Understand and promote the fact that some classes and races of people are naturally superior, some naturally inferior.
This idea in the US descends from the era of English feudalism. All the old books written about race, class, and superiority by the English upper class concluded that the English upper class was superior, and all others were inferior. The English upper class arose solely because their distant ancestors had gained land, by shrewd business dealings or simple violence. Later, they deemed themselves superior because they were rich, and rich because they were superior.
Francis Galton, an accomplished cousin of Charles Darwin, spelled out the basic principle of eugenics, which claimed that some classes of people are superior, some inferior. To prevent the weakening of the human race, inferior people should either not be allowed to reproduce, or their progeny should be controlled. As a consequence, various groups set out to sterilize individuals and groups they considered inferior. For example, when their second child was born, women in Puerto Rico were routinely sterilized without asking them. By about the 1930s, after several unethical experiments in the US and elsewhere, it was realized that the theory was incorrect and morally unsupportable. Adolph Hitler, however, carried the plan to its horrible extreme.
No group of people has ever been proven to be naturally superior or inferior. Most cases of low intelligence revert to the norm in following generations, or improve with adequate nutrition, something that is also true of whole populations of people. People with adequate money are able to fully support their children in all ways, whereas the poor and the suppressed must battle for their achievements. Poor families and peoples that do become affluent become accomplished at the same time.
Keep females ignorant and powerless.
The world of Islamic fundamentalists is the current exemplar of this belief, although certainly not the only example. To this end, females from birth are kept in literal servitude and prevented from developing their potential. They are denied schooling and viewed as worth a fraction of any man’s worth, no matter how worthless the man or how bright and talented the woman. At puberty, girls are in danger of rape, after which they are expected to marry their rapist, die, or be exiled. In any case, the crime is assumed to be her fault, and her own family may murder her, or she may commit suicide, knowing she has no future.
Women are not allowed to go anywhere without a male to accompany them. Even a small boy will do. Virtually all activities not associated with cooking and cleaning are denied them. They may not drive a car, or own a business, work outside the home, travel, or otherwise participate in public life. Males are free to restrict them, deny them almost everything, to beat them at whim.
Although the situations described above are extreme, the US is not at all free of such practices, many of which are found in ancient religious books. Christian fundamentalist males tend to accept similar beliefs. It became clear this past year that large numbers of politicians not only supported such general beliefs, but were woefully ignorant of the most basic functioning of female lives, to say nothing of the functioning of science. Many believed that women were inherently incapable of accomplishment.
It is obvious that all such beliefs are utterly false because there are unlimited contrary examples. One of the main reasons that such societies are poor, violent, and backwards is precisely because they devalue the potential contribution of women to their society. This includes not just tribal Islamic areas, but swaths of the American Old South and other regressive parts of the world.
Don’t waste money on education for the useless.
Those who buy into the belief that there are superior and inferior classes of people will also believe that little or no public money should be spent educating the inferior, because they are not capable of benefiting from that education. The rich who believe this often have no personal need of public moneys for the education of their own families, and are therefore inclined to devalue public education in general. In particular, they do not want to support schools in areas with high levels of social problems, such as drug use and gangs, because they do not believe the money will be well spent. Evidence that such expenditures pay significant social dividends is ignored.
Don’t reward the lazy.
An odd belief has come down to us via rich conservatives, who somehow believe that the millions who lost jobs because criminal Wall Street bankers brought the economy down around our ears inexplicably became lazy and unwilling to work after that. Therefore, they should not be given any money at all to keep them out of destitution, and their families fed and schooled while they rebuild their lives. This belief was common at the height of the current recession, when there were five people seeking work for every job available, when pay was falling, the few jobs available were low-paying semi-skilled service jobs, and experience, education, and skill (not to mention age) became liabilities in job hunting. Six years after the crash, the level of employment has not risen at all, although the unemployment numbers have fallen because many quit looking after years of failing to find work.
It is obviously illogical to believe that an accomplished worker with decades of superior performance of her job has suddenly become lazy and unwilling to work immediately after the economy crashed. But that is exactly what many believed, and continue to believe. Moreover, in places like Wisconsin, working people of all kinds were demonized, and draconian economic measures punished everyone who wasn’t already rich. The result was that Wisconsin’s economy today is in poor condition compared to neighboring Minnesota, where economic programs that were nearly the polar opposite were put in place, offering support and encouragement to those who had fallen on hard times.
De-emphasize nutrition, and don’t coddle addicted pregnant women.
The type of person who doesn’t understand science understands little else of why the real world works as it does. They have difficulty with cause and effect, and moreover refuse to even consider that their unsupported and ignorant beliefs might be simply wrong. A powerful example comes from poor urban areas that are primarily the homes of minority groups, African-Americans in particular.
In the 1970s it became apparent that even minute exposure to lead damaged the brains of the unborn and the very young, and the government launched a major program to rid the environment of the lead from old house paint and auto exhaust. The radical drop of crime that resulted was unexpected. Children who grew up without brain damage from lead grew up to be normal, succeeded in school, and did not become criminals. Crime fell by 75%.
But the person who is blinded by prejudice and his own ignorance is incapable of believing this effect came about because of the significant money spent two decades previously. He continues to believe that all African-Americans are naturally criminal, and is incapable of understanding why each dollar invested saved thousands of dollars in the future.
He will never support efforts to reach poor, urban pregnant women who, primarily because of ignorance, might otherwise take drugs, drink alcohol, and smoke, thus virtually guaranteeing brain damage to their children, even though every dollar of public money so spent provides incalculable benefits to the whole society when their children avoid brain damage. When you point out that the worst brain-damaged serial killer cost us $800,000,000, he won’t understand that this enormous expense might have been avoided.
Likewise, he cannot understand that sound nutrition for children, from fresh natural produce in particular, literally makes it possible for children to develop their highest potential, and bad foods such as corporate fast foods and sugared drinks, as well as hunger, retard their learning and development. Lacking this understanding, he will never support public nutritional programs. He cannot understand that his opposition to them will cost him much more than his support would.