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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  1. "…And yeah I really do think." (Alanis Morissette 1995)

    While they are literally preaching (teaching) this to their congregation (students) in the sanctuary (lecture hall) they are telling them that education is bad for them. Then, if you asked someone who thinks this way, where they heard this, the answer is basically, “I LEARNED it at church.” They are teaching them what to think while saying that colleges teach their students what to think. The reality for most of us is that public, secular schools, and surely even the vast majority of private colleges, are in fact teaching students HOW to think. New versions of text books come out all the time, yet their texts are mostly all over a thousand years old. And what that then means is that if these bad colleges were only teaching their students what to think, not how to, there wouldn't be any advances in any field, meaning they'd never need a new textbook. So…

    I’m guessing they don’t want them to learn the meaning of the word “irony.”

  2. Defining characteristic of Fascism: disdain for intellectualism and the arts. Fascist regimes will either suppress education, especially higher education, or "hijack" it and make education into Fascist PoliCon (politically Conservative) indoctrination factories. It should be no surprise that so many GOPers feel the way they do about education.

  3. All parties include millions of highly-educated voters, and many representatives have jurisprudence degrees.
    (Jurisprudence having its own controversy.)

    Studies show a flip-flop in educated partisan voters — so maybe that is what stands out.

    There is a vast difference between “Formal education” and learning. If an education system is under scrutiny, the intent is usually to preserve and enhance learning. As others pointed out, critical thinking is important in working toward truth and accuracy.

    “Colleges do not teach.” I teach in a college, and research and develop new courses every year. Information changes quickly. I know a professor who developed 5 new programming courses per year. We are not allowed to make biased statements– political, religious, or gender-related, without investigation for harassment. We do not have time to get on biased rants.

    The US is over 21 trillion in debt, and college graduates are in debt $1.5 trillion with student loans. Since students owe money to federally-funded programs, the federal government factors those numbers into their debts and assets.

    During Obama’s administration, our president threatened educational institutions with withdrawing federal funding, if certain standards were not met. Most of these standards were not developed by scholars of education, but by government officials. Content within curriculum standards was not necessarily proven true; and additional tests took up time that was previously used for learning.

    For teachers, it meant some needed a higher degree or more training– taking time away from preparing lessons, while pumping money into systems.

    There is a severe problem in FORMAL education when scholars are not free to develop their own curriculum, based on research. Education suffers when first graders are stressed with tests their first weeks of school, and fourth graders spend the year studying for standardized tests.

    There is a serious problem in society, when masses can be lumped into groups of multi-millions, and labeled as having the same thoughts.

    We should not behave as sports fans randomly defending teams. Take the time to find out what is really behind all this hullabaloo.

  4. I don't think education is bad, but I would consider answering "negative" to this survey question because of the student debt crisis.

  5. I’m not seeing anywhere that says “education is bad”. I DO, however, read universities and educational institutions have a negative impact on society. I surely agree there are sharp partisan divisions in views aboard learning institutions are negatively impacting society.

    Read the article folks.


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