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Elite Ignorance

Wehrwolfen

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By Victor Davis Hanson
August 16, 2013


In Sam Cooke's classic 1959 hit "Wonderful World," the lyrics downplayed formal learning with lines like, "Don't know much about history ... Don't know much about geography."

Over a half-century after Cooke wrote that lighthearted song, such ignorance is now all too real. Even our best and brightest -- or rather our elites especially -- are not too familiar with history or geography.

Both disciplines are the building blocks of learning. Without awareness of natural and human geography, we are reduced to a sort of self-contained void without accurate awareness of the space around us. An ignorance of history also creates the same sort of self-imposed exile, leaving us ignorant of both what came before us and what is likely to follow.

In the case of geography, Harvard Law School graduate Barack Obama recently lectured that, "If we don't deepen our ports all along the Gulf -- places like Charleston, South Carolina; or Savannah, Georgia; or Jacksonville, Florida ..." The problem is that all the examples he cited are cities on the East Coast, not the Gulf of Mexico. If Obama does not know where these ports are, how can he deepen them?

Obama's geographical confusion has become habitual. He once claimed that he had been to all "57 states." He also assumed that Kentucky was closer to Arkansas than it was to his adjacent home state of Illinois.

In reference to the Falkland Islands, President Obama called them the Maldives -- islands southwest of India -- apparently in a botched effort to use the Argentine-preferred Malvinas. The two island groups may sound somewhat alike, but they are continents apart. Again, without basic geographical knowledge, the president's commentary on the Falklands is rendered superficial.



(Excerpt)

Read more:
Elite Ignorance | RealClearPolitics

Obviously incompetence goes hand in hand with intelligence which also seems to be lacking.
 

Wiseone

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OOOoooooo man, you got him. Its done, its over, there's nothing more to say.
 

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Honestly, I don't think any of those are too bad. I don't see how the 57 states thing could be anything other than a misspeak. Every child in America has had the fact there are 50 states drilled into them all their lives. Kentucky being closer to Arkansas seems relatively minor too. I didn't know the Aregentinians preferred the term Malvinas, but if I did I could see accidentally getting the term confused with the Maldives.
 

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Honestly, I don't think any of those are too bad. I don't see how the 57 states thing could be anything other than a misspeak. Every child in America has had the fact there are 50 states drilled into them all their lives. Kentucky being closer to Arkansas seems relatively minor too. I didn't know the Aregentinians preferred the term Malvinas, but if I did I could see accidentally getting the term confused with the Maldives.
That's nice of you to give Obama a pass on the above. However, doesn't that reflect upon Obama's education and by extension the education of our young today? That aside, why has "Social Studies", World, American history and Geography, been relegated to a minor subject in today's student curricula? The same holds true for a foreign language. Students that study languages in U.S., High Schools are not given the proper tutelage by so-called Teachers.
 

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That's nice of you to give Obama a pass on the above. However, doesn't that reflect upon Obama's education and by extension the education of our young today? That aside, why has "Social Studies", World, American history and Geography, been relegated to a minor subject in today's student curricula? The same holds true for a foreign language. Students that study languages in U.S., High Schools are not given the proper tutelage by so-called Teachers.
Pretty sure Obama is way more educated than you, unless you've got a Harvard Law degree in your back pocket somewhere?

Hey I got it and I agree that that piece of paper that says what you studied in college is not the end all be all of how smart you really are, but you can't say Obama's education is of poor quality because he's made a few slips of the tongue and errors when he speaks sometimes.

I mean are you going to sit here and tell us you've never made an error of geography? Or have never mispronounced the name of a location? Of course you have, and if you deny it you're lying, so since you're bashing Obama for it why aren't you also looking into a mirror and wishing you'd never spent all that money on your education?
 

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That's nice of you to give Obama a pass on the above. However, doesn't that reflect upon Obama's education and by extension the education of our young today?


I don't think anything said by Obama reflects the education of our young today. The 57 states was a misspeak. And even though I know well more about world geography than most people, any of the others are mistakes I could've made if I was speaking off the cuff without the time to think deeply about what I was saying. I'd be focused more on my main point and not whether Savannah is in the Gulf or not. Constant attacks on these does the GOP more harm than good IMO.

That aside, why has "Social Studies", World, American history and Geography, been relegated to a minor subject in today's student curricula? The same holds true for a foreign language. Students that study languages in U.S., High Schools are not given the proper tutelage by so-called Teachers.
Those are actually good points by the article on why these are subjects are given less importance than they were before. Connecting that to Obama's geographical blunders was not a good idea.
 
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