In the comments, Matt astutely notes about Republicans’ willful promotion of stupidity:
Rob, You may remember how conservatives at one time were writing all those books about how l “liberal” education policies were making American children stoopid (Closing of the American Mind, Don’t Know Much About…, Cultural Literacy). Whether their idea of the causation was correct or not, they were right; Americans are stoopid. But you’ll notice they’ve mostly shut up about it. They must have figured out that the poorly educated and the willfully ignorant were their base.
Good point Matt. Of course that’s their base.
Sure, a lot of people who vote Democrat aren’t very smart, but that’s just the way they are, and nothing can be done about it. Anyway, the Democratic Party in general is not hostile to science and does not promote complete and utter stupidity, except when they parrot GOP ideas and concepts.
What’s funny is that I’m sure the guys running the GOP are very smart people. No doubt they are often very intellectual guys. But they willfully peddle Stupid Juice by tankload to the masses, and they know full well what they are doing. It’s disgusting, but there’s a method to their madness. If they could get people to vote rightwing by peddling intelligence, I’m sure they would do that instead.
What’s disturbing is that conservatives have always promoted ignorance and stupidity everywhere they’ve been in power and at all times. The priests of the Middle Ages would not let the Bible be translated, because they didn’t want their flocks to learn to read. The Taliban burn down girls’ schools. The Nazis burned books.
When Fujimori seized power in Peru, he shut down most of the nation’s universities as hotbeds of subversion. The army raided the universities, ransakcked them, tore them to pieces, raided libraries and destroyed all the books, on and on. The universities were later reopened, and students shuffled back to campus, appalled at their trashed schools. Funding for the universities was gutted, and the books in the libraries were never replaced.
Curiously, Peruvian polls consistently show that a majority of Peruvians support Fujimori, so I guess Peruvians are even more retarded than Americans. At least we don’t send in the army to tear down UCLA and burn all the books in the library while the population cheers. Not yet anyway. I guess that’s in the future.
A similar thing happened in El Salvador under rightwing rule. The universities were shuttered as hotbeds of subversion.
Under Pinochet in Chile, funding for the public schools was gutted, and your average Chilean public school now is literally falling apart. The wealthy send their kids to public schools, so they don’t care. Not quite pro-stupidity, more like “we don’t want the masses educated.”
The same happened in Argentina, where funding for the public schools was incredibly transferred to private schools, leaving the public schools tottering and and decrepit. This is essentially what the Right in the US wants to do with their vouchers scheme.
The ruling elites have always feared that an educated population would figure out the rich people’s scam and cut off some of the loot or transfer some to themselves, so conservatives everywhere and at all times have attacked the education of the masses. The motto of conservatives is that the dumber the people are, the easier they will be for us to manipulate.
I am ashamed to admit that the worst Communists who ever lived, the Khmer Rogue, deliberately targeted any urban person with an education. They often signaled out those who worse glasses for execution. One wonders how much the national IQ went down during Khmer Rogue rule.
Mao executed intellectual dissidents during the 100 Flowers Campaign. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao shuttered universities and sent students to the work the fields with the peasants. The argument was that intellectual students were a privileged elite.
Stalin’s purges in the 1930’s disproportionately targeted the intellectual leadership of various ethnicities who he distrusted.
Otherwise, Communists have been some of the most pro-educational governments in the history of man, but we do have some shameful backsliding.
Any time your government is mass imprisoning and/or executing the intellectuals of society, it seems to me that the state is engaging in some pretty retarded behavior.
Here’s a plan! Let’s put all the smart people in prison! Better yet, let’s kill all the smart people! Duh. No better way to run your society into the ground.