Propaganda works – 58 percent of Republicans believe education is bad

By Rmuse | 6 June 2018
Daily Kos

"An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people." Thomas Jefferson
“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” Thomas Jefferson

Critics of Fox News may discount the effectiveness of the right wing outlet’s effort to transform America into a fascist theocracy controlled by the ultra-rich and extremist evangelicals, but that would be a monumental mistake. Like all successful propaganda agencies, Fox broadcasts talking points crafted by evangelical and corporate activists nonstop until their mendacious messaging is considered biblical truths.

Fox News, like Republicans and Trump, could never succeed as an ultra-conservative propaganda outlet without an ignorant population. The only way to continue having success at propagandizing is convincing Americans that being educated and informed is detrimental to the nation and its citizens; something Fox and Republicans have been very successful at over the past two years.

The idea that education is bad for the country is contrary to the belief of the Declaration of Independence’s author,  Founding Father and third American President Thomas Jefferson. He said:

“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”

Another legendary world leader, Sir Winston Churchill said:

“The privilege of a university education is a great one; the more widely it is extended the better for any country.”

Obviously, the current administration and the Republican Party it represents wholly disagrees with the concept of a well-educated citizenry, or that it is beneficial to America if the populace is educated and informed. Likely because the less educated the people are, the more electoral support Republicans enjoy and the more success Trump has as the ultimate purveyor of “fake news.”

That being the case, it should be no surprise that since Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration there has been a concerted effort to dismantle, and eventually destroy, America’s education system; from public elementary and secondary school to colleges and universities. It is also not stunning that Trump and the GOP’s propaganda arm Fox News have played a crucial role in convincing Republican voters that education is “bad for America.”

For years conservatives have demeaned “secular” education, and over the past decade Republicans have pandered to the religious right by railing against higher education with valuable aid from the GOP and Trump’s propaganda agency Fox News. It is evident that neither Trump, Republicans, nor Fox News would exist without a fair number of the population mired in rank ignorance about everything, and that does not include the contingent religiously voting for Republicans and contrary to their best interests.

To demonstrate precisely why the people’s freedom, and democracy, are in jeopardy today, a recent poll revealed that nearly 6 out of ten Republicans sincerely believe that “education is bad for America.”

Seriously, it is beyond the pale that anyone in this country thinks education is bad for America, but nearly 60 percent of Republicans is a mind boggling number. It is not entirely unexpected, but it is stunning that they have no issue telling a pollster that they believe education is a negative for the country.

It is noteworthy to mention that to Republicans and the Trump organization, all education is not “bad;” only secular education and only subjects not steeped in extremist conservatism and not recorded as Bronze Age mythos in the Christian bible. If America’s education system followed that of theocracies founded on religion, such as in Iran or Afghanistan under Taliban rule, Republicans would spend an unlimited amount of taxpayer money on education. Instead, because America is still a secular democracy with Separation of Church and State enshrined in the First Amendment, Trump and his evangelical malcontent Education Secretary are on an honest-to-dog religious crusade to decimate public education and create a system of taxpayer-funded evangelical madrasas.

Republicans have opposed education for well over a decade, but over the past two years the percentage of Republicans who believe education is bad for the nation has risen sharply. In fact, two years ago a Gallup poll revealed that 54 percent of Republicans viewed education in America as a positive for the country. Now, according to the latest annual Pew Research Center poll, 58% of those same Republicans believe higher education is having a negative affect on American society. Those figures represent a swing of epic proportions, and although there are enough GOP supporters who are too stupid to see the value to themselves and the nation of an educated populace, it is telling that close to 60 percent of Republicans consider education bad for America.

To get a good idea of why a majority of Republicans, obviously Fox News viewers, believe education is bad for America, a recent Fox segment featured Tucker Carlson presenting the issue of education as one of waste because “colleges and universities don’t teach kids anything.” He said:

“Colleges barely teach, yet every year they increase their fees. Try that in a private business, you might get indicted for fraud. Do it at an American university and you get billions in taxpayer subsidies.”

Carlson cited some studies about “adult literacy,” but it is unclear how he connected “adult literacy” reports with universities not teaching students or wasting taxpayer money. For the record, “adult literacy” involves helping citizens 16 and older to better read, write, and do basic arithmetic; something any American completing the eighth grade will have mastered with relative ease if they or their adult caregivers consider education as remotely valuable.

What is glaringly apparent is that based on the Republicans’ opposition to education, the Fox audience only heard Carlson parrot what conservatives, and other Fox talking heads, have preached for close to a decade; “colleges barely teach … and they get billions in taxpayer subsidies.” Of course there is a problem with the high cost of a college education in America, but to claim they don’t teach, or that taxpayers are funding liberal indoctrination programs, is something only dyed-in-the-wool religious conservatives, and obviously 58 percent of Republicans, believe as if uttered by their biblical god.

A big issue conservatives have pushed for years, and likely contributes to the Republican opposition to education, is the mindset expressed by no small number of conservatives, particularly those making up the religious right. A former member of the Arizona state legislature, Frank Antenori, summed up a belief often shared by conservatives. He said:

“Why does a kid go to a university these days? They go there to get brainwashed and learn how to become activists  and cause trouble.”

No, kids go to a university or college for an education to hopefully secure a decent job and have a better life than their parents. And what too many Republicans and religious conservatives consider brainwashing is what sane civilized human beings regard as “being informed.” And, that “being informed” generally results in a religious conservative “kid” informing their parents that no, the Earth is not 6,000 years old and flat; or that no, a zygote is not a living human being; or that no, America was not founded by religious white supremacists to exist and rule the world as an Aryan Christian nation.

This author knows two families who refuse to send their children to public schools because “they only hire teachers that are either gay, atheist, or sexual predators,” and because “those teachers are trained to brainwash the kids with lies about god and America.”

Of course none of the conservative propaganda warning that education is bad for America is true, but for the ignorant religious zealots and angry racists making up the majority of the Republican movement, that propaganda is biblical truth; why else would Fox News and Republicans promoting school privatization keep telling their supporters that America’s education system is inherently evil, and a detriment to the country?

Here’s the problem going forward; Trump and his evangelical crusader DeVos will not have much Republican opposition to their goal of dismantling the education system in America and replacing it with for-profit private religious and corporate charter schools – at taxpayer expense. They have already garnered support from close to 6 out of 10 Republicans who openly admit they believe education is bad for the country.

It is probably true that Republican and conservative leaders are not nearly as concerned with religious indoctrination as they are keeping the voting public ignorant, but despite their motivation, wanting an uninformed population is appalling. However, it is the only way Republicans can ensure that this contingent keeps faithfully voting against their own self-interests and contribute to keeping the GOP in power.

America faces myriad threats to its existence as a matter of course, even as a crippled world leader, but with Trump and DeVos on a religious crusade to decimate public education, the greatest threat is an ignorant population opposed to public education. Tragically, with 58 percent of Republicans claiming education is bad for the country, the ignorant population is going to grow with every Fox News segment and with every dirty lie from the fascist in the White House and the evangelical extremist running the Department of Education.

Most Republicans View Higher Education As Bad For America

Betsy DeVos Asked to Justify Proposed $9 Billion Cut to Education Budget

Chris Hedges: “AMERICAN FASCISTS” The Christian Right vs USA

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49 COMMENTS

  1. "According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, 32 million of American adults are illiterate, 21 percent read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates are functionally illiterate, which means they can't read well enough to manage daily living and perform tasks required."

    If you operated a business; let us suppose you baked cakes—and if fully 20% of those cakes were inedible, would you call your bakery a success?

    So how is education a success?

    If universities are the ones who manufacture the newest educators; and if those teachers who are teaching in our elementary, middle, junior high and high schools are failing as educators, then who is to blame?

    Academia.

    If you trained musicians in a Pop Music College, and if your graduates had such a paltry record regarding success as pop-artists, where 20% were tone-deaf—who is to blame?

    You might say, 'the musician'—and I would add, "If my child attends your university; and if they cannot hold a tune; if they're tone-deaf and rhythmically challenged; and yet no one advised them to take an alternate path; and if they receive a music degree from your university—then who's to blame again?"

    You want the credit for the geniuses; but you disperse the blame amongst the parents for the failures.

    Conservatives and Christians love education—what we abhor are 'propaganda', and religious bigotry.

    "Islam, Buddhism; Hinduism: GOOD; Christianity: BAD. Quran: Allowed. Bible: Disallowed."

    And the logic contained within this pseudo-article is the most warped I have ever witnessed. Conservatives know the content of the product being propagated by Academia; it's not the 'Education', per se, that is flawed. It's the 'Educators'. And try as you may, you can never adequately fend off your detractors with circular logic; nor with such an intellectual and philosophical 'red herring'.

    Math is not oppressive; and neither are history, statues or flags 'racist'.

    • Perhaps the gol of educating everyone is what is flawed. I gave done a bit of reading on this and it seems that 30% or so benefit from an education. The rest seem to get only so far, and a large group seem to have reactionary responses like yours – that is to claim that the knowledge itself is suspect. Like prisoners in penitentiary complaining about the free food.
      These malcontents are numerically superior and Fox News feeds them the circular logic they want to hear . ( it’s ok to. Believe in fantasmagorique gods, proofs are suspect, those 30% who did get a benefit are ‘elitists’, your home and gun collection are threatened, football is interesting, black people complain too much, prisons work, atheists are criminals, it’s ok to beat your spouse, priests and coaches should be fed a steady supply of our innocent children, freedom means smoking and drinking and saying whatever I want, etc).
      Educatin everyone is an expensive social experiment that has not been reviewed. There is no point in my mind to educate people who ultimately want to be told what to think, and are uncomfortable with ‘proofs’. They want dictators. They want them so bad they are fact repellents.

  2. “Islam, Buddhism; Hinduism: GOOD; Christianity: BAD. Quran: Allowed. Bible: Disallowed.”

    The “religious bigotry” to decry here remains a figment of your imagination. Students are not being encouraged to embrace any of the former doctrines and to reject the last one; only encouraged to understand what they are OUTSIDE the negative lens that the last one has shown them through for all their formative years and to avoid taking Christianity to be the ONLY possible choice for a moral guide. The Quran is not being used as a basis for teaching history, sociology, or any other philosophy that isn’t strictly about understanding Islam or a comparative study of religions (which then includes the Bible); and they’re not supposed to be using the Bible for that either. But when you’re accustomed to uncontested supremacy, equality feels like oppression.

  3. You are the ignorant. Kidding yourself with utter nonsense. How many Republicans were polled? 1,000? 63 million people voted for President Trump and I am one of them. I absolutely agree with Thomas Jefferson concerning education, and I was never polled, Typical Liberal Democrat mentioning propaganda, and then spreading it. Your name suits you well ruse. Funny thing about College Degrees…They don’t provide the owner an ounce of common sense.

  4. Blame the democrat controlled cities leadership for the utter failure in those districts. In thriving Columbus Ohio we have many schools less than 60% graduation rates. See Obama/Johns Hopkins Diplomas Now for road map to success.

    It is a crime.

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