I read a compelling article this morning in Psychology Today by David Niose, the legal director and former president of the American Humanist Association. The title is Anti-Intellectualism Is Killing America and I believe he is right. He says,
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.
Meanwhile, most Republican candidates for president flashed their ignorance and stupidity last week by refusing to admit that Dylann Roof’s slaughter of nine black people at a prayer meeting in the basement of the Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, SC was a racially motivated hate crime and he is a terrorist.
They also deny that humans are causing climate change and global warming that are driving the sixth major life extinction event in world history.
The worst offenders are the racist haters like Roof, who believe blacks are inferior to whites, and the religious fundies who believe they have the right to exploit everyone and everything on the planet because they are saved and God gave humans dominion and control over all living things in the biosphere. Apparently, they missed the part about the responsibility to care for them.
Perhaps, Pope Francis’s encyclical will change their minds, but I would not hold my breath since they hate Catholics along with everyone else who does not belong to their white cults of willful ignorance and stupidity.