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The dumbing down of America (and the world) is on full display every day.

Is there an event or one factor that you think started it all? I know the election, or installation, of Trump may seem like a good answer, but we’ve been heading down this stupid road for a long time.

by Anonymousreply 5310/16/2020

Sarah Palin

by Anonymousreply 110/15/2020

Reagan and Thatcher and the powers behind the scenes at that specific time. They started it.

Then Rupert Fucking Murdoch carried the torch as far as he could.

by Anonymousreply 210/15/2020

There's no one causative factor and no one starting point, OP, but I would nominate the proliferation of cable TV in the '80s as one point that things began to take a sharp downward turn. Not that network TV wasn't dumb*, too, but at least some of their shows were OK. The huge number of empty-headed shows on cable meant that viewers could not only avoid less-dumb shows but also watch shows whose particular form of dumbness most closely matched their own.

The internet continued this process, although there was some compensation from the vast increase of non-dumb information also available.

The final nail in the coffin was social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, which are not just dumbing down society but tearing it apart.

*An early starting point was the rise of television itself in the 1950s. That was widely noted at the time, by the way.

by Anonymousreply 310/15/2020

R2, there's a lot more to this than politics. There's ample stupidity on the left, but I assumed the OP was referring to the general level of stupidity in American society, not just political stupidity.

by Anonymousreply 410/15/2020

Video games. No one reads anymore.

Smartphones. You speak to someone under age 40 and they act like they've been slapped.

by Anonymousreply 510/15/2020

Giving Fundie Christians (especially Evangelicals) political legitimacy; not only allowing them to spew faux-theories like creationism, flat-earthism, climate change denial, and a host of other anti-science beliefs, but allowing them to take hold of the steering wheel and drive federal policies.

by Anonymousreply 610/15/2020

Reagan designating ketchup as a vegetable in public schools in the 1980s.

by Anonymousreply 710/15/2020

Just watch "Idiocracy."

by Anonymousreply 810/15/2020


by Anonymousreply 910/15/2020

Were people ever very bright?

by Anonymousreply 1010/15/2020

R10, no. It's called "average IQ" for a reason. It's just that there used to be more control over public discourse. Now, every moron can spew his logic-free "thoughts" and have them retweeted by equally emotion-addled idiots.

by Anonymousreply 1110/15/2020

Lowering the voting age to 18.

After Dubya fumbled the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and failed to stave-off the economic collapse, the Republicans should have been out of the Presidency for a generation. But people are just that stupid.

Obama inherited an economic collapse, not just a recession, but a complete collapse. He turned things around. And if you prefer to credit the Fed, at least Obama didn’t get in the way. He handed Trump an economy in great shape and still improving, but somehow, people who lived through the whole thing, are too stupid to acknowledge just that.

by Anonymousreply 1210/15/2020

9/11. The day the music died.

by Anonymousreply 1310/15/2020

We’re unsure what you mean??

by Anonymousreply 1410/15/2020

We don't need to anymore R8.

Idiocracy has already been implemented. It's what we have now.

by Anonymousreply 1510/15/2020

Reagan started it. He invited the religious right into our political system. He deregulated the media. No more equal time, no more limit to commercials and no more laws about truth in advertising. He deregulated the food industry and the physical/mental damage the Frankenfoods have done now to a couple of generations and the lack of nutrition to the foods we eat have contributed to the damage.

More and more deregulations came and came more than ever with Trump and we are totally fucked, maybe forever.

by Anonymousreply 1610/15/2020

I'm sorry to be insulting, I really am but this thread and the comments therein seem to show no insight or wisdom relating to the amazing accomplishments of the last century. Everyday people invented and achieved amazing things. Medical Technology, Flight, vanquishing fascism in Europe twice. Most of you couldn't tell me what frequency your household circuit works from or the simple current of your bathroom light. Can any of you read a simple map? How many degrees is East? How dare you sit there and blanket everyday people dumb. Fuck You.

by Anonymousreply 1710/15/2020

You all should be watching..........


by Anonymousreply 1810/15/2020

No, fuck you R17.

I never said that there weren’t highly intelligent, creative and productive people. Apparently I hit the nerve of an old MAGAT.

It’s not my fault you’re stupid. But perhaps, as a know-it-all, you can explain how you got that way....honey.

by Anonymousreply 1910/15/2020

R6 and R16 Actually, Evangelicals have had a hand in American politics for a very long time. Read up on the Scopes monkey trial in 1925. America has always been known to have a backwards/conservative religious streak, both in the South/Midwest and in New England. Reagan and the Moral Majority was a reaction against radical liberalism coming into society in the 60s.

by Anonymousreply 2010/15/2020

Tax cuts. Many people are just not willing to invest in public education.

by Anonymousreply 2110/15/2020

Political consultants, the internet, and the lust for profit that sustains reality television.

by Anonymousreply 2210/15/2020

The term "dumbing down" was coined in the 90s, wasn't it? In the early 90s we starting noticing how utterly useless and stupid young people were becoming. Like you would ask a sales associate if the store had any X product and the kid would think for a moment, and then say "I don't know.". You actually had to ask the twit to please go and find out for you, or show you where the item might be located.

by Anonymousreply 2310/15/2020

Here’s an example of something that bothers me, when Bush was trying to privatize Social Security, he said something like “I think the American people know how best to invest their own money, not the government!’

Well, in fact, the vast majority of people do not know how to invest their own money. Even very bright people. In this case, the government really does know better. But it appeals to people’s insecurity and pride to tell them that they do. I know, because I’ve helped my friends with their investments, many are paralyzed due to not knowing how to start.

Here’s a common mistake, investing in the stock of a company you work for. If the company goes bust, you could lose your job and your life-savings.

A friend who is quite bright told me that he used his savings to pay down his mortgage since that is his biggest investment. He misunderstood an important factor. When you pay down your mortgage, you save whatever your mortgage interest rate is, while losing the tax deduction on your mortgage. So if you have a 4% mortgage, that’s what you are saving. I, personally, have kept a mortgage and invested in the stock market, where I was averaging more than 10% per year. There is a legitimate strategy in paying down a mortgage, though I don’t subscribe to it myself, but that legitimate strategy wasn’t what my friend was thinking of.

by Anonymousreply 2410/15/2020

Trash like Geraldo and Howard Stern becoming popular.

by Anonymousreply 2510/15/2020

R6 and r16 are bang on correct. Allowing magical thinking bible thumpers to be taken seriously was the beginning of the end.

by Anonymousreply 2610/15/2020

And let’s emphasize that it’s the world that’s dumbed-down. Americans get a raw deal being accused of being fat or dumb and so forth, but fat and dumb is a worldwide phenomena, not confined to the US,

by Anonymousreply 2710/15/2020

Crikey R17! What crawled up your 60 year old butt?

Yes I agree with you - there have been plenty of amazing accomplishments and advancements in the last century and that's a whole other thread isn't it? Why don't you start it?

However, OP posted a thread about the dumbing down of America which is an accepted fact and very evident. It's not a theory. That's what this thread is about. And there's plenty of evidence of it which we are discussing in this thread.

by Anonymousreply 2810/15/2020

Don’t forget that Jimmy Carter was a “born again” Christian, so it didn’t start with Reagan.

by Anonymousreply 2910/15/2020

Actually r19, They are NOT necessarily "highly intelligent". What they ARE is: curious, persistent and hardworking. (the "highly intelligent" usually muck up the works, i.e. Obama) The also benefit from rational self-interest i.e. the Wright Brothers , as characterized by....wait for it....CAPITALISM. You can imagine how the non-curious and lazy are threatened by the curious and hardworking, can't you?

by Anonymousreply 3010/15/2020

When you have a con artist/grifter/carnival barker/ex-game show host as President, and a substantial portion of the population adores him simply because he is a con artist/grifter/carnival barker/ex-game show host, you really can't hold out a lot of hope for a rise in public discourse and civility.

Someone above mentioned "Idiocracy." We're almost there.

by Anonymousreply 3110/15/2020

R17 is the same asshole who was highly insulted by the thread comparing Trump to Hitler. Sooooo....ding ding ding on the MAGAT accusation.

by Anonymousreply 3210/15/2020

The problem is that that's not true R27. Most wealthy western countries don't have the issue to the same extent and concentration as America does and the issue most definitely stems from the US outwards.

But most Western countries have increased education levels, increased standards of living, provided more investment in their societies and people over the past 40 -50 years. The same cannot seriously be said for the United States.

(Western countries are commonly agreed to include: Australia, Canada, all European member countries of the EFTA/EU, the European microstates, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 3310/15/2020

R25 Stern was/is actually satirical and a good interviewer. I’d place more blame on Jerry Springer.

by Anonymousreply 3410/15/2020

[bold]The Y2K Bug really showed that most experts were stupid and clueless, and now COVID-19.[/bold]

by Anonymousreply 3510/15/2020

Ronald Reagan was the precursor to this shite. Celebrity worship. Trash.

by Anonymousreply 3610/15/2020

9/11 was a big part of the patriotic wave that swept the nation and caused the hillbillies to go full blast. Add on reality TV & social media as a conduit to bring everyone’s “lifestyles” into each other’s homes, for better or usually worse. We now compete & interact socially beyond our prior microcosms. Part of what drives the divide is we know too much about each other now and only the worst stereotypes float to the surface. We’re all becoming caricatures, as the most over-the-top personalities in every realm consume visibility and then people aim to copy them, feeding into a cycle of life imitating “art”.

by Anonymousreply 3710/15/2020

Rupert Murdoch. Seriously.

by Anonymousreply 3810/15/2020

r28 Thank you. I understand and I appreciate your thoughtful civility. Good Luck to you!

by Anonymousreply 3910/15/2020

Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives, pretty much all reality TV. People don’t seem to care about basic decency or intelligence anymore

by Anonymousreply 4010/15/2020

R40, those shows are awful trash, but they were preceded by callous talk shows which exploited some of the lesser-educated, vulnerable members of society -- pushing them to air their dirtiest laundry live on TV, all for cheap laughs, ratings, and melodrama.

by Anonymousreply 4110/15/2020

Reagan and "Mommy."

by Anonymousreply 4210/15/2020

Culture culture culture. Everything depends on it.

by Anonymousreply 4310/15/2020

I watched a documentary on Netflix last week called "The Social Dilemma". It made sense of the reasons why people behave the way they do in today's society. I don't like uneducated, ignorant people, either OP. At least now I understand how this happened.

by Anonymousreply 4410/15/2020

Trailer for it...

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 4510/15/2020

[quote]The term "dumbing down" was coined in the 90s, wasn't it?

No. "Dumbing down" originated in the 1930s as entertainment industry slang, meaning "to revise so as to appeal to those of little education or low intelligence". It has since acquired a second meaning, "to lower the general level of intelligence in a person or a population". Of course, this divergence wouldn't have been possible without people of low intelligence misunderstanding the original, intended meaning.

by Anonymousreply 4610/15/2020

[quote] R35: The Y2K Bug really showed that most experts were stupid and clueless, and now COVID-19.

My company spent two years preparing for the Y2K bug. That’s why it wasn’t a disaster, because people proactively acted to make sure it wouldn’t hurt them. I’m in IT, And I can tell you, it had the potential for being a huge problem.

by Anonymousreply 4710/15/2020

r24 I take your point re: the mortgage, but since Trump's tax law put a cap on the state and local tax deduction, many of us with mortgages can't even itemize our deductions anymore, so there's no tax advantage to having a mortgage.

by Anonymousreply 4810/15/2020

There is something to the “Idiocracy” theory.

The dumbest people I know all have at least 3 and usually 4 or more kids.

I didn’t know any families with more than 2 kids when I was growing up.

by Anonymousreply 4910/15/2020

Reality TV. Allowing fiction to masquerade as 'reality.'

by Anonymousreply 5010/15/2020

[quote] Reagan designating ketchup as a vegetable in public schools in the 1980s.

He was continuing what the McGovern Report started.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 5110/15/2020

I don't see the problem.

by Anonymousreply 5210/16/2020

I hope that Biden uses his inaugural speech to be straight with people that this virus and its economic fallout will be with us for years. He should set expectations very low. Otherwise, I’m afraid that he could be phenomenally successful, but in four years, we’ll still be recovering from the virus, and I don’t want voters to switch back to a Republican, just because they didn’t understand that this Virus and is economic fallout is too complicated to completely fix in just 4 years.

That’s what happened with Obama. Some people blame Obama for the crash that occurred before he took office, because they are ignorant. Then Obama left with an economy that was doing well and still improving; however, Trump took credit for the economic recovery that Obama engineered.

by Anonymousreply 5310/16/2020
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