"No nation can meet this changing world unless its people, individually and collectively, grow in ability to understand. Ability to handle the new knowledge, as applied to increasingly intricate human relationships." - FDR June 30, 1938
Pretty much says it all. It was important in 1938. It's more important now. The world has gotten a lot smaller since the day FDR spoke to the NEA convention in 1938. Chalk it up to communication, trade, speed of access. Education has been taking something of a back seat, particularly on the state level lately. It's important to remember ignorance has no upside, and asking questions will inevitably save your ass.
Just my opinion. But I suspect you already know that, otherwise you wouldn't be looking at this right now. Maybe you should tell your friends.