Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The Night Closes In
Fred Reed, A Culture in Regression: We Don't Need No Steenking Books
The night closes in. Read the surveys of what children know, what students in universities know. Approximately nothing. We have become wanton morons. As the intellectual shadows fall again, as literacy declines and minds grow dim in the new twilight, who will copy the parchments this time?
No longer are we a schooled people. Brash new peasants grin and peck at their iPods. Unknowing, incurious, they gaze at their screens and twiddle, twiddle. They will not preserve the works of five millennia. They cannot. They do not even know why.
Twilight really does come. Sales of books fall. Attention spans shorten. Music gives way to angry urban grunting. The young count on their fingers when they do not have a calculator, know less by the year. We have already seen the first American generations less educated than their parents. College graduates do not know when World War One happened, or what the Raj was. They have read nothing except the nothing that they read, and little of that. Democracy was an interesting thought.
Ours will be a stranger Dark Age than the old one. Our peasants brush their teeth and wash, imagine themselves of the middle class, but their heads are empty.
And they rule. We have achieved the dictatorship of the proletariat. Hod-carriers in designer jeans, they do not quite burn books but simply ignore them. Their college degrees amount to high-school diplomas, if that, but they neither know nor care.
The things that have forever constituted civilization—respect for learning whether one had it or not, wide reading, careful use of language, manners, such notions as “lady” and “gentleman”these are held in contempt.