Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Most damaging effect of the past 8 years

Quite a few articles have been written about the damage done to the US over the past eight years. From our international prestige/respect, drains on our military, our incredible level of national debt etc. But, all of these problems are relatively fixable. Granted, the solutions will be complex and take a lot of time but I think they are certainly within our reach. However, the most damaging aspect of the past eight years I think is the way that the leaders of the political right have convinced their followers to distrust any intellectual. The experts have been successfully branded as elites; unworthy of your trust and incapable of understanding your issues. It is appalling because, unlike the problems listed above, this issue is an intangible one that will take a lot to undo. It's as though 50% of the people in the US have been convinced that they should not trust any media except FOX news and that they should be paranoid of everyone else. It feeds into the tendency of some of us to be insular and xenophobic. How do you mobilize a society when half of its inhabitants don't trust their sources of information. How do we form complex solutions to abstract and long term problems when half of us do not trust the experts? This type of thinking reached its culmination I think in sarah palin. An anti-intellectual, 'everywoman' sort of politician who doesn't know anything about the world and doesn't need to know because that would only make her less like the average american. It's sad actually that in the US, where we have the best universities and attract the best minds, that we now live in an age where being smart and intelligent is a bad thing. Hopefully with Obama's election we start to see a change in this attitude, but I dont think it'll be that easy. Afterall, John McCain's campaign was centered around this xenophobic, paranoid, fear-mongering style of politics and he got 46% of the vote.


Michael Faulkner said...

Hi hows it going?

i agree with you On that point its not just a surprise that Obama is a black elected president but an intellectual and a democrat (triple whopper) Already some of his polices on oil drilling and stem cell research seem promising.

It is really strange how many Americans simply fail to deploy critical thinking and rationality on issues that really do affect them. That being said it seems that it was the economy that made voters swing to Obama then anything else.

Check out this you tube video by the way of Obama talking about secularism and religion.

On a side note you should check out the beyond belief conference 3. Larry Kruss and Harry Kroto and others were doing some interesting talks on science and politics and why many people are ignorant on the issues. It is also in their self interest to be aware of science but they simply aren’t. This is not all there is, there’s literally hours and hours of talks. Pretty good stuff. You should find it on



Siditty said...

This post was very much on target. In America being an intellectual has become a burden rather than a honor. The concept of "common sense" thinking has gotten out of hand, and is causing the dumbing down of America.

Beyond The Political Spectrum said...

It is my observation that most Americans lack critical reasoning when it comes to current events; most just polly-parrot canned dogmatic beliefs of whatever political persuasion they affilate themselves with. A nice article (and as a black agnostic, I can totally identif with where you're coming from).

Sibanye said...

Critical thinking, indeed. My name is Sibanye. I am the coordinator for a discussion group of Black atheist/agnositcs in NYC (Harlem!). We have been meeting every month for the past four years to discuss the impact of religion on the Black community and the disapora. In February, we will discuss the gay Caucasian furor with the Black communty over Prop 8 in Cali. Why didn't they see it coming? See for details about our group.

m17hr4nd1r said...

Does anyone wonder what the implications of Sarah Palin's contribution to the gene pool could have on evolution? Her daughter was quoted as saying "If people knew the consequences of sex, nobody would be doing it. Nobody." Is there anyone who is dumb enough to believe that? I'm fairly well acquainted with coitus and the implications, both positive and negative, and I'm still doing it. Her existence could constitute an argument that our interference with natural selection has gone much to far.

Anonymous said...

John 3:19 (New King James Version)

19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.!