Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Knowledge" is not a dirty word.

Today I've seen another link in my FB page which talks about elitism and fascism in the US.  One of the interesting things I've seen more and more often creeping into the conversation is the substitution of the word "elite" with the term "college-educated elite", as if college education, having more knowledge and more experience,  makes you one of the elite.

Let me tell you first hand, it does not.

There are a number of problems with this concept of the "college educated elite" controlling the nation and keeping the "common man" down.  First off, is the idea that being college educated gives you some sort of pass into the political world.  It does not.  Many of the legacy politicians DO have degrees, have gone to college, but that's not what MAKES them elite. In many cases, their elitism has been the "in" to the colleges and universities they attend. Let's face it. Schools are businesses, and when the cash cow comes mooing at the barn door...

So then there are the one offs... the examples people like to throw out there of college educated people in politics who want to control other if we're going to do that, let's talk about Ben Carson.  Since he's far right, anti-abortion anti science and a brain surgeon, he's a good example of this.  But here's the thing about Carson... or any human being.   Having a college degree, working your way through medical school or university, doesn't mean you don't have any possibility of developing some sort of thought disorders or psychiatric illness.  Now I'm not going to diagnose Ben Carson, but I will say that anyone who has a picture commissioned of himself with Jesus, and that picture talks to him and tells him Egyptian burial chambers are grain silos and he's destined to be the president of the United States,  well, that's a man I don't want standing over my head with a scalpel.

But for every Ben Carson there is also Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Jimmy Carter. People who've gotten educated, and then gave their all to the community.  Community activists, civil rights activists, and a guy who at the age most are sitting around the nursing home is out with a hammer building houses for the less fortunate.

And that's the thing, because people who have college education are more likely to be liberal.  For the most part, it seems that the same kind of people who seek out more knowledge are also the same people who are more likely to vote left.  The idea here isn't that college education necessarily makes someone liberal,but that more intelligent people seek out both college education and tend to vote left. And of course, this model doesn't state that someone who is right leaning will seek out college (for either status or genuine knowledge) then lean left after acquiring that knowledge, although there are theories that state the more education you have, the less likely you are to vote extremist, and the right has gotten very extreme indeed these days.

So if you're looking for manipulation by our government, or the people in power, why not consider why knowledge and intelligence have become dirty words?  Who exactly benefits from an ignorant populace?  And what does this social trend towards vilifying education actually do to our society?

Perhaps one of the things it does is keeps people from asking those very questions.

Everyone knows that CEOs make more money now compared to their workers than they have since before the Great Depression... but are willing to continue to put money in their hands assuming it will "trickle down", even though it hasn't trickled down in the last 80 years.

Without education, without thought, following blindly on emotions digs us deeper into the rut.  We're mired in ignorance, anger and hate, and tend to vote with those who support those ideas which have gotten us where we are in the first place.  As long as an unquestioning population is told that they're victims (of Mexicans, Gays, educated people, Muslims, and women) they're going to want to fight back, blindly following the people who are profiting from their ignorance.

To bring it down to a non-intellectual level, it's rather like the scene in Disney's Lion King.  The question is will we learn?  Will we educate ourselves and be informed by thoughtful decisions? or will we repeat the past over and over, painfully and thoughtlessly?