Saturday, February 4, 2006

Nearly nine years ago, I noted in a column in The Washington Times that a “Dumbing Down of America” was under way.

“It doesn’t take very long to dumb down a nation,” agreed a former book publishing company chief executive officer, a long-time advocate of better-quality education in America. “After only two or three generations, you can easily produce a nation … of morons.”

Why would America’s elites preach better education but implement policies that lead toward a nation of morons?

“Because such a stupefied population is easier to subjugate by the elites’ financial shackles than would be a free-spirited, free-thinking, patriotic, enterprising Americans who had made this country the envy of the world,” I wrote.

So how have done as a nation since 1997? Terribly.

Take the rampant immigration, for example. The last five years have produced the biggest influx of uneducated immigrants in America’s history, according to the just-released report by the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. Of adult immigrants, 31 percent have not completed high school, 3 times the rate for natives.

We are importing low-skilled immigrant workers while exporting American jobs to China, India and other low-labor cost countries. And you don’t think that’s dumbing down America?

For the elites, of course, this is a win-win deal. A flood of immigrants helps lower the labor costs at home, while low-cost foreign labor replaces the jobs Americans once did.

But there is a catch. The short-term business gain from immigration may sow the seeds for ethnic strife in America in the decades ahead. Just as Britain, Spain or France now wish they had not allowed rampant immigration that imported terrorism into their countries, future generations of Americans may be also cursing our current leaders’ greed and shortsightedness.

Just as worrisome is the dumbing down of the native population. The elite-controlled media and entertainment industries play a big role in that.

As a result, America is rapidly losing its moral compass. We can no longer tell a lie from the truth. Worse, we don’t even seem to care. That’s tragic. For, there is only one place where such people end up — at the bottom of history’s dustbin.

If in doubt just consider what happened to ancient Romans who were also fed the “panem et circences” (“bread and games”) stupefying philosophy by their leaders on their way to oblivion.

How can we tell we are losing our moral compass?

The war in Iraq is certainly one obvious answer. It was started on false pretenses and is fought for all the wrong reasons. But “the truth is the first casualty of war,” is an ancient saw. The Bush administration certainly cannot claim originality in its deceptive tactics.

“I did not have sex with that woman,” was a discredited line by a proven liar who occupied the Oval Office when he uttered it. And what happened to him? Nothing. He served out both his terms in full. A quarter-century earlier, another more moral America cleaned house through a painful impeachment process. “Slick Willie” got away with it. “Tricky Dicky” did not.

More troubling to this writer, however, are the so-called “small lies” becoming acceptable in, and pervading our everyday lives. Wars and presidents come and go, but corruption of the soul remains.

People lie about their ages. We shrug. People lie on their job applications and even in public statements. We shrug. Every so often a news story breaks about some prominent person claiming a degree or a medal or an award he or she never got. We shrug.

People lie to their spouses. “I made a mistake of telling my husband something that had happened in my previous marriage,” a professional woman told this writer. “That was a mistake. Total honesty is for the birds.” We shrug.

Until we get hurt. And lies do hurt. Sooner or later.

In the land of virtual reality, the truth is “irrelevant,” according to Oprah (1954-). “The Queen of Daytime” at first spoke out in support of “A Million Little Pieces” author James Frey, whose memoir of addiction she helped to promote into a best-seller. She dismissed as “irrelevant” allegations the author lied.

On Jan. 26, Oprah turned on Mr. Frey. She asked him on her show if he had duped her? Mr. Frey affirmed he had done so.

Oprah spent the rest of the show trying to wipe the floor with Mr. Frey and the egg off her face. The former took only a few minutes. The latter may take a lifetime. People may forgive, but they don’t forget. “The Queen of Daytime” has lost her crown.

If the ends justify the means and lying is OK, as Oprah said initially, can excusing theft or murder be far behind?

Well, viewers of Stephen Spielberg’s hit movie “Munich,” for example, are led to conclude murder can be also justified.

“Our country’s traditional character is being systematically destroyed by nihilistic ‘liberals,’ the New World Order’s centurions whose only God is the Almighty Dollar,” I also wrote 10 years ago in The Washington Times.

Of course, we have seen many such examples, especially in the media, where public deception and manipulation was practiced with impunity (e.g., “Shattered Glass,” “Capote,” Jayson Blair, former New York Times reporter, etc.). Some got fired. Others, like Mr. Frey, have gone on to make a lot of money on best-sellers based on lies.

Mr. Frey also stands to profit in Hollywood from his deception and distortion. Tinseltown media have dubbed Mr. Frey “Hollywood’s favorite new liar .”

Hm — and what does the nation think of rewarding the liars and the cheats with big movie contracts? Nothing. Shrug. That’s no biggie, either, anymore. Ten days later, the fray about Mr. Frey has frayed away. After all, the Superbowl XL is coming up.

“Panem et circenses.”


A Scottsdale, Ariz., writer and public speaker and founder of Truth in Media,

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