"I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they're either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live."— Frank Bruni

Saturday, March 03, 2012

going the wrong way

There is a Times debate on whether or not people are getting dumber. One of the panels is Steven Pinker, a psychology professor at Harvard. He offers a more positive answer to the question than I would have given, saying that we may take for granted modern ideals and that we are living in a time of great intellectual accomplishment.

He also writes that we shouldn't forget how stupid things were in the past:
"It’s easy to focus on the idiocies of the present and forget those of the past. But a century ago our greatest writers extolled the beauty and holiness of war. Heroes like Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson avowed racist beliefs that today would make people’s flesh crawl. Women were barred from juries in rape trials because supposedly they would be embarrassed by the testimony. Homosexuality was a felony. At various times, contraception, anesthesia, vaccination, life insurance and blood transfusion were considered immoral."

Well. Many idiocies still exist today. There are some who still believe women are incapable and less superior, science is rubbish and that contraception vaccination and homosexuality are wrong. All the backward thinking that Dr. Pinker mentions as a thing of the past actually reflects many of the conservative views currently held by our most prominent Republican politicians, as well as their constituents. Apparently higher education and the separation of church and state are even under attack now. So, as much as I'd like to share Dr. Pinker's optimistic views, I can't disagree more. There is no doubt that conservative logic and ideals are backward.

Speaking of backward thinking, the Senate stopped a GOP bill opposing contraception coverage today by a slim margin (51 to 48). Whew! I'm so tired of this attack on the reproductive rights of women. I've noticed that in all the articles I've read, I have not once read a quote from a Republican politician who is a woman and supports her party's bashing on women. Where are they? What do they have to say and how can they defend their party? Why are all these men so vocal about the subject?

(photo cred: HuffPost)

And as a rancid cherry to top it all off, there are soulless beings like this thing, publicly spreading their detestable thoughts, poisoning and unfortunately influencing minds everywhere.

...so again, no, Dr. Pinker. I'm sorry to say that there is a strong case for people getting dumber.

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