It seems Medium has become my new, er, medium for posting. At least for now, and I guess especially on topics related to tech and mental health.

“Unfortunately, the troubles with the U.S. education system are much deeper than distribution of funding or curriculum weaknesses, although these are both a byproduct of the cultural issue that Asimov observes. The troubles lie in the cult of ignorance and anti-intellectualism that has been a long-standing part of American society and which has become increasingly evident and powerful in recent years through the propagandizing and proselytizing of groups like the Tea Party and the religious right.”

America’s Cult of Ignorance Is No Match for Asia’s Cult of Intelligence | John W. Traphagan

I’ve long said that while I may gripe about the traffic or the heat or the necessity to have a car to live just about anywhere, the main reason I never want to live in America again is its anti-intellectual culture. This attitude is the opposite of what I’ve experienced in Poland, or anywhere else I’ve traveled and may potentially end up.

This hatred of knowledge seems uniquely American (at least in this century), and is the very antithesis of my raison d’etre. While it doesn’t exist everywhere in the country, and there are obviously pockets of society that value knowledge and innovation above all (I’m looking at you, San Fran), the anti-intellectual influence is expansive enough to influence policy and impact and hinder those who don’t subscribe to it at all. And worst of all, as the article demonstrates, it’s impacting the U.S.’s ability to remain a source of innovation and novel thought.

Honestly, I don’t think the prevailing attitude in the U.S. will change, at least in my lifetime, and I’d rather watch America’s decline from a society that values intellectual pursuits than take on the Sisyphean task of trying to live within it.

“Because the problem is this: when we ignore the existence of awkward girls, of the female nerds, losers, and geeks who are just as befuddled by sex and dating, we further codify the idea of women as sexual objects. The notion that all women can get effortlessly laid, if only they open their legs, reduces the reality of female experience, transforming women from complicated individuals to the vessels for male sexual desire lusted after by Elliot Rodger and his ilk, and further fueling the misogynistic rage that leads men like Rodger to feel justified in their anger and actions.”

Confessions of an Awkward Teen Girl | Nerve.com

This hits home in a painfully awkward way. I was that odd teen girl whose crushes were never returned, who had far more imaginary boyfriends than real ones, who had no idea how to talk to the opposite sex (and who has only gotten marginally better over the years). Somehow, I never went on a shooting spree, though.

I wrote an article on Medium, which is quickly replacing this place as the storage center of my thoughts. Here it is.

For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the class-bound societies of Western Europe were dominated by a landed and monied elite that owned much of the land and the wealth. The United States had rich and poor, too, but the wealth was still spread around a bit more widely. In 1910, for example, the one per cent in Europe owned about sixty-five per cent of all wealth; in the United States, the figure was forty-five per cent.

In recent decades, the roles have been reversed. The U.S. monied elite has outstripped its counterpart on the other side of the Atlantic, and wealth has become even more concentrated in the United States than it is in Europe. In 2010, the American one per cent owned about a third of all the wealth: the European one per cent owned about a quarter. Citing figures like these, Piketty warns that “the New World may be on the verge of becoming the Old Europe of the twenty-first century’s globalized economy.”

Piketty’s Inequality Story in Six Charts : The New Yorker

It’s funny, but when I state that one of the reasons I prefer living in Europe to the U.S. is because I feel that the “American Dream” is more possible there now, most people (on both sides of the Atlantic) laugh at me. Now I have charts to prove my point!