Many commentators on the Right of the political spectrum have banged on for years about the steady lowering of standards in education. Left of Centre opinion holds that a different type of education is needed if modern children are to grow up able to cope with the emotional demands ofpost - industrial society. The truth ought to lie somewhere between these extremes but the HEADBUTT investigative team have found what is actually going on to be much more sinister. Evidence suggests that the trend known as Dumbing Down has been engineered by a conspiracy of the Government, the Financial Institutions and the Entertainment Industry.
Consider the evidence. When the social reformers of the nineteenth century introduced free education for all, the life expectancy of a human adult was 47 years. By the end of the century it was 74 years. Who but a stupid person would want an extra thirty four years of declining libido, failing memory, gradual loss of physical abilities and finally senility and incontinence?
The advantages of a stupid population to government, financial institutions and entertainment businesses are indisputable. The business benefits are obvious. A generation ago the majority of people understood money. You worked. Each week you got money. When that money was spent there was no more until payday. Simple. Everyone knew that spending more money than you had could only result in a visit from several big men with baseball bats. The idea was so good that humankind developed advanced civilisations using it as a model. Then somebody realised that if people could be encouraged to spend money they did not have the banks, rather than sitting on a pile of cash would own lots of debts which were earning interest. Debts have to be secure of course. Give people $50000 and they will head for Vegas. Tell them "we will buy a house for $50000 which you pay for in instalments and on the day it becomes yours it will be worth $100000 and they think its a great deal. To have something worth $100k, more money than our great grandparents dreamed existed, would appeal to anybody. Nobody reads in the small print that the bank only agrees to buy you a house for $50k so long as you pay back, over twenty years $250k. Also, so long as a person lives they need somewhere to live so homebuyers are only rich when they are dead. The house scam worked so well it was extended to cars, consumer goods and holidays. We are so stupid we all think we are affluent even though thye money we are spending does not exist. The cash that the banks are advancing today is underwritten by the money we will earn tomorrow. How dumb had we to be in order to fall for that.
In entertainment the prime example of dumbing down is music. Sophisticated music the marriage of melody, harmony, counter-melody, rhythm and form, has to be played by highly trained and expensive to hire musicians who have a broad educational grounding and thus are cautious about iffy deals and such. Take away the complicated stuff and deploy a clever marketing ploy, like brown is the new black or uncool is the new cool, and it is easy to sign morons who can't read the simplest sentence unless is is repeated seventy - five times (check out rap lyrics) and will happily sign a contract stipulating the band will pay their management three hundred and twenty per cent of all revenues raised from record sales, tours, merchandising and standing on street corners singing a capella and passing round a hat. Does anybody seriously think Elvis would have signed such a contract? Well yes, he probably would actually, but that is not the point. Rap stars regularly saddle themselves with such deals and who but stupid people would buy the records of stupid people like that apart from people willing to wear the most uncool trousers ever sold?
Governments havealways maintained an interest in keeping the population stupid. The main reason for needing plenty of idiots is war. War is the politicians great get - out. Whenever things are going really well and the people start demanding social justice, lower taxes and better living standards for everybody, all the political leaders can ever think of to do is get into a war. Not only does it divert attention for a while, war also sets progress back by a few decades so lower taxes, social justice and better living standards take a back seat to Safeguarding National Security, which means constantly being ready to have a war. Since the days of the Roman Empire young men have responded to variations on the patriotic theme "Dulce et decorum est, per patri mori." which roughly translates as "thanks for being stupid, sucker." In the years prior to social reforms that gave us universal education, this patriotism had so distorted sanity that when the call to arms came, young men would compete to march in front of their regiment, towards a mass of heavily armed enemy soldiers, carrying a flag or beating a drum. Even though the penalty for cowardice was death one would think that rather than rushing to volunteer anybody with two live brain cells would skulk at the back of the troop trying to avoid the sergeants eye. Instead of saying "Why do I have to carry the flag, its not my turn, I carried it last time, why can't I have a musket or a sword or at least one of those long sticks with rusty nails in the end?" these guys were so brainwashed with the idea that dying a young hero was better than living to be an old coward they would say "No sergeant, give my musket to one of the other chaps, I want to carry the flag and have my chance to be a hero.
Technology has changed things a bit of course, after all its hard to carry a flag in front of a batch of cruise missiles.So why do the government still need people dumb enough to volunteer for cannon fodder duty. Modern military hardware tends to keep soldiers safe while putting civilians in the firing line, that's why. In the first war of the twentieth century 80% of casulaties were military. In the last wars of that century 80% of the casualties were civilian. So it is not a good idea to have too many civilians who would rather watch CNN than the Simpsons.
The best wars, before the advent of the twentieth century were those in which the uncivilised aboriginal peoples of remote lands were considered to be a threat to Good Christians because they ran around naked and enjoyed themselves. Vast and well equipped armies were sent to oppress the tribespeople and teach them to honour the true God by being miserable and keeping their private parts covered up. Obviously such tactics could not last in the face of a growing awareness of human rights, improved contraceptive techniques and sufficient aesthetic awareness for people to realise that most bodies are sexier covered up.
The civilised nations had no alternative but to fight each other, which turned out to be counter - productive as the carnage produced even greater demands for justice and a fair deal for everybody. For many years in the latter half of the twentieth century a simple ruse involving pretend enemies preserved the delicate balance. When people got too stroppy all the politicians had to do was cry "the Russians are coming."
Committment to universal education spoiled this one too however, when the educated and empowered population woke up to the fact that Russian leaders were crying "the capitalists are coming" whenever their punters got stroppy too. We all realised that basically we were not different species but the same flawed, greedy, feckless and corrupt human beings as are found everywhere. The Russians wanted Levis, MacDonalds and Coca Cola. The west wanted Vodka, Caviare and wonderful cheekbones.
Having no primitive tribespeople to oppress and no pretend enemy with whom to exchange threats of mutual destruction the politicians needed a big idea quick!
It came from the United States of America as as most big ideas do. "Heeeyyyy, stoopid people are easy to manipulate," some Washington manipulator said, and to confirm his point the establishment connived to get Ronald Reagan, a former 'B' movie actor and sports commentator elected President. Ron was too stupid to bother interfering much in the running of the country thus making himself the most popular President ever. Between them the banks, the entertainment industry and the bureaucracy ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity.
It was obvious then that the Education experiment had failed. Who needed to know anything if they had information at their fingertips. Let kids access the internet while taking exams, give them certificates for knowing how to get the information rather than for deductive reasoning and creative thought. Dumbing Down means there is no need to teach kids to read, diagnose dyslexia. Never discipline a child, let them develop behavioural problems and get them into therapy. Do not prepare people for work and life as a mature adult, let them become social problems and create work for the intellectual and bureaucratic elite. Why give people a work ethic when they can be given a credit card? Let computers do the thinking and free the minds of people from the need for education. Dumbing Down ensures political stability and guarantees economic growth. Its a great theory and it is working.