Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America


Reposted from Psychology Today:

America is killing itself through its embrace and exaltation of ignorance, and the evidence is all around us. Dylann Roof, the Charleston shooter who used race as a basis for hate and mass murder, is just the latest horrific example. Many will correctly blame Roof’s actions on America’s culture of racism and gun violence, but it’s time to realize that such phenomena are directly tied to the nation’s culture of ignorance.

In a country where a sitting congressman told a crowd that evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell,” where the chairman of a Senate environmental panel brought a snowball into the chamber as evidence that climate change is a hoax, where almost one in three citizens can’t name the vice president, it is beyond dispute that critical thinking has been abandoned as a cultural value. Our failure as a society to connect the dots, to see that such anti-intellectualism comes with a huge price, could eventually be our downfall.

In considering the senseless loss of nine lives in Charleston, of course racism jumps out as the main issue. But isn’t ignorance at the root of racism? And it’s true that the bloodshed is a reflection of America’s violent, gun-crazed culture, but it is only our aversion to reason as a society that has allowed violence to define the culture. Rational public policy, including policies that allow reasonable restraints on gun access, simply isn’t possible without an informed, engaged, and rationally thinking public.

Read More…


4 Views of American Joblessness [CARTOGRAMS]


Fifteen states had jobless rates below 5% in October, another sign that the job market continues to recover. Many of those states, though, are small — or, rather, they aren’t populous. Their collective labor force is smaller than California’s. And not all states are recovering at the same rate, as explained by these (unorthodox) maps, called “cartograms.” The states are sized by their civilian labor force populations, not actual shape, allowing a density-equalized view of the country. So state boundaries are skewed based on their relative density and number of workers. These four cartograms show trends in oblessness from the Great Depression til today.

See all four cartograms here.