A disturbing trend in society is getting worse. It can be seen most notably in the current political climate, but it also has its talons in medicine, science, and education. I expect to see it dig deeper into other areas, such as the arts, as time goes on. It’s nothing new, has been happening for decades, but it’s reaching a nauseating fever pitch.
It’s the rise of anti-intellectualism. Have you noticed? Discounting or distrusting someone smarter or with more experience in an area, simply because they are other. Ignoring science in favor of erroneous graphics-heavy information on a random website. Skipping over statistics and proof because it’s uncomfortable and instead parroting the rantings of someone who shouts what you’d rather hear instead. Closing ears and minds and hearts.
Others have written about it much more eloquently than I (and for pete’s sake, take the five minutes and read these):
And this one especially: Anti-intellectualism is Biggest Threat to Modern Society
For whatever screwed up reason, our American culture celebrates and encourages ignorance. I don’t understand it, I’ll never understand it. It makes me crazy and I despise that aspect of our culture. It’s embarrassing and yet it persists.
So what does that mean for our gifted kids?
Well, where should I start? Lack of funding for gifted education programs, for one. How about gifted girls hiding their intelligence? Or maybe the incessant drumbeat of “giftedness isn’t important” blog posts and memes. Our kids pick up the signals that intelligence isn’t valued in today’s society; it’s not hard for them to make the leap to “oh, I’m not valued.” And that, my friends, is wrong on multiple levels and in multiple dimensions.
These kids need intellectual peers, and that kind of peer group is so incredibly hard to find, especially in the same age range. But a group such as that is a safe haven, a place to truly be themselves, away from the anti-intellectualism of outside society. A place where curiosity and questioning and intelligence is celebrated and encouraged. And maybe, a way for them to figure out how to nudge society away from the ignorance edge.
I don’t have answers, I just have a sad resignation that our society and culture is so screwed up, and a long list of sci-fi books to read to pull me out of that funk. The best I can do at this point is help the gifted kids in my life find their peer group and keep it front and center in their lives. They need it and oftentimes they don’t realize just how badly they do.
Today’s post is part of September’s GHF blog hop. Please hop around and read the other participants’ submissions; you may find yourself an intellectual peer group.