Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Threat to Intellectual Freedom

Is there a real threat to intellectual freedom in the United States? Is there a threat to independence and the worth of the human personality? And to that add, a threat to the very meaning of life?
Admittedly there is little that threatens one's freedom and meaning of life more than debilitating disease, war and now in our world, terrorism. We have, however, been warned of other dangers, perhaps slightly more remote, which need our attention and are of equal importance.
The singular and most obvious threat is the deliberate stupefaction of America. This is being accomplished by an intentional and commercially motivated lowering of the intellectual levels of communicative content. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy the reading level of the average adult in the United States is 8th grade. Two publications, TV Guide and Readers Digest with the largest circulation in the world has a reading level of only 9th grade. The same holds true for the largest circulated newspaper, The Sun. In 2005 (the most recent figures available) the reading score of 12th graders was 6 points lower than back in 1992.
Besides the reading issue another related danger of the stupefaction of America is the whole area of public education itself. I have written about this in the past and it still holds true. Excessive standardization which extends to the very teaching processes themselves. Even the curricula of our schools has not escaped this massive effort of standardization. This is especially true in literature, history, and civics (if it's still taught in some schools). We have become not just the products of such standardization but also its victims. You bet-cha.

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