Are We Producing Stupid Americans?

Richard Salbato 9-30-2010

I know that is an offensive title and I am told to never use the word “stupid” but no other word fits what I want to say.  I have been wondering for a long time why people cannot logically give forth an argument on their point of view on any subject no matter what it is.  Even when they have the same opinion that I have I always wish they would have said this or that to make the argument but they never do.  News commentaries have a bias in politics to one side or the other but instead of giving a good reason for their opinion, they resort to name calling and repeating over and over sad sound-bites that they hope a stupid public will embrace.

I was watching the Pastor who was accused of sexual assault on four boys talk with has congregation.  He did not deny any of the accusations and yet the congregation gave him a standing ovation.  Why?

Democrats and the liberal news media loves to say over and over that the money problems we have today are because of President Bush, but never say that the Democrats have held the House and Senate for the past six years and that it is the house that controls the budget.  They never say that it was Democratic bills that caused the crash of the credit market and the housing industry.

I understand that but where are the conservatives to give a good logical argument against these claims?

Now we have the expiration of the Bush tax cuts ten years ago that brought the GDP from 9 trillion to 14 trillion and increased the taxes to the government. However, because of two wars, the destruction of New Orleans and a spending house and senate, we went in debt.  This was not because of the tax cuts but because of the spending.  Now the argument against extending the tax cuts is that it will add 7 trillion to the debt over ten years, whereas it reduced the debt over the last 10 years. 

They make the same argument against President Reagan, because of some debt but never mention the fact that under him was the largest growth not only in jobs but in taxes to the government.  We went into debt because Reagan wanted to bankrupt Russia by outspending them on the military and he did.

They credit Clinton over and over for having a balanced budget but it was the Republican house that cut government and it was Clinton that reduced the military to a point we were not and are not now prepared for the wars we are in. 

People do not look at the facts but just absorb the sound-bites like a sponge takes water or acid without knowing the difference.  Why this failure to think properly?

How Were We Taught? 

Actually I think it is because of the way we were educated over the past 70 years. Prior to World War II, all schools had the same education philosophy and this system went back to the time of Plato, who wrote it.  It is called Trivium –Quadrivium, the three and then four stages of education.

This method not only produced the great minds of the past but even the great inventions of the 20th Century.  If you look at all we have today, it all started with people who were educated before World War II, including the great inventions of the war, cars, airplanes, sonar, radar, atomic power, subs, computers,  etc.  Before that we invented electricity, fuel, heavy farm equipment and building tools.  We built the Empire State Building that sways 22 feet at the top and does not break a single window, the Panama Canal and Bolder Ram.  

We had the greatest education system in the world and it was entirely controlled by local governments (towns, cities and counties) and private schools.  As a result we had the greatest economy and standard of living in the world.  What happened? 

After World War II the Feds passed the GI bill giving free education to those coming back from war.  This was a good thing, but it opened a Department of Education in Washington that never closed.  It became bigger and bigger until it controlled every school in America, even private schools.  Most dangerous to thinking is that it controlled what we learned and how we learned it. 

Philosophy was replaced by Psychology,  and History was replaced with Sociology.  Books were edited to be politically correct.  Schools were bombarded with useless courses that did nothing for education except wasting time. Students were judged by how they memorized the book they were reading no matter what the subject and no matter if the book was true or not. Not even the teacher could question the books or programs.  Accept but do not think!

Schools no longer accepted any disagreement or other opinions, but only what they taught.  There is no room for thinking, reasoning, or free thinking.  Is this any different from a cult, where the victim is told what to think, what to read, what to eat and who to talk with?

The cost of this brainwashing to tax-payers is $200,000 per every 15 students and half of them drop out of school and or graduate without being able to read, write or think. If allowed - think of a great teacher, who puts 15 students in his or her own house to teach properly and is paid $200,000 a year for doing it.  That is what we are paying now and getting nothing for it.

What is not taught in the modern America education system is the very reason for education, to teach people how to think, learn and know.  Logical thinking is not never taught and because it is not taught, the adults of today cannot think.

One of the saddest things you can do is look up “the criteria for becoming a teacher”.  You will find that there is no real criteria, and in fact there are methods where you can become a teacher with one or two years of college.  There are no classes that teach you how to teach.  In fact I could not find a course that leads you to a teacher’s degree.  To be an engineer you follow a set selection of classes, but not for a teacher.  And yet a teacher makes more per hour of work than even the average Master of Engineering.

In the old days you had to know the historically proven method of teaching, shown below, but not used anymore anywhere in America.

Trivium and Quadrivium

From Plato to the 20th Century we knew the true method of learning and at what stage of life.  Even Jefferson talked about the stages of learning.  The first stage of life, from 1 to 12 as divided into three parts.


1. Grammar and discipline.  This starts at birth and is almost the only thing that needs to be taught.  This is the time when the brain is empty and can absorb and remember not just one language but many.  This is the time when self control is learned of never learned.  Much is learned in Grammar because you cannot learn “tree” without learning what a tree is.  Within language is the definition of everything.  You cannot think unless you have words and definitions to associate with them.   

2. Rhetoric, the use of language.  Then the student (after proficient language skills) learns to communicate with others what he may have read or experienced.  He will be judged on how much he understood or what he read and how well he passed that knowledge on.  As this skill is developed and judged he becomes more cognoscente of understanding what he reads.

3. Logic, understanding the truth and the false.  After mastering Rhetoric, we learn from defending and explaining what we read, to questioning it.  In logic we find the faults in our thinking and in others thinking and learn to argue against it.  This is where real learning and thinking takes place.  Without logical thinking we cannot study the other sciences and should not.  In One we learned the language of all science: numbers, space and time but not the science itself.  Only after learning to question and reason can we truly go on to the other sciences which we then do in the:


The Quadrivium consisted of:

1. Arithmetic, the use of numbers, cannot be understood without a background in logic and resoning because nothing is more logical than numbers.  If “A” is defined and “B” is defined as something different then A cannot equal B.  If 1+1=2 then 1+2 cannot equal 3. 

2. Geometry, numbers in space or how to measure the physical world.  This takes more logic and reasoning than most other sciences.  If you have logic you can design formulas for figuring size, distance, weight and movement of physical things. At least you will understand the formulas for doing this and judge how truthful they are.  

3. Music or harmonic and tuning theories.  This also is a very important science because it measures and understands the use and misuse of sound, how it works, and how it alters the brain.

4. Astronomy or Cosmology, the measuring of space and time.    

Philosophy is often envisioned as science that unites all branches of knowledge or the mother of all science.  Logic is the art of arguing correctly: Formal Logic today lies not so much in the establishment of positive conclusions as in the prompt detection and exposure of invalid inference.

Thomas Aquinas College

Up in the mountains above Los Angeles, CA a few parents, ex-teachers and former school administrators started their own College.  What is unique about this school is that it has gone back to the old way of teaching.  The teacher gives out a book on some subject and assigns some chapters for the day.  The next day the students argue back and forth the meaning, truth or untruth of the chapters of the book.  They are judged on the understanding of the book and the argument for or against the writings.  The teacher just listens to the students, who teach each other by the logic or illogic of their rhetoric.  The success or failure of anything is the results.  The graduates of this college are far more successful in their chosen profession than any other college I know, even if it is only to be a house wife. 


“History, aided by a simple system of ethics derived from the grammar of theology, will provide much suitable material for discussion: Was the behaviour of this statesman justified? What was the effect of such an enactment? What are the arguments for and against this or that form of government?

“What use is it to pile task on task and prolong the days of labor, if at the close the chief object is left unattained? It is not the fault of the teachers—they work only too hard already.  The combined folly of a civilization that has forgotten its own roots is forcing them to shore up the tottering weight of an educational structure that is built upon sand. They are doing for their pupils the work which the pupils themselves ought to do. For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”

“The Lost Tools of Learning  by Dorothy L Sayers