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September 05, 2003
"The public needs to be educated" - search

I've been busy today doing other things, and have little time for this blog now. So just a short posting on the word itself: "education".

If you google "education", you get a lot of the things you'd expect like the US Department of Education, and the Hawaii Department of Education, and no doubt somewhere in among it all I might have found the Campaign for Real Education, although I didn't. There's a link to that on the right.

But in among all this you get things like Pesticide Education Resources. Education to mean propaganda, education to mean utterly inappropriate additions to the school curriculum.

But mostly, when you google "education", you get: education.

Then I tried googling "The public needs to be educated". How many hits for that?

One thousand four hundred and seventy.

Try it. Then look down all the hits. In every case the word "educated" is mis-used to mean "persuaded", or just plain "told".

Google tells that the public needs to be educated about:

Potatoes. Grizzly bears. White cane laws. The dangers of driving while using the phone. Gang tendencies. The alternatives available for pain management. Basic human rights. Water. Chiropracty. The importance of spaying. Alcoholism. The general, substantive issues that make up the national question. Wrought iron gates. The potential of cloning. The true costs and benefits associated with the use of pharmacologic agents. The potential dangers involved with riding MPWCs and of the necessity for a boating licence. The benefit of street trees. The moth. Ways to be active and healthy and forget about body image. What piracy is and how it affects the artist and the industry. The negative effects of corruption and what they can do against it. Linux. Not to buy stolen goods. Good land use practices. How the presidential fund checkoff works. Calcium's importance in health and how best to improve calcium nutriture by making appropriate food choices. Genetic screening. The threat created by Apple Snails. The Sign Code. So that their expectations of police response time is more realistic. What 'intrusion' is. Inguinal hernias. The importance of harm reduction strategies in relation to all drug use. That during the F&I period, the RedCoats were the good guys. The high quality of re-refined oils. What greenspace is. That a bicycle is a legal vehicle on public roads. To view forest fires as a threat to the national economy. Both what deposit insurance can and cannot accomplish. The difference between decay and cavity. The value of tourism to the local economy. The widespread condition of women who suffer from domestic violence.

Well I'm on about page forty of the hits, copying and pasting away, and I have yet to encounter any claim to the effect that the public ought to be educated, as in: the public ought to be educated. Full stop. In every use of this phrase without exception, educated really means sold, told, persuaded, bullied, but not educated.

I can think of all kinds of further comments I might make about this. But deadline looms. Have a nice weekend.

(The public needs to be educated about the importance of nice weekends.)

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:57 PM
Category: This and that

One of my pet peeves is that there's never a public service announcement saying "Do your own research and thinking about X" or even "books and libraries are handy for research".

It's always "Here's what we're telling you. Believe it!"

Thanks for running interesting and intelligent blogs.

Comment by: Nancy Lebovitz on September 6, 2003 03:52 PM

Slightly related.

Has anybody else noticed these "information shops" springing up around the place? From the outside (I've not been in) the one on my town looks like a taxpayer funded madrassa for leftie-ness. Here's the website of a related establishment: http://www.informationshopchi.org.uk/index.html. Their spelling isn't great (Bogner Regis indeed), which doesn't fill one with confidence.

Supposedly it offers advice to "young people" 13-25 about things like environment, europe, "justice and equality". Great! It's all tied in with that somewhat disturbing connextions affair. If you ask me it appears to be a double barreled enterprise in job-creation for Guardian readers and left-wing propoganda. Maybe I'll try to pass myself off as a "yoof" and go in to find out what is going on with my hard earned pounds.

Comment by: mark holland on September 6, 2003 07:15 PM
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