The Dumbing of America

Last week, The New York Times and the Washington Post had great opinion pieces about anti-intellectualism in the United States.

New York Times: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?

Washington Post: The Dumbing of America

The mass media culture of today seems to celebrate idiocy, looking down at knowledge. The education system in the United States is completely broken. Parents, care more about their children’s athletic accomplishments, rather than academic pursuits.

At the same time, everybody and their brother has a masters degree, while lacking basic high school geography, math, and history fundamentals. Remember when having a graduate degree actually meant something?

Nowhere is the dumbing of America more noticeable, than the state of television news. CNN, the network that once aspired to be the New York Times of Television, has turned in to NY Post. Don’t believe me? Watch 10 minutes of Lou Dobbs.

Critics tend to point an undeserved harsh finger at video games and the Internet. Video games are an easy target, but it reminds me a lot of the anti rock music paranoia of the 50’s and 60’s. Parents and critics are simply afraid of things they don’t understand. Blaming the Internet for anti-intellectualism in the US, is simply dead wrong. The Internet is a tool. It can be used for good, and it can be abused.

There is no single clear cause of the dumbing of America, and there are no easy solutions either. Its a lot like global warming. Its a long-term problem, with long-term solutions. Humans are naturally short-term creatures.