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The Strategic Importance of Ignorance
Michael Moore’s essay, “Idiot Nation”, starts out as a sentimental tirade against the
American people. The frustrations that guide Moore’s indignation are easy to understand – in a
nation that can boast one of the largest GDPs in the world, education should have achieved better
result. Instead, to the frustrations of individual like Michael Moore, the United States can boast of
an environment where ignorance and anti-intellectualism thrive; in words more aligned with the
text’s tone, this lack of attention to education has created a nation of idiots. As enticing as it might
be to put the blame on individuals – as Moore starts out doing in the essay – the management of
the education system is a much larger determinant factor than individual choice. As Moore
eventually realizes, a failed education system has set this stage and shaped its actors so that the
average person, the Ivy League student, and the political leader can boast about how much they do
not know. The lack of attention placed to the American education system is certainly a tragedy –
children throughout the nation are being coerced out of certain opportunities because of the
malicious mismanagement of the system – but it is likely not accidental. It is not a fad, either, antiintellectualism has been part of American culture for a large section of its history. It can be argued
that the decision to underfund schools and to engrain anti-intellectualism in American culture, the
ruling class gains a strategic advantage over the numerical minority.
It has long been understood that, for a nation to thrive, it is imperative to invest in its
schooling system. From Pre-K to PhD programs, the government ought to have the responsibility
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to ensure that their citizens, regardless of their identity or socioeconomic status, have access to an
education system that is built to prepare them for success. Giving schools the sufficient funding
for their facilities, staff, texts and other resources can guarantee an improvement to the quality of
education that is given to the child (Ehrenfreund, 2015), exactly as one would expect. In turn,
better educational o...
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