Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why being smart doesn't seem to matter anymore...

As a middle school teacher and parent, I have stressed the importance of education in my students and in my own children.

And now I wonder why....

Let's take some time to look at how the bulk of the U.S. views educated people.  Far right wing talkers have been chucking the phrase "pointy headed" and "elitist" out there in reference to educated liberals.  Usually in reference to people with advanced degrees, or people who attended Ivy League schools or just people who act smart.  I have spent a good deal of time thinking about this and am finally reaching some alarming conclusions.

The right (and many Republicans) don't want a fleet of smart people.  Intelligence, by its very nature, going as far back as Aristotle or Jesus, have encouraged their students and followers to ask questions.  Questions, whether or not they lead to answers, always lead to critical thinking and higher thought processes.  The more people we educate, the more questions will be asked, the more people will be inclined to look at the authority with questions rather than look at it as though it were infallible.

Along with politics and education, I intend to really dig deep into the general psyche of American beliefs and hypocrisies, of changing likes and dislikes, and of the things that make this country one to stand in awe of as well as shake our heads at.  

Onto the issue at hand, when did being well educated become a negative thing.  It certainly isn't something that is new, especially not when listening to people on the right.  Elitist and pointy headed are both code words for smart.  Somebody speaks well, they are pointy headed.  Suddenly we want our politicians to be stupid.  We want them to be like us.  I don't exactly know why, I couldn't even begin to understand it.  Going as far back as ancient Greece, people spoke of "philosopher" kings, people chosen to rule based on their superior intellect; in our democracy we have turned it into who can be the folksiest...who can be the most like us.   It's okay if you're filthy rich, it's okay if you don't have our best interests at heart, as long as you aren't intelligent, as long as you didn't graduate at the top of your class or get some kind of advanced degree.   

Why bother telling my students to try hard?  McCain finished near the bottom of his class, George W. Bush was barely a C student, Sarah Palin bounced her way through 5 or 6 colleges. McCain can miss almost 70% of his senate votes...the message is isn't important, working hard isn't important...float through your school, just scrape by.  

1 comment:

disgruntledtruckdriver said...

Where you make your mistake is associating "Education and Intelligence" with the Conservative definition of "Elitism". When Liberals belittle someone, because they dare to disagree...THAT IS ELITISM!!!

When someone like Al Gore insults our intelligence by saying anyone who doesn't believe that Global Warming is man made, "Works for the oil companies"...that is elitism. It isn't about education or lack there's about how you treat people!!! Liberals tend to treat anyone who disagrees with contempt and they are the first to call names, attack character...etc. Just look at how Christians are treated...just because I am a Christian doesn't mean I judge anyone...I have a LOG in my eye...I am hardly one to point out the speck in someone else's. But simply by me being a Christian...I am attacked.

Liberals are so afraid of a point of view that is contrary to what THEY HAVE DECIDED IS RIGHT that simply making mention that "Hey there may be an opposing view" they go after it with a vengence. The best example of this is Creation VS. Evolution...the ONLY THING that Christians ask is that a short paragraph be read that says that many people do believe that Darwin's Theories are just that...Theories...they do not explain the beginning of life and they also have many holes, like if all life started from the same point...why can't a cat mate with a bird? I don't want creation "Taught" in school...but what I also don't want is children having a faith in God, "Taught out of them". I have a problem when you send your kid to college...spend good money...and they come home and tell you there is no God!!!

So you and I see "Elitism" a little differently because it has nothing to do with education and everything to do with how you treat people!!!