Strong Backs & Weak Minds...The Value of...

"...Once you devalue intellect and education, you clear the way for every kind of charlatan. A politicized rabble of TV weathercasters, with no research or academic credentials to back them up, now defies all climate science by denying global warming, and of course the Tea Party laps it up. Whatever it doesn’t understand, it rejects. One researcher asked a right-wing sample group whether the Bush tax cuts had reduced the deficit. Predictably, most thought they had. Presented with incontrovertible evidence that they were wrong, they were polled a second time. They held to their original error by an even larger margin. What seems to animate this movement even more than xenophobia, the raw material of racism, is “epistemophobia”—-fear of knowledge—-the raw material of superstition and barbarism. You may not be living in the Dark Ages, but you can always make your own. Rather than a tea cup, the symbol of this Party ought to be the ostrich, with its head buried in the sand. In 1825, the year before he died, a discouraged Thomas Jefferson wrote that he felt lost in a nation contaminated by business, banking, religious revivalism, “monkish ignorance” and anti-intellectualism. If Tom could see us now..."

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1 comment:

Roadkill said...

Citizen Paine,

You must be a guest blogger here. Sunny Badger would never subject his readers to such nonsense as has been presented in your last few posts.

The Jefferson letter cited in your “Progressive Populist” excerpt has been completely mischaracterized. Other than being written in 1825, and having the phrase “monkish ignorance” used in it, everything else is a load of crap.

A bit of research would show that Jefferson was responding to an invitation to visit Washington DC on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration, and used the occasion to reflect on the significance of the event.

Rather than lamenting the conditions in his own country, however, Jefferson was reflecting with satisfaction that after half century, his fellow citizens continued to approve of what he and his fellow signatories did in 1776. He then goes on to say that he hoped America and America’s experience would serve to others in the world as a “signal arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.


As you will see, “Progressive Populist” has Jefferson’s sentiments 100% wrong. I strongly recommend that you fact-check anything else you quote from that rag.