FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fostering a Culture of Learning: Why Fighting Anti-Intellectualism Strengthens Society

In American society, there exists a serious and growing threat to the prosperity of our people. This would be the disregard and outright contempt that many hold for institutions based around education. This threat has been magnified by the anti-intellectual attitude of President Trump and his supporters.

It seems that there is always money to go to war or bail out the rich, yet there is so seldom any slice of the pie left for the public school teachers of America. This is because warmongering and big business are largely-respected aspects of our culture; our legislators don’t care that the men and women tasked with shaping the minds of our youth are paid as little as $27,274 a year (Montana state average) all while also having to pay for various school materials out-of-pocket. Why would they? Higher wages for teachers would mean higher-quality education, and any power-hungry politician knows that an uneducated populace is easier to control.

If we as a nation were to encourage learning rather than insult and spit upon those who choose to participate in higher education or label all professors and intellectuals as elitists, perhaps we could move up a few spots from our current abysmal rankings for math and science. If our president didn’t ignore the facts and surround himself with people who hold no respect for empirical data, we might have a culture that appreciates the STEM fields, and empowers institutions that fund important research.

We would recognize the significance of the tuition crisis, and implement methods to fund tuition-free university, which Slovenia, Finland, and 22 other countries have already done. The truth is that we are country with countless state and federal lawmakers who do not see much use for education and don’t understand the merits of learning and thinking; they do not care if people who educate children receive meager salaries, or if those who have performed exceptionally throughout their years of schooling must go into extreme debt just to attend college. We must build a culture that respects the sciences, academia, and the pursuit of knowledge, so as to create a more prosperous nation.

A study in 2013 found that over 30 million adult citizens are unable to read, and that over 66 million adults are below a fifth-grade literacy level. When looking into illiteracy in America, you’ll find that a sizable chunk of those who suffer from it are in predominantly-black areas of the country. Detroit, Michigan, whose population is around 83% black, has a functional illiteracy rate of 47%. Some of this is based on social remnants of a time when African-Americans were banned from reading and writing. A lot of this is also because of the fact that many of these communities are rather poor, which leads to bad schools, which can lead to gang activity becoming more of a priority to their youth than learning. It is of the utmost importance that we as a collective provide relief to these neighborhoods by empowering their schools and developing educational programs for their youth.

All of this is surely enough to display the importance of moving our culture beyond the “liberal elite”-bashing we constantly participate in when we disparage the professors and students at American universities. I would say that the benefits of building a culture that cares about learning are immeasurable, but really the benefits are all very plain to see. Prosperity comes from the ground up, and the ground is, undoubtedly, schooling.

So many believe that if the populace has plenty of guns at their disposal, they can fight a tyrannical government; but without intelligence, any revolt is doomed to fail.

More articles by:
July 23, 2018
Pam Martens
Koch Industries Is Staffing Up with Voter Data Scientists to Tip the November Election to the Extreme Right
Binoy Kampmark
Ecuador’s Agenda: Squeezing and Surrendering Assange
Vijay Prashad
America’s Reporter: the Hersh Method
Colin Jenkins
Exposing the American Okie-Doke
Patrick Cockburn
What Boris Johnson Doesn’t Know About British History
Jack Random
Asylum Seekers in the 21st Century
Howard Lisnoff
How We Got Sold on Endless Wars
Ed Meek
Trump Has Taught Us Some Valuable Lessons About Executive Power
Myles Hoenig
Trump, the Mr. Magoo of American Diplomacy
Winslow Myers
The Mind Reels
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Peaceful Revolution
Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail