THE REGRESSIVE CULTURENovember 12, 2011
American education is in my opinion largely fraudulent, as anyone who knows me well has heard me say often enough. Indeed, I even spoke directly to this cultural lobotomization in the preface to Genes, Giants, Monsters, and Men:
"Pretty much anyone with half a brain, and who has not been lobotomized by the American "education" system or subjected to the psychedelic drugs and mind-numbing electro-shock of its dull university curricula, even duller professors, and to its "textbooks" that contain no primary texts, are agreed that something is wrong with our standard model of history, particularly the further back one goes. Only a university academic, for example, could believe that humanity was around for about 150,000 years (if one is to believe the geneticists), and doing nothing but "hunting and gathering," and then all of a sudden, and for no explicable reason, decided to invent civilizations such as Sumer(and all its Mesopotamian offshoots) and Egypt whole cloth, undertake monumental ziggurat or pyramid construction, invent calendars, agriculture, wheels, writing, mathematics, music, astronomy, banking, and maybe even electricity, as evidenced by the Baghdad Battery.
"Consequently, when it comes right down to it, we have a choice between fairy tales, or, if one prefer, between mythologies or dogmas.
"We can believe the hypnotic incantations of biology, history and anthropology professors waving their wands, and producing cute animated videos of the primordial soup gradually evolving into complex organic life (fish), whose fins gradually morph into limbs as they crawl out of the soup onto the sand (reptiles) and, as the computer-generated animation proceeds, gradually morphing into a veritable cornucopia of evolutionary progress over "billions of years" (insert Carl Sagan voice here)." (Genes, Giants, Monsters, and Men, p. iii.)
Well, I may have been far too optimistic when I composed those paragraphs, for indeed, choosing between various fairy tales requires a certain amount of literacy to begin with, and our American "culture," if indeed it can be qualified as a culture, has little time for real reading of real books, much less for critical thought and discourse, if the mumbling boobery of some of the Occupiers whom I've seen on TV are any indicator. One California lady blamed all the country's woes on the old scapegoat, "Zionist Jews", forgetting that not all Jews are Zionists, and forgetting equally that there are as many non-Jewish banksters in the elite as "Zionists". Don't get me wrong here, I am no friend of any movement that makes any group of people a privileged people by some divine right, be it the Yahwish covenant of the Old Testament or the Hegelian covenant of the Marxists and Nazis. How can one have an intelligent discussion with people who view other people in such a fashion?
Well, as I was pondering my cultural Angst, and the deterioration of the average American's level of knowledge of his own (or any other) history, the galloping errors of grammar, the somersaulting leaps of "logic", and the ever-present use of the word "like" in a stream of non-similes, someone shared this article by Fred Reed at Lew Rockwell's site, and it is one that I found so compelling I had to pass it along as it was passed along to me:
Reed is, I suspect, correct: the new ruling class's collective head is empty; it doesn't know what to preserve because it isn't even aware of the idea of "history" or "literature" or even of "culture." Mindless "musicians" subject us to a stready jungle drumbeat of unrelenting iambic pentameter pumped out over subwoofers in cars and claim the label of "artist" or "musician", never once thinking that other people might not want to hear their "music." Schools are places where the intelligent suffer hours of tedium and boredom, dumbing themselves down to a complacent edu-class of incompetence and nitwittery parading behind that quintessential signal of mediocrity, "Ed.D."
"The country is too far gone. But you needn't be cowed into regarding cretins as other than cretins," writes Reed toward the end of his piece. I fear he is correct here as well. I've advocated in some interviews that individuals try to retain beauty in their own lives, to redeem the ugliness of our current culture with a bit of beauty, and gradually to reclaim as much of the culture as possible. The reason, I think, is clear enough from Reed's article, for the elite itself is empty, has no culture; it's heads are empty, its slogans old, its techniques of manipulation all too transparent. We expect no skilled oratory from our politicians and leaders, for they are no longer capable of it, and even if they were, the vast majority wouldn't appreciate it anyway. We're entering a dark age, so it is up to us to use this marvelous tool, the internet, to keep some flames of beauty and intellectual discourse alive.