Anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism have become almost epidemic in America. In fact, a talented writer by the name of Susan Jacoby wrote an important book several years ago titled The Age of American Unreason. The only hesitation anyone should have about reading that book is that it is pretty scary stuff.
According to Jacoby, more than 40 percent of Americans under 44 never read a single book in the course of an entire year. Americans of all ages are losing their ability to concentrate and analyze what they hear. In fact, the rule of thumb for a political candidate was that they needed to deliver their political message in around 40 seconds; today that political sound bite needs to be delivered in eight seconds to match our ability to concentrate.
Today in American schools, teachers who used to be able teach civics, humanities, and classic literature are now forced and ordered to stuff students’ brains with just enough information to pass standardized tests that are required by short-sighted politicians. Those politicians cajole school administrators, teachers and students into perpetuating a system that lacks the design to help children learn and think critically. Instead, they are taught to simply regurgitate numbers and words.