This is one of my favorite kinds of blog posts: where I dive into it not knowing the answer. Usually when that happens, it’s what I write a book about, but some questions I don’t want to turn into novels.
So here’s what we’re starting with: global capitalism cannot meet the needs of the world’s population. More and more as capitalism demonstrates its exhaustion, we are seeing income disparity, which in turn drives the militarization of local police, increased police state measures such as spying on citizens and extreme persecution of whistle-blowers, and war measures as capitalists who can no longer count on economic bullying resort to violence to secure resources, market share, profit.
As these things increase, we notice something else: a drastic rise in ignorance. And that’s where I’m mystified.
Let me be clear that in some cases, the ignorance is easily explained: belief in climate change is a direct threat to oil profits, so of course there will be climate change deniers. And then, as capitalism finds it has less and less need for educated workers, education is slashed, hacked, and burned, so the ground for mass ignorance is being laid.
But there’s more to it, and that’s what I’m not getting. To be precise, whence comes the rise in anti-vaxxers? It isn’t just that they view children as property and want to debate who owns them (“The state doesn’t own the children, parents own the children.” — Rand Paul), it is very conscious ignorance and refusal to see reality. Similarly, those who deny evolution. In both of these cases, and others, there is a strong correlation to the most appalling right-wing political positions, with the ugliest forms of bigotry, and, moreover, such nonsense has become more widespread as the crisis of global capitalism has deepened, hence I do not accept coincidence as the answer. What I’m not seeing is why this correlation exists? Where is the relation between preserving private property as the highest goal, and a literal interpretation of the Bible? And, above all, what is the mechanism by which these ideas slither down from the conscious reactionary to the merely ignorant? I’ll be interested to hear what some of you think.