About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
So, what is the matter with Kansas?
Well, there is nothing specifically wrong with Kansas, I think. True, it has been the focus of much publicity (largely negative) during the last several years because of continuous changes in the makeup of the State Board of Education, and consequent swings between pro- and anti-evolution sides (currently the anti- is in charge, but things may change again in a few months).
But that isn't that much different from what is happening in many other places in the US, especially the mid-west and south (although the current high-profile case is the anti-ID trial going on in Dover, PA). The problem isn't Kansas, or Pennsylvania, or Tennessee. Indeed, the problem isn't even the split between so-called red and blue states. After all, most of these states are themselves almost equally split within their own boundaries.
No, the problem is of course the increasing cultural divide between urban and rural America and, quite bluntly, between cosmopolitan and educated sectors of the population on one side, and provincial and ignorant ones on the other. The problem is that "red" states (i.e., those with a preponderance of rural and less educated population) have too much power because the electoral system is such that the number of senators they sent to Washington is the same as that of states (such as California or New York) with much larger (and on average more educated) numbers of people. The problem is that the current movement toward "home schooling" (an oxymoron, really) is creating a new generation of people with huge areas of knowledge completely missing or dramatically distorted during their upbringing. The problem is that the Republicans don't want to change all of this because they need a backward and ignorant population to keep being elected despite the fact that they are so obviously the party of the rich and powerful (by definition, a minority). That is what's the matter with Kansas, and Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.