshit, the kind of proposition that seem to be so much a part of Mr. Trump’s superior intellect.  He is a very dangerous fool because those hostile to others who engage in work of intelligently figuring out what is true and what is not, by him, powerful, not the first instance of such a force against sane democracy becoming influential, but the worst because of how he takes advantage of the ignorance created to make a path to power for idiots like him.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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