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Idiocracy proceeds apace

Idiocracy proceeds apace
March 23, 2012, 12:20:27 AM
After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print.

Those coolly authoritative, gold-lettered reference books that were once sold door-to-door by a fleet of traveling salesmen and displayed as proud fixtures in American homes will be discontinued, company executives said.

 In an acknowledgment of the realities of the digital age — and of competition from the Web site Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools. The last print version is the 32-volume 2010 edition, which weighs 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.


Politically safe, popular views have therefore officially outpaced our traditional institution of dispassionate understanding. What was once meticulous wisdom is reduced now to a few paragraphs of dubious origin and footnotes sourced via URL. We can thank Wikiprotolophilia but mostly liberal democracy for this criminal action against all the august sages from mankind's history.

Re: Idiocracy proceeds apace
March 23, 2012, 01:05:45 AM
You know, I'm actually really bummed about this. I remember having a copy of the 1996 edition. It fascinated me utterly as a young teen. At least they'll be keeping up the electronic version...

Re: Idiocracy proceeds apace
January 01, 2013, 02:45:39 AM
With the egalitarian spirit of American society, education is not what it once was.  The classical and traditional models of education, such as those espoused by the Platonists and the Scholastics held value in discovering some form of higher reason.  Education in the medieval universities emphasized things like grammar, logic, and rhetoric (and later geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music) as ways of distilling the Absolute into an accessible form.  Moreover, in the classical world, this type education was not necessary for everyone, and hence the scholars were highly respected.  At the same time, it was perfectly acceptable and respectable for a man to learn a trade in the city or to farm if he was a rural dweller.

Modern “education” is precisely the opposite: a bourgeois obscurantism which espouses a false sense of equality through standardization, and where every principle is subordinated to a manufactured and artificial ideal.  This can be illustrated in a scene that I witnessed many years ago.  I overheard some rather typical liberal arts students at a large university discussing the state of education in the United States.  One of them claimed that mathematics, chemistry, and physics were “reactionary” disciplines.  When challenged on this, he claimed that these disciplines are by and large “reactionary” because they are not accessible to everyone.  Moreover, he claimed, mathematics and science espouse “negative absolutism,” because they do not allow for one’s emotions to be adequately expressed.  To him the ideal fields of study were in the social sciences, because they served the ends of liberalism.


Re: Idiocracy proceeds apace
January 15, 2013, 04:25:03 AM

Garbage litters the ground at a human services building in Taylor where thousands of people rioted when a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher distribution event was cancelled. (WWJ Photo/Beth Fisher)