The United States of Stupid. I mean, really, REALLY stupid ...

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ikosmos ikosmos's picture
The United States of Stupid. I mean, really, REALLY stupid ...

Putin to Lavrov: "I've got to listen to this idiot? He still thinks we're going to let him just bomb Syria into oblivion. As if."

Lavrov: "Yeah, well, I've had to listen to his nonsense a lot more than you have. But he's really going to crap his pants when he finds out that the coup in Turkey has failed. Just think of Erdogan coming to Moscow to kiss your ass when Kerry talks. It helps to pass the time."

 

The United States really is the land of the Stupid. Isaac Assimov, the great SF writer, long ago wrote how a venomous strain of stupid permeates American social life, based on the premise that my stupid is as good as your smarts.

Anyway, for those bored with the United States of Atrocity, we now have this thread. The United States of Stupid.

Because if there's one thing that a bully hates, then it's laughing in his face.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The Power of “Nyet” by Dmitry Orlov

recommended by Canadian Patrick Armstrong (former Sov era Canadian diplomat)

D Orlov wrote:
The way things are supposed to work on this planet is like this: in the United States, the power structures (public and private) decide what they want the rest of the world to do. They communicate their wishes through official and unofficial channels, expecting automatic cooperation. If cooperation is not immediately forthcoming, they apply political, financial and economic pressure. If that still doesn’t produce the intended effect, they attempt regime change through a color revolution or a military coup, or organize and finance an insurgency leading to terrorist attacks and civil war in the recalcitrant nation. If that still doesn’t work, they bomb the country back to the stone age. This is the way it worked in the 1990s and the 2000s, but as of late a new dynamic has emerged.

What's changed is that Russia, in particular, has been saying "Nyet". And the Empire is apoplectic ... and confused.

Quote:
It is as if the entire American body politic has been infected by a putrid miasma. It permeates all things and makes life miserable. In spite of the mounting problems, most other things in the US are still somewhat manageable, but this one thing—the draining away of the ability to bully the whole world—ruins everything. It’s mid-summer, the nation is at the beach. The beach blanket is moth-eaten and threadbare, the beach umbrella has holes in it, the soft drinks in the cooler are laced with nasty chemicals and the summer reading is boring… and then there is a dead whale decomposing nearby, whose name is “Nyet.” It just ruins the whole ambiance!

A beached, rotting whale. What a perfect metaphor for the good old USA!

Quote:
The media chattering heads and the establishment politicos are at this point painfully aware of this problem, and their predictable reaction is to blame it on what they perceive as its ultimate source: Russia, conveniently personified by Putin. “If you aren’t voting for Clinton, you are voting for Putin” is one recently minted political trope. Another is that Trump is Putin’s agent. Any public figure that declines to take a pro-establishment stance is automatically labeled “Putin’s useful idiot.” Taken at face value, such claims are preposterous. But there is a deeper explanation for them: what ties them all together is the power of “nyet.” A vote for Sanders is a “nyet” vote: the Democratic establishment produced a candidate and told people to vote for her, and most of the young people said “nyet.” Same thing with Trump: the Republican establishment trotted out its Seven Dwarfs and told people to vote for any one of them, and yet most of the disenfranchised working-class white people said “nyet” and voted for Snow White the outsider.

Happy Trails!

 

6079_Smith_W

ikosmos wrote:

Because if there's one thing that a bully hates, then it's laughing in his face.

Or calling him "shorty". In some places that will get you killed.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Isaac Asimov wrote:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America

 

 

iyraste1313

I hate to sound elitist but for the sake of perceptions of truth?
Whatever the levels of ignorance of a public, it is to its leadership and intellectuals we must look for directions...let's face reality most people prefer to engage in personal family and perhaps community life, worklife? It's always a minority, more spiritually oriented, politically and intellectually oriented...not to say they are better in a ny way, just that this is their focus......

so what is happening of course is the corruption of this minority...the forms of such corruption must be examined in detail!

The systems forms of corruption must be discreditted! 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

The US is filled with ill-informed imbeciles. The land of stupid,for sure.

But Canada is catching up.

6079_Smith_W

The problem, iyraste, is when that leadership plays on ignorance, and dismisses evidence as elitist. There is a big difference between being a populist and kneecapping Statistics Canada because you don't want to have to be challenged by reality.

I'd add that that is not a problem specific to the U.S. They boys in that pic are masters of it. They have gone as far as beating people up at funerals to pretend an army does not exist.

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

alan smithee wrote:

The US is filled with ill-informed imbeciles. The land of stupid,for sure.

But Canada is catching up.

Yeah, I have to agree somewhat. When the US drops a big steaming pile, Canada emits a cute little fart.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

from the Psych Today piece upthread ... some quotes ...

- "Journalist Charles Pierce, author of Idiot America, adds another perspective: “The rise of idiot America today represents--for profit mainly, but also and more cynically, for political advantage in the pursuit of power--the breakdown of a consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people whom we should trust the least are the people who best know what they are talking about. In the new media age, everybody is an expert.”"

- "The American Association of State Colleges and Universities report on education shows that the U.S. ranks second among all nations in the proportion of the population aged 35-64 with a college degree, but 19th in the percentage of those aged 25-34 with an associate or high school diploma, which means that for the first time, the educational attainment of young people will be lower than their parents;"

- "Catherine Liu, the author of American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique and a film and media studies professor at University of California. The very mission of universities has changed, argues Liu. “We don’t educate people anymore. We train them to get jobs.”"

- "We’re creating a world of dummies. Angry dummies who feel they have the right, the authority and the need not only to comment on everything, but to make sure their voice is heard above the rest, and to drag down any opposing views through personal attacks, loud repetition and confrontation."

The MSM (generally) and the current US Presidential campaign provide vivid proof of this claim.

- " we’re directed towards trivia, towards the inconsequential, towards unquestioning and blatant consumerism."

This is an implicit criticism of our capitalist social arrangements. The consumer and (movie) star culture, which sells nonsense, (Chris Hedges actually calls this an addiction to nonsense), short circuits thinking and replaces it with titilation, emotional reactions, and apathy.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

iyraste1313 wrote:
Whatever the levels of ignorance of a public, it is to its leadership and intellectuals we must look for directions..

I think this means that the elites have, by and large, failed in their duties to lead properly. For me, this means that new leadership is required ... from outside the current (failed) leadership. And if you know my posting here, then you know that I look among socialist-minded people for that sort of leadership.

Perhaps this is one, effective way to argue for socialism; not simply as a "better alternative" but as an alternative to the failure of current elites. More traction and all that.

Rev Pesky

Got into a chance conversatioin with a USA citizen the other day at the coffee shop. He was a young man I would say in his early thirties. In any case, he overheard myself and my coffee companion discussing the US election, and joined in. He was very definitely not a Trump supporter.

The conversation ranged a bit, but at some point I mentioned Tom Paine, one of the most important people in the founding of the USA. This fellow had never heard of him.

Courtesy Wikipedia:

Quote:

Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 advocating independence from Great Britain to people in the Thirteen Colonies.

...It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution, and became an immediate sensation.

It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title, and is still in print today.

This gentleman had never heard of it, and he was one of the good guys.

 

6079_Smith_W

How are you on 18th century Canada, Rev? Or even 19th? Are you familiar with Lord Elgin's role in democratic reform?

We aren't all historians, and lack of education is not the same as lack of common sense. Falling for that trap is just as bad as anti-intellectualism.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

duplicate post. My bad.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:
Got into a chance conversatioin with a USA citizen the other day at the coffee shop. He was a young man I would say in his early thirties. In any case, he overheard myself and my coffee companion discussing the US election, and joined in. He was very definitely not a Trump supporter.

The conversation ranged a bit, but at some point I mentioned Tom Paine, one of the most important people in the founding of the USA. This fellow had never heard of him.

This has also happened to me, and more than once, even among University-educated American friends.

Gore Vidal wrote, or said, long ago that "We live in the United States of Forget. Nobody remembers anything." He's right. Edited to add: I think if people had read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States," or similar books, then they wouldn't miss out on such a critical protagonist for US independence as Tom Paine. His book/pamphlet "Common Sense" is still worth reading ... and its influence on US thinking prior to 1776 was critical. But perhaps this "silencing" of dissident history is no different in Canada? How many Canadians know social history of this country and the role of rebels and radicals ... and rabble.ca-ers?

voice of the damned

6079_Smith_W wrote:

How are you on 18th century Canada, Rev? Or even 19th? Are you familiar with Lord Elgin's role in democratic reform?

We aren't all historians, and lack of education is not the same as lack of common sense. Falling for that trap is just as bad as anti-intellectualism.

 

In the late 90s, when Joe Clark was doing his second stint as PC leader, I met a Canadian who didn't know that Clark had been Prime Minister in the 70s. Granted, this guy would have been a toddler, at most, when Clark was serving, but still. A person would have to have read almost nothing about recent Canadian history, or even then-current events(since Clark and his background were often discussed in the news), to be totally unaware of his prime ministership.

I also had a debate on-line a few years back with a Canadian who was telling American posters that the Charter was superior to the Bill Of Rights, because Charter decisions can never be over-ruled. When I drew his attention to Section 33, he didn't seem to have heard of it, but eventually replied that if a legislature tried to invoke notwithstanding, the courts wouldn't allow it.

mark_alfred

In their endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the Globe and Mail echoed the sentiment that the US may be kinda stupid:

Quote:
Three months ago, what used to be known as the Republican establishment were convinced that the nomination of Mr. Trump would doom their party to a defeat of epic proportions. They foresaw the trifecta loss of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives. They may have overestimated the American public.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

How are you on 18th century Canada, Rev? Or even 19th? Are you familiar with Lord Elgin's role in democratic reform?

We aren't all historians, and lack of education is not the same as lack of common sense. Falling for that trap is just as bad as anti-intellectualism.

The pamphlet that Paine wrote was the most important document in the founding of the United States. Surely everyone knows about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Well, Tom Paine was at least as important as those two in US history. He single-handedly turned the revolutionary war from "no taxation without representation' to 'screw your representation, we'll make our own country'. If you read Paine's "The Rights Of Man" you will see much of his thought reflected in the US constitution.

So Tom Paine was very important in the founding of the USA in two ways. First, by convincing the colonists to break away completely from Great Britain, and secondly by inspiring a good part (if not a major part) of their constitution.

The question isn't why would they remember him, the question is how could they forget him.

I suggest it is the same phenomenon as the United States of Stupid, except in the case of Tom Paine I believe they actively want to forget him. Partly at least, for his intellectual rigour.

There have been a number of Lord Elgin's, some who gained their marbles, and some who lost theirs, but no Lord Elgin was as important to the founding of Canada as Tom Paine was to the USA.

6079_Smith_W

Rev Pesky wrote:

No Lord Elgin was as important to the founding of Canada as Tom Paine was to the USA.

There was one Lord Elgin in Canadian history.

And nah, not important at all. All he did was back up Canada's first democratic government in the face of a right-wing anglo mob that went so far as to burn our parliament building and threaten to hang the prime minister.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebellion_Losses_Bill

Baldwin and Lafontaine's govenment created Canada as an independent nation. It was far more significant than the business contract that was signed 18 years later. If it isn't remembered, perhaps it is because it was our nation standing up to power.

They destroyed Elgin's carriage with stones when he drove to give that law royal assent. He refused to have it repaired, and continued to use it throughout his tenure tas a reminder of what had happened.

But really, what does it matter if some Canadians or Americans aren't up on old white guy history? For a lot of people it is not their history, after all, and it says nothing about their intelligence.

And really, it is far more important that they have some familiarity with how things work here and now.

Cody87

Rev Pesky wrote:
the question is how could they forget him.

I suggest it is the same phenomenon as the United States of Stupid, except in the case of Tom Paine I believe they actively want to forget him. Partly at least, for his intellectual rigour.

This is an asinine comment.

Rev Pesky

Cody87 wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:
the question is how could they forget him.

I suggest it is the same phenomenon as the United States of Stupid, except in the case of Tom Paine I believe they actively want to forget him. Partly at least, for his intellectual rigour.

This is an asinine comment.

No it's not.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

No Lord Elgin was as important to the founding of Canada as Tom Paine was to the USA.

There was one Lord Elgin in Canadian history.

And nah, not important at all. All he did was back up Canada's first democratic government in the face of a right-wing anglo mob that went so far as to burn our parliament building and threaten to hang the prime minister.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebellion_Losses_Bill

Baldwin and Lafontaine's govenment created Canada as an independent nation. It was far more significant than the business contract that was signed 18 years later. If it isn't remembered, perhaps it is because it was our nation standing up to power.

They destroyed Elgin's carriage with stones when he drove to give that law royal assent. He refused to have it repaired, and continued to use it throughout his tenure tas a reminder of what had happened.

But really, what does it matter if some Canadians or Americans aren't up on old white guy history? For a lot of people it is not their history, after all, and it says nothing about their intelligence.

And really, it is far more important that they have some familiarity with how things work here and now.

You should maybe take a history course at SFU. You could be taught by Andrew Heard, who wrote a paper on Canadian independence, and somehow accomplished that without Lord Elgin's name coming into it once.

CANADIAN INDEPENDENCE

Quote:
...As Frank Scott has argued, "Never at any time in [1919-39] was the full international personality of the Dominions, as distinct from Great Britain, established beyond equivocation".  Indeed, symbolically-important legal traces of Canada's colonial status were only shed with the passing of the Canada Act by the British Parliament in 1982.

...Until the passage of the Statute of Westminster (1931 - Rev P), no Dominion legislature had the power to pass either laws with normal extra-territorial effect or laws purporting to amend or repeal Imperial laws which expressly or necessarily applied to it; the need for this change was demonstrated in 1925 when the Australian High Court had ruled inoperative sections of an Australian Commonwealth Act which contradicted provisions of the Imperial Merchant Shipping Act.  Section 2 of the Statute of Westminster is perhaps the most significant legal provision relating to Canada's acquisition of legislative sovereignty, because it accorded both Parliament and the provincial legislatures the power to pass any laws amending or repealing legislation of the Imperial Parliament; also, no Canadian law passed thereafter could be held void because it conflicted with Imperial legislation.

But perhaps we're talking about two different Canada's.

Cody87

Rev Pesky wrote:

Cody87 wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:
the question is how could they forget him.

I suggest it is the same phenomenon as the United States of Stupid, except in the case of Tom Paine I believe they actively want to forget him. Partly at least, for his intellectual rigour.

This is an asinine comment.

No it's not.

How can you justify a comment that an entire society who (for the last 70+ years at least) has attracted some of the brightest minds in hundreds of fields and some of the most famous scientists (Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla) and intellectuals actively wants to forget someone due to their intellectual rigour? Where other people might say "Americans try to forget {public figure X, Y, Z] due to {owning slaves, public drunkenness, poor moral role model}", you're actually suggesting Americans want to forget this man because he was smart.

This sort of casual, off-base disparagement of an entire group of people is a sure way to senselessly alienate those who belong in that group.

If you don't believe me, ask "BernieBros," those "misogynistic white males" who don't like Clinton "just because she's a woman," how they feel about Bernie endorsing Clinton.

ETA: http://content.gallup.com/origin/gallupinc/GallupSpaces/Production/Cms/PMCMS/mvnubhjx9ewotwzo3o9vxg.png

6079_Smith_W

Rev Pesky wrote:

But perhaps we're talking about two different Canadas.

No, what I am talking about is that someone can be able to recite history backwards and forwards and remain clueless about what is going on here and now, and by contrast someone can be uneducated and have a very good understanding of who has power and control and who does not.

Don't get me wrong, I think a knowledge of history is a very good thing, but being able to recite the dates and names - particularly the names most wrapped up in the national myth - doesn't really mean too much. One can do that and still be as thick as a post. Hell, the teapartiers think all those boys made America because god told them to. So how much does knowing Tom Paine's name really mean?

This is kind of like a segment of Mercer's Talking to Americans. Fun for a laugh, but it really means nothing. And if one is fool enough to think that because of anecdotal stuff like that we (or anyone) are actually smarter than them, who's the real fool here?

6079_Smith_W

And yeah, that's why they invented jazz. To show us how stupid they are.

Rev Pesky

I was reading a collection of essays by Stephen Jay Gould, and stumbled across something pertinent to this discussion.

For those unfamiliar with Gould, he...

Quote:
...began his higher education at Antioch College, graduating with a double major in geology and philosophy in 1963. During this time, he also studied at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. After completing graduate work at Columbia University in 1967 under the guidance of Norman Newell, he was immediately hired by Harvard University where he worked until the end of his life (1967–2002). In 1973, Harvard promoted him to professor of geology and curator of invertebrate paleontology at the institution's Museum of Comparative Zoology.

In 1982 Harvard awarded him the title of Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology. The following year, 1983, he was awarded a fellowship at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where he later served as president (1999–2001).

So what I stumbled across was from a collection of his monthly essays published in 'Natural History' magazine. The particular article was an examination of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', and it's treatment by Hollywood. In the article he had this to say.

Quote:
Karloff's Frankenstein contains an even more serious and equally prominent distortion of a theme that I regard as the primary lesson of Mary Shelly's book - another lamentable example of Hollywood's sense that the American public cannot tolerate even the slightest exercise in intellectual complexity.

That comment made me wonder how much of the satisfaction of wilful ignorance of the USA citizenry is a result of exactly what Gould says, a 'sense that the American public cannot tolerate...intellectual complexity'.

By the way, Gould wrote 300 essays for Natural History magazine, and many of them are in a series of collections. Well worth the time to read.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:
...Don't get me wrong, I think a knowledge of history is a very good thing, but being able to recite the dates and names - particularly the names most wrapped up in the national myth - doesn't really mean too much.

But that's exactly the point. They can recite the names of many, but the single most important name in the American Revolution is expunged. Why would that be, I wonder?

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And yeah, that's why they invented jazz. To show us how stupid they are.

You've already paraded your ignorance of Canadian (and American) history. Stop now, while you still have a shred of cover for the paucity of your knowledge.

Rev Pesky

Cody87 wrote:
...How can you justify a comment that an entire society who (for the last 70+ years at least) has attracted some of the brightest minds in hundreds of fields and some of the most famous scientists (Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla) and intellectuals actively wants to forget someone due to their intellectual rigour? Where other people might say "Americans try to forget {public figure X, Y, Z] due to {owning slaves, public drunkenness, poor moral role model}", you're actually suggesting Americans want to forget this man because he was smart.

This sort of casual, off-base disparagement of an entire group of people is a sure way to senselessly alienate those who belong in that group...

From an article posted upthread:

Quote:
There has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in America, unlike most other Western countries. Richard Hofstadter, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his book, Anti-Intellectualism In American Life, describes how the vast underlying foundations of anti-elite, anti-reason and anti-science have been infused into America’s political and social fabric. Famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once said: "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

I guess you missed that...

Cody87

Rev Pesky wrote:

Cody87 wrote:
...How can you justify a comment that an entire society who (for the last 70+ years at least) has attracted some of the brightest minds in hundreds of fields and some of the most famous scientists (Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla) and intellectuals actively wants to forget someone due to their intellectual rigour? Where other people might say "Americans try to forget {public figure X, Y, Z] due to {owning slaves, public drunkenness, poor moral role model}", you're actually suggesting Americans want to forget this man because he was smart.

This sort of casual, off-base disparagement of an entire group of people is a sure way to senselessly alienate those who belong in that group...

From an article posted upthread:

Quote:
There has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in America, unlike most other Western countries. Richard Hofstadter, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his book, Anti-Intellectualism In American Life, describes how the vast underlying foundations of anti-elite, anti-reason and anti-science have been infused into America’s political and social fabric. Famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once said: "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

I guess you missed that...

Are Americans really Anti-Intellectual?

The fullness of U.S. history does not really line up with the images pushed to the fore in the mid-1960s. Although there have unquestionably been episodes of anti-intellectualism, Americans have been more inclined to celebrate the nation’s democratic culture as a hotbed incubating genius and intellectual accomplishment, including by people from ordinary backgrounds....

Americans ... attended popular summer schools ... and demanded access to higher education. In the 1910s and 1920s, Albert Einstein became a household name because, as one journalist boasted in Popular Science Monthly, “we have over a million and a half readers of the popular scientific magazines – over three and a half million if engineering and technical magazines are included.” ... Higher education became more accessible, as male enrollments in U.S. colleges increased by 55% between 1907 and 1915, and college attendance by women jumped by a remarkable 156%.

Fascination with educated Americans reached from black periodicals such as The Crisis celebrating African Americans who earned doctorates to the national excitement about the “brain trust” advising President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression....

Even during the putatively anti-intellectual 1950s, Newsweek reported that “drugstore book racks, once the undisputed home of Mickey Spillane, now also shelter the paperbound works of Plato, Shakespeare, Freud, and St. Augustine.”

Inasmuch as America’s supposed anti-intellectualism makes good headlines today, it can hardly be taken as a true portrait of American history. Far from celebrating the ignorant, Americans have often been drawn to brainpower, genius, and have demonstrated fascination with the curious habits of ivy-educated elites.

6079_Smith_W

The single most important name? Now you know that's not true, and you are actually begging the question here.

Look, most who weren't seriously into history in school probably don't know the names (never mind what they did) beyond Washington, Jefferson and Franklin, and even then it is because they see the names on streets and money and schools. More probably know Paul Revere's, Betsy Ross's or Benedict Arnold's names than John Adams. 

So who is the most important person to someone focused on political theory is not the necessarily the most important person to someone who learned basic history.

In any case, someone not knowing your favourite revolutionary's name does not them stupid any more than anyone from another country raised on their own national myths and not knowing important background.

(edit)

And in case I wasn't clear enough with the point of my exercise, you are not a stupid person either, yet you were unfamiliar with a very important Canadian figure who played a critical role in our history.

 

 

voice of the damned

According to the Georgia Department Of Education, the Social Studies performance standards for the state include...

"Explain the importance of Thomas Paine's Common Sense to the movement for independence".

(section SSUSH3, near the top)

I also found a few elementary schools named after Thomas Paine, including one in New Jersey where the newsletter is called Coomon Sense. And when I studied American literature at university, the textbook, published by that radical underground bookseller Random House, contained generous selections from Paine's writing.

Pesky, besides the guy you met at the restauurant, what is your source for saying that Thomas Paine has been purged from the American consciousness?

voice of the damned

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Sure, but I am sure you don't recall every lesson from your school years.

Yeah, that's kinda part of my point, if I didn't state it on the last page. One person, even many people, not knowing the name of an historical figure doesn't mean that the historical figure has been flushed down the memory hole. Just that they don't recall everything they learned in school.

I'll grant that Thomas Paine doesn't have the status of Jefferson, Washington, or even Franklin, in the American pantheon. But this might have more to do with the fact that his role was largely as a theoretician, rather than as a soldier or politician.

6079_Smith_W

Sure, but I am sure you don't recall every lesson from your school years.

And "expunged" is a good word. Your last question raises a somewhat more complex question than "does not knowing about Tom Paine mean you are stupid"?

I am sure the Georgia Department of Education doesn't really want students to read so far into Paine's message about independence, the state, and religion that they have a full understanding of it. Just enough so they get the bit about Britain (and maybe nowadays, Washington) being the enemy.

 

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Gotcha.  Agreed, and agreed.

(edit)

And of course there are the "Sovereign Citizens" who can quote Paine, Jefferson, and the rest of them backwards. That makes them geniuses, I suppose?

http://publius-sovereignty.blogspot.ca/

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

We've basically got a "United States is evil" thread, and now we've got a "United States is stupid" thread.  Is it time for "The United States of Lazy"?

I've got this photo of an obese Walmart shopper in a scooter, stocking up on FunYuns, that I'm dying to post.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

C'mon Magoo. You know as well as the next person that both threads - on the endless and horrific violence in the US OT1H, and on the astounding and flabbergasting Herculean stupidity OTOH - have such rich, generous, and ample evidence that these are, literally, threads that will never want for fresh contributions, to the end of our days. 

What's more American than an act of senseless violence? Applause for same? You're just not getting into the spirit of this at all.

PS. If a Fun Yun is an automatic weapon, then why not go ahead?

 

6079_Smith_W

Why not?

Feel free, but there isn't actually anything progressive or productive at all about making fun of how stupid and violent other people are.

Aside from the fact it is a complete crock of shit, how does it make you any better than the things you are pointing out, if that is what you focus your energy on?

Is that your enlightened, non-violent, and intelligent alternative?

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Feel free, but there isn't actually anything progressive or productive at all about making fun of how stupid and violent other people are.

Comedy mocks the imperfections of the world and thereby re-charges our spirits by holding out the possibility of a better world. I beg to differ.

Rev Pesky

voice of the damned wrote:
...Yeah, that's kinda part of my point, if I didn't state it on the last page. One person, even many people, not knowing the name of an historical figure doesn't mean that the historical figure has been flushed down the memory hole. Just that they don't recall everything they learned in school.

I'll grant that Thomas Paine doesn't have the status of Jefferson, Washington, or even Franklin, in the American pantheon. But this might have more to do with the fact that his role was largely as a theoretician, rather than as a soldier or politician.

In fact he was also a soldier and a politician. He volunteered in the Continental Army, and later became Secretary of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in Congress.

Theoretician? Well, all I can say is there's not really any reason for Canadians to know Tom Paine, so ignorance of him in Canada is more or less forgiveable.

For those who want to know more, here's an article form the BBC News

Who was Thomas Paine?

Quote:
Paine threw his lot in with those Americans who were thirsting for independence from Britain. In January 1776 he published a short pamphlet that earned him the title The Father of the American Revolution.

Titled simply, Common Sense, the work has been described by the Pulitzer-winning historian Gordon S Wood as "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire [American] revolutionary period". It put the case for democracy, against the monarchy, and for American independence from British rule.

It became a sensation, selling 120,000 copies in the first three months. Given that America had only two million free citizens at the time, that is the equivalent of an American author selling 15 million books in three months today.

So Thomas Paine will stand on his own, without my support.

But there is a measure that is very real, and of an intellectual nature, by which we can gauge the USA. That is the general belief in evolution, the single most important theory in the biological sciences. Without evolution, nothing in the biological world makes any sense. So one would think that the nation whose industry depends so much on science would find strong support for the theory of evolution amongst the general population.

As of June 14, 2014, some 42% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago. Only 19% of respondents below believed that humans have evolved without the guidance of god.

Belief in Creation in the USA

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More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising.

...The percentage of the U.S. population choosing the creationist perspective as closest to their own view has fluctuated in a narrow range between 40% and 47% since the question's inception. There is little indication of a sustained downward trend in the proportion of the U.S. population who hold a creationist view of human origins.

...A number of states have been embroiled in fights in recent years over the degree to which evolution and creationism should be included in their public school curricula.

This definitely sets the USA apart from other industrialized nations. In an older review of belief in evolution (2005) which polled all the countries of Europe (except Russia), the USA was second lowest, next to Turkey.

However, I will admit this is not your garden variety stupidity. It is something far worse, that is, wilful ignorance. A while back I read a book called "Darwiin on Trial" by a USA lawyer named Phillip E. Johnson. I can't remember the exact phrase, but in that book he said words to the effect that he would rather be wrong about evolution, than to abandon his faith.

Now there is a relatively sophisticated thinker who tosses away the greatest unifying principle of biology so he can proclaim his faithfulness.

What do you call that?

6079_Smith_W

I call it being an idealogue, which I agree is more dangerous than being stupid. Though in part that is because idealogues can sometimes be very intelligent.

I have to say I'm not sure I buy this shibboleth any more than I do your Tom Paine one. Are you saying the entire middle east is inhabited by stupid people? Never mind that some modern proponents of creationism are quite educated, it isn't a valid indicator of cognition and intelligence. Not one that any psychologists are likely to put much stock in, anyway.

Probably good news for ikosmos, because there are Russian numbers, and they aren't too different from the American ones. Too bad that century of atheism didn't hold. 

https://ncse.com/news/2010/06/creationism-russia-005566 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I don't have a link for this, nor time to go fetch one (since my coals are nearly heated), but wasn't it some American Xtians who asserted that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter was exactly 3?  Because their God would never make it an irrational number?

6079_Smith_W

Found a couple of "dumb xtian" pages about it, and it is actually a bit more substantial than that. It was waved around by anti-religious literalists who think it is proof that the bible has mistakes in it:

https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/as-easy-as-pi/

but I didn't find any believers actually claiming they think pi equals 3. There were some hoaxes, though :

http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/pi.asp

Hey, if you go into something convinced that certain people are stupid, you are likely to fall for any nonsense about them.

Besides. Considering the rest of us use shorthand to round it off to two decimal places, rounding it off to a whole number isn't technically false.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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but I didn't find any believers actually claiming they think pi equals 3. There were some hoaxes, though :

Very well.  Here's one where pi = 3.2.  I don't feel like that takes a lot from my point.

I guess my thinking was that this should be up to mathematicians, not theologians.

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Considering the rest of us use shorthand to round it off to two decimal places, rounding it off to a whole number isn't technically false.

There's no need to go with 8 decimal points of accuracy if your ruler is only good for two.

That's a far cry from "my God would never, ever..."

Cody87

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Hey, if you go into something convinced that certain people are stupid, you are likely to fall for any nonsense about them.

You just summed up the American election perfectly.

6079_Smith_W

Mr. Magoo wrote:

That's a far cry from "my God would never, ever..."

Now I am curious.

Did anyone ever say that? the 1897 bill doesn't seem to be based on religion at all.

And Cody. I agree that it applies (like how some people will believe anything about Hillary or Trump, depending on your camp), but I am talking about how gullible we can be in talking about them. It's like the myth that people actually believed the earth was flat. Well, a myth until Alex Jones came along, that is.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Earth

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Agnotology: the cultural production of ignorance...

An American named Robert Proctor has made a study of this. And there's plenty of data close at hand ...

Wikipedia wrote:
Agnotology is the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data. The neologism was coined by Robert N. Proctor, a Stanford University professor specializing in the history of science and technology. Its name derives from the Neoclassical Greek word ἄγνωσις, agnōsis, "not knowing" (confer Attic Greek ἄγνωτος "unknown"[4]), and -λογία, -logia.[5] More generally, the term also highlights the increasingly common condition where more knowledge of a subject leaves one more uncertain than before.

Some causes of culturally induced ignorance are media neglect, corporate or governmental secrecy and suppression, document destruction, and myriad forms of inherent or avoidable culturopolitical selectivity, inattention, and forgetfulness.[6]

A prime example of the deliberate production of ignorance cited by Proctor is the tobacco industry's advertising campaign to manufacture doubt about the cancer and other health effects of tobacco use. Under the banner of science, the industry produced research about everything except tobacco hazards to exploit public uncertainty.[5][7]

Agnotology also focuses on how and why diverse forms of knowledge do not "come to be", or are ignored or delayed. For example, knowledge about plate tectonics was censored and delayed for at least a decade because some evidence was classified military information related to undersea warfare.[5]

Cody87

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And Cody. I agree that it applies (like how some people will believe anything about Hillary or Trump, depending on your camp), but I am talking about how gullible we can be in talking about them.

Sorry, the context was clear and I wasn't intending to derail. I just found it striking how easily a couple of words could be switched to apply to "Trump supporters," "Clinton supporters," "Brexit supporters," or "Bernie supporters."

In fact I could have even just said "You just summed up politics in a nutshell."

When you believe your ideological opponents (and/or their supporters) are evil (stupid/heartless/racist/etc), it becomes easy to believe anything about them.

6079_Smith_W

Cody87 wrote:

In fact I could have even just said "You just summed up politics in a nutshell."

Yup, and the media, and the internet, including a fair chunk of it right here.

Time was you could have a political disagreement with someone without reflexively thinking they are stupid and evil and that all their sources are lies and they make no valid points whatsoever.

And on the flip side, when it comes to the stuff you want to believe I suppose it is easier to just agree with people that they are talking about the devil, and not bother to have to read their material to see if it in fact makes any sense.

And not trying to squelch your thought on it either. Just clarifying.

Rev Pesky

6079_Smith_W wrote:
...I have to say I'm not sure I buy this shibboleth any more than I do your Tom Paine one.

What shibboleth was that?

 

6079_Smith_W

Are you kidding?

Belief in creationism as some assumed marker for stupidity.

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Are you kidding?

Belief in creationism as some assumed marker for stupidity.

Well, I wouldn't call it a marker for stupidity, but it certainly does indicate something drastically different about the mental functioning of creationists. They have abandoned all empirical evidence in favour of an ancient system of myths. That's not stupidity, but it is something pretty terrifying to me.

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