3/20/10

BAD is Still GOOD

"About a century ago, Americans set out to experience the higher
learning, but after a brief trial, they found they didn't like it. It
was too hard and too serious: Latin and Greek took years to learn,
and the noble, magnanimous heroes of ancient, medieval, and
Renaissance history seemed useless and 'irrelevant' as 'role models'
for the main American activity, making money. An acquaintance with
the principles of logic and evidence was found an actual impediment
to enthusiasm and good fellowship, and skeptical studies in the
history of popular error and the domination of societies by
superstition and mobs seemed undemocratic, indeed 'elitist.' A few
genuinely educated people found that precise reasoning and analysis
and the disinterested scrutiny of phenomena others uncritically took
for granted constituted no formula for gaining 'popularity.' In
short, it was soon discovered that real education was of little value
in the American life of action, ambition, acquisitivenesses, and
getting-on. In fact, just the opposite: the devolopment of intellect
led only to an un-American life of study and contemplation."

Paul Fussell, BAD: The Dumbing of America
http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Dumbing-America-Paul-Fussell/dp/0671792288

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