When Did Being Educated Start Requiring Stupidity?

Was it when education became vulgar, and self-referential? I wonder about this as I sit in Bath, in Nelson's old front room after a seminar with some bright Americans. I wandered onto the internet to try and keep my mind buzzing, and I have found rubbish about global warming, the end of the recession, why America is the best country in the world ever, and why it is more important to
(i) condemn Jews because of Israel
(b) hate someone
(c) be angry about something
(d) avoid any thought of the connection between an obsession with sexuality, paedophilia, anti-paedophile statism, and hysteria
and
(d) make the law 'transparent'
(e) ignore the Sudeten crisis the Czechs are using against EU bullying over Lisbon
(f) ignore the scandals of AfPak procurement and the lack of strategy as we pour people into the mincer in the Kush

than to think.

Oh, and it is important to be some sort of vulgar post-protestant bigot and to ignore the insights and culture of religion too, especially living ones.

I've come over all valedictory; as though, it doesn't matter if it ends now or later. It does, of course, to me--I love life--but I am functionally, a little depressed at things. Who wouldn't be? It was all so, well, avoidable.

Look, it's simple. There are things I was right about and things that I was wrong about. I was wrong to place so much emphasis on peak oil. I was right about the recession coming, two years ago. I was wrong to flirt with politicised Catholicism; I was right to uphold christian democratic ideas and traditions. I was wrong to be ever associated with the New Labour wing of the statist, New-Left/Neo-liberal/progressive/capitalist project. I was right to like Pope Benedict and Edmund Burke and Thomas Hobbes. I was right to see through Mary Honeyball, Andy Burnham, Hazel Blears, Luke Akehurst and that silly troll who kept turning up here to defend them.

Most of all, though, the lies--the lies about Iraq (on both sides), about Palestine, about Global Warming, about the end of the recession--have served to show me how much of a ridiculous, denuded, and monstrous culture of second-rate bourgeois liberal materialism the British bit of the west now wallows in.

No Chinese or Muslim freesheet ever parroted lines as slavishly as City AM or the Times, or at least with such self-assured sanctimony that they were correct. Their editors, at least, know they'll got shot or that someone will disappear them if they lie.

What is it, though, that makes the British middle classes think that their lies (and it's not all of them, I won't demonise a group that contains friends of mine) actually are truths? It was ever thus, I suppose; appeasement was a good idea until it wasn't.

I wish that people would read history and open their minds. I've been running through Atlantic humanism, the interconnections of calculus and the enlightenment, and American drinking songs in the context of tavern debates this afternoon amongst other things with people who think ideas are a good and worthwhile thing. I got called a dilletante by a judge over a curry a year ago for precisely that.

I spent the morning with Chinese and Vietnamese people who have come halfway around the world to learn about economic history and practice. Why can't such curiosity and enthusiasm and vigour be manifested in the educated here, or is it that they are, but that those people are not allowed to speak?

Certainly, people I talk to of all classes and creeds are alive and think, and have their own minds. Perhaps it's just that I don't talk to those who downloaded theirs to get along, or that I ward them off somehow because I have a tie on my neck rather than a shovel in my fat paws. Who knows? Life, as they say, is strange.

I have, this Thursday, a little of the bank's money they haven't managed to claw back in my pocket, and an expectation of a little more soon. I have a train with a bar in it to wait for. I have papers to mark that people put effort into. My woman is away for a couple of days. I'm off down a pub to start reading and grading....

Comments

PJMULVEY said…
Martin:

You are in good company with your thoughts. One of the reasons for the illogical incoherence of the 'educated' classes (USA and UK) is that they were indoctrinated rather than educated......we have come a long way from classical education of yesteryear that produced polymaths and intellects of integrity. Patrick
Martin Meenagh said…
I still meet such people--but they never seem to get anywhere. As they say in New Jersey, how come is this?

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