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America is Entrenched in Public Stupidity, Critical Thinking is a Liability
3 years ago



Truthout / By Henry A. Giroux

The United States Is Awash in Public Stupidity, and Critical Thought Is Under Assault
From celebrity culture to phony public intellectuals to shallow politicians -- there's an assault on rational thinking in this country.

America has become amnesiac - a country in which forms of historical, political, and moral forgetting are not only willfully practiced but celebrated. The United States has degenerated into a social order that is awash in public stupidity and views critical thought as both a liability and a threat. Not only is this obvious in the presence of a celebrity culture that embraces the banal and idiotic, but also in the prevailing discourses and policies of a range of politicians and anti-public intellectuals who believe that the legacy of the Enlightenment needs to be reversed. Politicians such as Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich along with talking heads such as Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Anne Coulter are not the problem, they are symptomatic of a much more disturbing assault on critical thought, if not rational thinking itself. Under a neoliberal regime, the language of authority, power and command is divorced from ethics, social responsibility, critical analysis and social costs.


These anti-public intellectuals are part of a disimagination machine that solidifies the power of the rich and the structures of the military-industrial-surveillance-academic complex by presenting the ideologies, institutions and relations of the powerful as commonsense. [1]For instance, the historical legacies of resistance to racism, militarism, privatization and panoptical surveillance have long been forgotten and made invisible in the current assumption that Americans now live in a democratic, post-racial society. The cheerleaders for neoliberalism work hard to normalize dominant institutions and relations of power through a vocabulary and public pedagogy that create market-driven subjects, modes of consciousness, and ways of understanding the world that promote accommodation, quietism and passivity.


 Social solidarities are torn apart, furthering the retreat into orbits of the private that undermine those spaces that nurture non-commodified knowledge, values, critical exchange and civic literacy.

This post was modified from its original form on 23 Jul, 6:26
3 years ago

When Bill Clinton was elected to a second term after his "I did not have sex with that woman" lie a news analyst said it best concerning this subject. "People always choose a known evil over the unknown!"

3 years ago

that is so true Ken.   But now it is the NBC, MSNBC constant bashing of Weiner who did sexting.

Sexting is different from actual sexual liasions as it is all internet only.


It is the obsessive compulsion of Weiner's disorder which is most unsettling.

He is of a teenager mentality for sure.


The MSM especially these two stations will do anything to divert the real problems facing this country which is the out-of-control IRS, the pending obamacare, Benghazi scandals,  Obama's failure on Middle East as he leads from behind and there is many more because we have an inept president in office.


The jobs are not there, people are more dependent now upon the government for subsidies than ever before.  There will be a point when there is no money left and where does that leave this country?   The work ethic is a thing of the past.   


It is unwise to pick and chose corporate favorites and then put government money into your picks who  happen to be your biggest campaign supporters.   We are in a huge mess!


Again, he won because you are right as it is better the devil you know, than the one you don't.

We had bad choices and it cannot continue down this road again.


We need better leaders and people will become more astute and start reviving the dying country and work together! 

3 years ago

Everyone is focused on the crazy, more entertaining

But if you look closely, it's always been this way..


3 years ago

There's a woman I've known for years goes to the same gym I do. She's really into God and trying to hold a conversation with her is difficult. She was on a bike when I was done working out and went over to say "Hi," to her. She tells me that morning she talked with God and ask Him to keep her away from temptation and it was so beautiful. I said this morning I asked God to lead you into temptation and that could be so beautiful too. What are you going to do if God answers my prayer instead of yours?" In all the years I've known her this was the first time I seen this stunned look on her face and then it was like she just let go and enjoyed herself kidding around. 

   Yet how many guys have approached her with their agendas on their mind and communicated with her that way? The same questioned could be asked about choosing leaders for our country. It's their agendas that they are selling and my own thoughts on this come from making a big mistake buying my home. I got took and trying to do anything about it I got told, "It's a buyers beware market."

   In my own life there came a point where I got fed up playing silly games with people especially in business. It's a big city where I'm at and I was raised a country boy. I got my butt kicked so bad by these people that played a game life never prepared me for. I had to learn to place importance on my own life to survive and to lead my own life instead of letting others try to lead it for me. That's the same thing society has to do. It's the individuals that make up society that have to become important to themselves so they lead their own lives first instead letting others lead them. Look at alcoholics or drug addicts who have to reach rock bottom so the only way for them is up and compare that to our society where we're close to hitting rock bottom and the only way is up. I mean if those that make up our society don't learn how to live their own lives how will they ever know what leading is about and what to look for in others in making choices about who they want to lead? That even goes for relationships. If somebody doesn't have a relationship with themselves first they for darn sure won't have one with anybody else either.

   Our needs have to start from inside of each of us before they'll ever be for all of us. If we want better leaders we have to become better leaders ourselves so we'll know what to look for in others who could be better leaders! 

3 years ago

Do you think America has reached rock bottom?  I don't think so; but if we continue on this path we sure will soon enough.


People need to learn to pull themselves up from their own bootstraps for once and stop being co-dependent.


Interesting point you make Ken with the woman in the gym, people don't know how to answer the totally unexpected and it can upset their neat lil world wherein they think they know all the answers and they really don't.   Everyday is a learning process.

3 years ago

Critical thinking, getting facts right... You know, like the timeline between Clinton's 2nd election and the Monica lewinsky revelation.


Entrenched Public Stupidity stupidly talking about others Entrenched Public Stupidity.



3 years ago

Intersting article Shelah. 

We have been heading that way for some time.

3 years ago

........."People always choose a known evil over the unknown!".......
I like May West's answer to that question: .........."When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before."

3 years ago

The woman at the gym I've known for years and she is good looking so she gets hit on a lot but she is very into God and Jesus so most males end up getting more of a sermon from her then anything. The reason I did that was to get away from her usual conversation and truthfully she was really a fun person after that happened. Yet when guys try to hustle her like anybody who has just their own agenda in mind they're more cautious with what they say. That was the point I meant to bring across because we like she have to make decisions about who we can trust all the time. Those we get to vote for are like those that try to hustle her as they have their own agenda on their minds. She hesitated after I did that which I think gave her time to consider if I had my own agenda on my mind or if she cold trust me. When she let go I took it that she trusted me. I might add that neither of us is interested in a relationship so we don't even know if we'll ever see each other again. I kind of think this is comparable to choosing leaders where we as people are like she is with guys not knowing who we can trust so we can let go making our decisions.

   The gym offers me a social life. I usually go in the morning so It's more of an older crowd. The major behavior society displays is dysfunctional to me and from every person who had a dysfunctional behavior that I've ever known, that behavior holds people hostage catering to the behavior. With older people they know what's going on but don't let it bother them. Most have fully experienced life so they seem to know more what's important while the majority of society makes noise about issues that really don't have any importance. The Trayvon Martin gig making a racial issue out of it is a no brainer while at the same time Egypt's US funded military overthrew Egypt's elected president. To the people at the gym they pay more attention to the corrupt act of our government funding the military and pulling their strings and the taxpayers go deeper in debt for that funding but the profits that will come out of this go to those who bought our government. I think there's more of a consensus of most these people is society isn't worth trying to make sense to so it's not worth getting worked up about.

   Actually can anybody reading this think of an answer as to deal with an issue like this? The reason I ask is there probably isn't an answer and getting older wakes us up to to that fact so there's no reason to worry about it. It could be like tearing something old down to build something new that might eventually happen but who knows?

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