Good News For College Students: You Will Never Meet Glenn Beck’s Kids

With Glenn Beck trolling the outskirts of decent society (mentally and professionally), his nightmarish ravings have taken on a distinctly science-fiction hue. Not that he hasn’t always been on the verge of some paranoid breakdown with his frequent admonitions about apocalyptic “perfect storms” and impending alliances between radical Muslims and secular progressives to form a worldwide caliphate, but his regression is surely spiraling downward.

Glenn BeckToday’s sermon addressed the dangers of education, a pursuit so horrific that Beck will not permit his children to partake of it.

“I said to my wife the other night, my kids aren’t going to go to college. They’re just not going to go to college. They won’t. We can find somebody that they can intern for. They’ll have to do their own thing. I am not sending another child to college. I won’t do it. They are being indoctrinated. I am not going to give them my money. […] I’d rather be a mechanic than in the system that is coming. And your kids are going to be in an absolute system. And I know what that means. This is a really scary thing. Just be aware that there are many ways to mark people.”

Beck has been railing about the covert forces plotting to control the minds of America’s youth for some time. Although he never mentions whether his own Glenn Beck University is part of the problem. His latest conspiracy theory was hatched by something he found in the 2009 stimulus plan that tickled the paranoia sensors in his cartoon brain. As reported by Right Wing Watch, something called “Common Core” is at the heart of the next phase of creeping tyranny.

Beck’s theory is that the 2009 stimulus legislation contained $5 billion dollars designated to be given to states in support of public education, but carried a requirement that any state accepting the money must set up a “longitudinal data system.” The data gathered by such a system, Beck insists, is being harvested by the federal government and stored in a massive facility in Utah and will be used by both the government and corporations to monitor every student from the time they enter school for the purpose of controlling their futures. From the moment a child enters school, his or her future will be determined and those with skills deemed valuable by the corporations will be guided into areas that serve the needs of the corporations while all the others “will be a cog in the machine forever.”

No wonder Beck is prohibiting his kids from attending school. As a delusional, alcoholic, drug-abusing, college dropout, he sees the modern education system is the manifestation of “The Matrix.” And this fits nicely into the conservative model of higher learning wherein acquiring too large a portion of knowledge makes you suspect and alien to the American way of life. A degree from Yale or Stanford is not nearly as useful to an aspiring leader as the charisma of someone with whom you would want to share a beer. This is something I addressed in an essay on “Elitistism” that included this observation:

“Education is a key component in this new paradigm. It is absolutely critical that you not have too much of it. And never, ever use the word paradigm. Once the American people get the impression that you know more than they do about issues like economics or foreign policy, you’re disqualified from service. Achievement and expertise only spotlight how different you are from ordinary Americans.”

The result of this hypersensitivity to learning is that conservatives will continue to be, as GOP Gov. Jindal of Louisiana said, “the Stupid Party.” They will continue to score highly on those polls that rank the most ignorant consumers of media and show Fox News viewers at the top. And they will churn out additional Republican voters who are convinced that the math in every poll is wrong and who value bible fables over science. Consequently, Beck’s advice to shun academia is consistent with advancing the interests of the Republican Party. Isn’t that convenient?

Idiocracy: The Fox News War On Intelligence

There’s one thing you can say about Fox News, and that is that they know their audience. They know that they are serving an intellectually lazy group of rightist zealots who, more than anything else, just want their prejudices to be affirmed. And Fox News is more than happy to accommodate them.

This morning on Fox & Friends, home of the most prideful ignoramusi in television, Brian Kilmeade interviewed David Gelernter, the author of “America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered In the Obamacrats)” The discussion centered on the assertion that those darn kids today just aren’t as super-spectacular as previous generations. Gelernter, a Yale professor, castigated universities and disparaged American students as “learning nothing, apart from how to play with their iPhones.”

The dialogue continued with both Kilmeade and Gelernter insulting President Obama, and liberals in general, as airheads. He even questioned the President’s patriotism saying, “I think he has no sense of obligation to the country. I think he has a vivid sense of what the country owes him.” That’s a veiled reference to the racially incendiary subject of reparations, which Obama has never supported. Talk about dog whistles. The segment also featured a couple of definitions that exist nowhere but in the minds of devoted right-wing demagogues:

Obamacrat: A new generation of politicians who don’t think very much and aren’t concerned about their country.
Airhead Liberal: Accepts liberal political ideas religiously, but never questions them.

And Fox News is not coy about their aversion to being smart. The graphic below explicitly belittles knowledge and Americans who “rely on IQ instead of common sense.” Heaven forbid anyone with actual, demonstrated intelligence be given a role in the affairs of state.

Fox News on Knowledge

The notion that knowledge is a toxic virus that infects elitist liberals and must be exterminated, is a recurring theme on the right. They are overtly hostile to education and regard people who have excelled academically as out-of-touch and even threatening to the their conception of American society. And while there is, of course, a place for common sense, the thing about it is that it is “common.” What ever happened to American exceptionalism and the idea that we can aspire to greatness? Such talk is now considered to be an abandonment of the common man.

Conservatives, through their Fox News mouthpiece, are openly advocating for ignorance. And the reason for that is that they know they can manipulate an incurious, ill-informed population far easier than one that is educated. That is why they denigrate Obama’s achievements at Harvard Law (even though they ignore Romney’s two Harvard degrees). It’s why they oppose legislation that makes higher education available to more Americans. It’s why they even advocate eliminating the Department of Education.

It is no surprise that several studies have shown that Fox News viewers are significantly less informed than consumers of other sources of news. And while pseudo-patriots chant “We’re number one,” the international rankings put the U.S. at 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. That is not a foundation from which viable competitiveness is likely to emerge. And bashing education is not a path to resolving these problems.

President Homer SimpsonThe GOP is practicing something I call Elitistism: the practice of discriminating against those who are perceived to be elite. The goal of Elitistism is to drive from public life anyone who diverges from the sacred visage of American Averagism. Because everyone knows that the guy you’d rather have a beer with is the best qualified to be president. Although the cold brew may have been replaced by the tea bag, and the barfly by the Tea Hag™ (i.e. Sarah Palin). And whatever you do, don’t exhibit any qualities of excellence or intelligence. As I have previously written, in today’s politics those are flaws that separate you from the masses:

“Education is a key component in this new paradigm. It is absolutely critical that you not have too much of it. And never, ever use the word paradigm. Once the American people get the impression that you know more than they do about issues like economics or foreign policy, you’re disqualified from service. Achievement and expertise only spotlight how different you are from ordinary Americans.”

Today’s segment is further evidence that Fox News not only promotes ignorance, they actually celebrate it, as they pander to their audience that wallows in it. Pretty soon we can expect to have parades of idiots inspired by Fox proudly marching down Main Street chanting “We’re dumb. We’ve come. Get used to it.”

Fox Nation’s War On Youth And Education

It is no wonder that Fox News is the oldest skewing network in cable news. They have captured the curmudgeon demographic and completely abandoned any attempt to appeal to a young audience.

Today’s headline on Fox Nation is a good example of the animosity that drives away young viewers and readers: Obama Reduced to Writing Op-Eds in Student Newspapers.

Fox Nation

Reduced? Since when is communicating with college students considered to be some sort of lowered standard of engagement? The student newspaper to which Fox referred is the Harvard Crimson from Obama’s alma mater. The President’s column addressed the steps his administration is taking to ease the burden of the crushing debt students suffer due to the high cost of education.

In one headline Fox has insulted students as being unworthy of attention, and diminished education as a frivolous endeavor. And the headline was entirely the work of Fox’s editors. There was nothing in the source article that sunk to such disparaging terms. In fact, the article offered an uplifting message of hope for restoration of the opportunity that was once so much a part of the American Dream.

Obviously the Fox Nationalists think that communicating such hope directly to the next generation of America’s leaders is a contemptible act that reflects poorly on the President. It is that condescending perspective that makes Fox a pariah amongst everyone but the codgers who drool over photos of Sarah Palin in red leather.

GOP IgnoranceIt is the same perspective that elevates ignorance as an aspiration. Fox is the nation’s preeminent purveyor of distrust for intellectual achievement. They are the partners of the Republican Party in an effort to dumb-down the citizenry by mocking education and promoting idiots to positions of authority. And make no mistake, it is intentional. They know that it is far easier to manipulate people when they are uneducated and uninformed. They know that it is the only way that they can advance their agenda that benefits the wealthy and corporations at the expense of those they are deceiving. And they are good at it. Studies show that Fox viewers are significantly more misinformed than viewers of other networks. What’s more, the studies show that the more one watches Fox News, the more misinformed they become.

So the next time you see Fox slamming the President for daring to lower himself to communicating with college students, remember that this is in line with their business model of targeting the stupidest and oldest segment of the audience. And so far as I’m concerned, they can have ’em.

No Wonder Glenn Beck Is So Stupid. He Hates Teachers

This morning Glenn Beck took to the radio to bash President Obama’s State of the Union speech. As usual, his rambling screed was littered with lies. But it wasn’t enough to merely hurl baseless insults at the president, for some reason he felt compelled to disparage teachers and come out in favor of America producing offspring who are as intellectually vacant as he is.

Glenn Beck

The President spoke at some length about the need to focus on education and the value of teachers. Beck’s response to this was to shriek “Don’t talk to me about a teacher sir. That’s indoctrination, Talk to me about parents.” He continued…

Beck: “Last night, I don’t know how many people picked it up, he said the solution came from China. They have their kids in school much longer for the year, and they also keep them in school a much longer day. And teachers are known as nation builders. And I wish we could just give them the respect they deserve.”

Where to begin. Let’s set aside Beck’s bizarre opinion that teaching is synonymous with indoctrination. Obama never said that “the solution came from China.” He merely noted that nations like China and India were devoting more resources to education than we are, which happens to be true. This is what the President actually said:

Obama: “Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. […] Over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school education. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree.”

But don’t bother Beck with facts or aspirations to improve ourselves in a competitive world. Beck also erred when he said that it is communist China where teachers are know as “nation builders.” As was stated clearly in the President’s speech, it is actually our democratic ally, South Korea. Beck has as little regard for truth as he does for teachers, whom he seems reluctant to show any respect. But it just gets worse from there.

Beck: “I don’t know anybody that talks down about a teacher, I really don’t. I’ve never heard a teacher introduce himself and say ‘I’m just a teacher.’ I’ve never heard that. I have heard ‘Well, I’m just a mother.’ The greatest teachers are our mothers and our fathers, period.”

So Beck thinks that teachers in this society are treated with equal esteem as say, architects, or doctors, or pop stars? And he also thinks that motherhood is frowned upon? I really have to wonder what country Beck is living in. And while parents are obviously an important part of the life of any child, to say that they are our “greatest teachers” is missing the point. Of course our parents teach us values and shape our character, but how many of us learn astrophysics, or mechanical engineering, or medieval literature, or neurosurgery from our parents? That’s what the dialogue on education is about, and anyone with any sense knows that.

Finally, Beck demonstrated his own sorely deficient comprehension skills. This may explain why he is such a bad student and so ill-informed on so many subjects.

Beck: “He said last night the teacher, the one in front of the classroom, is the one that affects the child the most. Well, there’s your problem, President Obama.”

No, it’s your problem, Glenn, because he distinctly did not say that. Here is what he did say:

Obama: “That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. […] Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom.”

Glenn Beck gets the simplest things so perversely wrong that you almost feel sorry for him. He is obviously suffering from a severe learning disability. He would have benefited immensely from the sort of teaching he now belittles. But the people for whom I feel most sorry are his listeners. They are being barraged on a daily basis by untruths and delusional analyses. And the damage that does to our society is tangible and dangerous. He is creating a congregation of frightened, hostile, idiots. That can’t end well.

[Addendum] On his TV show today Beck reprised his attack on the State of the Union speech. In doing so he provided another example of his pathological dishonesty:

What Beck Said: I actually feel bad for teachers. I mean the good ones. We should fire the bad ones. Which he wouldn’t say last night.
What Obama Said: We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.

And there was also this charming thought:

“Last night was all about unity. I didn’t get my little ribbon, but it was all about unity.”

That little ribbon was worn in honor of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the Tucson shootings. How nice of Beck to mock that tribute and laugh at the the suffering of others.

Propaganda Marches On

Once again, the Bush administration has been found to be guilty of violating the law against covert propaganda. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) made the ruling in response to the Department of Education’s initiative to pay more than $200,000.00 to Armstrong Williams to help promote the No Child Left Behind Law.

“This qualifies as the production or distribution of covert propaganda,” said the GAO. “In our view, the department violated the publicity or propaganda prohibition when it issued task orders… without ensur[ing] that Mr Williams disclosed to his audiences his relationship with the department.”

This is the second time the GAO has found the administration in violation of the law. In March 2005, the Bush Justice Department waived off the earlier finding saying that, “It did not apply.” and could be ignored.

So much for law and order.

More Paid Propaganda From BushCo.

The Department of Education has not learned its lesson about payola and propaganda. After having been caught greasing the palms of Armstrong Williams, the DOE has just been slapped by its Inspector General for improperly paying “…education advocacy groups to produce newspaper opinion pieces, advertisements, and other public materials that reached audiences all over the country without revealing that the government paid for their production and distribution.”

The IG fell short of calling this propaganda what it is because, he said, the Department did not, “…intend for these organizations and individuals to mislead the public.” Apparrently they just intended for these organizations to publish stories that promoted controversial administration policies without disclosing that they were working for the administration. That isn’t the least bit misleading, is it?

Representative George Miller (D-CA), plans to demand the Department recoup tax dollars that were unlawfully spent. He also has an impressive collection of links to other improper activities, with regard to the media, by BushCo. at this website.