Bill Mahr, sometime comic and political commentator, claims that Americans are too ignorant to be governed, and he’s right. What’s worse, it’s my fault! My friends and I, the long-haired, pot-smoking protesters and dropouts of the fabled ‘60s, scared the powers that be in American society so badly that they dumbed down public education to create a more “manageable” generation of workers and wage slaves for the corporate state. It is not often mentioned, but those of us who opted out of (or were evicted from) polite society were the result of the most drastic experiment in social reform in history. After World War II pressures on returning vets were relieved by a “G.I. Bill” of benefits, including access to college and the advantages that higher education promised in the class-stratified society of the time. Many of these newly educated, world-traveled veterans became teachers, dedicated to building a new society in which popular education would inform the masses to make political and economic decisions for their common good. Knowledge was the key, understanding the tool and progress the goal for mankind.
The trouble with understanding, however, is disillusionment with the hypocrisy of society, which fueled the ’60s excesses of youthful rebellion resulting in the civil rights reforms, anti-war protests, long hair and a broader selection of drugs for recreation and enlightenment. After the ’60s, a backlash against the excesses of the alternative culture set in, and the decision was taken to decrease intellectual content (novels and poets, Orwel and Corso), and emphasize “social skill” training at the expense of such topics as civics and history in any depth. Later, job skills and “manual arts” were added, further diluting the scholastic ferment that had nearly crippled the campus system in the student strikes of the past.
Today, America graduates teens without the mental training or discipline to function without express instructions — the perfect military recruits and non-union workforce for the new century of global corporate fascism, as performed by an increasingly inept political system dedicated to preventing meaningful change.
America has become a problem to most of the rest of the world, but we’re too dumb to notice.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.