Scared shitless by Kent State, my generation abdicated its civic duty and opted to bury its collective head at the shopping mall.
Early hint: Unlike earlier classes that sought discourse and a path to conflict resolution before protest, the freshmen of 1970 at my university conducted a food war and then claimed, after the fact, that it was a demonstration against dormitory food quality. The school’s food service unit possessed a nationally-recognized, award-winning program.
Beginning in the 1970s, politicians and their staffs realized they could spin just about any kind of bullshit and a boob-tube mesmerized American public would buy it. Fox News, established Oct. 7, 1996, proved the point with its anything-but fair and balanced reporting. MSNBC took up the flag about a decade later.
In 1970, there were 1,748 daily newspapers in America. By 2014, the number had plummeted to 1,331. Only 54% of Americans read a paper today.
Teachers have lost all authority in the classroom to overpaid, off-sight administrators and ill-advised parents that think they know more than trained, experienced, underpaid and dedicated educators. We have come to value mostly-meaningless achievement tests over a liberal arts education and a focus on teaching children how to think for themselves.
In 1987, Wall Street movie character Gordon Gekko proclaimed “Greed is good.” We missed the point.
Karl Rove: for oh so many reasons.
“There has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in America, unlike most other Western countries. Richard Hofstadter, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his book, Anti-Intellectualism In American Life, describes how the vast underlying foundations of anti-elite, anti-reason and anti-science have been infused into America’s political and social fabric. Famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once said: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ~Ray Williams, Anti-Intellectualism and the “Dumbing Down” of America, Psychology Today, July 7, 2014, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201407/anti-intellectualism-and-the-dumbing-down-america.