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'We're Doomed!'

It started out as a joke in a soft cynical sort of way. As a talk show host, whenever an egregious example of THS (Terminal Human Stupidity) made headlines – "Zero Tolerance," for example – I'd tell the audience, "We're doomed!" We'd laugh, re-gird our loins and press on to more important things.

Or so I thought.

Now, I'm thinking "we're doomed" was more prophetic than mildly amusing. THS was not a joke.

It was a succinct prognosis, a symptom, one of the early warning signs of a cancer spreading through our society. "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America" has reached the goal Ms. Iserbyt warned us about. Ignorance instilled via Academia has given birth to the ugly fraternal twins: Arrogant Apathy and Aggressive Ignorance. Their coast-to-coast ubiquity provided the breeding ground for Incrementalism, the unseen killer of human initiative which now pervades most all areas of endeavor, both public and private. Socialism is overwhelming capitalism. Collectivism is the everyday curriculum in public schools. Samuel Francis' anarcho-tyranny is bulking up just over the horizon.

As we learned in John Gray's "Men Are From Mars….," men are hard-wired problem solvers. With that affliction, I went in search of a solution – a cure, if you will – for the depressing diagnosis above. How to "beat back the boundaries of ignorance," as my friend Walter Williams would say. How to initiate a Deliberate Smartening Up of America? How to warn the townspeople that Chicken Little only had to be right once – and this is it!

Here's where it gets scary.

For a moment, imagine you're Paul Revere. Your mission: wake and warn every village and farm of the approaching danger!! Off you gallop into the night, yelling to darkened houses on darkened roads: " The British are coming! The British are coming!" A light goes on! A window opens! A fellow colonist leans out and yells back, "Shut up, you idiot – it's 2AM!" The window slams shut and the light goes out.

This is the lot of the Paul Reveres of today. The Rockwells, the Bovards, the Sowells, Walter Willliams, Charlie Reese, Joseph Sobran and precious few others. In our little analogy, today's "colonists" don't even know who the "British" are. They get their news from "Entertainment Tonite," perky Katy Couric, John Stewart and the Leno/Lettermen monologues. When the alternatives are Rather, Jennings and Brokaw, maybe that's a good thing – in a dismal sort of way.

Thus the challenge remains before us: How to warn the village of the Advance of the -Isms (social, collective, state) via government sanctioned programs that nullify basic freedom of choice, even the very definition of private property? Especially when the good people don't comprehend the 7 most important words in the preceding sentence.

"A generation of Americans was never taught why socialism must not succeed in America. Instead, they were taught that the environment must be protected by government, without learning why government must never be allowed to confiscate private property or manipulate free markets." Henry Lamb, "Socialism’s March across America."

Key words: "…never taught…." To paraphrase a famous quote: We will only cherish what we love. We can love only what we know. We can only know what were taught.

EDA (Eminent Domain Abuse) is just part of the infestation of socialist-collectivist termites munching merrily away on the support beams of Freedom and Liberty, way off the radar of "The Evening News With (insert name here)" – although any actual, effective benefit from that coverage might be more cosmetic than cure.

When the preponderance of the population cannot correctly identify a picture of the Vice-President or name the rights contained in the First Amendment or, worse, actually believe Government grants them those rights, it becomes obvious why you can't get your neighbor worked up about the serious downside of the USA Patriot Act, the excesses of the War on Drugs or the long-term effects of some recent Supreme Court decisions. Imagine a conversation around the water cooler concerning the inexorable encroachment of government regulation, the subsequent Lost Rights and, ultimately, Freedom In Chains (See: James Bovard). One should easily conjure a portrait of the perfect glazed expression. We could title it "American Still Life." However, quoting George Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” 

But what if the people hear – but don't, can't or won't comprehend?

After nearly 40 years of laboring in the fickle vineyards of talk radio, I can state emphatically the public's penchant for selective hearing is bodacious. Their collective cognitive reasoning scores are consistently in range of lower primates. Also, it is quite discouraging to experience what passes for "objectivity" – in a mass com sorta way. You might be amazed to discover how many fellow citizens hold a world view crafted ugly by the NEA, Dan Rather and the cast of Saturday Night Live. And we are to believe that Obesity is our biggest national crisis? John Wayne summed it up best, "Life is tough. It's tougher when you're stupid."

Taking a break from his highly successful brewery biz, Samuel Adams said "…it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” While no doubt numerically and strategically correct, Sam's tireless band – Pyromaniacs For Liberty – is having extreme difficult locating sufficient intellectual tinder to get those blazes going.

While Constitutional abuses and ignorance grow to epidemic proportions, the greater problem is finding individuals sufficiently armed with factual information and motivational concern to appreciate the problem. Motivating the citizenry would be less a problem if we could first win the uphill battle to reach the level ground of Comprehension 101, the Pork Chop Hill of public schooling. Under current circumstances, we would be more successful telling the tide not to come in. (Note: At this time, there is no evidence the tide has any intention of reversing itself on its own.)

The opening sentence of a recent LA Times article provides a good example of the level of "debate" on an issue with enormous consequences:

LOS ANGELES – It was already an incendiary topic: whether to grant illegal immigrants driver’s licenses.

To pose the oft-queried question: What part of "illegal" don't they understand? After a brief review of the definition, what's left to debate – without the intentional distortion of the word? There is a Latin phrase for this which – Obfuscatum non est – when loosely translated means "Your fly is open." The only positive in the story was the reporter didn't opt for the PC term "undocumented workers." It also highlighted the wisdom of Orwell's admonition: "We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."

The "Good Book" (aka Bible) says "The harvest is great, but the workers are few." Indeed, the salvation of a Constitutional Republic would be a great "harvest." But considering the battle required to do so, General Custer's last comment at Little Big Horn might be more on point "Where the hell did all these Indians come from?!"

Apathy, Ignorance, Incrementalism. As we slide down Tom Lehrer's "razor blade of life," the prophetic one-liner remains: We are doomed!

July 24, 2004