We had so many problems back in 2012 I decided to compile a list of them, then briefly explain and propose solutions to each issue. I found inspiration in the Occupy Wall St. Movement and Martin Luther’s “95 Theses,” specifically his format and purpose, which led me to my title “99 Theses: Disputations on the Power, Efficacy, and Indulgences of the United States Government, Businesses, and Other Institutions” The “99” of course being a nod to the “99%” of the OWSM as well as the number of issues examined.
Originally it was intended to run as a long, multi-part essay in my local college paper, but it was too long. Around the same time we changed our editors, modifying the piece was put on hold and eventually I just forgot about it for a while. Then a year, or so ago I decided to track it down in my old files and actually edit and self-publish it. I kept coming back to it on and off again for a while until I finally finished my edits. But something struck me: it was too old, too much had changed, and the tone was all wrong for 2018.
As I made all the revisions and updates to each of the 99 theses I also posted some of the longer sections so I could keep writing for the blog while finishing a long overdue project. And unfortunately, while rereading it became clear that almost every problem had gotten worse and the stakes of solving them ever higher. I finally published it this summer (2019 if you’re reading this updated version sometime in the future) so if you like what you read in this section I’d very much appreciate you reading a few of my other excerpts posted here, and here (the intro is the same for all of them so if this is the first one you’re reading you can skip this part next time if you do feel inclined to keep reading). Then, if you like those, I’d appreciate it even more if you gave the whole book a read over! And, as at some point in the future I’d like to revise and update it if need be and it would be great to hear your insights, suggestions and criticisms!
7 – Require Subject Literacy In Congress
The US education system is in poor shape to say the least. However, this problem doesn’t end with students, but endemic ignorance is demonstrated by many of our leaders on what feels like a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. For instance, climate change: a reality that’s already here and getting worse is controversial and politicized. Almost every scientist and academic institution agrees that climate change is real and human activities are responsible for its rapid pace. But there are still a lot of people who deny this reality even when temperature and severe weather records break in front of their eyes every year. Not to mention much of the more complicated data gathered from satellites and computer simulations of the climate are easily available online. This issue relates back to how we perceive education and intellect in general. Too often is intelligence mocked and ignored when it should be praised and listened to. We must change our attitudes towards intelligence and ignorance. Informed opinions are indeed superior to uninformed opinions. We must lower our tolerance of ignorance especially from those in power.
Members of Congress who continually show ignorance of scientific matters yet sit on committees concerning scientific matters should be forced off those committees or forced to resign from Congress altogether. Members of Congress have demonstrated a lack of scientific understanding on matters of global climate change and even basic human biology- particularly female anatomy- yet despite their ignorance they still shape the policies that directly impact these matters of concern. This ignorance isn’t limited to scientific matters, but basic US history and even the contents of the Constitution. It is at best a national embarrassment. It’s disgusting and mass-homicide at worst. Policies created by inaccurate information costs lives: severe weather exacerbated by human climate change costs lives; women’s health legislation set by ignorant old men costs lives; food and drug safety requirements drafted by food and drug company executives instead of doctors and nutritionists costs lives; and the same can be said of any other policy matter crafted by proud, willful ignorance.
We must not only vote for well-informed candidates, but if there is a lack of well-informed candidates it is our responsibility to find them and convince them to run for office. It should also be made standard policy that any member of Congress participating in any matter must demonstrate at least a working knowledge of the subject at hand. There is no place for ignorance of this magnitude in running a country or forming its legislation and it cannot be tolerated any longer.