}

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When education is missing



This video is by New Left Media, who I subscribe to on YouTube (I posted another of their videos last November). This video shows the teabagger folks saying things that are flat out wrong, often stupid and even alarming.

The video above was shot at the “tax day” protest in Washington, DC. The right will no doubt make excuses for itself by saying that these folks aren’t “typical” of the teabgaggers at the rally. What they don’t get is that it doesn’t matter: The people depicted are at least typical enough of teabaggers to show what the problem with them is: They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

“Do you know that President Obama is considering banning fishing in America? Fishing!” one woman in the video declared. She’s not alone in her bizarre stupidity: People in this video know nothing about reality—US history, the US Constitution or anything even remotely connected to public policy. ALL they can do is parrot Fox “News” talking points over and over, uncritically and without any understanding of what they’re saying. You can see that when they’re pressed on the talking point they just spouted and can’t say anything.

Their statements on taxes are a good example. The fact is, 95-98% of all working Americans did get a tax reduction. That’s a fact anyone can look up. It’s not a matter of opinion, something one can disagree with, any more than one can “disagree” that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. All they have to do is look up facts somewhere—anywhere—other than Fox.

What I think this shows the most clearly is the result of decades of under-investment in education in America. Because of that, ill-informed opinion, or deliberate disinformation, can now pass for fact and truth. Science has become a dirty word and something not to be “believed”. The whole paradigm of knowledge itself has been transformed into a commodity to be packaged and sold by Fox to a public untrained and ill-prepared to tell the difference between propaganda and truth and between facts and nonsense.

Whenever I see one of these teabagger rallies, and see or hear them speak, I think of the famous quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Es ist nichts schrecklicher als eine t├Ątige Unwissenheit.” (“There is nothing more terrible than ignorance in action.”) The ignorance these teabaggers display is terrible—and dangerous.

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