Why are Americans so stupid? Perhaps more importantly, why are they so proud of their ignorance? Author Susan Jacoby probes the issue in her new book, “The Age of American Unreason.” Jacoby is hardly the first social commentator to address the subject; a number of books have been written lately which lament American’s growing hostility to rational thought, but Jacoby has cast her gaze over the land and sees a perfect storm of ignorance that has been brewing for quiet some time.
According to her observations, at this point in our history anti-intellectualism (the attitude that “too much learning can be a dangerous thing”) and anti-rationalism (“the idea that there is no such things as evidence or fact, just opinion”) have fused in a particularly insidious way. The blame can be laid at the feet of our failing public educational system as well as religious fundamentalism’s antipathy toward science. She cites a disturbing statistic that nearly two thirds of Americans want creationism taught alongside evolution. Two thirds!
A good review of Jacoby’s book can be found here.