What America doesn’t know CAN hurt it (A Statistical Blog Post)

ignorance2I was told by a receptionist at a nearby hospital that they were facing a big shortage of nurses. I asked her – why the mismatch? -we have so much unemployment, and yet these well-paid jobs go begging for applicants. She said that nursing is a difficult job, with long hours.
But what she did not say, but probably also relevant is this:
More than 600,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs sit vacant because there aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill them. (Thirty percent of high-school graduates can’t pass the U.S. military entrance exam, which is focused on basic reading and math skills.)
In 35 US states it pays more to accept welfare than for a college graduate to work an entry-level job. This surprising fact is based on a study done by the Cato Institute titled the “The Work vs. Welfare Trade-Off” For instance, Pennsylvania has citizens pulling in almost $30,000 before taxes in public assistance. The article states that, “Welfare pays and pays well” since in most states recipients end up making more than retail clerks and fast food employees.
In addition, I read elsewhere that the average age of an American farmer is over fifty.
If we put this together, then there are several troubling implications. The large welfare population will vote for the candidate that keeps welfare going. And so there will be no incentive to go into manufacturing or farming or hard manual jobs until we sink under the burden of trillions of dollars of debt.
It could be that much of the American population is just too dumb to get a good job.
For instance, 70 percent of Americans do not know what the “Constitution” is, according to an article in the UK Daily Mail (see sources).
In another survey, just 74 percent of Americans said that the Earth revolves around the sun.
The younger you are, the less you know. For instance: just 19% of those under 30 can correctly identify Benjamin Netanyahu as the current Prime Minister of Israel. I wonder if the other 81% even know who heads the UK, or France, or Italy, or Russia.
And maybe the lack of engagement in a dynamic job market explains the following for the youth cohort:
A Pew poll found that while Americans overall tend to oppose socialism by a strong margin…socialism has more fans than opponents among the 18-29 crowd. Forty-nine percent of people in that age bracket say they have a positive view of socialism; only 43 percent say they have a negative view.
The effects of ignorance can be profound. I would bet most Americans haven’t heard of Pakistan, or at least could not place it on a map but: in 2011, a senior U.S. congressional official who works on nuclear issues told Newsweek that intelligence estimates suggest Pakistan has already developed enough fissile material to produce more than 100 warheads and manufacture between eight and 20 weapons a year. “There’s no question,” the official says, “it’s the fastest-growing program in the world.”
We could say: So what?
Does it really affect the average person if the earth goes around the sun or not? Or whether some far off Muslim country has a more active nuclear program than perhaps we ourselves do? Or whether some socialism is mixed into the economy or not? Or what hard to pronounce name the PM of Israel has? Or what some old piece of paper called the Constitution says?

I believe the answer is a resounding YES.

I would think that ignorant people would be more likely to follow charismatic demagogues, and would vote for policies that are destructive, and basically are more likely to stampede like lemmings off a cliff, taking the rest of us with them.
And if they don’t do that, they will not understand the ideological forces that are gathering outside our borders. What you don’t know can hurt you. We found that out 14 years ago when out of the sky, planes flew into our skyscrapers, and people were left wondering “who did this, and why do they hate us?”

Just saying, as I do here, that you are for “education” is hardly controversial.  So since I am allergic to not being controversial, I will add this: we should remember another statistic: that about 40% of the current crop of US babies are born to a single mother, and so home-life problems will likely interfere with their education, and also, that education is not everything.   Karl Marx himself spent much time in a British library researching to build his Marxist theory. Also the Nazi leadership was intelligent and educated.   Hitler wrote a book that is still popular in parts of the world and I was stunned, a minute ago, while looking up a source to back this assertion up, that two digital editions of the book (“Mein Kampf”) have risen from 12th and 15th to 3rd and 4th as of this writing, among books in iTunes “Politics and Current Events” rankings.  Some viewers of that article see the popularity as just curiosity, but one  viewer of that article laments that:

It’s pretty simple. After 5 years of a divisive president in America, class warfare on the rise in America and around the globe, Marxism and Socialism on the rise and racist Muslim countries expanding their borders and influence, it’s only natural that the old racist views are finding homes in the minds of the uneducated and easily led masses.

I weep for our world and those who will be killed in the turmoil to come.

I hope he is wrong, and admittedly, the other commenters do have other opinions as to why Mein Kampf is flying off the digital shelves.
If I were a teacher, I would try to show my students several opinions on a topic, including the most extreme, as well as the most mainstream.   That is a good way to teach critical thinking.  Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

Sources:

From ISIS to Unemployment: What Do Americans Know?

http://www.pewresearch.org/topics/public-knowledge/pages/2/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368482/How-ignorant-Americans-An-alarming-number-U-S-citizens-dont-know-basic-facts-country.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/02/what-americans-dont-know-about-science/283864/
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2011/0517/Why-does-Pakistan-have-world-s-fastest-growing-nuclear-program
http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/education-disaster-no-accident-expert-warns/#POc4RyZPP35G9hMx.99
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/29/young-people-socialism_n_1175218.html

http://www.theblaze.com/blog/2014/01/09/why-is-hitlers-mein-kampf-rising-to-the-top-of-book-charts/

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