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(News.com.au)   Australians are "anti-intellectual" and "hostile to learning." The fact that their Education Minister refers to schoolteachers as "Maoists" might have something to do with it   (news.com.au) divider line 76
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3389 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Nov 2006 at 7:14 AM (7 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-11-21 12:05:50 AM
Amateurs. Come to America to see hardcore anti-intellectualism.
 
2006-11-21 12:46:33 AM
fark Off Pinko Egg Head

/Can ya tell i'm Aussie?
 
2006-11-21 12:57:52 AM
Yeah, add Texas and the entire South to the 'anti-intellectual' and 'hostile to learning' list.

\Texan
 
2006-11-21 01:28:30 AM
One can be anti-intellectual and not hostile to learning ... I'd probably be called anti-intellectual, but I'm also on my way to being rediculously over educated and I don't really see the contradiction.

Most people who get called anti-intellectual aren't hostile to education, per se, they're hostile to maoist who pose as teachers

/yes, I'm being slightly less than serious
/yes, I really do think professional educators are left of the general populace
 
2006-11-21 03:00:11 AM
It's hard to be anti-intellectual when your country has no intellectuals. Hating the "intellectuals" in the U.S. is like hating a fake football team. They're... not even real. What's the point?
 
2006-11-21 03:47:30 AM
I coulda swore that we had the monopoly on anti-intellectualism.

/From Mississippi
 
2006-11-21 07:17:38 AM
In Australia, you are not allowed to excel at anything but sport. Not for long, anyways.

/expat
 
2006-11-21 07:18:02 AM
Hey! Andy!
 
2006-11-21 07:20:50 AM
manic: In Australia, you are not allowed to excel at anything but sport. Not for long, anyways.

/expat


I'm hoping to join the expat community in the next five years. Hurray!
 
2006-11-21 07:27:43 AM
Go for it, I've Got Issues. Good luck scaling the wall that surrounds Canberra.

;o)
 
2006-11-21 07:28:35 AM
One can be anti-intellectual and not hostile to learning ... I'd probably be called anti-intellectual, but I'm also on my way to being rediculously over educated and I don't really see the contradiction.

Ooh la la, Mr. ImSoEducated. You think ur so cool because you read books and you have all ur education and stuff and you think ur so intelectuel that you can be anti-intalectual and use all those fancy big words to make me feel like a moran.
La-tee-dah...
 
2006-11-21 07:29:29 AM
Ooooooo,Capitalist1 do your balls become steel and the women flock to you when you put on your "Internet Intellectual" suit?
 
2006-11-21 07:33:38 AM
Nono, not Maoists... Maori. For instance, take a look at the president of the U of Sydney:

upload.wikimedia.org

/yeah, I just pulled that straight out of my ass.
//no, I didn't, and don't want to, research your fine institution of learning.
 
2006-11-21 07:36:50 AM
Maybe she is right about those teachers. I've had teachers in the USA that were self proclaimed maoists.

Not sure why calling a spade a spade means you are hostile to learning.
 
2006-11-21 07:38:55 AM
Capitalist1: It's hard to be anti-intellectual when your country has no intellectuals.

yeah except for all those Nobel winners we have and people like Freeman Dyson and William F. Buckley et al
 
2006-11-21 07:41:19 AM
I'd still trade our fundies for their asshats.
 
2006-11-21 07:42:40 AM
Sorry, no sympathy here.

We got Creationists, abortion clinic shooters, Peter Popoff selling Miracle Spring Water infomercials, and a head of State that believes an invisible, omnipotent, omniscient creature guides his hand -- in spite of having screwed everything up, including almost being killed by a pretzel.

And even though there are openly gay members of the house, there isn't a single representative or senator who dares admit to being atheists.
 
2006-11-21 07:44:15 AM
Being educated means you're a liberal. Hey, wait a minute, I forgot, after the elections, America is a bunch of liberals with a mandate!
 
2006-11-21 07:44:41 AM
I feel like rambling.

I'm kind of curious about this phenomenon of "anti-intellectualism". Why do people look down on those who pursue academic subjects?

Is it an issue of knowing that smarmy jackass who thinks he knows it all? Is it frustration that some folks have an easier time learning and understanding things than others? (I've been on both sides of that fence, let me tell you...)

Every time academics and intellectualism is brought it, I always hear others around me brag that, "they never understood that stuff, and they never needed it anyways", or that, "learning from a book isn't useful, you need street smarts/common sense". While I agree a balance of experiences is a healthy thing, why all the hate?

Where did this idea that someone who reads literature, history, philosophy, etc is wasting their time with useless knowledge come from?

And where does this "lefty commie college prof" thing come from? Yes, every school has a couple of nuts rolling around, but going back to that whole experience thing, isn't it healthy to be exposed to those nutjob ideas? To have to defend your own against them?

Maybe my experience is skewed, but that sort of bias doesn't really come out when you're taking math, biology or engineering courses. So hearing those around me biatch and moan about it seems rather silly.

/Has a paper to write
 
2006-11-21 07:47:22 AM
but...but...but...AMERICA!
 
2006-11-21 07:48:07 AM
Anti-intellectuals? Hostile to learning?

Pfft. They've got nothing on Mississippi.

/Glad to not live there any more.
 
2006-11-21 07:51:32 AM
jeffowl
Not sure why calling a spade a spade means you are hostile to learning.


It's called political correctness and it's the witch hunt, McCarthyism of the 21st century. Likely the teachers *are* maoist (what morons, look at what the "great leap forward" did to china! People who had no food to eat were beaten if they didn't give up their rice cookers (to be melted down) and people actually went around pulling up individual blades of grass because "grass is bourgeois" - can't these teachers READ A BOOK AND LEARN WHAT IT IS THEY STAND FOR??) - but anyway, he calls them what they are and so his punishment is to be called "hostile"

That's the way liberals work. They always give you a label with a negative emotion attached to it. You're a racist - you hate blacks. Or you hate women. Or whatever it is. It's possible for me to say that someone in favor of legal abortion is, "in favor of legal abortion" but they could never give me the same courtesy. If I so much as suggest that aborting an 8-month, 28.5 day old fetus might ought to be illegal, I must hate women and hate choice.

That's the way they work. That's political correctness. It's about controlling thought, only certain thoughts are allowed. It is the way the left operates.
 
2006-11-21 07:52:18 AM
Aussies hostile to learning? Bollocks, check out the University of Wallamalloo. Beer, barbies and Baudelaire. Or was that a bawdy air?

Cripes Bruce.
 
2006-11-21 07:52:20 AM
Not everyone is anti-intellectual, it's just that about a third of this country is made up of very loud douchebags. It would be good to find a place to live where only about a quarter of the people are douchebags. If anyone knows of such a place, please speak up.
 
2006-11-21 07:54:20 AM
Solkanar512
Where did this idea that someone who reads literature, history, philosophy, etc is wasting their time with useless knowledge come from?

If you can think of a better way of keeping people blissfully ignorant in their TV-watching, beer-swilling, fear-driven lives I'd like to hear it.
 
2006-11-21 07:57:12 AM
The real hostility is about critical thinking. You can't really raise a crop of ideologues if some of them can think critically. This is why the right is espeically hostile to intellectuals.


.
 
2006-11-21 07:58:22 AM
bimalc

One can be anti-intellectual and not hostile to learning ... I'd probably be called anti-intellectual, but I'm also on my way to being rediculously over educated and I don't really see the contradiction.

Most people who get called anti-intellectual aren't hostile to education, per se, they're hostile to maoist who pose as teachers

/yes, I'm being slightly less than serious
/yes, I really do think professional educators are left of the general populace


Probably the average educator is to the left of the average populace, but then its a self selecting sample - teachers aren't drawn by lottery, they have to choose to become one. Teaching isn't an industry you are likely to get into thinking you can become rich if you get the right breaks, and it will attract people that (at least initially) want to make society as a whole better. How strong a bias it is will vary by country and level of education in question, and there are of course many exceptions to the rule (both individuals, and in some cases most teachers of a given subject).
 
2006-11-21 08:03:24 AM
enave - It's called political correctness and it's the witch hunt, McCarthyism of the 21st century. Likely the teachers *are* maoist

Maybe you *ARE* a witch!

/Sets up a stake
//What side of the political spectrum has actually called for a "New McCarthyism" in those words? Oh yeah.
 
2006-11-21 08:07:29 AM
enave

Christ dude, what the fark is your problem? The only mention of Maoist is that it's the name these teachers are called by others, not what they call themselves. You say that it's a likely label, why is that? Does political belief always come into play in every college class, regardless of school or subject area? Because I'd love to hear you rant about the Maoist interpretation of Rudin's, "Principles of Mathematical Analysis".

Seriously, try harder next time to form a coherient argument. You offer no proof, no evidence and no sources linking professors to Maoism, or in linking liberals (whatever the hell that means) to either of the above.
 
2006-11-21 08:07:34 AM
I blame Howard.

/ya really
//just read Manne's essay about the way Howard has revolutionised Australian politics
///good stuff
 
2006-11-21 08:10:03 AM
manic: Go for it, I've Got Issues. Good luck scaling the wall that surrounds Canberra.

I only just moved here. But I have a UK passport too (thanks mum) and a North American spouse, so those are both options.
 
2006-11-21 08:10:46 AM
enave

Err, right, methinks you're suffering from a severe case of americanitis.

So, your post boils down to: "the teachers are maoist and don't like to be called on it, which is exactly what you'd expect from liberals".

Liberal != Maoist. You've fallen to the black and white fallacy. You know it's possible to occupy a myriad of political and ccultural positions that are far finer grained and differentiated in many different ways other than the simple and broken "left" vs. "right" thing?

And the rest of the article confirms that there is a large anit-intellectual streak in australia - not just anti-teacher, but a culture in which a sports star can boast of never reading a book and be cheered for it. This is not just about teachers, it's about the whole culture.
 
2006-11-21 08:10:47 AM
Suckmykiss, DistendedPendulusFrenulum:

The cynic in me would agree, though I hope there would be something more concrete to the issue.

And this whole liberal == educated is rather silly. I know idiots and smart people who subscribe to various and sundry beliefs. Though interestingly enough, I can't think of many that buy a simple party line.
 
2006-11-21 08:13:06 AM
I don't know, on the whole I've met more intelligent and forward-thinking people here in Aus than when I lived in the States.

/About the same for Canada...
 
2006-11-21 08:13:57 AM
I think it's kind of ironic that anti-intellectualism is cheap and easy propaganda too that Mao himself used.

And of course it is aimed at the gullible. Make of that what you will--what you do is claim that educators are a powerful force and that they're all somehow evil. In Mao's case, educators were accused of being reactionary (in this case, believing in the systems that Mao indended to replace).

Currently, educators stand accused of being "leftists" in pretty much the same way. The nutbag right wants authoritiarianism and the erosion of civil society. Even if educators were libertarians and paleocons, the Liberal Bashing Industry would label them leftists, liberals, communists, etcetera, because these are the hot-button labels they've trained the gullible into reacting to.


.
 
2006-11-21 08:18:44 AM
You know maybe the teachers are Maoists -- I have a professor who is a Communist. He's a nice guy but I wouldn't listen to him talk about economics.
 
2006-11-21 08:18:53 AM
I grew up around academia, what with a father who was a professor and a mother who teaches. Got to know some amazingly brilliant people as a result. But the hubris! Oh man! (although, to be fair, some students did treat their professors like they were living gods!)

So I have some distaste for the academic world.
But then, I also had some remarkable teachers myself. There does seem to be a gaping gulf between intelligence and wisdom, and it's a rare person who can straddle the two.

A lot of academics are like an exotic sports car. Powerful, agile minds but not very practical.
 
2006-11-21 08:23:12 AM
Anti-intellectualism has been the ennemy of every dictatorships. I think it should be telling that both far-right and far-left dictatorships hunt down intellectuals. Intellectuals created the movements that led to the American and French revolutions, not manual workers.

There used to be a time where the Jews where, sadly, the thermometer of the society. When a government started to abuse its powers, antisemitism was the sign of impending doom. It's now more likely antiintellectualism that works as early-warning systems

/did not help that jews provided and still provides some of the best intellectuals around.
 
2006-11-21 08:37:31 AM
In the modern entertainment culture, the highest paid people are dumb ass pretty people who either parrot some underpaid writers script, dance around lip-syncing someone else's lyrics or are able to move a ball up and around a field or court.

Bread and Circuses, People! And don't think that your government isn't exploiting it.
 
2006-11-21 09:03:33 AM
Australian's aren't "anti-intellectual", they're "anti-stupid".

"Stupid", in this case, referring to ivory tower intellectuals whose ideas might sound great in their little empires surrounded by people who all agree with them, but don't work very well out in the Big Room with the Blue Roof and Bright Yellow Light.

Australians are also _extremely_ anti-elitist and, as a rule, "intellectuals" tend to reek of we-know-better-than-you elitism.

Australia's education system isn't perfect, but it's pretty good. Particularly in higher education, it's quite possible for someone to go off and spend years doing an "intellectual", completeley-worthless-in-real-life degree and spend nary a cent up front, ending up with a government-backed, interest-free loan with repayments scaled to their income (so if you never earn "enough", you never even have to pay it back). This is a system that even most non-left-wing voters support.

I'm having trouble seeing how this is "anti-intellectual".

Mr Tanner is wondering why a "staggering" 46% of school-leavers aren't going on to higher education ? It's because they can take advantage of our massive mining/resource boom and go get a job out at the mines earning close to six figure incomes. Heck, there are *dentists and doctors* closing up shop in a lot of small towns so they can earn 50% more driving a freaking truck in a mine.

Much as it has pained me to vote for the Libs the last few elections, when the Opposition is made up of fools like this who can't even do basic connect-the-dots reasoning to relate cause and effect, it's kind of hard to vote for anyone else.

/Few things wose in politics than a weak opposition
 
2006-11-21 09:04:37 AM
StrikitRich

Never more so then now.
 
2006-11-21 09:04:53 AM
Silly.

It's not anti-education, it's anti- throwing huge sums of money into a communist system of DFACS-wannabe "educators" who are supposed to be "professionals", yet can't seem to even give an education better than the average home-schooling housewife.
 
2006-11-21 09:08:41 AM
Solkanar512

I'm kind of curious about this phenomenon of "anti-intellectualism". Why do people look down on those who pursue academic subjects?


Because said people have an alarming tendency to then insist their theories are the best way to do $SOMETHING, despite having little to no practical experience in $SOME_FIELD and frequently ignoring past failures from trying to follow the same theoretical, out-of-touch path.
 
2006-11-21 09:13:13 AM
Dokta
You not really seeing the problem here. Yes, there are those intellectuals in the Ivory Tower. However the anti-intellectualism is against pursuit of knowledge in almost any area, including the hard sciences. Unless it can be applied by Monday morning to industry there's very little interest or respect for the people that do it.

That's the problem with the current sentiment, and that's why a lot of Australia's best scientific minds are overseas. As a result a lot of the research won't benefit Australia and these people are educating the US's or Europe's youth, rather than Australia's.

But don't worry mate. We've got a winning strategy of digging shiat out of the ground, and pissing away the profits. Sounds like a great way to secure a future.
 
2006-11-21 09:13:44 AM
2006-11-21 07:51:32 AM enave

users.bigpond.net.au

That was quite possibly the biggest load of right-wing pussiness I've ever read.

That's the way liberals work. They always give you a label with a negative emotion attached to it. You're a racist - you hate blacks. Or you hate women. Or whatever it is.

You want to have your cake and eat it too.

If right wingers like you would stop being prejudiced - against gays, minorities, illegal immigrants, liberals, muslims, welfare recipients, the ACLU, college professors, environmentalists, etc. - well maybe people wouldn't treat you like the prejudiced twits that you are?

If someone labelled you - you earned it douchebag.
 
2006-11-21 09:16:20 AM
sigh, this is just reminding me of what a terrible choice i made when i decided to study at the University of Melbourne (classics and archaeology department) when i did study abroad junior year. despite the fact that i attended a top ten college in the states, the coursework in Melbourne AUS was way beyond me, and all the people in my tutorial were more hard-core about school than (almost) anyone at home. how does one go abroad and return home with their worst grades ever w/o being able to blame it on partying? booo.
 
2006-11-21 09:21:28 AM
Maoists and Stalinists are strawmen for the Right. You're as likely to find a pro-Mao or pro-Stalin liberal as you are to find a pro-Hitler conservative.

Yes, there may be a leftist bias in public schools - given that leftists have repeatedly been responsible for the implementation of equal rights, I'm not sure that's a bad thing... I think we'd rather that our teacher was far left rather than far right (considering how a far-right teacher might treat foreign or homosexual students). But Maoist? Are you people on crack? Yes, it would be nice if every teacher was the model of political agnosticism... however in the real world where humans have their own beliefs that may interfere with their work, I can't say I disagree with having a liberal bias in education.

Come on, choose between
a) a teacher that may be a little too frank with Sex Ed, including discussing homosexual acts, or
b) a teacher that teachers from the "humans coexisted with dinosaurs" school of creationism.
 
2006-11-21 09:21:44 AM
Yeah, add Texas and the entire South to the 'anti-intellectual' and 'hostile to learning' list.

You're not anti-intellectual, just "pro-football".
 
2006-11-21 09:26:33 AM
funny thing about education, it has a way of undermining governments and establishments and such. and the "Education Minister" works for the government....
 
2006-11-21 09:42:55 AM
Pxtl: But Maoist? Are you people on crack?

A scenario:

Little Johnny is going to his first day of school. His mother gets the list of necessary supplies for school and they go shopping. They buy everything on the list.

School- Day 1:

Teacher: Now class, I want you to take all those supplies your parents bought out of your bags and pass them up front to be distributed back to you at my discretion.

Maoist? Spot-on.
 
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