posted on Aug, 15 2003 @ 03:50 PM
The greatest offense against our society these days is not any one law or a particular assault on our freedoms. Rather, it is the persistent,
insidious effort by those who shape our culture to reduce the American citizenry to idiots. From corporate advertisers to political sermonizers, from
boards of education to the entertainment programmers, their goal is idiocy.
By "idiots," I'm referring to more than the constant charge that we're all a bunch of idiots. That's just manufactured media fluff. Far from
being a nation of numbskulls, people (and especially young folks) are smarter than ever. But to what end?
The original Greek word "idiotes" referred to people who might have had a high IQ, but were so self-involved that they focused exclusively on their
own life and were both ignorant of and uncaring about public concerns and the common good.
Such people were the exact opposite of the Athenian democratic ideal of an active citizenry fully involved in the civic process, with everyone
accepting their responsibilities to each other and all of humankind. This is the ideal that Jefferson and Madison built into our own nation's
founding documents; the ideal that Lincoln embraced when he spoke of striving for a "government of the people, by the people, for the people;" the
ideal that Justice Louis Brandeis was expressing when he wrote that "The most important office" in our land is "that of a private citizen."