Walter E. Williams

Many view America's education as a failure, but in at least one important way, it's been a success -- a success in dumbing down the nation so that we fall easy prey to charlatans, hustlers and quacks. You say, "Williams, that's insulting! Explain yourself." OK, let's start with a question or two.

Are you for or against global warming, later renamed climate change and more recently renamed climate disruption? Environmentalists have renamed it because they don't want to look silly in the face of cooling temperatures. About 650 million years ago, the Earth was frozen from pole to pole, a period scientists call Snowball Earth. The Earth is no longer frozen from pole to pole. There must have been global warming, and it cannot be blamed on humans. Throughout the Earth's history, we've had both ice ages and higher temperatures when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today. There's one immutable fact about climate. It changes, and mankind can't do anything about it. Only idiocy would conclude that mankind's capacity to change the climate is more powerful than the forces of nature.

During Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, his slogans were about hope and change. At the time, I asked people whether they were for or against change. Most often, I received a blank stare, whereupon I reminded them that change is a fact of life. Nonetheless, when candidate Obama uttered "hope and change," it was received with thunderous applause. There was also thunderous applause when Obama promised, "This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." Only a deranged environmental wacko and duped people could believe that a non-god can change ocean depths.

Americans fall easy prey to charlatans of all stripes because of the education establishment's success in dumbing down the nation. Nowhere has this dumbing down been more successful than it has in creating a historical amnesia. Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. wrote in "The Disuniting of America": "History is to the nation ... as memory is to the individual. As an individual deprived of memory becomes disoriented and lost, not knowing where he has been or where he is going, so a nation denied a conception of its past will be disabled in dealing with its present and its future."


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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