…of the gene pool, that is: I get sucked into a discussion with a seriously stupid person the other day, and end up kicking myself over the monumental waste of time. Thomas Paine once said, “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” More concisely, haval al hazman. But that brief face-to-face confrontation with astonishing stupidity and ignorance makes me remember that this is now the norm.
Everywhere we turn, we see people completely shameless about their ignorance. What once would cause someone to think, “Gee, I should know that,” now earns a shrug and a giggle. Ignorance and intellectual mediocrity have become so culturally acceptable that any sign of erudition elicits suspicion and scorn.
Tom Edwards writes on geocultural literacy (i.e., how much we know of the world around us). It is just one of my many rant subjects, guaranteed to have me screaming at the contestant on The Weakest Link who thinks that the country with a border on the Mediterranean and a cypress tree on its flag is Canada. Noooooo! If you are feeling a tad embarrassed about your mental model of the globe, try these quizzes and map games.