Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Cultivated Ignorance

Ignorance cultivated in the interests of ideology has been practiced by liberals and conservatives alike; an unfortunate but enduring facet of human behavior, probably since Homo Habilis rose from slime mold to “handy man.” Since the New Millennium, however, Republicans seem to have incorporated and promoted the practice as central to their strategy. Why?

Why did Rick Santorum call President Obama a snob for promoting a college education? Why did Republicans in Oklahoma try to ban Advanced Placement History and other AP courses? Why did Rick Perry, in his infamous “Oops moment,” have no trouble remembering he’d cut the Department of Education, while forgetting whatever the third department was? Why are Republican-controlled state legislatures promoting private, tax-payer funded “Christ-centric” schools over public education?

Money. The big-monied interests supporting the Republican Party are not enthusiastic about a well-educated (or, as it happens, even a robust) electorate. It’s easier to convince people who are ignorant about basic physics, or chemistry, or geology, or statistics, or [oh-my-goodness!] paleoclimatology, that global warming is a hoax. Just bring a snowball to the floor of Congress.

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