My rant of a few days back on the way that education is valued in America (or not) reminded me of a superb essay by the great Issac Asimov. It was called Cult of Ignorance and in it he discussed this very same topic, only with far more eloquence.
After rummaging through my files I still can’t find my copy and, unfortunately, Newsweek hasn’t seen fit to make it available on the web. However, I do have one outstanding quote which will give you the flavor of Asimov’s thesis.
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
— Isaac Asimov, from a 1980 column in Newsweek
"My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Unfortunately, a summation of modern culture that’s still accurate twenty-five years later.