III Publishing

Trump and the End of Literacy
May 26, 2018
by William P. Meyers

Site Search

Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry

Popular pages:

U.S. War Against Asia
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Natural Liberation

Ain't read no book since high school

Sometimes I really hate rich people. But I'd like to be rich . . . I try to treat them like anything else, creatures of an ecosystem. Like a wild bird looking over a chicken ranch. The problem is they engineered the system to their own advantage. Still, beats being a chicken.

wild birds v. chickens

I've been reading Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire lately. That is why I am not surprised at, despite being disappointed by, the revival of Christianity in the United States. IMHO Christianity did not so much cause the fall of the Roman Empire as take advantage of the rot that pervaded the culture. I just read about the Battle of Hadrianopolis, and I don't see any reason to think Christianity caused the loss to the Goths. Centuries of corruption and the gradual loss of skill sets did the trick. Christianity, and its attack on the sciences of that era, added to the decline of knowledge.

Trump famously does not read. I believe he could read, but he does not want to. He grew up in the age of Television [born 1946], and with wealth at his disposal from birth, probably got by in school by cheating, Cliff notes, and sometimes listening in class. Once he joined his father's business he could use other people who could read, do basic math, and take care of details like accounting, architecture, and legal documents. As many modern CEOs have proven, you can go far by yelling at people and having enough capital backing you up.

A little reading skill goes a long way. Lots of jobs require a little reading skills. Very few require a lot of reading of complex materials. Lawyers and professors read a lot. Most people, not so much for work.

Video is available to show you how to do almost anything. Video will tell you how to make a video and post it to YouTube, if you don't already know.

Part of the trend that kills reading is specialization. Jobs have become increasingly specialized. A specialized job may require a fair amount of specialized knowledge, experience, and practice, but you don't have to know much about what other people are doing or thinking to get by. Just keep your head down and keep coding, or whatever.

I have seen supposedly highly intelligent, competent people do incredibly stupid things when they confronted something outside their speciality. Like the time I mistook some crumbling plaster at a pipe joint for old plumber's putty. I tried fixing the joint with plumber's putty. The dyke at the hardware store thought I was a total moron, handing me a rubber washer that solved the problem.

Nevertheless (my favorite word), people not reading once they are given a high school or college diploma is getting to be a serious problem. I believe a good video, movie or even TV show can expand the mind and expose a person to knowledge and outside perspectives.

Books are almost magical. Which books one reads matter, but all books require the reader to process a set of visual symbols into meaning relating to experience. Video, and sound tracks, are simple. What you see is what you get. Minimal processing required. That is easier, and people like easy. A long book requires effort, and if it is non-fiction, maybe even study to get something out of it.

I would not be surprised if educators put less emphasis on reading over time. Even in the 1960s, when I was a child, teachers were already starting to use video to distract unruly students while giving themselves a break. Maybe Trump will pass some education reform to accelerate this trend.

As Trump shows, while wealth may seem to be an advantage, it is also a hazard. Wealthy societies like the U.S. should be able to produce an abundance of top-notch useful people, instead we are generating a bunch of nice young trust fund chewing, Alexa querying film majors.

I am not worried about Goths invading. I am concerned about the Goths within. And the first famine. When America has its first real famine ever, I don't want to be near large concentrations of Christian Evangelicals. They have 2000 years rationalizing every type of indecent behavior as being God's will. And it seems that most of them don't read anymore, they just listen to con artists. I mean preachers.

III Blog list of articles