So, it seems (as if we didn’t know) that the West is getting dumber. Excerpt:
One recalls MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, who referred to “the stupidity of the American voter” as helping him to pass the controversial law. One wonders if Gruber ever heard of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget’s test results purporting to show that “the rot starts at the top.” This would implicate Gruber and his cohort in the experience of what Piaget calls horizontal décalage, which stymies the application of cognitive functions and logical operations to extended tasks. In other words, Gruber et al. are also stupid, gradually destroying the very society that enabled them to flourish. But the rot can also start at the bottom, as a combination of generalized mental vacancy and low-to-no-information voters furthers cultural and social degeneration. As Morris Berman remarks in The Twilight of American Culture, “A society cannot function if nearly everyone in it is stupid.”
Why should we be surprised that an American president should pronounce “corpsman” as “corpseman”? Or that a Canadian prime minister says “peoplekind” in lieu of “mankind”? Or that a Washington, D.C., mayor and his staff should have objected to a perfectly good word like “niggardly”? Or that a Methodist pastor and Congressman should follow the exclamation “Amen” with “a-woman,” when an ordained minister should surely know that “Amen” is an acronym for the Hebrew אֵל מֶלֶךְ נֶאֱמָן (El melech neeman: “Lord and faithful King”)—or, as some scholars think, a calque for the Aramaic “so be it”? One can multiply these gaffes, misnomers, and malapropisms indefinitely among those who should know better—and that is merely scratching the surface. The dumbing down phenomenon is virtually encyclopedic in heft and extent.
The article points mostly at folks on the political Left, but sadly, there are plenty of examples on both sides of the aisle; you can find legions of evidence on social media (yes, I’m looking at you, Gab.)
I wonder, though, if the biggest problem isn’t stupidity so much as it is ignorance. Here in the U.S. our education system has been a shambles for decades now. Our university system has increasingly focused on the various Ethnic Underwater Dog-Polishing Studies programs, as they produce the same revenue and the same number of tenured positions as programs in traditional subjects ranging from science and engineering to business and economics, and cost much less to provide.
But the purpose of an education system is to produce young adults with marketable skills, and in that – as Jesse Watters has shown in his ambush interviews – the system is failing, catastrophically. In my own business I regularly have cause to review written works produced by recent graduates – in engineering and biology, mind! And the level of work is, frankly, pathetic.
I’m not sure what the solution will be, if we ever see one. Entrenched interests in education are too firmly in control, and we may have to, as the saying goes, destroy the village in order to save it.
There are exceptions and bright spots, and as one that comes very easily to mind I offer my treasured friends over at Glibertarians; a finer group of intellects, thinkers and achievers does not exist, online or off.
We’re still faced with the overall decline, though. And I don’t see an easy answer; there’s no Renaissance on the horizon, as far as I can tell. I am, though, reminded of a true genius, Albert Einstein, who once said “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”