One foo-fah-rah in the news recently is the deep south’s deliberate destruction of their education system, starting with a ban on scientific concepts such as evolution and the geologic scale of time. There are proposals for “fair and balanced” presentation of science in the classrooms (which is code for “we wanna whip the bible on kids and make ’em unable to develop a critical thought without reachin’ automatically for the television remote so they can be told what to think.”) Well, maybe I’m reading too much agenda into this.
This emasculation of education benefits the politicians, who long ago realized the wisdom of conditioning a population of future voters to believe that anything on TV is true. In politics, critical thinking is *bad news*. If politicians could limit campaign issues to, say, a beauty pagent, or how far each candidate could spit, they’d do it. It’s unclear that we’d be any worse off; at least they’d be telling fewer actual lies.
It’s also great for the bible-thumpers, who ultimately have an agenda that is nearly identical to that of the politicians (minus the pesky elections). Then there are the idiots who simply get off on thumping things and telling people what to think. I’ve always thought that TV evangelism was an ironic industry; nearly luddite, but being dependent on technology like broadcast satellites and computers to keep the books, while at the same time with an unofficial mission to condition its audience to be incapable of developing that technology (“Just cash, please. Cash for Jesus. And, uh, God will recall us if you don’t give us more cash. And you didn’t give any cash to the evil sinners on the channel below us, did you? We’re praying that God will smite their transponder.”)
While listening to some news bite about the banning of the “E” word in the Georgian public school system, and I had this bad, evil, critical thought: The more that Georgia screws up its education system, the better off the rest of us are. It makes it easier for our kids to get a leg up on theirs. If Georgia wants its future citizens to compete economically at the level of sewing soccer balls together, why then, that’s their business. We can make hay out of that, ship lots more low-paying jobs there, and what’s wrong with it? They made their choice, and they can reap the benefits of it. It’s not like they’re being repressed by gun-toting stormtroopers, they wanted it.
Of course, it sucks to be them. And it would suck for the same sentiment to rise up where you live, so it’s probably not a good idea for this to get out of hand.
[Since I wrote this, the Georgian education system has waffled and relented on the “E” word. I’ll bet you a dollar the issue will return, it always has.]