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The Consequences of Dumbing Down
During the past thirty years there has been a concerted effort in Western nations to avoid political confrontation by lowering educational standards and creating a far less intelligent population.
With the end of the Cold War, the competition that inspired accelerated learning was no longer necessary. There was no need to produce a population of highly educated independently thinking people. People who could see behind facades and were not satisfied with slogans.
People who had the ability to question, to search for and find answers, which might embarrass those in power.
The 'Dumbing Down' process began slowly and in a distracting manner, relying on 'politically correct' terms and deceptions to divert focus. The trick of 'Brave New World', where the population was kept drugged and sex diddled, slowly crept into society. Without thinking, people who would be alert to various political and social maneuvering were too high or drowned too deep in lust, to notice.
By the 1980s the process of dumbing down was in train and has only picked up momentum over the past decades.
When Education was important
At the end of World War II the new enemy was 'Communism'. The fear that the Soviets would attack kept tensions high. The information that the Soviets were producing extremely brilliant and highly educated children, children who were doing algebra in third grade where Americans were just moving to long division, inflamed Western nations to make their educational system better.
Many schools were built and education was upgraded. The focus was on the bright child, not the dull one. Testing of I.Q. (intelligence quotient) was mandatory, and every city had its own achievement tests so that children could be 'streamed'.
The paradigm was one class for the intellectually gifted, another for those who scored near that level, another for the average child, and another for the sub-average. Whether a parent was upset that a child was placed in what is colloquially called 'dunce' class was moot. That child was not to interfere with those in 'bright' class.
The focus was on 'bright' class. Pushing them as far as they could go, exposing them to various disciplines and outside intellectual stimulation.
It was common for schools to have class trips twice a month to museums, art galleries, governmental offices, to expose young children to more than reading/writing/arithmetic.
During the 1950s/1960s even into the early 70s, children who were disruptive were expelled. Principals had a great deal of authority for their duty was to insure that the best and brightest were not in anyway dislocated by the bully, the disruptive element, the child who did not care to learn.
If one looks at a syllabus which a twelve year old was to have mastered in 1960 it can only be compared to that of what sixteen year olds in special advanced schools are offered today.
The child who graduated a primary (elementary) school at twelve in 1960 not only could read at the level of a High School graduate today, not only could do mathematics, but knew the basics of astronomy, biology, geography, chemistry, and physics.
These children were streamed in High Schools and the path to University was smoothed, so that in many cities in the West, University education was free or virtually free.
This is because education was not a privilege but a right. Was not an aspect but the focus.
The Result of a Highly Educated Population
When people can think, when they have the tools to gain information they do not possess, it is very difficult to 'herd' them. They do not accept slogans or easy definitions. They see the deceptions, the lies, and have the self-assurance to confront.
It can not be surprising that the rise of Civil Rights, Women's Rights, Gay Rights, exploded during the 1960s causing incredible changes. 'Separate but Equal' no longer had credence. Women demanded more than the right to vote. All across the West, from France to England to America, and then into Africa and the Caribbean, people were demanding their rights.
This caused extreme dislocation for those who were in power, those who profited from exploitation and of course, the merchants of war were spotlighted.
One couldn't toss a palliative and expect it to be swallowed. The Vietnam War, for example, where the leaders gave one version of what was happening, which would be disproved by those who had been educated to think, is only one example.
The fact people knew they had rights and went out in the street to protest, caused great embarrassment to those in power, for this would be broadcast world wide.
Everyone had a radio, a television, access to information. And what was 'suppressed' would emerge through 'outside' sources.
The News broadcasts were scrutinised, not accepted. The Governments had lost control of their citizens.
The First Steps
After World War II, considering the nutritional compromise of rationing and hunger, the women of the late 1940s, 1950s, going into the 1960s, would feed their children 'formula' to insure they gained the proper vitamins and minerals.
To insure healthy babies and children there were schedules as to when to start toilet training, when to introduce foods, what was right and wrong in raising a child who could fulfil expectations.
The 'Breast is Best' campaign began to 'wean' mothers from the formula. Unless the Mothers were wealthy, had good medical care, they would rarely be tested to insure they did not have deficiencies. One must realise that the mother who is anaemic, who has calcium or other vitamin deficiencies, should not be encouraged to breast feed. If there is no testing, then one who has deficiencies will pass them on to the infant.
This was intended.
The next step was the lack of toilet training. Although not often discussed, teaching a child to control his/her bowels is more than simply keeping cloth clean, it teaches a child self control and that sense of power over his/her body. The earlier the child appreciates that physical domination, the better for the self realisation. It is not a laundry issue, it is a psychological empowerment.
By discouraging parents to toilet train 'too early' children maintain that inability to control themselves that much longer, and often doesn't develop that sense of self necessary for an individual who can make his/her own decisions.
The Child of the 1950s would reach their first birthday toilet trained, eating from the family pot, with a level of self awareness. The Child of the 1990s would reach their fourth or fifth birthday in diapers, needing to be fed and taken care of, seeing themselves as helpless.
The Next Step
In the 1950s/60s 'streaming' in schools was standard. Children were tested at admission, (and those who were not toilet trained were not accepted) and put into classes which corresponded with their ability.
Those at the bottom would have modified classes insuring they could read and write and do sums, and would be channelled into various training so as to be able to support themselves as labourers or being taught to operate machines, do plumbing, electrical work, etc. There was no reason to waste effort attempting to teach them physics, Spanish or history.
Those at the top were pushed, expected to absorb as much education as supplied, and constantly tested and monitored so that the slower intellect would not be allowed to hold back the class.
Those who graduated High School were to enter University, and all sorts of scholarships were supplied, and many community colleges available for those who were capable.
Intelligence was prized. Then.
By the late 70s and into the present, streaming was abandoned. The least intelligent person in the class controlled the class. Lessons were modified, more subjects dropped from the syllabus. Schools became holding pens where education was catch as catch can, and the bright child who was bored was 'diagnosed' with some behavioural disorder which either had them drugged into zombie or removed from the school by the parents, for Principals no longer had the power to expel.
Schools which had once graduated brilliant students now is a holding pen where being able to read and write and count without removing shoes is sufficient.
With education no longer a priority, as there is no longer a 'cold war' those who do not have the money to send their children to special private schools which can set their own standards and demand excellence, send them to holding pens where they can focus on sports, sex, and computer games. For the introduction of computers has not given every child access to information, it has given them over to mindless games where they can learn not to think.
Where We Are
The result of the various Steps has been to produce a population of persons who do not and can not think. They do not investigate a claim heard on the News. They accept. They do not have the skill to explore, on their own, so as to ascertain the truth of a claim, nor are they particularly interested. They can not see beyond immediates.
Giving them slogans an unsubstantiated statements is good enough.
The few who can think are ignored. Even when information is made available that this is a lie or that didn't happen, they still cling to a belief that was placed in their minds by an outside force.
Those who grew in the 50s and 60s, have been sidelined. If they attempt to expose a fallacy they are flicked away, their proof ignored. The media tells the population what to think, focusing on 'issues' which may be meaningless or even against their interest, but presented in a certain way which captures their focus.
The fact that the '60s proved is that one can not herd cats. Sheep can be herded, hence turn the population into sheep, appoint a Judas goat, and lead them into the slaughterhouse, figuratively or literally.