Friday, April 07, 2006
Idiots to the Left, Morons to the Right, Here I Am--Stuck in the Middle
Here is an example: "begging the question." Begging the question is a common logical fallacy that fewer people recognise every year. In general, the phrase is misused at least 90% of the time, in popular journalism and media discourse. But if people do not know what "begging the question" means, how will they catch people doing it when they need to? And that is just the tip of the iceberg, since far more logical fallacies escape detection than are caught. And that is in the world of supposedly professional wordsmiths, journalists, and intellectuals.
The lowest common denominator is good enough for television writers and news producers. Why aim for an intelligent audience, when that would simply guarantee no audience at all? It is a matter of economics. If the schools produce morons, then businesspeople must orient their products so that they will appeal to morons and be usable by morons.
What is the cure? Increasingly, it seems that government schools are beyond repair. The schools of education where teachers are trained for government teaching, are populated by the excremental remnants of a dysfunctional university digestive system. The trend for the entire system--professors, teachers, students--is ever downward. It is a stagnant swamp of lobotomised political correctness, with no outlet. It is a swamp that cannot be drained, due to its carefully self-propagating design.
Bypassing the swamp is the only hope--for as many of the next generation as can be salvaged. If only the swamp ended at the government school campus boundaries. Unfortunately, much of the popular culture has been swamped by the same lowest common denominator/low expectations/ braindead monotony that typifies government schools and government employees.
Bypass the swamp, and work for better technologies and approaches to learning. The cure is helping the young learn how the world works, and how they can best fit themselves into the world, to have the most beneficial effect on both themselves and the world around them as possible.