by Brad Nelson 6/29/14
I have no supernatural powers to compel you to read something. But if I did, I would twitch my nose like Elizabeth Montgomery (probably my first love, although I was too young to know it) and compel you to read this terrific article at The American Spectator by Dan Flynn: The Lazy Machines Kill Literacy.
I’m on record as saying that there is no way to maintain our American limited-government, freedom-based system as long as people are addicted to the idiot box. (That now includes the other idiot box, the one people use for nonstop text messaging. I’m not sure which is worse, passive stupidity or active stupidity.)
In other words, for criminy sakes, go read a damn book. Dan begins his article with this astute observation from Robert Hutchins:
To put an end to the spirit of inquiry that has characterized the West it is not necessary to burn the books,” Robert Maynard Hutchins wrote in the introductory volume of The Great Books of the Western World. “All we have to do is to leave them unread for a few generations.”
I set out about three years ago to read some of the classics – books such as Moby Dick and Treasure Island. And even earlier than that I made a commitment to turn off the idiot box for anything but old black-and-white movies or maybe the occasional sports event. (Yes, I did watch most, but not all, of the Super Bowl that the Seahawks won.)
I wish I could say that this has made me an instantly happy, successful, and contented person. But for now I’m satisfied with not being a shallow and stupid one. Ya gotta start somewhere.
Dan notes a few relevant and interesting statistics:
According the Bureau of Labor, Americans spend about fifteen minutes a day reading. They spend about two-and-a-half hours a weekday watching television and nearly an hour playing games or messing about on the computer. The feds haven’t yet created a separate category for taking selfies or obtaining new tattoos, but anecdotal evidence suggests that their popularity exceeds reading, too.
I’m sure we’ve all seen those snarky bumper stickers that say “Save a tree / Remove a Bush.” What we really need is one that says “Read a book, save Western Civilization.”
Dan finishes with another superb thought and quote:
An education fit for a king implies an understood responsibility of enlightenment for the sovereign. When 320 million people effectively serve as king, education becomes especially important. “If the people are not capable of acquiring [liberal] education,” University of Chicago honcho Robert Maynard Hutchins maintained in the introductory volume of The Great Books of the Western World, “they should be deprived of political power and probably of leisure. Their uneducated political power is dangerous, and their uneducated leisure is degrading and will be dangerous.”
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