Sunday, February 17, 2008

Trying to be dumb

Today I gravitated towards Susan Jacoby stories both in the Times and the Post. Her new book "The Age of American Unreason" is about the anti-intellectual and anti-rational epidemics in America. Only last night we had a similar discussion with a Franco-American group over dinner. How do you move a country forward when that country is debating creationism versus evolution? We are not talking about a poor and uneducated country, but a wealthy and educated country. What still surprises me is that many of the uninterested and anti-intellectual people are educated. You don't have to be a pointy-headed intellectual to show interest in the world around us, do you?

Whether we like it (or know it) American money and influence around the world is substantial. Our decisions in Washington do have an impact yet so many care so little. It's "over there" so who cares? As a country we lack curiosity in the world around us as if it doesn't matter. USA is number 1 so who cares? How could anything possibly be any better than what we have? We tell ourselves that we are the best at everything, so it must be true. There's no country that is perfect and you find insular people everywhere but those other countries fail to have the same global influence as America. How can we be so proudly ignorant and still compete? It certainly doesn't bode well for our future economy or especially our foreign policy when we are so proud to be ignorant. As this trend continues, selling the next foreign invasion is going to even easier than Iraq.

And America is spending its capital and resources. It is trying to promote creationism, among other things, abroad. And while I return on selling democracy is so so, the creationism bit is taking roots. Perhaps we won't have to worry about the world passing us by...we'll just drag anyone who tries to pass us down with us into the muck.

Cheery thoughts.

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