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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    • "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people, enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve it, and it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

      From Jefferson's letter to Uriah Forrest, with Enclosure, 31 December 1787; from the National Archives… retrieved Nov. 4, 2018

    • I really want to hear more from Edwin though … about why he would want to debunk that quote. I mean, there are bad quotes and there are unsubstantiated quotes, and while that one is not borne out by the writings of TJ, it's … amazing anyone would actually sit down and try to show it was false or misleading.

      • Amazing? Or predictable. The entire message of this article is that uneducated people are gaining ground in America. It’s interesting to note that most Republican member of Congress, if not ALL, have an advanced degree.

  1. Stay stupid. It makes it easier for the rest of us to become top 1%ers. But don't expect us to help your sorry butts. God helps those who help themselves.

    • There is no god you heartless troll from a child’s novel. Quit using your fake religion as an excuse for being a self-centered poor excuse of a human. Money is made up, debt is a lie, capitalism requires slavery by another name to resemble success and your ilk are dying out. so enjoy your death throes dinosaur, thrash about, rage, beat your chest. No one will notice when your gone, and 100 years from now you will be nothing more than a case study in what humans used to be, and why it didnt work.

    • If you think that "God helps those who help themselves" is a quote from the Bible or even a correct description of a Christian belief, you are wrong.

      Actually, it originated from Algernon Sydney in 1698 in an article titled Discourses Concerning Government and in many places, the Bible teaches just the opposite. God helps the helpless! Isaiah 25:4 declares, "For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…"

      Jesus parable about a king who said: "Matthew 25: 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

  2. “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”–Thomas Jefferson

  3. Recognizing that a college education has become, for most students, four years of BS classes and political indoctrination, followed by a lifetime of debt, DOES NOT equal being opposed to education. The past 30 years of my working life were spent working for Louisiana State University, then the University of Maryland, and finally, the University of Texas at San Antonio. I saw classes become more meaningless as the students became less interested. So many had no idea why they were there, and were doing as little as possible to get through the four-plus years it would take them to graduate. They had been told for years that they would go to college and get a great job, but most wind up in jobs unrelated to their fields of study, and their debt weighs heavily on them for decades.

    Real education is a great thing, and an educated citizenry benefits not only individuals, but the nation as a whole. But college has become mostly BS, (and I don’t mean Bachelor of Science,) and I believe that most students would be better off either going to college when they have been in the world for a few years, or learning a trade. Those who are questioning the value of college for all are not anti-education. They recognize that higher education is not what it was, that the world is changing, and that we need to rethink how our children are educated and directed into life.

    • Exactly what were you doing for those 30 years? Were you an educator or the groundskeeper? Despite your lifetime of spectating from behind the bushes, statistics regarding the benefits of a college education dispute your anecdotal information.

    • EXACTLY!!
      The lie about education is that it’s actually EDUCATING.
      They use this b.s. to undermine what we are trying to get out. They use the propaganda like this, to put us in the same pit as the crazy Christian right when we question the establishment. They want to keep others from hearing our voices, from hearing EXACTLY what you said. By labeling people who think critically and question the narrative.

      Keep preaching!! Keep telling the truth. We are being heard!! Weather they like it or not!!

      • Wow, I see that your education stopped before you got to spelling and sentence structure.

        Yeah, we’ll compete with the Korean and Japanese math and computer scientists by denouncing higher education.

        Well, trump and Devos want god in schools, and screw higher education.

        Get some learnin under your belt, then come back here.

      • “Weather they like it or not.”

        Is English your second language or were you just not present in first grade spelling class?

        Here’s a mini lesson for you. Weather is like “sunny, cloudy, 78 degrees, rainy, and so forth.” I think the word you’re looking for is “whether.” Good luck out there.

    • Sounds like you had no business working for those schools since you did not believe in their mission and you looked down on their students. But I bet you’re enjoying your public-funded pension.

    • Know who else was contemptuous of Higher Education and so-called Intellectual Elitism? Mao and his Red Army. Your anti-intellectualism is absurd. Take away formal education and who's going to build the bridges and buildings? Who's going to be the lawyers, doctors, engineers, and scientists? What a joke. Oh, yes, let's stop all education at grade 8. That should work out magnificently — especially for our competitors on the world stage. Being anti-intellectual gave China it's Great Leap Forward and millions died in the famine it caused. Because Mao and his uneducated hordes were just that brilliant.

    • My kids that went to college got degrees in engineering, aviation, and nursing. They all have great jobs, but required the degrees to qualify. Don't knock a decent education.

  4. Conservatives and Evangelicals despise education because it has never been able to penetrate the high walls of dogma and propaganda they live behind. You hate what you fear and fear is their lifeblood.

    • You show your absolute lack of understanding. We love good, solid education and many of us have our MBAs, doctorates, etc. What we don’t like is the indoctrination going on right now and lack of Civics being taught so that the youth understand the beauty of our Constitution. In my profession, I am seeing young people come out of college more stupid than high school graduates used to be. They have no ability to think beyond what they are told – absolutely no common sense or ability to think outside the box; and, no, this is not just my opinion – we have discussed this consistently over the last few years – these students have no motivation, no curiosity to create or solve issues. It is so sad.

      • Sherri, I'm guessing that you aren't part of the group of republicans or the religious that the author is writing about. And yes, we can judge the overall effectiveness of schools, but I believe most teachers/professors do want to teach their students how to think, how to figure things out for themselves, and take those tools with them when they leave.

        • Joel
          You are referring to critical thinking and no, that is not longer taught.

          Those of you that actually side with this article really should NOT comment: It reveals your ignorance and causes you to appear a simpleton.

    • That is exactly the case!
      I’ve witnessed, first hand, those things and was chastised if I strayed outside of those I do trinated lines.
      My eldest son: the same thing.
      As with most, you learn to play the game.


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