Brainy Quote of the Day

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Topics: Economy, Education, Exceptionalism, OECD, Politics, United States, Singapore

Exceptionalism: It's not even really a word, it's a mythology we tell ourselves, over and over like a meditative mantra. As with most naval gazing, we tend to believe our own inner press instead of examined facts and data. Self-myth is Linus's security blanket.

It traces back to Tocqueville, even though it's obvious we've retained the old world's sins: classism, racism, the ability and willingness to wage war.

"In recent years scholars from numerous disciplines, as well as politicians and commentators in the popular media, have debated the meaning and usefulness of the concept. Roberts and DeCuirci ask:

"Why has the myth of American exceptionalism, characterized by a belief in America’s highly distinctive features or unusual trajectory based in the abundance of its natural resources, its revolutionary origins and its protestant religious culture that anticipated God’s blessing of the nation—held such tremendous staying power, from its influence in popular culture to its critical role in foreign policy?" Wikipedia

However: of The 10 smartest countries based on math and science, America is exceptionally left out of the top ten...we tie with Italy at twenty-eighth.

What we're exceptional at is pseudoscience like creation science/museums and anti-vaxxers, the inane devotion to the testing industrial complex (making a killing on standardized tests in all 50 states) that Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Finland, Estonia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Canada (the only one from the North American CONTINENT) have no relevant equivalent in this continued lunacy. As Ken Ham builds an ark and sues to only hire young Earth creationists - legalizing a patently discriminatory hiring practice; Bill Nye the Science Guy is crowd funding a solar sail. Go figure...

Mark Twain once famously remarked: "there are lies, damned lies and statistics," but this is not a lie, damnable or otherwise. Callously, politicians are telling people what they want to hear versus what they need to; making them comfortable to merely hold onto their positions for 20...30+ years and accomplish nothing.

There is still good work being done in high tech in this country. That good work is being done by engineers and scientists that are daily...getting older. They will eventually be pushed out (sadly), or retire. National prosperity is not the result of magical thinking. To continue our leadership and advances in STEM fields, the current workforce will have to have replacements once they can no longer produce at the same level as they did when they were younger; when there was industry, commerce and manufacturing that demanded their brilliance. Our university professors are in the same boat. They can only train students based on demand, and that demand cannot increase when our employment is freely traded across oceans to meet the bottom-line of "bean counters" oblivious to the real world between lattes.

We are exceptionally prone to conspiracy theories: false links to vaccines and autism; every shooting a "false flag" operation; the common nomenclature for military exercises - the exercise code name + YY (e.g. "15") - made into "the boogie man" in Texas by Alex Jones ditto head nincompoops that confuse the strict rules regarding research with disparate links of search engine results after an obvious drunken stupor.

As we advance in technology, there is a fear of it. Everyone has become Al Qaeda, The Tea Party, the Unabomber or ISIS: who all want us all in huts, cabins or caves; women covered head-to-toe, not driving or working, barefoot and pregnant (always) and living in some Shangri-La parallel to the voices loudly booming in their heads.

Hopefully, Robert De Niro's sage yet colorful advice to his co laborers in the arts is not appropos to the rest of the nation. We're sliding down an incline, slowly...inexorably...sliding. Rock bottom will hurt unless we start back up the incline.

I'll be out in a class. My 1,962 post and coincidentally the year of my birth. See you 1 June.

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