Wednesday, February 9, 2022

A Dumbed Down Populace

Two days ago I wrote a scintillating post about mass climate change hysteria. Among my observations, the current political climate is making people somewhat more batty than usual by insisting that there is only one truth and everyone who does not agree with it should shut the fuck up. That truth might involve climate change, a dogma widely embraced by young uneducated masses, or else it might involve and the truth about the efficiency of mask mandates and lockdowns in fighting the Covid pandemic.

I pointed out, because it is a staple of cognitive psychology, that mental health requires us to have balanced judgment. We ought, in a better world, to see both sides of an issue before deciding which side will be ours. I would even add that if you show that you have considered both sides of an issue, when you do make up your mind, other people will be more likely to respect your judgment.

If we insist that no one has the right to dissent, we are promoting group think and mind control. If we insist that certain facts are so factual that no one has the right to express any skepticism about them we are dealing with dogma, not with science.

So, fast upon posting my post, I ran across some research from Belgium, of all places. The research explained, conclusively, if I may, why some people are more or less likely to respect the rights of their friends and neighbors to express different opinions. Serious civil libertarians have long since insisted that the first amendment allows people to say appalling things. Nowadays, however, our philosopher kings insist that they have a monopoly on the truth and that if anyone anywhere expresses a different opinion, they are committing mass murder. Hysteria, anyone?

Nowhere in the drumbeat about misinformation does anyone see fit to ask whether the general population, assuming that it could be armed with the opinions that Dr. Fauci thinks are dogma today, would rush out and get jabbed. No one seems to notice that the more you push people to do something, that is, the more you treat them like children, the more likely it is that they will push back and will refuse to do whatever you are telling them to do. 

The issue is how to persuade people. That is, which rhetoric will produce the desired results. Naturally, our thought leaders do not know what rhetoric is, so, they prefer to act like New York’s new governess Cathy, and force people to do what they tell them to do. For the record, rumor has it that governess Cathy is going to lift some mask mandates today. At the time I am writing this, we are awaiting her action.

Anyway, the researchers in Belgium have discovered something that will not surprise you. They have figured out that smarter people are more tolerant of different opinions, even hateful opinions. Smarter people are more likely to be willing to consider different opinions, whereas the ignorant masses-- pardon the slightly derogatory reference-- like their opinions served up in a one-size-fits-all wrapping.

Eric Dolan reports the research on PsyPost:

Individuals with higher cognitive abilities tend to be more supportive of freedom of speech, even for groups they dislike, according to new research that analyzed more than 40 years’ worth of data. The findings have been published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“Previous research on freedom of speech support examined group-specific reasons about whether freedom of speech of particular groups should be promoted or curbed. We were interested in whether certain personality traits contribute to freedom of speech support in general,” said study author Jonas De keersmaecker, a researcher at Ghent University.

The researchers analyzed 21 waves of data collected between 1974 and 2018 in the United States by the General Social Survey (GSS), the largest national public opinion survey of the United States. All of the surveys included a vocabulary test, which the researchers used as a measure of cognitive ability. The surveys also assessed attitudes towards freedom of speech for racists, militarists, homosexuals, anti-religionists, communists, and anti-American-Muslim clergymen.

Participants who scored better on the vocabulary test were more likely to be in favor of allowing members of a particular social group to give a speech in the community, for allowing books that favor the ideas of the social group in the library, and for allowing members of the social group to teach in universities, regardless of which social group was targeted.

So, clearly this is interesting research. Better minds are capable of hearing more different points of view, even speech that would be characterized as hate speech or misinformation. One might assume that smarter people are less afraid of hate speech and less likely to blame it for all of society’s ills. They do not believe that hate speech necessarily produces bad behavior. One might also assume that people who do not know how to evaluate information might prefer to be presented with one unassailable set of facts, thereby relieving them of the need to make up their own minds. 

The more intelligent one is, the more likely one is to allow for free speech.

As for which cohort is the least likely to have surpassing intelligence, I pass on this information, for your consideration. It refers to the cognitive capacity of children in a Baltimore high school.

Sad to have to say it, but even before the teachers’ unions decided to dumb down the public school population by depriving them of classroom learning, these same teachers were doing a generally lousy job.

From the Post Millennium:

An anonymous teacher from Baltimore's Patterson High School has come forward with crucial information to support the claim that fully 77 percent of students at the troubled institution have an elementary school – or lower – reading level.

The Post Millennial has previously reported on the fact that Baltimore high school students' performance is often several grade levels below their actual grade, but new information brought forth shows us the depth and scope of the issue.

According to a Fox outlet in Baltimore, despite the fact that Patterson is "one of the largest high schools in Baltimore," only 12 of the group of students, or 1.9 percent, tested in the ninth through 11th grades were reading at grade level.

The teacher, who interviewed with both his appearance and voice disguised in order to avoid "retribution," confirmed that the school practises what's known as "social promotion," and practised it widely.

"They're pushed through," the anonymous teacher commented, when asked how kids wind up in that sad situation as late in the game as the 11th grade. "They're not ready for the workforce. They're not ready for further education."

"Our children deserve better. They really do. As a whole, the system has failed them," continued the teacher.

The scores are a matter of public record, separated from personal data of the students themselves, but school districts do everything in their power to keep them out of the eyes of the public, and especially out of the eyes of the students' parents:

"These numbers aren't lying. We truly need the families to see these numbers and to understand what it is."

Dumbing down the population, the mission of the teachers’ unions, has produced a citizenry where people are more likely to want to be told what to think, rather than to have to make up their minds while sifting through different opinions and different facts.


Anonymous said...

This sentence seems miswritten. "The less intelligent one is, the more likely one is to allow for free speech."

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you for the correction. I have made the proper change.

David Foster said...

Haven't read the study yet, but I'll note that the only two people who have defriended me for Wrongthink on FB are both people with quite high IQs.

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder how smart your ex-friends are, I trust?

Anonymous said...

You are completely incorrect about "Gorebull Warning" being embraced by young uneducated masses. Au contraire, it is the most educated who are the most fervent believers, because they get it hammered into them at school.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Hard to imagine that I am completely incorrect, but what makes you think that the products of the American educational system have suffered anything more than being dumbed down. In today's American the most educated emulate the least educated....

Bizzy Brain said...

Einstein said, “Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear, and greed.”

IamDevo said...

I wonder why the phrase, "Sorry, but you're not fast enough to be a cornerback on our NFL team," spoken to a white aspirant is taken with equanimity, but the phrase, "Sorry, but you're not smart enough to gain admission to our University," spoken to a black person elicits squeals of ire, agony and accusations of racism (our new most mortal of all sins) followed by redoubling of affirmative action programs. Can anyone enlighten me?

markedup2 said...

the system has failed them

No, it has not. "the system" does nothing; it doesn't even properly exist.

Easily identifiable INDIVIDUALS have failed them - including this teacher. If "he" is afraid to identify himself, one is forced to assume that he is also failing his students by also socially promoting them.

The INDIVIDUALS, not any abstract system, care more for themselves than their students. While understandable, avoiding the responsibility is what causes this problem in the first place. There's nothing particularly awful about saying, "I value my job more than my customers," but be honest about it.

Unknown said...
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