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[Discuss] [OT] Dumbing down of the population

I think a significant percentage of that is really just a case of looking
at the past through nostalgia-tinted glasses. America has had a widespread
tradition of anti-intellectualism since long before the Revolutionary War.

Respect for intellectual achievement blossoms briefly every now and then,
like it did after the USSR launched Sputnik 1 in 1957, which gave us a good
run for a couple of decades before it started fading again in the

We've always been a small minority of intellectually savvy folks amidst a
large majority of intellectually lazy "marks" who eagerly fall for every
con artist that they encounter.

On Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 8:35 AM, Mark Woodward <markw at> wrote:

> A couple conversations have touched upon this, tangentially perhaps, but I
> think it is important.
> When I was a kid, my dad said to me, as I imagine many working class
> fathers said to their sons of this particular generation, "You have to be
> rich enough to pay someone or smart enough to do it yourself."
> This sentiment has been important to me, and maybe has made me a bit of a
> snob, because I know how everything in my house and car work. That isn't a
> brag as I believe everyone should. It is the only way to protect yourself
> against cheats and liars who try to fix or sell you things.
> I find it astounding that in 2013 people actively avoid learning things.
> In all of human history we finally have a system where anyone and almost
> everyone have access to information never possible. It's astounding if you
> really think about it. Alas, I have heard engineers say to me "Why do I
> need to know that?" Seriously?!! I think it is a serious problem that mega
> corporations are getting richer and richer off a population that wants to
> take less and less responsibility for understanding the world around them.
> Its NEVER been easier to get information, and yet fewer people seem to
> care. The are so few renaissance men left.
> I think as a trend this does not signal great things for civilization.
> History shows that an ignorant population has never led to positive
> outcomes. Take, for instance, global warming. The average citizen is not
> prepared to take on the subject and evaluate the veracity of the various
> arguments. Worse yet, they have no interest in getting to the point where
> they can. I mean, geez, whether you agree or not that global warming is
> real, there is real impact on your life from the subject. The same goes for
> evolution and so on.
> Is it true, must it be true, that you can only make money by allowing a
> person to be ignorant?
> OK, rant over.
> ______________________________**_________________
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John Abreau / Executive Director, Boston Linux & Unix
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