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Fri Dec 18, 2020, 05:46 PM

"A Cult of Ignorance" by Isaac Asimov, 1980

It’s hard to quarrel with that ancient justification of the free press: “America’s right to know.” It seems almost cruel to ask, ingenuously, ”America’s right to know what, please? Science? Mathematics? Economics? Foreign languages?”

None of those things, of course. In fact, one might well suppose that the popular feeling is that Americans are a lot better off without any of that tripe.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

Snip

There are 200 million Americans who have inhabited schoolrooms at some time in their lives and who will admit that they know how to read (provided you promise not to use their names and shame them before their neighbors), but most decent periodicals believe they are doing amazingly well if they have circulations of half a million. It may be that only 1 per cent–or less―of American make a stab at exercising their right to know. And if they try to do anything on that basis they are quite likely to be accused of being elitists.

I contend that the slogan “America’s right to know” is a meaningless one when we have an ignorant population, and that the function of a free press is virtually zero when hardly anyone can read.

Snip

https://aphelis.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/ASIMOV_1980_Cult_of_Ignorance.pdf

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Reply "A Cult of Ignorance" by Isaac Asimov, 1980 (Original post)
LiberalArkie Dec 2020 OP
Kid Berwyn Dec 2020 #1
ananda Dec 2020 #2
cilla4progress Dec 2020 #3
LiberalArkie Dec 2020 #4
gulliver Dec 2020 #5
Archae Dec 2020 #6

Response to LiberalArkie (Original post)

Fri Dec 18, 2020, 06:02 PM

1. "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Helps support the status quo, as they used to say.

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Response to LiberalArkie (Original post)

Fri Dec 18, 2020, 06:06 PM

2. The last four paragraphs really resonate.

If only more Americans valued learning and
critical thinking....

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Response to LiberalArkie (Original post)

Fri Dec 18, 2020, 06:11 PM

3. Do you think you have a special perspective,

LiberalArkie -- I assume you live in Arkansas.

I live in a conservative rural area and I know these people. They are my neighbors. Some are even people I share activities with.

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Response to cilla4progress (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 18, 2020, 06:14 PM

4. Yep, live in the Ouachita National Forest.

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Response to LiberalArkie (Original post)

Fri Dec 18, 2020, 06:28 PM

5. America should be safe both for and from the ignorant.

I have nothing against ignorance. I have a lot of it. Being educated is a choice people get to make. There's no reason they should feel bad about being ignorant about something, even everything. Ignorance is only wrong when it harms others. It's good to feel good about knowledge, but it's bad to look down on people for lacking it. If people mind their manners, are honest, etc., they're good folks, imo.

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Response to LiberalArkie (Original post)

Fri Dec 18, 2020, 06:44 PM

6. Asimov did a version of this back around 1955, too.

Same name.

Unfortunately, the Cult Of Ignorance still thrives.

Anti-vaxxers.

Flat Earthers.

Creationists.

Climate change deniers.

Republicans.

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