Is Ignorance Bliss?

I was asked about America’s perception of the EU at an interview recently and even though I answered what I know for sure, it got me thinking…

What is the EU for the average American? He does not know about the politics of it, the institutions, or what are  EU benefits. All he knows is that the UK called to “Leave” the EU (yes, it is still not official completely yet but Strasbourg and Brussels (up until a few days ago this week) are saying it is. End of debate.).

France. The Balkans. Ibiza. UK-Ireland. Germany. Attacks, football matches (the ball you kick all over a field to win a goal). But apart from the elite, politicos, and government workers, not many know what the EU stands for (not the two letters).

The average American, I’m obliged to say, does not even receive a complete education when it comes to history. They don’t even call the course that until university. Until then, in most towns, it’s “social studies”… what is that???

No geography lessons but mapping exercises at the age of seven, which are no help at all if you want to pinpoint exactly where Togo is (it’s a country in Western Africa). That said, they don’t understand that European, African and Middle Eastern/Asian histories have been linked since ancient times in its own crazy way. Commerce is a funny activity. Then again, so is war. The Greeks and the Romans were pros of those two pastimes.

The point is history did not begin with British colonialism or the revolution mounted against the crown by the British colonies on North America’s East coast. Even this piece of time is nearly forgot on youth today: the causes and effects of the so-called “discovery” of the “New World” on the world itself;  the principal reasons of why the revolution by the 13 British colonies in 1776 happened; who were the first 10 presidents of the U.S; the details of the Constitution and why is the Bill of Rights a separate document to that; did the Civil War resolve any of the tense social and political situations of the mid-to-late 19th century Union; the economic system or the infamous business model favored by Wall Street; isolation politics; and how the 1960s changed U.S society. The youth do not learn about the huge damage the first Gulf War of the 1990s, coupled with the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in the 1979-80 years, inflicted on the Middle East, transforming the already crippled region into a fire-breathing volcano, bigger than what it was before the events of 1975, 1949, the 16th century and so on.

All this to demonstrate how little the U.S knows about itself and, therefore, the rest of the world. For example, and I leave you to ponder it, if the 2016 U.S presidential elections can’t show U.S citizens how much value we give to ignorance when we should not, then what can?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Nice articles! Keep on writing and sharing… 🙂

    Like

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