Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dumb It Down, Baby!

There seems to be a concerted effort to make Americans stupid. Our media outlets are controlled by a handful of really huge corporations and they feed us less and less information and more and more flash. Reporters can only report from Iraq if they can get there. Most reporters rely on the U.S. military to get them there. But U.S. reporters are not allowed to report about injured or dead military personnel unless they have signed permission forms. And the Iraqi police are confiscating cameras from any reporters trying to take pictures of bombings. So what has always been an under reported military occupation now becomes more distant, more abstract, and less real than Lindsay Lohan’s DUI/rehab problems. (There are plenty of pictures of poor Lindsay.) So as the occupation of Iraq drags on and on, we Americans are supposed to make political decisions with less and less data. That means the News Media wants us to be dumb.

And that is just the News Industry making us dumb.
There is also our Educational System which is making dumber Americans. My kids are not learning cognitive skills in school. They do not develop the ability to tackle intellectual problems in school. They are coached constantly so that they will accurately select the correct responses on their multiple-choice standardized tests. All under the banner of No Child Left Behind. Fortunately my kids have parents who know the difference between critical thinking and “E. None Of The Above”. The school systems are producing workers just smart enough to occupy a corporate cubical, but not discerning enough to question the goals, methods and consequences of the corporations they work for. Schools want us to be dumb.

And there is also the Religious Industries making American’s dumber. America is one of the worlds’ most religious countries, in terms of participation. But America is also one of the most religiously illiterate countries. That is because America’s churches are not a place to develop spiritual skills or knowledge. They are not a place to learn to question our place in the universe. American churches (much like American schools) just present followers with the “answers” to multiple-choice questions. You are asked to memorize a creed; you are not encouraged to explore or discover. Dumb, unquestioning allegiance mislabeled as faith is preferred in America’s churches.

And I won’t even start on the Entertainment Industry (which is owned by the same companies as our News companies). Nor will I talk about our Health Care Industry. Just suffice it to say that they all want and need for Americans to be dumb, dumb, and dumb.

Probably the dumbest thing I can do is complain about this on a stupid blog read by 23 people, but it really tweaks my nut some days. And it is increasingly frustrating when logic, reason, evidence and involvement in an issue can be completely overwhelmed and defeated by a clever slogan shouted by a few well publicized pundits. Bumper stickers beat out experience and knowledge every time in modern America. So I guess I should stop talking specifics and just come up with a good one-liner.

Dumb People Suck!

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