“Given enough time, many scientists believe that humanity would eventually degenerate into a bunch of gibbering idiots incapable of rational thought.”
Michael Snyder-It’s Official: Americans R Stupid
Last night before going to bed I read the article that quote came from. The author claims that scientists at Harvard University have proven that for generations our genes have been mutating, accumulating errors that are causing human beings to become more flawed, and in particular, more stupid. The author does not state that this is a unique American phenomenon, rather it is a worldwide problem. However Mr. Snyder does go on to provide evidence that across the board Americans fall way behind the majority of the world in the education our children are receiving.
I hate having to use the word stupid when describing people because it is insulting and they find it offensive, but sometimes the truth hurts. When we come into this world our brains are pretty much empty slates; aside from the basic functions the keep our hearts beating, our lungs breathing, and our muscles moving, we are born with no knowledge. In some ways we are born much like a computer that comes with a basic operating system and no other programming. Everything we learn has to be programmed into us.
Therefore the adult human mind is the accumulation of the information and critical thinking skills that have been programmed into it since birth. I remember back in the 70’s the United Negro College Fund used to run these ads with the slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” I couldn’t agree more, but unfortunately I see a lot of wasted minds out there.
As you all well know I have been quite critical of my fellow countrymen and their lack of desire to learn about their own countries history and its system of government. I really didn’t think anyone was paying attention to what I was saying. But then yesterday I got an e mail from my publisher with some comments written by another author of political commentaries. In his comments he said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “I’m beginning to agree with Neal Ross in that there are very few people in this country who are capable of thinking beyond football scores.”
All the time at work I hear people tell me that I’m so very smart. BULLSHIT! I have a mind just like everyone else does. It’s what I chose to put in it that sets me apart from them. It’s a matter of priorities in that I chose to read, to study, to THINK, instead of gluing myself to a TV screen, a video game, or an iPhone.
If knowledge is not high on your list of priorities than the end result is that you will go around being an ignoramus. I’m not that smart, at least no smarter than anyone else I know. The difference is that I chose to apply myself until I believe I have a firm understanding of the material I am studying. Hell, I barely made it through high school, passing with a C average. If I were smart I would have passed with straight A’s.
There are two quotes I’d like for you to ponder. The first is from a man I despise, Alexander Hamilton. Yet even people I hate can get things right once in awhile. Hamilton once said, “Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have is this. When I have a subject in mind. I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it… the effort which I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.”
The second comes from the Frye Chronicles, written by English actor Stephen Frye, “There are young men and women up and down the land who happily (or unhappily) tell anyone who will listen that they don’t have an academic turn of mind, or that they aren’t lucky enough to have been blessed with a good memory, and yet can recite hundreds of pop lyrics and reel off any amount of information about footballers. Why? Because they are interested in those things. They are curious. If you are hungry for food, you are prepared to hunt high and low for it. If you are hungry for information it is the same. Information is all around us, now more than ever before in human history. You barely have to stir or incommode yourself to find things out. The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.”
The ability to think is not something you are born with. You may disagree, but I stand by my words. People are born capable of thinking, but the actual process is something that has to be learned. Learning comes about through two processes; either you are taught something by someone else, or some personal experience has taught you a lesson. Take for instance fire. If you didn’t know what it was you may put your hand into it to try and touch it. When you burned your hand you would learn a lesson; fire is hot. That is the way life teaches us things.
Life provides us plenty of opportunities to learn, especially from our mistakes. But if someone goes around covering for you every time you make a mistake you will never learn not to make them. That is why I disagree so much with social programs. Aside from the illegal theft of money from one group to subsidize another, it breeds a dependency upon these programs and people do not learn from their mistakes, they just go on being parasites living off the handouts of others. But I’m getting sidetracked here, so let’s move on.
Then there is the other way where other people teach us things. We can learn from others in two ways; we can go to school and have teachers instill knowledge into us or we can read books on subjects we are interested in to learn for ourselves.
Unless parents take the time to teach their children at home, the schools are responsible for teaching our children things. They start with the basics of the alphabet and numbers and work up from there to more complicated processes. Our son could read Dr. Seuss books and count to a million by the time he started kindergarten because we taught him the alphabet and numbers with flash cards from the time he could sit up straight on his own. Yet most parents either don’t have the time to do that or don’t care enough to provide their children with a good head start.
So the school systems are where most children get their knowledge from. But parenting also plays a big role in this process too. If a child goes to school for from 6 to 8 hours a day then when they get home the parents leave them alone to watch TV or play video games you will run into problems. You see, human beings are fundamentally lazy. Aside from a few who make conscious choices to exert their minds or bodies, most people will take the easy path through life. That is why we have so many obese people and so many stupid people in this country. It takes effort; a conscious monitoring of what foods you eat and getting enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight. It also takes effort to become informed or knowledgeable.
Like I said, most people take the easy path.
When I was growing up we didn’t have all these convenient toys that kids grow up with today. There was one TV in our home; it was black and white and our parents decided what shows to watch. We didn’t have video games or cell phones either. Hell, Pong, the very first video game didn’t come out until I was already in high school. So growing up I either was in school, outside playing, or reading a book. Maybe that is why people of my generation, and those older than me, value knowledge more than our younger American friends.
Regardless, the school systems are the primary place kids today get their information. I have watched, at first unknowingly, but watched nonetheless as our schools have gone from teaching our kids how to think to becoming programming centers designed to fill their minds with lies and a blind obedience to authority.
This is all by design if you want my honest opinon. George Carlin stated it pretty well in his sketch called the American Dream, and I’m sorry if his language offends you, “…they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that . . . that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin’ years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers . . . Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork.”
That is exactly what our schools are producing, mindless drones who have the basic knowledge to run the machinery that keeps America ticking, but who are unable to think for themselves and realize how badly their government is screwing them over.
When I went to school they taught U.S. history and civics and even though it may have been revised somewhat from the truth, it was still taught. Today it is not taught, at least not to any extent where we can say our kids are learning about their country or their system of government. Add to that the fact that many kids today are graduating with a 5th grade understanding of the English language and we are in sad shape in this country.
We think we are so damned smart, that we can select good honorable men to run our government, yet we can’t tell you the first thing about how it is supposed to run. Does the obvious problem with that scenario even register with you?
Whenever one discusses politics with another it would be hoped that both have a decent understanding of the subject before engaging in debate. However that is not often the case in America today. Often one side may be informed while the other side is totally ignorant regarding the subject matter. They argue based on emotional beliefs, not facts. It is hard to win an argument with someone when facts do not even register with the person you are arguing with. It’s like that quote by Isaac Asimov where he says, “My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
It’s kind of like an experience I had when I was in the Air Force. I was assigned to Inoges Radio Relay Link in Spain. When I arrived in Spain I thought my high school Spanish would be enough to get me by. The first time I said hello to someone in Spanish they began chattering away at me at 500 miles per hour. I realized right then and there that I could not speak Spanish. So I locked myself in my room for a few months with a phrase book and a dictionary until I felt I could attempt to communicate with the locals. The first thing I taught myself to say was, (and this would have been in Spanish), “Please, could you speak slower, I am still learning to speak Spanish.” Once they realized I was trying they would slow down and help me out. But had I just went around thinking I knew it all I would never have learned to communicate with anyone over there.
The same thing goes with political discussions. If you don’t know the subject you can’t have an intelligent discussion. The person with more knowledge than you will not accept your emotionally based bullshit and you will not accept the facts. No one can win an argument like that.
Ignorance, or stupidity if you will, is a conscious choice. You may not have been given the information you should have while attending school, and that is not your fault. Yet the fact that you remain ignorant is your fault. Knowledge, the truth, it’s out there but you have to want to go out and find it.
But like I said, it is human nature to be lazy. So I can almost guarantee that upwards of 90% of the people reading this won’t take the time to become better educated and informed as to what is really going on in America, not what the Nightly News is telling you.
So while ignorance may be a lack of facts while stupidity is the inability to think, it is my belief that most Americans are stupid. For if they could think they would realize that knowing what is going on around them is more important than sporting events, stupid YouTube videos, or Facebook.
Like I said in the title, don’t take this the wrong way. I’m afraid most American have let their brains go to waste by filling it with garbage instead of knowledge. But you can change that, there is a cure. It’s up to you to heal yourselves though.