explorepdx.com/dumbit.html
.
explorepdx.com/future.html
Seven poison fruits of
DUMBING DOWN
(anti-intellectualism)
 ...is a suggestion for progressive thinkers.  How can embattled progressives use these ideas for counteracting our current deluge of anti-liberal decision making?  Here in the United States decades of media influence have helped give control of all branches of government to extremely anti-liberal public officials. This anti-liberalism is the kind that sees (demands?) society as being competitive and antagonistic rather than cooperative and tolerant.  For many reasons, this is almost guaranteed to be a narrow path to disaster. Too many "outsiders" are left outside of the decision making by the insiders who don't easily see viewpoints not their own.  Safer, broader paths are needed.
LOGICAL IMPERATIVE

Eight dollars per hour times three hours work equals twenty-four dollars pay.
.

8 X 3 = 24
..
DUMBING DOWN points to several logical imperatives which are “simple but subtle.”  They are logical imperatives and not simply “matters of personal opinion,” but the insights, like those of science, are at a level of abstraction just a bit deeper that our day-to-day discourse demands.   The insights are powerful, however, and worth reaching for.   The work of many sophisticated thinkers is represented here: Richard Feynman, J. Archibald Wheeler, and Erwin Schrödinger (physics); Nevitt Sanford, Gordon Alport, Milton Rokeach, Lawrence Kohlberg, P. C. Wason, and J. P. Guilford, (psychology); Noam Chomsky, Martin Gardner, Paul Kurtz, George Orwell, and Chas. L. Dodgson (logic); Robert McChesney, I. F. Stone, James Fallows, and Daniel Schorr (journalism).  And many, many more.  These thinkers have been, and are, surrounded by controversy. 
PERSONAL OPINION

"We said eight dollars per hour, and I worked three hours, so I guess you owe me twenty-five bucks, right."
.

8 X 3 = 25
weak math or wishful thinking?

DUMBING DOWN suggests that much of the controversy arises for the same reasons that simple basic science and math is not understood—“Physics is simple but subtle,“ say the physicists—and it cannot be used by a large fraction of those who would benefit by its use. Understanding involves human thinking skills a bit beyond the mundane.   This thinking is the “fourth level of abstraction” of  Keith Devlin (NPR’s “The Math Guy”), Jean Piaget’s “formal operations,” and the student-thinking recently achieved by the Physics Education Group (Lillian McDermott, director) at the University of Washington.  It’s the very best humans can do.  Devlin, Piaget, McDermott, et. al. have shown us how Feynman, Wheeler, Schrödinger, and all those other workers of mental magic have been exploring beyond the edges of easy human comprehension.  They have wised up.

WISE-ING UP is the alternative to dumbing down.  It's not easy.  But it's exciting, stimulating, and worth the work.  It's effective for solving complex problems.  Narrow, anti-liberal oversimplification is driving society rapidly toward disasters.  Broad, progressive vision is necessary for seeing safer routes to the future.  

Let's try to better understand  “wise-up wisdoms” and  find ways to convince more people of their reality and importance.

The links in the Dumbing Down pages lead to many examples and suggestions.
 

?  TRY  ?
  • Demonstrate that people who easily see certain puzzle solutions tend to also have certain opinions on certain controversial issues. (Seeing the next level of abstraction reveals the underlying commonalties.)
  • Devise ways to demonstrate that The New York Review of Books and David Barsamian's Alternative Radio differ from their better known alternatives by being uniformly at the "fourth level," (exercising formal operations).
  • Friendly chiding?
  • Fun puzzle solving?
  • Creating effective jokes and cartoons?
  • Producing drama and other entertainment that influence in the other direction?  (West Wing and The Practice, e.g.)
  • Educating for today's high technology?
  • ??...Generate more suggestions
Keep clicking
on the HOW man

until he says
go "Back."

To what extent do the goals of our decision makers drive us all toward:

Freedom to invent and build tollgates on what was public domain?

Freedom to maneuver as many people as possible into subservience?

explorepdx.com/abstract03.html

AND LEARN TO SPEAK LIKE NEWT.