During a momentary lapse of judgment, I listened to CNN yesterday and heard President Obama exclaim that Americans must be the “best-educated, highest-skilled workers in the world.” This caused me to immediately think of Tatiana von Tauber’s post at Randazza’s Legal Satyricon.
Seems the international mind is interested in what’s really going on around the world – those issues which truly affect freedom, government and society. America seems more interested in Annie Liebovitz, sex scandals of politicians and the Bible. Once again, a firm reminder I’m not in Germany anymore. If I sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, will that change? Even the U.S. edition of CNN is very different than the international one I used to watch and since coming back to the states I find the news too Hollywood hyped for the kind of information I’m used to getting.
Strong words from someone with a last name like von Tauber, ridiculing American concerns, interests and, yes, ultimately intelligence. Ah, how those Europeans so enjoy making fun of the average American, the very ones who our President says must be the “best educated” in the world if we are to complete.
Is Tatiana entitled to her opinion? Exhibit 1, a British CNN segment:
They say that everyone is entitled to an opinion. I’ve never subscribed to that belief. In order to have an opinion, at least on a matter more significant than whether one prefers chocolate over vanilla, one has to have some basis for it.
Writing this blawg has been quite a learning experience for me. The strength with which people hold opinions is quite remarkable, but the foundation upon which those opinions are built is sometimes so fundamentally lacking as to be deeply disturbing. The part of the video that I found most troubling, most inexcusable, is that man who would appear to be in his 60s who lacked any knowledge about World War II. Even if he lacked any education whatsoever, it seems impossible that he wouldn’t know how many World Wars we’ve endured.
These appear to be perfectly nice, normal, quite ordinary Americans. No doubt each one believes they know what’s wrong with America, and what needs to be done to fix it. No doubt each has an opinion. These are the people that our President says must be the “best educated” in the world. That’s going to require some heavy work. I wonder how many read newspapers, or even watch television news? Do they read blogs? Do they write comments telling others how wrong they are on subject of national importance?
I wonder how many of these people exercise the franchise? Are they capable of assessing the best leadership for this country?
This doesn’t prove, as the voiceover suggests, that Americans are any worse than people anywhere else. They may well be, but this segment offers neither context nor comparison, and is hardly scientific. But we can’t forget that these are Americans, and we can’t assume that whoever we meet, befriend, work with, talk to, can name a country with a name beginning with “U”. Keep this in mind when you read the comments here and elsewhere. The strength with which some expresses their opinion is not evidence that they are entitled to hold an opinion at all.
Tatiana has earned her opinion. Most people who read SJ have earned theirs. But not everyone. And certainly not every American is entitled to an opinion. Even if they appear to be perfectly nice, normal, quite ordinary Americans.
I do not believe that Americans are stupid. But it’s unacceptable that many are so ignorant.