Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ignorance is strength

It is a common stereotype to pain Americans as lazy. Perhaps we are but when you look at other countries with shorter work weeks and vacations measured in months, not weeks, we're definitely overworked. Some of us are addicted to chasing that dollar and a 70 hour work week isn't unheard of. Yet, we're intellectually lazy.

Just as we are addicted to quick and easy pre-cooked food, we're just as addicted to quick and pre-processed news, if we even pay attention to begin with. Just like junk food, we're overloaded with poor choices because we'd rather have someone else tell us what to think rather than take the time to research the facts. Ask almost any viewer of any major news channel about an issue and ask them to explain the history of it, chances are their knowledge would take less than a minute to explain.

How many people cheered to go to war with Iraq, even though they couldn't find it on a map, because they figured all Muslims were the same? The armchair patriots, the mental sloths who went along with whatever the news said because it was easier that way, those are the people who are lazy. We're suffering from a health crisis in this country and it isn't just obesity or physical inactivity. It is also a lack of mental exercise. We see people glorified who are in shape, the steroid freaks who sell their excercise programs on TV but at the same time, being smart is usually frowned upon. Unless, of course, you're smart in a way that can be put to use for commerce or war.

Being able to bench 400 lbs and catch a football is celebrated with millions of dollars but the intellectual equivalent of that is often mocked, or ignored. Why do we celebrate those who fought in a war and died more than those who find a way to avoid a crisis through diplomacy? Are we really an idiocracy?

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