Anti-intellectualism is a growing problem in the United States, and the effect it’s having on our country is devastating. Being an intellectual doesn’t have to mean you are a bookworm, intelligence is a broad topic that can span from being “people smart” to being great at creating music. The problem is the education system tends to cater to children who excel in some areas of intelligence over others. In doing so, they end up instilling the belief that using the form of intelligence that child excels in is not rewarding and they should conform to the mold to succeed.
Add that to the fact that the unique or smart child is more likely to get bullied and you can see how this breeds the beginning of the “conform” mindset. It creates an underlying belief that says, “I won’t get anywhere if I pursue what I’m good at, I have to stick to this because it’s what society tells me to do.” Throughout life, the person with the underlying belief of conformity will always choose to follow the crowd and get a normal job instead of expanding upon an inspired idea about a possible future business. Thus, fewer entrepreneurs and innovators are created.
Having fewer entrepreneurs leads to multiple issues for our country. America was created off of the idea that you can build your own success, but after the 2008 crash, along with all the other discouragements, people don’t want to take the risk, leading them to depend on large companies for a paycheck and causing a decrease is free enterprise. The less free enterprise we have, the more rapidly we will lose our freedoms.
The U.S. now ranks not first, not second, not third, but 12th among developed nations regarding business startup activity. The World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. at 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly 50% of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are foreigners, most of whom are returning to their home countries.
Science and Technology
Not only does anti-intellectualism effect entrepreneurship, but it also effects analytical fields like science and technology. The American people are suppressed so much that foreigners are dominating in the rapidly growing field. As scientists are looking for research and development teams with dwindling science graduate students in the US, they set their sights overseas to a growing market of potential employees. In UNESCO’s science report they state, “In the coming years, competition for skilled workers from the global pool will most likely intensify.” The following is the projected growth of science graduate students worldwide according to UNESCO.
Global Entrepreneurship Summit
To drive this point home, Friday Obama took part in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit where he delivered a speech and held a conversation with a few entrepreneurs. He used the summit as an opportunity to try to retain and recruit more foreigners to become entrepreneurs in the United States. Why would we need foreign entrepreneurs if we were already excelling in that field and what is causing people from other countries to be more successful in entrepreneurship, science, and technology?
To answer those questions we must consider American culture and beliefs. The common core education system is limiting knowledge by using a “one size fits all” policy. The school system doesn’t end up educating children, but training them to get a job. On top of the education system, you have the trend of replacing education with entertainment. TV and gadgets have people hooked, and instead of learning and growing, they stay distracted. There are so many more reasons people may adopt the conformity mindset that it would take months, maybe even years to compile, but the real problem lies with the decrease in intellectualism and increase in conformity. By encouraging people in the ways that they are unique and in what they excel in, and not boxing them into who they should be, we could begin to bring the entrepreneurial mindset back to America.
Jim Clifton. “American Entrepreneurship: Dead or Alive?” Gallup. . (): . . http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/180431/american-entrepreneurship-dead-alive.aspx