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TEXAS REPUBLITHUG CONVENTICLE REJECTS CRITICAL THINKING, BUT BEWARE ...

As I was sitting perched atop my mouse and monitor compiling this week's blogs, someone sent the following link on the Texas GOP's state party "platform," and when I read it, I both laughed, and sighed:

Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really.

Now, of course, anything coming from the Washington Post is, to my mind, as suspect as anything coming from the Washington Times, for obvious "party political reasons." The real problem here isn't just with the ludicrous stance against critical thinking, and there is no other way to read the platform statements than that, but with the implicit assumptions of the response from "the other side."I submit that, if it be true that there is little, in practical results, that distinguish the Republithugs from the Dummycrooks in the realm of politics, that there can be little to distinguish them from each other in other fields in which they are influential, education being one of them. The danger, as I see it, on both sides, has been the push for "degree-ism" or "authority-ism" or "expert-ism."

Back in my college teaching days - from which I managed successfully to escape - I observed the rot of American education first hand, in all its galloping, glorious, intentionally-planned dumbed-down ignorance, an ignorance that, given the demonstrable influence of Dummycroookery and all its attendent cultural and political "philosophies" within American education, would be hard to deny. So I will kindly thank the Washington Post and its experts not to lecture the Republithugs about critical thinking skills. After Horace Mann, Wilhelm Wundt, and John Dewey and all the parade of carnival barking Doctors of Education since then, it's a marvel that anyone in this country can think at all, about anything.

Students would write papers about the "treaty of Versigh" ( kid you not), or would maintain that Germany won World War One(which concluded in 1914), that the Army of Northern Virginia was commanded by Ulysses S. Grant (I kid you not), and, according to one of my college-approved textbooks, that Josef Visarionovich Djugashvili (whose real name was never mentioned in the text), was a Georgian peasant and former seminarian who rose to become the Russian ruler and a "statesman." No mention of the pogroms, forced famines, deportations, or purges, thank you very much. And much of this vast parade of nonsense was written for me by card-carrying members of Dummycrookery, or, in the case of the pre-approved Russian history textbook from which I had to teach, was approved by card-carrying members of Dummycrookery and Ph.D.s in Edubabble at that (the so-called "doctors of education" who specialize in everything but the content and thought forms of particular disciplines). All this reminds me of the statement of C.S. Lewis, that "method is the fleshpot of those who live in metaphysical deserts."

Let us rest assured that there is a secular fundamentalism of the left in this country just as there is a religious one on the right, and people are correct to complain of it. It is a fundamentalism that expresses itself in "degree-ism" or "expert-ism", the naive assumption, inculcated in our society from a very early age, that unless one has a "degree in something" one is not permitted to hold opinions about it, much less disagree with that subject's "degreed experts."

Don't believe me? Then consider: would the history or biology departments of the critics of the Texas GOP have room for those who would draw attention to megalithic structures, such as those at Tihuanaco in Bolivia, which show clear, and ancient, signs of technological construction that cannot be reproduced today? Would they admit of the implications of such a structure (much less all the others around the world, including the Great Pyramid)? Or would they continue to enforce their "critical thinking" and their dogma that it was all done by copper saws, plumb lines, and serried ranks of Hollywood extras (to cite the observation of Peter Lemesurier on the Egyptological explanation of the Great Pyramid's construction). And even if they did admit the possibility, would they then admit the inevitable logical implication that such technological prowess in ancient times might also indicate a similar degree of sophistication when it comes to genetic engineering, and the highly suggestive statements in ancient texts that suggest it? Would they even allow such ideas to be aired openly in a classroom? Or include them in a textbook? I very much doubt it.

In short, the very rise and rapid growth of what we have on this website, and what others elsewhere, have called the alternative research community, is really nothing but a response, an inevitable response, to the fundamentalisms of academia, whether that fundamentalism be dominated by preachers, or professors. It is the inevitable response of those dissatisfied with standard explanations whose explanatory power appears to be increasingly vitiated; it is the inevitable response of those seeking to engender new hypotheses and better explanations. Like science itself, there will be more false starts than genuine, more bad ideas than good ones, but like science, no progress can be made unless there is the openness to allow such ideas, bad or good, to be aired and discussed in the first place, and to do so without the sneering ad hominem and lack of courtesy and gentility that has become such a commonplace "methodology" in American education in both camps.

No... I smell a great big steaming pile of hypocrisy and horse puckey in the Washington Post's complaint. They are right to complain, but their implied antidote is just as bad...

...See you on the flip side.

17 thoughts on “ TEXAS REPUBLITHUG CONVENTICLE REJECTS CRITICAL THINKING, BUT BEWARE ...”

  1. TWO POINTS: The other day my nine year old granddaughters
    was visiting. Like all grandpas I was interested in how her
    schooling was coming along. I started off simple by asking her
    how much 4×4 is she thought and counted on her fingers and said, “14.”

    I continued in this game but she had no idea of the answers. So I
    finally asked her if she had been studying her multiplication tables.
    She answered back, “What’s a multiplication table is.

    I remember when I was eight sitting at the kitchen table memorizing
    all those “times.”

    ON DEGREES: On December 21, 1971, I was a lowly air force
    sergeant. Twenty-four hours later I was a new second lieutenant
    with all the perks that came with that. Even the very highest ranking
    enlisted man, The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force had to
    salute me and call me sir.

    Was I suddenly any smarter or did my family’s social status change?
    No, About 45 minutes before becoming Lt. Brashear from Sgt.
    Brashear I received that magic piece of stiff paper with my name
    and the words Bachelor of Arts above a gold seal and some signatures.

    Is that a form of degree-ism? I never used anything I learned to get the BA.

    1. Hi Kent,

      I believe you totally- as you so abtly put it, “that magic piece of stiff paper” with either the letters BS (“bullshit”), MS (“more shit”), or PHD (“piled high and deep”) is the only thing that counts and the source or knowledge or lack there-of behind it is completely and utterly irrelevant-

      as one says in German: “Papier ist geduldig” (“paper is patient”)- boy, ain’t it?!

  2. Robert Barricklow

    Once again, the masters of propaganda are foiled, by another stellar work, I picked up at this site:
    Programmed To Kill/The Politics od Serial Murder by David McGowan.
    Even though I think I’ve become hardened to “their” pulling the wool over my eyes, this work proved to me, once again, I’am not immune.

    Read it!
    Unbelievable!

    Thanks for posting it.

    1. I agree. PROGRAMED TO KILL by McGowan is a fantastic book (though extremely depressing).

      His website (“Center for an Informed America” (get it? C.I.A.) also has a huge amount of amazing material.

  3. I didn’t return to finish college until my late 40s. Way too old to be sufficiently malleable so as to fit the expectations of academic conformity. As someone raised in logging country, I knew the appropriate way to dress when in old growth forests. And it wasn’t the LL Bean khaki shorts that all the botany grad students wore.

    It’s not that I’m opposed to ivory towers. We need them as places where possibilities arise, visions of what we could become. About 24% of Boomers have 4 year degrees. That’s in anything from anywhere. Gen Y is about 26% ; they are the offspring of the educated. Point is that higher education increasingly reflects the widening class divide. So academics have little familiarity with the abilities of us skilled blue collar workers. Like Christopher Dunn. Thus not a clue what the finely machined surfaces of Giza or Puma Punku imply.

    It’s my suspicion that we working people owe both the decent post-WWII standard of living and the good public school system to the Russians in a way. The wide-spread discontent during the Depression was a real threat to our system lords. Hence the American version of the corporate compromise. But the problem with education is that some of us peasants learn to read, write, and think. Then we do pesky things like vote and form unions. After the fall of the USSR, no need to make a deal with us at all.

    Because of my own background, I see an additional reason to be wary of the emphasis on “degreed experts.” I know by experience the condescension of the educated elites varies little from that of the economic elites. It raises the hair on the back of my neck to read the aside thrown in with the sniffing dismissal of the Texas Republican fundy faux pas. Where the WP writer, apparently playing to her Dem-elite readers, cites a 2007 study that questions whether or not critical thinking can be taught at all!!!

    So then why bother with anything but the crude basics for the peasantry? Push the clock back a century or so. Reserve college for those whom it was meant to serve. As a finishing school for rich boys. Where even the most marginal among them went to Harvard or Yale. And child labor was the lot of the 90% Fulfilling the term “human resources:” bodies to be strip-mined and then discarded with the rest of the trash.

  4. I look forward to the post-revolutionary world where JPF is our Secretary of Education replacing Hillary Clinton’s horse or a professional wrestler and our President is a compassionate robot.

    Realistically, it is in the realm of possibility that when the college bubble bursts in the US (and it will) there will be lots of vacant college campuses up for grabs and a free thinking academia could blossom out of this rubble. Entire universities for sale for pennies on the dollar? Free education for anybody who wants to move on campus and help mow the lawns and tend the garden? Unemployed academicians could flee their homeless shelters and parents basements and live in these new PHD orphanages where they could finally freely exchange ideas with other like-minded people?

    I contribute part of my awakening to my high school history book that devoted two whole pages to the highly embellished Warsaw ghetto uprising and just two sentences to the Battle of Stalingrad– the largest land battle since the Mahabharata War and arguably the turning point of WWII.

    1. “my high school history book that devoted two whole pages to the highly embellished Warsaw ghetto uprising and just two sentences to the Battle of Stalingrad”- neither nor were even mentioned in my high school history book-

      looking back in retrospect, absolutely NOTHING of importance was ever mentioned in my high school education (but then I come from NE Ohio- any wonder?)-

      there’s a song entitled “Oh why, o-why-o, did I ever leave Ohio?”-

      just one of the many countless reasons

  5. ohh, Dr. Farrell, your testimonies about what you experienced in classrooms on a university level are absolutely shattering- but I believe every word- am surprised no-one penned the concept (following went around the internet a few yrs. ago) “Sir Francis Drake circumsized the globe with a 75 foot cutter”-

    and I look back at my abysmal high school education in NE Ohio, not to mention my “highter” undergraducate education at the “leading,” nice Lutheran Wittenberg University (Springfield, OH) where the highlight of my many, completely useless, uninformative courses (this one was called “Psychology”) was training once a week a rather nasty, aggressive white rat to negotiate a maze- because of it’s rather “unwilling” predisposition we lovingly named it “Martin Luther”-

    guess it’s high time we all delve into Charlotte Iserbytt’s “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”- have not yet read it but have heard a few revealing interviews with her-

    Larry

  6. The one thing that you won’t admit, is the VERY SAME THING that the fundies,both left and right won’t admit. There IS a white race that they want to GENOCIDE. It’s their most cherished basic hyocricy. Diversity, assimilation, in EVERY white country. No home for white kids. They call it LUUVE. They both hate white kids. Do you?

      1. I’m white. I have white grandchildren. Slick Willie declared in 1998 that America would be brown by mid-century. Similiar forcasts have been made for European countries, indeed EVERY white country. Do you think that I want to see my grandsons grow up to be a depised minority everywhere? NO!
        When the evil ogliarchy, banksters, and their devoted followers get their just deserts, I don’t want this key part of their new world order scheme forgotten or there will be a repeat.

        1. so what? Im white too, but couldnt care less if the entire white race disappeared from the planet. who gives a shit? being white is something I need to care about in this life?I have to identify with my race now? I am left-handed too (another accidental circumstance brought about by genetic happenstance I have no reason to be proud of) but don’t care if lefties disappear either.
          The EVIL illuminati are plotting to eradicate all lefthanded people!!! fight them!

        2. and how exactly would your race be a despised minority if everyone is brown? wouldnt that mean there are no minorities anymore? wouldnt tht actually be awesome if everyone was the same color? what is the problem?

          1. “You insulting genocidal sicko!”
            Well, I’ll bet daffy likes this sort of thing
            …………..maybe until I click “reply”

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