The late British anchorman, George Orwell Jr, famously opined that ‘Ignorance is strength’. If he were alive today, George would marvel at just how strong modern America has become. Quoting Psychology Today:
- A 2008 University of Texas study found that 25 percent of public school biology teachers believe that humans and dinosaurs inhabited the earth simultaneously.[emphasis added]
- 18% of Americans still believe that the sun revolves around the earth
- Nearly half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 do not think it necessary to know the location of other countries in which important news is being made. More than a third consider it “not at all important” to know a foreign language
Conservatives and libertarians frequently express horror over the so-called decline in educational standards in recent decades. They bleat that young Americans no longer have the ‘knowledge and requisite intellectual tools’ to be able to fit into and thrive in the modern world. As usual, the conservatives have it dead wrong: it is rather they who are ill-equipped for life in Current Year.
However success, culture, education and information may have been defined in the ancient world (I.e. Pre 1990), today progressives are agreed that traditional measures no longer apply. Here are some of the more important changes:
- The learning of ‘facts’ has been made redundant through online tools such as Wikipedia. If I forget whether the sun orbits the Earth or vice-versa, Wikipedia provides the answer. However, such information is simply irrelevant.
- News is now presented in bite-sized chunks and corroborated briefly by accredited experts who speak in authoritative tones. Long-winded analysis and consideration of different points of view causes intellectual indigestion.
- You Tube factoids now prevail over the printed media
- Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook are now the preferred means of communicating important world developments such as what the Kardashians are up to, what you are eating for breakfast and how blessed you feel because you did X, Y, Z. Oh, and you are deeply spiritual.
- Emoticons convey the very essence of all your thoughts and feelings better than the written word ever could. Say you are a polytranspecies curious. Being able to type out 🐼🐷🐮🐻🦊🦁🐵🐶🐭🐰🐸🐒🐝 to describe some of the possible identities you might have over the course of the day is far more efficient than huge paragraphs.
More importantly, the so-called ‘dumbing down’ movement has simply opened up society so that everyone can participate as never before. We have done away with intellectual discussion and bold thinking which proved so divisive in the past. Now everyone receives exactly the same news from accredited sources, feels no need to question the narrative and no longer has the capacity or desire to engage in critical thinking. This makes it far easier to bring forth the utopia of global government and central control over all aspects of our lives. For our security, shared prosperity and happiness.