Some said the cause was high taxes. This sounds more reasonable; I recall my shock the year the government collected a trillion dollars. (Fortunately most of it was wasted. )
But there seems to have been an actual decline in rational thinking. The United States had become a place where entertainers and professional athletes were mistaken for people of importance. They were idolised and treated as leaders; their opinions were sought on everything and they took themselves just as seriously - after all, if an athlete is paid a million or more a year, he knows he is important. .. so his opinions on foreign affairs and domestic policies must be important, too, even though he proves himself to be both ignorant and subliterate every time he opens his mouth. (Most of his fans were just as ignorant and unlettered; the disease was spreading. )
Consider o-dvdmusic.ru these:
1) ‘Bread and Circuses';
2) The abolition of the pauper's oath in Franklin Roosevelt's first term;
3)'Peer group' promotion in public schools.
These three conditions heterodyne each other. The abolition of the pauper's oath as a condition for public charity ensured that habitual failures, incompetents of every sort, people who can't support themselves and people who won't, each of these would have the same voice in ruling the country, in assessing taxes and spending them, as (for example) Thomas Edison or Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Carnegie or Andrew Jackson. Peer group promotion ensured that the franchise would be exercised by ignorant incompetents. And ‘Bread and Circuses' is what invariably happens to a democracy that goes that route: unlimited spending on ‘social' programmes ends in national bankruptcy, which historically is always followed by dictatorship.
It seemed to me that these three things were the key mistakes that destroyed the best culture in all known histories up to that time. Oh, there were other things - strikes by public servants, for example. My father was still alive when this became a problem.
Father said grimly, ‘There is a ready solution for anyone on the public payroll who feels that he is not paid enough: he can resign and work for a living. This applies with equal force to Congressmen, Welfare "dients", schoolteachers, generals, garbage collectors, and judges. '
And of course the entire twentieth century from 1917 on was clouded by the malevolent silliness of Marxism.
But the Marxists would not and could not have had much influence if the American people had not started losing the hard common sense that had won them a continent. By de sixties everyone talked about his ‘rights' and no one spoke of his duties - and patriotism was a subject for jokes.
I do not believe that either Marx or that cracker revivalist who became the First Prophet could have damaged the country if the people had not become soft in the head.
‘But every man is entitled to his own opinion! '
Perhaps. Certainly every man had his own opinion on everything, no matter how silly.
On two subjects the overwhelming majority of people regarded their own opinions as Absolute Truth, and sincerely believed that anyone who disagreed with them was immoral, outrageous, sinful, sacrilegious, offensive, intolerable, stupid, illogical, treasonable, actionable, against the public interest, ridiculous, and obscene.
The two subjects were (of course) sex and religion.
On sex and religion each American citizen knew the One Right Answer, by direct Revelation from God.
In view of the wide diversity of opinion, most of them must necessarily have been mistaken. But on these two subjects they were not accessible to reason.
‘But you must respect another man's religious beliefs! ' For Heaven's sake, why? Stupid is stupid - faith doesn't make it smart.
I recall one candidates promise that I heard during the Presidential campaign of 1976, a campaign promise that seems to me to illustrate how far American rationality had skidded.
‘We shall drive ever forward along this line until all our citizens have above-average incomes! '
When I moved to Albuquerque I simplified my life in several ways. I simplified my holdings and split them among three conservative managements, in New York, in Toronto, and in Zurich. I wrote a new will, listing a few sentimental bequests, but leaving the major portion, over ninety-five per cent, to the Howard Foundation.
Why? The decision resulted from some long, long midnight thoughts. I had far more money than one old woman could spend - Lawsy me, I could not even spend the income from it. Leave it m my children? They were no longer children and not one of them needed it - and each had received not only Howard bonuses but also the start-up money that Brian and I had arranged for each of them.
Leave it to ‘worthy causes'? That is thin gruel, my friend. Most of such money is sopped up by administration, i. e. , eaten by parasites.
The original capital had come from the Ira Howard Foundation; I decided to send my accumulation back to the Foundation. It seemed fitting.
I bought a modern condo apartment near the campus, between Central Avenue and Lomas Boulevard, signed up for a course in pedagogy at the University, not with any serious intention of studying (it takes real effort to flunk a course in pedagogy) but to establish me on campus. There are all sorts of good social events on a campus - motion pictures, plays, open lectures, dances, clubs. Doctorates are as common on campus as fleas on a dog, but nevertheless a doctor's degree is a union card that gives entrée to many places.
I joined the nearest Unitarian church and supported it with liberal donations, in order to enjoy the many social benefits of church membership without being pestered by straitjacket creeds.