Isaac Asimov

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In Asimov's "Cult of Ignorance," what point is he making? How does his point relate to current events? This is for an essay.

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Isaac Asimov published the essay in January 1980, during the Jimmy Carter presidency. He was not only alarmed about what he saw as an anti-intellectual climate in his day but concerned that U.S. politicians had always praised ignorance over education. He phrased this as their positing that democracy means equal opportunity not to know.

There is another central argument, however. Asimov is an optimist who sees democracy as equal opportunity to learn. He also claims that education should be more highly valued.

I believe that every human being with a physically normal brain can learn a great deal and be surprisingly intellectual. I believe that what we need badly is social approval of learning and social rewards for learning.

An effective essay that analyzes Asimov's main point and joins it to current events could take one of several directions.

You might agree that there is a current cult of ignorance, or you may not. If you agree, you might further concur that there has always been such a cult. If you endorse both points, you could likewise argue that we can change it through education.

Of course, you can also opt to disagree with any of his points.

In relation to the current state of U.S. affairs, you might focus on politics or education. In 2018, teachers went on strike in several states. Do their low salaries indicate the United States doesn't value education? Yet a higher percentage of Americans have college degrees than ever before. Perhaps that shows the high esteem in which education is held.

The direction you take will largely depend on which, if any, of Asimov's arguments you find persuasive.

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