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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hostility To Knowledge Has No Place In Modern World

WASHINGTON — If you’ve been paying any attention to the trial heats of the Republican presidential contest, you’ve noticed an alarming trend: the conflating of ignorance with authenticity. Herman Cain’s fans, for example, seem to believe that his profound lack of knowledge about most of the world is one reason to support him. It makes him a regular guy, more trustworthy than those hated “elites” and longtime Washington pols.

The trend isn’t new, of course. Sarah Palin’s admirers responded similarly to her woeful (and willful) lack of knowledge about many of the complex issues that would confront a presidential administration. Palin’s voters didn’t desert her when she showed her abysmal ineptitude about subjects that were routinely in the news. Instead, they blamed journalists who asked her questions she couldn’t answer.

  • GeorgeTownsend

    I think many people fear anyone that they believe to be smarter than they are because they’re afraid they’ll be taken advantage of.

  • teachersome

    I agree with 99% of Ms. Tucker’s analysis. There is an argument, made by Rachel Maddow, that Mr. Cain is doing performance art instead of actually running for office. Mr. Perry, however, is a far more sinister politician. When data came up from his Texas Commission on Environmental Quality study of Galveston Bay that disproved his stated position that there is no such thing as climate change, Mr. Perry had the report altered. See

  • Panther82

    Ms tucker, I would like to think you for your assessment of the Republican party that lacks the knowledge of our economy and those who follows them. It shows the lack of knowledge from supporters of these candidates. Now, that’s a concerning revelation especially when they follow someone who states “blacks are brainwash”, I think we are learning who are actually “brainwash” in this country and who really has the most knowledge about this economy and Country.

  • thedude

    I think more people are weary of agenda-based “knowledge” as opposed to knowledge based upon factual information, interpreted through a prism of non-biased truth; which is, sad to say, hard to find these days. It seems that EVERYONE has an agenda; even the person writing this comment…

    However, as far as I am concerned, I prefer the opinions of people who are not only reasonable well-educated in the field they are debating, but also who have some practical, real-world experience in that area. That experience allows such an individual to filter his/her book knowledge through the experience of the imperfect world in which we live.

    In other words, the ideal solution is not always the right solution, once the human factor is included, be it human behavior, human biases or just plain old human stubbornness. In most cases there are no “right” solutions, only one that reasonable humans can agree to disagree on, then somehow meet in the middle.

    Unfortunately, there’s not much compromising going around.

  • tiguelaw

    Back in the 1950s Adlai Stevenson remarked that many Americans “have a profound jealousy of those who can read without moving their lips.” That is true moreso today.

  • fordneri

    We have sunk far below willful ignorance. We now live in a world of don’t know, don’t check, don’t care, can’t be bothered. Tell me an appealing lie that is easy to remember and attach a pithy slogan to it and I’m good. How else could one party parade candidates in front of their very moral, very conservative voting base that campaign on the promise of diminishing their economic lives. Dismantling their government safety nets and pensions. Destroying their families, their communities and their values while fact based evidence is piling up that proves them liars, whore mongers, lackeys to large corporations that demised our country through unethical business practices or straight up criminal behaviour?

  • the_sage

    Herman Cain is another example of what is wrong with this great country. Here we have a person who, if we take him at his word, is vying for the nations highest office, yet is unaware of the existence of one of the most current events going on in the world, Gadafi and Lybia.
    This is reflective of too many in this country. Complete ignorance of what is going on in the world or in the country for that matter except for sports. A viable democracy requires an informed electorate to work. Citizens in a democracy, not to mention in the democracy of the most powerful nation on Earth, have a responsibility to inform themselves about the most pressing issues, take positions and vote when the opportunity presents itself.
    We cannot continue to make political judgements based on no new taxes, abortion and homosexuality, ignoring the growing disparity between the rich and poor, the deterioration of our environment and the corruption of our financial sectors. That will be a recipe for doom and disaster. We need to wake up and demand a better quality of leadership from our leaders.

  • DAlnB

    What we hear on the stages of the Republican debates is what the candidates want us to hear; or at least they hope we hear; Perry and Gingrich may want that stated in a different way!
    What voters need to put at the top of their selection criteria is experience and the past success in doing their job and how it applies to restoring America! Slick talk is easy enough on a stage and denouncing others for their efforts is far too common! Making statements about how much better you would do in the job has no weight if it can not be supported by experience that “honestly” shows you can and have done similar work at a highly successful level. It does not, or at least should not; mean a thing to the voters. I have No Interest in what the candidate thinks about someone else!
    Given an opportunity to “can” their presentations these candidates are ready to say what they feel will the public will buy! They are coached, they rehearse and like an expensive TV commercial they try to sell themselves. They may make reference to some past achievement but seldom if ever will you hear facts about their accomplishments, HONEST facts that can be researched and supported by anything beyond their own comments.
    Gingrich is a prime example; he is ready to say he served in Congress but he has yet to say anything about being thrown out. He denied having an association with Fanny May until he was pushed hard enough by Romney and he finally admitted to it. The same thing occurred relative to his association in helping develop a Health Care law; he denied doing so until he was pushed far enough and had to admit it. When he was challenged about one of his debate comments he stood mute trying to come up with an answer then responded with something completely off the subject; rehearsing did him no good!
    Gingrich can say he has changed but he still lies; we know his background and we see little difference between yesterday and today and no one should expect him to change tomorrow! He may have the education and he may have the experience but look at the experience and the results and then ask if it is worth ignoring his denials and his omissions’ to take a chance on him as our nominee: I think Not!

  • kalanyosi

    Mr.Cain supporters think that Ignorance is Bliss.

  • Indy 60

    It would seem many of our good so-called “Christian” Republicans are forgetting one of God’s tenements, “Study to show theyself approved.” Another, “Ignorance is not an excuse.” Although, both of these are really about being a Christian, it shows that God does not want His people led by those who are ignorant. Since, as a Christian, we are to apply our beliefs to our everyday life, it would, therefore, lead to the fact that those who revel in their ignorance are not following the dictates of God. He does not want an ignorant Christian (one who follows what the minister says but does not study for himself) and, it is my belief, He would not advocate one in the secular office of Presidency either.

    As for my opinion of appointing someone who is unlearned, and relishes in that lack of learning, as President, it in itself is ignorant. Although, many Republicans claim the President does not know how to do is job (either from ignorance or lack of experience) they freely back others to replace him who show their own woeful lack of the world’s current events. As far as the candidates they are promoting, it seems to be a “do as I say, not as I do” situation, leading to the question “is it alright if you are a Republican but not a Democrat?”

    The final consideration in their quest for ignorance is just how this quest is reflected in their goal to cut educational funds in the government. When my children were growing up, education was promoted as key to remaining the number one country. It was important to get the most rounded education possible. Now, the bottom line is the only consideration. If children are graduating ignorant in current events, language, etc. and, truth be told, often in reading, spelling, math and the basic subjects, it’s alright as long as the budget was met. One wonders, even in this, whether it is really the bottom line or a desire by the leaders to keep the masses ignorant so their own ignorance cannot be detected.

  • K.t.Doggett

    Asking questions is the absolute bedrock foundation of our democratic society. If you think questioning a PRESIDENTIAL candidate is somehow suspect, then YOUR loyalty to aMERICAN IDEALS IS SUSPECT.

  • sugarbritches

    This article was superb! We are constantly reminded of how poorly our children are being educated, how lacking they are in restraint and social etiquette and how poorly American children compare with other developed nations. However, we refuse to acknowledge that the same politicians who bring us the awareness of the academic state of our nation are the same ones who are putting our schools on Wall Street!

  • Dianrib

    Besides MASSIVE GREED. our most urgent problem is..US must have the most ill informed voters in the world. Millions think Fox reports actual news..when they just promote, support, and push the GOP agenda of breaking Obama at any our economy, jobs, our lives, our well being, our future. I USED to vote GOP..
    till Bush Cheney then the race baiting Obama hating Tea Baggers !

  • greateagle

    Who will be the next “know nothing” the republicans will tout as being our great
    “saver”? It seems as though every week or so they parade before us another preveracator to save us from the evil Obama and then it is on to their next great choice. Do they have enough so called candidates to last until the primaries?

  • terango.lf

    Hence, only the knowledgeable are fearless, that would then make intellectuals the true explorers. Thus, the ignorant are doomed to remaining where they are because they are fearfull to venture past known landmarks. Hmmm? Sounds to me like those whom are ignorant and not adventurous are conservative in their nature and point of view because of fear.
    I once had a co-driver who was a devout christian, when I told him that I did not think it was wrong to teach religion in public schools, as long as all other religions were taught (comparative studies). His reply was that he did not agree with that idea because it might confuse his children.

  • A Hume-an

    Ms. Tucker could have also mentioned those who win Nobel Prizes in economics, such as Paul Krugman. It seems the Republicans are taking us back to the Dark Ages, where belief in dogma is all that matters, and any attempt to counter the dogma with facts or to question it with scientific investigation is considered heresy. Back in the Dark Ages, the Church fathers insisted that a man had one fewer ribs than a woman, because the Bible said so, and any attempt to investigate whether this was true, by cutting open a corpse, was considered heresy punishable by burning at the stake. Now, any scientific expert who says that man-made activities are causing global warming, or that lowering taxes more and more on the richest people will not lead to job growth, or that intelligent design is not a legitimate scientific theory, but rather a religious dogma, is attacked as a liberal socialist who shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  • WillB

    I seem to remember another politician that was often touted as “a regular guy” about 10 years ago and, well, we all know where that got us.

  • Dr_Michael

    The sad truth is, most Republicans would neither be able to read this article, nor care.

  • occupy_can_gotohell11

    How did we get Obama as president? A junior senator whose only executive experience came from being a community organizer. Talk about a clueless group of people who placed him in that position. I look around myself daily and wonder when you idiots are going to stop drinking the kool-aid of the far left. Oh, one more thing I’m a registered democrat who can read this article and cares about the fate of this country. Seems to me there’s too many people here that could care less whether our country goes to hell in a handbasket…

  • rustacus21

    …is reflected in many, many ways. Between 2001 & 2009, Conservative Americans we treated to a smorgasbord of “cowboy tuff talk”, w/little to no rationale to back it up. They were told that tax cuts would create more jobs & have no affect on the deficit. That the “wars” would make us safer. That cutting “red tape” (“govt.” regulations) would create more prosperity. The list goes on. Using common sense on any of these points refutes any perceived validity they “MAY” hold. Conservatives such as above (OccupyCanGo…) think “affirmative action”, NOT a voting majority, is responsible for Obama’s ’08 election victory, yet he’s unclear of where the “kool-aid” troth is located. Richard Nixon’s Ed. Dept. ordered Civics education to cease being taught. The fear was that too many “radicals” brandishing the Constitution was too great a threat to “his” administration.” He, like Mr. “Occupy” above, 4get the Constitution is Liberal philosophy beyond the intellectual reach of many of them. Simplistic notions is all they can relate to. Conservatives need others to think for them & so, will allow a GWB, Reagan or any 1 of the current GOP candidates for prez, to speak all manner of gibberish & its fine. What Ms. Tucker alludes to is the fact we can no longer afford “plain” talkers & sub-par “thinkers” in an increasingly complex world. Money is not speech. A “corporation” can NEVER be a person; if U don’t believe me, walk up to one and ask them. Conservative voters & their choices over the last 11 yrs have turned the promise of America into a nitemare. All b/c they revile the intellect of a Clinton, Obama or Carter. W/public education funding on the decline, it only gets worse. THIS is why Liberal/Progressives are better problem-solvers & result-gainers, as compared to Republicans over the last 40 years, have turned the nation to ashes, hollow promises & broken dreams…

  • bigupset

    As stated in the pervious statment: In agreement that the GOP has done asboulty nothing too improve the education of the youth in this country as to say it also proves that the gop favors the (1%)one percent in this country then it’s youth heaven help us.

  • faultroy

    I’m quite frankly surprised by Ms. Tucker’s comments since as a professor, she should know that there is no person on earth that has the requisite knowledge that she demands. I’m also surprised that Tucker has not acknowledged that in an era where we as a country have more people with advanced degrees–more PHds, more doctors and more people with Masters degrees than at any time in the history of this country, we are also one of the sickest, most neurotic and self medicating people on the face of the earth. Clearly, our technical and educational advancements have not sustained us in proportion to the level of investment we have made economically. And it should be further noted that in the field of Economics, with all our research and knowledge of the “science” of economics, there is no consensus as to the course of action our country should take.
    Education–for all its hyperbole–has not even met minimum standards. I’m also surprised that Ms Tucker would imply that Sarah Palin is in the same intellectual class as Herman Cain. Sarah Palin has a Journalism degree while Herman Cain has a degree in Mathematics, a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, and has actually worked for the US government as a Mathematical Missle Guidance expert–in essence, he worked for the Defense Dept as a scientist. So what is her point about embracing ignorance? Does the fact that he is not well versed on Libya have anything to do with his ability to govern as a President? Does it somehow disqualify him because he does not “read journalistic articles?”
    What is really troubling is not Herman Cain’s supposed ignorance on Libya, but rather journalists who somehow think that only they have a right to tell the American people what kind of a president they “should” be electing and why. I think Ms Tucker should look at her own field of journalism and ask why in today’s society, very few Americans have any respect for journalists. We have even less respect for educators. Both fields have promised a lot and delivered misinformation, and distortions. Both fields are heavily bureaucratized and filled with self aggrandizing inidividuals. Perhaps that is what Americans are really reacting to when they really don’t care whether someone is all that versed on Libya–since most of what we read in nothing more than misinformation and disinformation disseminated by the federal government. Americans have no difficulty with nor a “hostility of Knowledge.” What Americans are hostile to is journalists and educators that use their specific knowledge as a cudgel to insult, intimidate and manipulate their fellow citizens for their own self aggrandizement and political agendas.

  • mcmanuslor

    After reading all the comments and absorbing the information, only one person has done any research and appears to have any common sense, that is Faultroy. The rest of the comments come from people that are not really interested in facts, that shows where some in America want to take us! Many of us fought to keep you from doing just that, and, are willing to fight again. Journalists got us where we are now, that is where they want to keep us!

  • dawnowens

    I have yet to see an interview with him that in any way hints that he may have advanced degrees in Math and Computer Science. A truly educated person enjoys engaging in a lively give-and-take about issues and ideas. Mr. Cain, when asked a question, rephrases the question; ‘do you disagree with Pres. Obama’s handling of Libya?’…. ‘yes, I disagree with Pres. Obama’s handling of Libya for the following reasons…’….. long pause while he makes something up that generally entails saying that he would have ‘asked more advisors’ what to do. As if he knows how many advisors Obama has or who he listens to, or what the President uses as sources of information. He simply implies Obama does less homework than Cain will, at some later date when he finally gets around to it.

    We just know from his stated policies, that Mr. Cain himself would not read the Presidential Daily Briefing or the daily newspapers, because ‘he’s a leader, not a reader’…

    How’d he get through 6 years of higher education without reading? And is it not devastatingly obvious by now that he can’t even be bothered to read about the issues that will surely come up if he is elected?

    I would recommend that an enterprising journalist look into Mr. Cain’s college grades, his written papers and sit down with him for a very long talk (after he’s had enough sleep, wouldn’t want him to use the ‘only 4 hours of sleep’ excuse again) about mathematics, computer science, and from there, world affairs, economics and the content of the Constitution. Has he even read THAT?

  • rottenbod41

    He f—-d up by not being upfront about his affairs. He is ignorant about the ways of the world. If we make him President, we might have it a lot worse.