Tuesday, September 18, 2012

“Educated Idiots” - how bitterness in the workplace can transfer into the voting booth

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM

n the 1960s, Governor George Wallace of Alabama, whose name will forever be linked with intolerance and stirring up hatred of others, coined the phrase, “Pointy-headed intellectuals.”

The rest of the phrase goes along the lines of ,” . . . who can’t park their bicycles straight,” which delighted those who had a life-long dislike of the “smart kids.” This contempt for intelligence is exemplified by current GOP bad boy Rick Santorum, who tells cheering crowds that “smart people” will never understand the modern-day GOP or its values.

Wallace’s snarky definition has lasted throughout the years, along with his bigotry, and has even given rise to new expressions:

Educated Idiot

Front-porch Common Sense

Before I became professionally lazy (no, actually, I am physically disabled - from my years of work in factories) I heard the phrase “educated idiot” a lot on the factory floor. It comes about like this:

The Company (put whatever name you like in; you have probably worked for one) decides to fill a supervisory position it has open. Instead of promoting from within the ranks, a “College Boy” is brought in to run things - someone who may have a degree, but has no idea on how the work is actually done in the plant.

Morale drops, along with production. All too often, the newly-hired boss is unwilling to seek the advice of long-time employees, many of whom are only too glad to see him/her fail and be shown the door.

Educated people are the enemy, and not to be trusted.

But to be honest, I have seen folks promoted from within the ranks who may have had the technical skills, but lacked the people skills, or organizational skills to run a production line. The same results occurred.

It’s all a crap shoot.

It doesn’t need to be, of course, but too many companies seem oblivious to the problems that arise when an unqualified (in every sense of the word) person is brought in to run a production line. It often becomes a needless battle of wills between those with new ideas versus those with hands-on experience

Unfairly, many bring the bitterness at the educated idiot into the outside world with them, but also into the voting booth; they distrust people who are too smart, too educated - the experts. Hence the popularity of certain politicians over the years, not to mention talk radio, where the hosts are can be every bit as ignorant as their callers.

So what do we trust instead of education?

Front-porch common sense.

Well, I think it may have been SF writer David Gerrold who observed in a story once that the only thing common about common sense is that it isn’t common, and yet “Common Sense” seems to be the mantra for many writers and politicians who wish to disparage ideas they have absolutely no understanding of.

Front-porch common sense is what we refer to when we mock any high falutin’ ideas (usually from academia) when CS (my fingers are getting tired) tells it is something else entirely.

Newspaper columnists and talk radio hosts like to appeal to our sense of CS (which we share with them, and not those educated idiots) about any number of controversies.

Evolution

Stem cell research

The budget debate

Education

Barack Obama’s birth certificate

What to do about Afghanistan/China/Cuba/Russia/North Korea/Grand Fenwick

The game can go on forever.

CS tells us that education is not necessary (hell, it often gets in the way), that our gut instinct is the way to go. In fact, I found this lovely quote on the Internet this morning:

“It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.”

Well, that was from Robert Green Ingersoll, an American statesman in the 19th Century, but if you believe that for a second . . .

We can get together with others who have CS similar to ours, and mock anyone who has wasted their lives actually leaning things. CS gives us the ability to look at something and instantly know the truth of it. It’s a grand thing. The fact that you don’t have to know about a subject to pass judgement on it makes CS even more attractive, and why so many charlatans appeal to us on the basis of CS.

The fact that my CS may be different from yours makes no difference at all; I am right, and you are stupid. Or you are right, and I am stupid. It gets confusing.

Politicians appeal to our CS, and our distrust of the educated idiots.

Do you want people like that yahoo who made your life miserable at work running your city/state/country? Or do you want men and women (who usually only parrot the words “freedom and liberty!” as loud and as many times as they can) who will rely on common sense to deal with our problems?

Well, gee, it’s only common sense when you think about it . . .

******

KFSM Chronicles - A Lonely Darren Bobb sits alone?

Monday’s KFSM (Channel 5) broadcast saw a lone Darren Bobb giving us the news, with at least two cameras in the studio. Abandoned was the wacky wide-shot.

I wonder what we’ll we today.

*****

Quote of the Day

The trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we're ready for it. - Arnold H. Glasow

sdrake@cox.net

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