For the last couple of weeks I’ve had a Talking Heads lyric stuck in my head:
Our president’s crazy
Did you hear what he said
Business and pleasure
Lie right to your face
Divide it in sections
Well, David Byrne could have written that yesterday — but it was 1983. “Divide it in sections” indeed: this is what has happened to the United States. We are engaged in a cold civil war; education should be the way out, but the GOP long ago declared war on public schools. The ability (and willingness) to examine facts and arguments critically before accepting them, is a crucial skill in civic life. It is the civic equivalent of the scientific method — but the GOP has declared war on science, too.
There’s also this gem of a lyric two or three lines later; the conspiracy theorists really should take it to heart:
There are no big secrets
Don’t believe what you read
Problem is, they don’t believe what they read unless it originates in their addled, paranoid echo chamber.
2 thoughts on “Critical Thinking (Making Flippy Floppy)”
“A war on education” is heartbreaking and true. I was so incensed by the war on science that I neglected to notice the war on education until quite recently. But as you point out, science here is later and secondary.
It’s all of a piece. I notice that the “anti-elite” rhetoric usually comes from people who were educated at places like Harvard, Yale, Duke…. So it’s fine for them, just not for their constituents.