In High School, I had a good friend from Holland. At 17, he had already graduated his own High School, but decided to re-take his Senior year at mine because he wanted to immerse himself in American culture. They were giant-steps ahead of us. Regrettably, we don't place the greatest emphasis on education, and that could well mean the beginning of the end of America's leadership in the world.
One of our Presidential candidates, Rick Santorum, went so far as to say that we place too great an emphasis on education in this country. But then I suppose it's easier to get votes from an illiterate public --
The usual offered solution to this is to pay yet more taxes into education.
Simply shoveling money at this problem won't fix it. Specifically, more money spent teaching using failed methodologies also won't fix it. You can reduce class sizes all you want but if you insist on using failed methods to teach reading etc., you will just turn out more and more expensively babysat illiterates.
Americans are pretty unique in that many of us almost worship ignorance, believing education is bad and good-old horse sense (no matter how nonsensical) is good. I believe this has it's roots in the Bible, as it refers to scholars as fools.
You'll see this less in urban areas, college towns, and Liberal leaning states like in the Northeast or West coast.
I suppose it is based on the decline of education and the rise of fanatical christians as people in united states are more convinced of the end of days.I don't think stupid as whole as much as led by our very deep love of media. We as a whole have grown content to do as we are told without question. It is questioning that changes something within us to read, to learn to see the world through eyes beyond our own.there is a reason books have been attempted to be banned.The same reason show that actually provoke thought have slowly been eroded away . All to control how we think. Some of us are lucky enough to question what we are being told. We are few in number in comparison to the sheeple. Our voices drowned out by the the masses.
Yes, Elon, people in the U.S. ARE stupid. Not only that but they are proud of being stupid. Stupidity is part of what Americans call their “exceptionalism.” Their schools are citadels of stupidity, where science is jettisoned for stupid religious claptrap; where the highly efficacious metric system is rejected in favor of clumsy methods of calculation because it isn’t sufficiently stupid; where evolution isn't taught because it is too hard to find an American teacher who isn't too stupid to understand it.
Americans are so stupid they have to import scientists and academicians so they can keep winning Nobel Prizes. Americans are so stupid that they are willing to let fruits and vegetables rot and die, rather than allow a brown-skinned person to cross the border to harvest them. Americans are so stupid they delude themselves into believing they can keep pouring pollutants into the air and water in perpetuity without paying a price. Americans are so stupid they boo Bill Nye and other intelligent people for challenging their stupidity. Americans are so stupid that they can’t figure out how to prevent 30,000 people a year from being killed by guns; and they pass stupid laws like “Stand Your Ground” in hopes of increasing that 30,000 figure. Americans are so stupid they let O.J. get away with decapitating his wife; Casey Anthony with killing her child; and Robert Blake with shooting his wife to death.
Americans are so stupid they believe “Fox News” is “fair & balanced.” Americans are so stupid they watch reality TV. Americans are so stupid they watch the Nat Geo, TLC, and History Channels to learn that mermaids REALLY exist; that Bigfoot is right around the next tree; that E.T. is just over the next hill; and that the Long Island medium REALLY knows something they don’t. They also believe that Jerry Lewis is a genius.
Americans are so stupid they think Rush Limbaugh is a wise, educated, family values sort of guy. Americans are so stupid they elected the supremely stupid Louie Gohmert and James Inhofe to Congress and almost let an Alaskan cheerleader be a heartbeat away from running the country. Americans are so stupid they believe that George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condi Rice are NOT war criminals. Americans are so stupid they can’t go much more than a decade or so without a war - ANY war; against ANYONE; for ANY reason. Americans are so stupid they actually believe they live in a democracy where rich & poor, black & white, gay & straight, male & female are treated equally. Americans are so stupid they believe they are not racists; they can usually be found at hockey games, swim meets, and NASCAR races. And, of course, Americans are so stupid they believe they are better in every way than any other people in the world.
But most of all, more than the people of any other developed country, profoundly stupid Americans believe there’s a David Copperfield in the sky who is controlling their lives and will grant them eternal life. You don’t GET any more stupid than that.
Yes, indeed, Elon, we are a stupid people being controlled and manipulated by a tiny minority of the wealth aristocracy that has managed to monopolize the lion’s share of the world’s wealth and power, for now. But when our house of cards collapses, and it will, if the Republicans have anything to say about it, the border fence we obsessively (and stupidly) built to keep you Mexicans out will protect you from the desperate hordes of America's stupid, poor people who will be flooding across the Rio Grande seeking a better life.
Would you like a glimpse of America’s future? Rent Mike Judge’s prescient film, “Idiocracy” (2006)
that film still makes me shudder would rather watch halloween than that movie again.
I think I would need to know what 'smart' looks like!
I think, generally, that I am a rather 'smart' guy, but know that, with some ease, that I could name several examples of my own occasional nuttiness.
When I have been called a 'fool/idiot/crazy', it seems to either come from people that have their own way(s) of doing things, or my own self talk/observations. If you want to be called a fool more often, just be rather creative in the presence of other dolts that want you to sweep the floor 'their way'. I was once considered a fool because I used too much celery in my Turkey dressing, or used trail-mix!
I have known my share of very creative people that have no significant formal education. For them 'reality' has been a very effective teacher. Sadly, getting enough real world experience might depend upon not winning the Darwin Award too soon!
Elon Johnson: I suspect you are actually an intellectually superior person. I also am, and this is not to boast but to advance a positive and often assisting reality. I denied this in high school when I tested with an IQ of 172 by saying I was just lucky. Must have made good guesses, but the truth was obvious. I was three years younger than my peers.
In my old age now, I like to think those with a superior intellect can often assist those who lead with confusion and ignorance, and they should be vocal but not arrogant about their abilities. I have never looked at others with disdain but with the commonality and appreciation of life that all humans are offered.
I attempt to help but as a psychologist I can easily discern the reason few accept--often in anger. Allow me to offer a supreme example: When I lived in Mexico for a few years I sincerely appreciated the Mexican people as they have no difficulty accepting assistance that makes their lives easier. I was on my 57 foot ketch with my wife and a useless helper who knew too much to learn and nearly ran us into a fifty foot rock. I kicked his lying ass off and stayed a while in La Paz, the capital of Bahia California Sur. A great city near the end of the peninsula bordering the Sea of Cortez.
Anyway, at one dock I watched a person (American) attempting to start a small outboard engine. For a half hour he pulled and pulled on the starter rope with no results. Those tiny engines are two-strokes and ultra simplistic. Other than a main seal leak, plugged carburetor, or fouled plug they will usually fire off and very quickly. (Yes there can be other difficulties but I have never seen a problem that could not be easily fixed--even a bent rod!) I went over and politely mentioned that I was extremely familiar with the intricacies of the obstinate beast he was attempting to get running, and could I offer assistance? His reply... only the sternest scowl imaginable and back to cranking, ignoring me. I immediately knew the problem from the fuel smell permeating the air.
So, I left. later on, I saw him throw the small motor on the dock in disgust, kick it, and stomp off. I returned to the boat in his absence hoping to find someone aboard that was more amenable to assistance than he. Sure enough, a wife aboard had about had it with Joe Jerk. She allowed me to get it running, and of course it just needed full throttle and the choke off. I had it going in about six pulls and it ran reasonably well. It did need an adjustment to idle well, but that was all.
Then I instructed his wife on how to start it every time. Two strokes are easily started with the right combination of throttle and choke. There is seldom need for more than four pulls to see them light up (if in running condition with adequate compression, spark, fuel and no nasty leaks).
When he returned, the motor was back on the dink and I had opened the port to hear any conversation. "Who put the fooking motor back on" he growled. his wife answered as I had instructed, saying she did. That's when el moron challenged her with "OK, then you can start it too!" and she did on the first pull.
What happened next was unfortunately too typical of some men when their abilities are taken into question. He ripped it off the dink and threw it in the ocean asking his wife "Can you dive too?" Then he was off to get drunk I presume.
I kept a huge homemade treble hook on a strong 3/8 line just for such things and with the wife's permission recovered it in a few minutes (shallow harbor, clear water, easy). Dumped the salt water out and rinsed it with the freshwater hose. Popped the bottom off the carb and did the same. Restarted it and had her warm it up completely. She could see me in the boat and I directed the warm up timing needed to blow any salt residue out. It takes little more than that and I have done this many times over 18 years sailing.
Then I had her take it inside where it would not be visible to jerk Joe coming back from the local bar. I asked her to meet him when he arrived. As expected, I heard him say "Guess you caint dive, huh?" with sarcasm dripping from his ugly sneer. Her reply was amazing. "Oh I can dive, and I can start motors too" then she told him to wait and returned with the little motor. She said "Here, catch, and never make me do this again!" and threw the motor to him. Then she told him to put it on the dink and stand back. He did, in a haphazard way obviously quite bombed.
Then she stepped into the dink and turned the gas on , set the choke, and fired it again on the first pull. She blipped the throttle a few times and asked "That what you want or should I pitch it and you back in and sail away too?"
Bombed or not he got that message. The only real force in some men's lives--is their wives.
It was wonderful and a few days later she brought over some cookies and a small pie. Said I had improved their relationship because he always considered her useless, and now he knew better. She was truly happy.She could start the motor and he couldn't.
What a difference attitude makes.
Appreciate your mentality and offer it to assist, not as an overbearing display of superiority, and there will be those who accept and those who are Joe Jerks. Just accept that "Yuh caint hep em all" and get on with those you can.
Sounds like you're a good man, John. I do hope you don't mind a minor correction - I, too, lived in Mexico for a number of years, and I know exactly the area you mean, it was on the other side of the peninsula from my own home. But it isn't, "Bahia California Sur," it's Baja California del Sur (Lower California, of the South) - the peninsula is divided into two states, Baja California del Norte, where I lived, and Baja California del Sur, where you obviously resided.
Speaking of intellect, I tried getting out of being drafted into the Army by failing the I.Q. test - they calculated the odds of getting all of the questions wrong but one, was so remote, that I had to have known all of the correct answers in order to miss only one. I outsmarted myself.
Early on, in order to fit in, I learned to play dumb - by now, I've had so much practice, it's second nature.
RE: "they calculated the odds of getting all of the questions wrong but one, was so remote, that I had to have known all of the correct answers in order to miss only one." - and yes, I realize that that statement is mathematically incorrect, but considering the oxymoron, "Army Intelligence," it was a comparatively accurate guess.