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jerryking : ignorance   17

US declining interest in history presents risk to democracy
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Edward Luce.

America today has found a less bloodthirsty way of erasing its memory by losing interest in its past. From an already low base, the number of American students majoring in history has dropped by more than a third since 2008. Barely one in two hundred American undergraduates now specialise in history......Donald Trump is a fitting leader for such times. He had to be told who Andrew Jackson was.....He also seems to think that Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave and 19th century abolitionist, is among us still.....But America’s 45th president can hardly be blamed for history’s unpopularity. Culpability for that precedes Mr Trump and is spread evenly between liberals, conservatives, faculty and parents........Courses on intellectual, diplomatic and political history are being replaced at some of America’s best universities by culture studies that highlight grievances at the expense of breadth.......Then there is the drumbeat of STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Most US states now mandate tests only in maths and English, at the expense of history and civic education...... In a recent survey, only 26 per cent of Americans could identify all three branches of government. More than half could not name a single justice on the US Supreme Court.....
the biggest culprit is the widespread belief that “soft skills” — such as philosophy and English, which are both in similar decline to history — do not lead to well-paid jobs.....folk prejudice against history is hard to shake. In an ever more algorithmic world, people believe that humanities are irrelevant. The spread of automation should put a greater premium on qualities that computers lack, such as intuitive intelligence, management skills and critical reasoning. Properly taught that is what a humanities education provides.......People ought to be able to grasp the basic features of their democracy. [Abiding] Faith in a historic theory only fuels a false sense of certainty....What may work for individual careers poses a collective risk to US democracy. The demise of strong civics coincides with waning voter turnout, a decline in joining associations, fewer citizen’s initiatives — and other qualities once associated with American vigour......There is no scientific metric for gullibility. Nor can we quantitatively prove that civic ignorance imposes a political cost on society. These are questions of judgment. But if America’s origins tell us anything it is that a well-informed citizenry creates a stronger society.
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here is what robots can't do -- create art, deep meaning, move our souls, help us to understand and thus operate in the world, inspire deeper thought, care for one another, help the environment where we live.......The role of the human is not to be dispassionate, depersonalized or neutral. It is precisely the emotive traits that are rewarded: the voracious lust for understanding, the enthusiasm for work, the ability to grasp the gist, the empathetic sensitivity to what will attract attention and linger in the mind. Unable to compete when it comes to calculation, the best workers will come with heart in hand.
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algorithms  automation  citizen_engagement  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  critical_thinking  democracy  Donald_Trump  Edward_Luce  empathy  engaged_citizenry  false_sense_of_certainty  foundational  historians  history  historical_amnesia  humanities  ignorance  political_literacy  sense-making  soft_skills  STEM  threats  U.S.  vulnerabilities 
may 2019 by jerryking
When the World Is Led by a Child - The New York Times
David Brooks MAY 15, 2017
-- "Trump is an infantalist" (or as most of call it, childish)
-- Trump's "falsehoods are attempts to build a world in which he can feel good"
-- He "is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence"
-- He "wants people to love him"
-- "there is perpetually less to Trump than it appears"
-- the Russian leak revealed Trump's"dangerousness"

Please, media, stop analyzing Trump's psychological makeup. He is the impulsive narcissistic you see. He really does think he is owed a "pledge of loyalty". He really does think he's smarter than the Generals, than scientists, experts, academics. He really does think he's owed constant adulation. He really is as hollow as he seems.
David_Brooks  Donald_Trump  immaturity  ignorance  self-discipline  self-awareness  sociopaths  narcissism  impulse_control  letters_to_the_editor 
may 2017 by jerryking
When the President Is Ignorant of His Own Ignorance - The New York Times
Thomas B. Edsall MARCH 30, 2017

How prepared is our president for the next great foreign, economic or terrorist crisis?

After a little more than two months in office, President Trump has raised doubts about his ability to deal with what the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously described as the “known unknowns” and the “unknown unknowns.”

“President Trump seems to have no awareness whatsoever of what he does and does not know,” Steven Nadler, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote me. “He is ignorant of his own ignorance.”

During his first 63 days in office, Trump made 317 “false or misleading claims,” according to The Washington Post.
Donald_Trump  ignorance  U.S.foreign_policy  crisis  lying  Donald_Rumsfeld  unknowns  immaturity  self-discipline  self-awareness  SecDef  ethno­nationalism 
march 2017 by jerryking
Why Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Black Life - The New York Times
By MYCHAL DENZEL SMITHFEB. 20, 2017
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Donald_Trump  African-Americans  ignorance  urban  Yaa_Gyasi 
february 2017 by jerryking
The History the Slaveholders Wanted Us to Forget - The New York Times
By HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.

Except for the relatively few African-Americans who saw through such racist fictions of Africa, drawn upon to devalue their humanity and justify their relegation to second-class citizenship — people such as Garvey, Henry Highland Garnet, Martin R. Delany, W.E.B. Du Bois (who would die a citizen of Ghana), Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou — far too many of us felt that “Africa” was something of an embarrassment. Richard Wright, the great novelist, published a book titled “Black Power” in 1954 about feeling that way.
historical_amnesia  historians  history  slavery  Africa  ignorance  slaveholders  Henry_Louis_Gates  African-Americans  second-class_citizenship  humanity  W.E.B._Du_Bois  Black_Power  erasures 
february 2017 by jerryking
GOP national security experts join growing party revolt against Trump - The Globe and Mail
JOANNA SLATER
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Aug. 09, 2016

among the community of Republicans who specialize in national security, defence and foreign policy that Mr. Trump has provoked something approaching horror. Without a moment’s hesitation, Mr. Trump has jettisoned the main tenets of the party’s traditional approach to foreign policy and trampled on international norms.

Mr. Trump has expressed skepticism about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, questioning whether the U.S. should come to the defence of its member countries. He has advocated torture and called for the U.S. military to kill the families of terrorists. He has flattered Russian President Vladimir Putin and revealed an ignorance of the basic structure of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Unlike domestic policy, national security and foreign affairs are areas where the president can exercise considerable sway without consulting Congress,
Donald_Trump  GOP  Campaign_2016  security_&_intelligence  U.S.foreign_policy  NATO  ignorance 
august 2016 by jerryking
The Money Letter That Every Parent Should Write - The New York Times
By RON LIEBER JUNE 17, 2016

"....consider the old-fashioned letter. It’s long enough to tell some tales to bolster your advice, and if it’s written with enough soul, there’s a good chance the recipient will keep it for a long time. Plus, it’s a literal conversation piece, since the good letters will inspire more curiosity about how the writers oversee their own financial affairs....A good letter, according to Ms. Palmer, should include at least one story about a large financial challenge and another one about a big money triumph. Then, include a list of crucial habits and the tangible things they have helped the family achieve.

HEED YOUR IGNORANCE Quite often, the best stories and takeaways come from the biggest mistakes.
BEWARE OF GENIUS: Don’t trust the person who claims to be omniscient either.
STICK TO YOUR SELLING PLANS We can be blinded by flattery from the seats of power,” “Be aware of this in your business lives.” Selling something that is still valuable is the hardest part of any trade, he added. So if you can’t name three good reasons to continue owning something, then it’s time to sell.
BUDGETS ARE ABOUT VALUES. What you spend says a lot about what you stand for, and if you don’t like what your own notebook says about you, try to make it look different next month.
personal_finance  parenting  Communicating_&_Connecting  writing  investing  investors  mentoring  values  budgets  advice  self-discipline  lessons_learned  wisdom  habits  financial_planning  ownership  ignorance  origin_story  takeaways  family  storytelling  financial_challenges  family_office  generational_wealth  soul-enriching  coverletters  unsentimental 
june 2016 by jerryking
Take a stand against the armies of ignorance - FT.com
December 26, 2014 11:55 am
Take a stand against the armies of ignorance
Simon Schama
Simon_Schama  education  schools  violence  ignorance 
december 2014 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Zbigniew Brzezinski
January 13, 2012 | FT.com | By Edward Luce.

Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.

“We [Americans] are too obsessed with today,” Brzezinski continues. “If we slide into a pattern of just thinking about today, we’ll end up reacting to yesterday instead of shaping something more constructive in the world.” By contrast, he says, the Chinese are thinking decades ahead. Alas, Brzezinski says, Obama has so far failed to move into a strategic habit of mind. To a far greater extent than the Chinese, he concedes, Obama has to respond to shifts in public mood. Brzezinski is not very complimentary about American public opinion.

“Americans don’t learn about the world, they don’t study world history, other than American history in a very one-sided fashion, and they don’t study geography,” Brzezinski says. “In that context of widespread ignorance, the ongoing and deliberately fanned fear about the outside world, which is connected with this grandiose war on jihadi terrorism, makes the American public extremely susceptible to extremist appeals.” But surely most Americans are tired of overseas adventures, I say. “There is more scepticism,” Brzezinski concedes. “But the susceptibility to demagoguery is still there.”....Brzezinski lists "Ignorance", as one of America’s six “key vulnerabilities” alongside “mounting debt’, a “flawed financial system”, “decaying national infrastructure”, “widening income inequality”, and “increasingly gridlocked politics”.
Zbigniew_Brzezinski  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  China_rising  China  diplomacy  princelings  America_in_Decline?  threats  vulnerabilities  infrastructure  income_inequality  debt  political_polarization  long-term  partisan_politics  fractured_internally  NSC  ignorance  public_opinion  books  Chinese  instant_gratification  demagoguery  APNSA  gridlocked_politics  Edward_Luce  incurious  financial_system  historical_amnesia 
january 2012 by jerryking
Henry Kissinger talks to Simon Schama
May 20 2011 | FT.com / FT Magazine | By Simon Schama. What
Kissinger took from Elliott was that without grasping the long arc of
time, any account of politics and government would be shallow and
self-defeating....And you get the feeling that Kissinger believes that
it would do them no harm if they did. Instead he laments that
“contemporary politicians have very little sense of history. For them
the Vietnam war is unimaginably far behind us, the Korean war has no
relevance any more,” even though that conflict is very far from over and
at any minute has the capability of going from cold to hot. “This [the
United States of Amnesia as Gore Vidal likes to call it],” he sighs, “is
a tremendous handicap … when I talk to policy­makers and I cite some
historical analogy they think, ‘There he goes again with his history.’”

Look too at `A World Restored', “ The Brothers Karamazov.”
Simon_Schama  Henry_Kissinger  Kissinger_Associates  recency_bias  statesmen  historical_amnesia  history  diplomacy  books  analogies  self-defeating  ignorance  APNSA 
may 2011 by jerryking
The Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Science
Nov 23 2007| FT.com | By Clive Cookson; Illustrations by
Ingram Pinn. Scientists complain that, while they would be ashamed to
admit knowing nothing about Jane Austen’s novels, literary colleagues
get away with total ignorance of relativity and quantum theory...There
are myriad practical reasons why people should have a basic knowledge of
science. One is that a scientifically savvy population is less likely
to fall victim to fraud and superstition, from astrology to quack cures.
And when so many contemporary political issues (from global warming to
embryo research) have a big scientific component, voters and politicians
need to understand what is really at stake. The icon of transformation
from scientific ignorance to wisdom is the travel writer Bill Bryson.
Shamed about not knowing a proton from a protein, or a quasar from a
quark, he spent 3 yrs researching what he was missing. The result was A
Short History of Nearly Everything, the best science book of the 21st
century so far.
books  fraud  ignorance  Jane_Austen  lists  literacy  proteins  quantum_computing  science_&_technology  scientifically_literate  superstition 
march 2011 by jerryking
China, the World's Capital - New York Times
May 22, 2005 | NYT | by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF. Supremacy,
particularly for individual cities, is fleeting. What can NYC learn from
a city like Kaifeng? (1) The importance of sustaining a technological
edge and sound economic policies. Ancient China flourished partly
because of pro-growth, pro-trade policies and technological innovations
like curved iron plows, printing and paper money. But then China came to
scorn trade and commerce, and per capita income stagnated for 600 yrs.
(2) The danger of hubris, for China concluded it had nothing to learn
from the rest of the world - and that was the beginning of the end. I
worry about the U.S. in both regards. Our economic management is so lax
that we can't confront farm subsidies or long-term budget deficits. Our
technology is strong, but American public schools are 2nd-rate in math
and science. And Americans' lack of interest in the world contrasts with
the restlessness, drive and determination that are again pushing China
to the forefront.
Nicholas_Kristof  China  China_rising  New_York_City  hubris  parochialism  insularity  impermanence  restlessness  public_schools  incurious  ignorance  second-rate  America_in_Decline?  U.S. 
march 2010 by jerryking
In society, literary ignorance is frowned upon much more than scientific ignorance.
Here's the problem. You are considered ignorant if you don't know anything about Pushkin. But it's perfectly normal or accepted to ignore who Enrico Fermi, Alan Turing or Paul Erdős were. We're all ignorant about something but, in society, literary ignorance is frowned upon much more than scientific ignorance.
ignorance  scientifically_literate 
july 2009 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: Geography lesson
February 14, 2009 G&M editorial lambasting Michaëlle Jean's geographic ignorance.
African_Canadians  Michaëlle_Jean  ignorance  geography  editorials 
february 2009 by jerryking

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