get a brain moransI just a read a disturbingly good article entitled “The Dumbing Of America” by Susan Jacoby of the Washington Post. Jacoby claims that not only are Americans quickly becoming more ignorant, but they are increasingly proud of it. Sadly I agree :(

Whether you’re black, white, brown, or even purple with polka dots, ignorance doesn’t care. Are you a Democrat? Maybe you’re a Republican. Guess what! It doesn’t matter because ignorance crosses party lines. Ignorance goes to church and ignorance pays it’s taxes. Ignorance shops at the local grocery store and delivers your mail. It teaches your kids at school and bosses you around at work. Ignorance is omnipresent!

It’s evident in almost every facet of American life. Whether it’s public support for teaching creationism in schools or Miss Teen South Carolina answering a question, it’s apparent that Americans are slipping.

For those of you too lazy to read the article here are a few choice clips:

“The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today’s very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble — in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.

That leads us to the third and final factor behind the new American dumbness: not lack of knowledge per se but arrogance about that lack of knowledge. The problem is not just the things we do not know (consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth); it’s the alarming number of Americans who have smugly concluded that they do not need to know such things in the first place. Call this anti-rationalism — a syndrome that is particularly dangerous to our public institutions and discourse. Not knowing a foreign language or the location of an important country is a manifestation of ignorance; denying that such knowledge matters is pure anti-rationalism. The toxic brew of anti-rationalism and ignorance hurts discussions of U.S. public policy on topics from health care to taxation.

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