For those just joining this series, I would suggest starting at part one here. We are going through this exercise because I firmly believe this book by Neil Postman is a watershed work in understanding from where originates the lack of thought that seems to characterize our culture today. For those wondering, Mr. Postman’s work consists of eleven chapters, and we are going at approximately one chapter per post, so we are a little over half way through. The series also includes two posts so far that do not have the above title format, and are not included in the part count, having originated in excellent comments left on previous installments that I deemed worthy of a more extended response than that usually relegated to a comments section. Enjoy!
Chapter Seven is entitled “Now…This” and it is here that the author turns to the impact of the transition from a word oriented culture to a visually oriented culture upon the news media (aka, the MSM, or mainstream media) and its product. This chapter is an indictment against the thought process, or lack thereof, created by television.
‘Now…this’ is commonly used on radio and television newscasts to indicate that what one has just heard or seen has no relevance to what one is about to hear or see, or possibly to anything one is ever likely to hear or see. The phrase is a means of acknowledging the fact that the world as mapped by the speeded-up electronic media has no order or meaning and is not to be taken seriously. There is no murder so brutal, no earthquake so devastating, no political blunder so costly – for that matter, no ball score so tantalizing or weather report so threatening – that it cannot be erased from our minds by a newscaster saying, ‘Now…this.’ The newscaster means that you have thought long enough on the previous matter (approximately forty-five seconds), that you must not be morbidly preoccupied with it (let us say, for ninety seconds), and that you must now give your attention to another fragment of news or a commercial. (page 99-100 [emphasis added)
In Part 1 of the Prologue to this series, we considered in some detail the relationship of faith to fact, and we found that Christianity and facts are integrated to an extent that they are inseparable. As Dr. Machen says in Christianity and Liberalism (emphasis added),
Christianity is an historical phenomenon, like the Roman Empire, or the Kingdom of Prussia, or the United States of America. And as an historical phenomenon it must be investigated on the basis of historical evidence. (page 20)
But if any one fact is clear, on the basis of this evidence, it is that the Christian movement at its inception was not just a way of life in the modern sense, but a way of life founded upon a message. It was based, not upon mere feeling, not upon a mere program of work, but upon an account of facts. (page 21)
From the beginning, the Christian gospel, as indeed the name ‘gospel’ or ‘good news’ implies, consisted in an account of something that had happened. And from the beginning, the meaning of the happening was set forth; and when the meaning of the happening was set forth then there was Christian doctrine. ‘Christ died’ – that is history; ‘Christ died for our sins’ – that is doctrine. Without these two elements, joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, there is no Christianity. (page 27)
From there we asserted four functions or roles for apologetics, 1. pre-evangelism (and sometimes evangelism), 2. the restraint of evil, 3. the support and encouragement of believers, and 4. the provision of commonplace benefits. Intimately associated with the first function is the question to which we now turn, that of the existence of common ground on which to hold meaningful discourse between the Christian and the nonChristian.
Neil Postman’s Chapter Six, “The Age of Show Business,” is a telling analysis of the effects of television on a cultural scale, made by someone who may be said to be somewhat objective in that he does not have a “religious,” and therefore to some, irrational, reason for opposing television. Postman starts with no holds barred:
Television does not extend or amplify literate culture. It attacks it. If television is a continuation of anything, it is of a tradition begun by the telegraph and photograph in the mid-nineteenth century, not by the printing press in the fifteenth. (page 84 [emphasis added])
Postman’s analysis of and objections to television run deeper than mere objections to content. He analyzes and attacks the world view underlying the entire phenomenon, tracing the consequences into our culture.
American television, in other words, is devoted entirely to supplying its audience with entertainment….But what I am claiming here is not that television is entertaining but that it has made entertainment itself the natural format for the representation of all experience….Entertainment is the supra-ideology of all discourse on television. No matter what is depicted or from what point of view, the overarching presumption is that it is there for our amusement and pleasure. (page 86-87 [emphasis added])
Thinking does not play well on television, a fact that television directors discovered long ago. There is not much to see in it. It is, in a phrase, not a performing art. But television demands a performing art…. (page 90 [emphasis added])
The above is why commentary and analysis in television shows are usually so shallow. Postman goes on to show us why this is so.
The single most important fact about television is that people watch it, which is why it is called ‘television.’ And what they watch, and like to watch, are moving pictures – millions of them, of short duration and dynamic variety. It is in the nature of the medium that it must suppress the content of ideas in order to accommodate the requirements of visual interest; that is to say, to accommodate the values of show business." (page 92 [emphasis added])
Television is our culture’s principal mode of knowing about itself. Therefore – and this is the critical point – how television stages the world becomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. It is not merely that on the television screen entertainment is the metaphor for all discourse. It is that off the screen the same metaphor prevails. As typography once dictated the style of conducting politics, religion, business, education, law and other important social matters, television now takes command. In courtrooms, classrooms, operating rooms, board rooms, churches and even airplanes, Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas; they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials. For the message of television as metaphor is not only that all the world is a stage but that the stage is located in Las Vegas, Nevada." (page 92-93 [emphasis added])
One of the fundamental propositions under which this blog operates is the authority and inspiration of the Bible as understood by the historic orthodox Christian faith. This understanding is grounded in the Reformation with its principle of sola Scriptura and subsequent developments in the various areas of human endeavor have not required a rejection of that conclusion, although the battle has been waged quite heavily, and unfortunately, quite successfully in the hearts and minds of some.
It is a further operational principle here that the Christian faith is eminently reasonable and rational, affirming the primacy of the mind without denying the importance of the heart. In keeping with the principle of sola Scriptura, it is also affirmed that this conviction has its basis in the Scriptures themselves. So, in response to some favorable comments in an earlier post, I am initiating a series on basic Christian apologetics with this prologue. (You asked for it!)
Before diving into the data, however, we need to lay a foundation: just what is the relationship of faith to facts? What function does apologetics serve? Isn’t it a lost cause because there is no common ground from which both the believer and the unbeliever can start? And doesn’t the Bible just assume the existence of God without offering any evidence or argumentation? Or, in other words, is there a Biblical mandate for apologetics (since I’ve already said that we operate under the principle of sola Scriptura, where are the Scriptures backing up the primary proposition here?)?
The answers to these questions will lay the foundation for an examination in some detail of evidences in several areas, moving from weaker to stronger, so that, in the end, we will be able to say that here is evidence that the foundations on which this blog are established are not sinking sand but solid rock.
There are two books that will form the basis for the content of this series, and I recommend them highly to anyone who wants more information, or a still more detailed discussion of the topics into which we will be immersing ourselves in this series. I do not want to reproduce what has already been so aptly done, and I want to give credit where credit is due. Both of these books I’ve mentioned here before.
The first is Classical Apologetics – A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics, by R. C. Sproul, John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley, Zondervan Publishing House, 1984 (ISBN: 0310-44951-0). For those of you with a more philosophical bent (some might say, warp), this is the book for you. It will inform this prologue primarily.
The second book is the revised and updated classic by Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Thomas Nelson, 1999 (ISBN: 0-785-24219-8). This is a unique book in that it is written as a resource for papers and in an outline form rather than prose. But the content is very extensive. Your worldview must account for this data. If you ignore it, it is not Christianity that is being irrational. Note that Josh McDowell started out to disprove Christianity by determining he would show the resurrection to be a fraud. By the way, this is the correct approach (1 Corinthians 15:13-19). The weight of the evidence for the resurrection as a fact of history led him in the opposite direction.
One last resource is a concise essay by R. C. Sproul that I previously posted entitled An Apology for Apologetics. I will be expanding somewhat on his effort in this post, but he covers many of the same points there.
The Elements of Faith
In describing and defining saving faith, Reformation scholars dissected out three elements. These elements help delineate the relationship of faith to facts. The first is notitia, the data or content of the Christian faith. One does not, and indeed, cannot, worship a God with his heart if he has no prior mental awareness of Him. Or, in other words, saving faith is not some mushy emotion of feel-good warmth and trust. This first and primary aspect of faith is cognitive. We believe in something, and thus there is factual content to our faith, whether or not there is a basis for those data, and whether or not you personally recognize it as such. The second element of saving faith is assensus, the assent of the intellect to the truth of the data of one’s faith. The heart cannot truly and fully embrace what the mind repudiates no matter how one tries to rationalize it. In addition, a vital point that Sproul, Gertsner, and Lindsley make with some eloquence:
It is possible to have a lucid understanding of the data (notitia) and even give intellectual assent (assensus) to its truth without having saving faith. James verifies this in his caustic statement, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder” (James 2:19). To achieve notitia and assensus gives us no more qualifications than devils. Yet these two elements are integral ingredients of the full measure of redemptive faith and are not dispensable. In and of themselves they are insufficient, but redemptive faith does not flow without them. (page 21)
It is the third element that cements the redemptive value of faith, and it is this element that can only be applied by the operation of God’s Holy Spirit, that of fiducia, a personal trust in Christ and His saving work alone for redemption, i.e., the achieving of a right standing before an holy and righteous God. Although the mind is engaged in fiducia, it goes beyond the intellect to encompass the heart, the will, the affections – in short, the whole man. Thus, the first and greatest commandment is “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)
For a biblical example of these three elements in the drama of human experience, read the story in John chapter nine of the man blind from birth healed by Jesus. The Pharisees have trouble determining and accepting the notitia and never get beyond a reluctant assensus (John 9:18). The man who was healed goes through all three stages, ending with the fiducia statement of “Lord, I believe” and worship (John 9:38).
So, faith and fact are intimately associated. If you place your faith in a falsehood, your faith is at best worthless, and more likely eternally suicidal.
The Value (Role) of Apologetics
In the Sproul article cited above, he gives us four “vital tasks” of apologetics. The first is in preevangelism, in assisting the mind as it acquires notitia and comes to a conclusion of assensus. I would also argue that God the Spirit sometimes uses the weight of the apologetic evidence to bring some of His elect to fiducia as well, to a true saving knowledge of Christ, as was noted above for Mr. McDowell. Granted, one must be careful in using this approach, for unregenerate sinners love to get you entangled in their smoke screens of argumentation just to prevent a serious consideration of the claims of Christ upon their own lives. Nor am I saying that we can argue people into the kingdom of heaven. What I am saying is many are the tools of evangelism, including simple gospel presentations, preaching, and the giving of one’s personal testimony, and God can use any or all, as He sees fit, to accomplish His purposes and to call His elect. However, if no reason is given for why one should believe, we leave the sinner with “an out” that allows him to say that since you didn’t answer his question(s) (granted, many of which will be absurd in the extreme), he won’t listen to you, period. Thus, as a responsible workman, we need to know how to use as many tools as possible. More on this when we look at the biblical mandate for apologetics.
The second task of apologetics is the restraint of evil. Sproul notes Calvin’s argument that one value of apologetics was to “stop the mouths of the obstreperous.” The idea is that apologetics, though not able to convert the infidel, can restrain the unbeliever from unbridled assault against the faith. The laws of the land being based on Old Testament law, we should all agree that we are better off individually and collectively when murder, theft, and lying are considered wrong, evil, and otherwise deserving of punishment. Yes, I know there are some who want to make victims out of the perpetrators, but that makes my point. The very existence of civilization suffers when the biblical ideals are rejected and we embrace the evil: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21)
The support and encouragement of believers is the third task of apologetics. I don’t mean to be offensive, but we Christians are repeatedly called “sheep” in the Scriptures (e.g., Psalm 100:3), and sheep are not always the brightest bulbs in the pack. As such, particularly newborn Christians can be easily intimidated by the pseudo-intellectual attacks upon their faith. Moreover, we are told that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), and the enemy of our soul loves to raise one doubt after another; it was his primary attack upon Eve all the way back in the garden (Genesis 3). Even John the Baptist, when he was in prison, finally sent messengers to Jesus asking whether or not He was the Messiah, a question fraught with doubt (Luke 7:19-23). And can you blame him? He’s now locked away in prison for preaching righteousness and prisoners in those days had to compete with the rats in their cells for their food. They didn’t have the ACLU (or whatever bleeding hearts are responsible; and no, I’m not saying prisoners should be treated like animals, though some certainly deserve it, but neither should they be treated like honored guests) to get them the amenities we provide in prisons today. Instructive is how Jesus answers John. He does not exhort him to greater faith, or deliver any feel-good psychological ploys, nor does He berate him for his doubt. Instead, “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” What Jesus has done is provided John, through his disciples, with objective empirical evidence grounded in prophecy, and told him to reason logically from effect to cause. In the same way, Christians may be encouraged that their faith is not an illogical blind leap of faith that will end in eternal catastrophe.
Lastly, Sproul suggests a fourth task that is very close to the second, that of providing commonplace benefits. By this he means the beneficial influence of Christianity on the cultural climate of a civilization by informing the institutions that shape that culture. As Sproul et al. note, “Man’s general welfare is enhanced by a cultural consensus in which Christianity and its values are deemed credible.” And please, don’t regurgitate the tripe about Christianity is the cause of all wars and all kinds of evil in the world. Don’t reveal your own ignorance of history and shallowness of analysis so profoundly.
In Part 2 of this Prologue (I promise there will only be two parts, and then we get to go have fun with data), we will venture into the questions of the existence of common ground for the believer and unbeliever, and finally the biblical mandate for apologetics. Forging ever onward….
For those just joining us in our expedition through this watershed work, I would strongly encourage you to start with part one here to get the full content and context. In addition to the posts by this name, there have appeared in this sequence to date two additional posts in response to comments that expand the discussion into the present.
Postman’s Chapter Five is entitled “The Peek-a-Boo World” and here he starts his analysis of the mechanism by which we have moved from one form of discourse to the next. He traces it to two ideas converging. The first idea:
Toward the middle years of the nineteenth century, two ideas came together whose convergence provided twentieth-century America with a new metaphor of public discourse. Their partnership overwhelmed the Age of Exposition, and laid the foundation for the Age of Show Business. One of the ideas was quite new, the other as old as the cave paintings of Altamira. We shall come to the old idea presently. The new idea was that transportation and communication could be disengaged from each other, that space was not an inevitable constraint on the movement of information. (page 64 [emphasis added])
The methodology of actualizing this idea:
The telegraph made a three-prong attack on typography’s definition of discourse, introducing on a large scale irrelevance, impotence, and incoherence. These demons of discourse were aroused by the fact that telegraphy gave a form of legitimacy to the idea of context-free information; that is, to the idea that the value of information need not be tied to any function it might serve in social and political decision-making and action, but may attach merely to its novelty, interest, and curiosity. The telegraph made information into a commodity, a ‘thing’ that could be bought and sold irrespective of its uses or meaning. (page 64)
As Thoreau implied, telegraphy made relevance irrelevant. The abundant flow of information had very little or nothing to do with those to whom it was addressed; that is, with any social or intellectual context in which their lives were embedded. (page 67)
We may say then that the contribution of the telegraph to public discourse was to dignify irrelevance and amplify impotence. But this was not all: Telegraphy also made public discourse essentially incoherent. It brought into being a world of broken time and broken attention, to use Lewis Mumford’s phrase. The principal strength of the telegraph was its capacity to move information, not collect it, explain it or analyze it. In this respect, telegraphy was the exact opposite of typography. (page 69)
The second idea:
And yet, for all the power of the telegraph, had it stood alone as a new metaphor for discourse, it is likely that print culture would have withstood its assault; would, at least, have held its ground. As it happened, at almost exactly the same time Morse was reconceiving the meaning of information, Louis Daguerre was reconceiving the meaning of nature; one might even say, of reality itself….the photograph would invest everyone with the power to duplicate nature as often and wherever one liked….the photograph was to visual experience what the printing press was to the written word. (page 71)
Language, of course, is the medium we use to challenge, dispute, and cross-examine what comes into view, what is on the surface. The words ‘true’ and ‘false’ come from the universe of language, and no other. When applied to a photograph, the question, Is it true? means only, Is this a reproduction of a real slice of space-time? If the answer is ‘Yes,’ there are no grounds for argument, for it makes no sense to disagree with an unfaked photograph. The photograph itself makes no arguable propositions, makes no extended and unambiguous commentary. It offers no assertions to refute, so it is not refutable. (page 73)
The new imagery, with photography at its forefront, did not merely function as a supplement to language, but bid to replace it as our dominant means for construing, understanding, and testing reality. (page 74)
The “origin” of the title of this chapter:
Together, this ensemble of electronic techniques called into being a new world – a peek-a-boo world, where now this event, now that, pops into view for a moment, then vanishes again. It is a world without much coherence or sense; a world that does not ask us, indeed, does not permit us to do anything; a world that is, like the child’s game of peek-a-boo, entirely self-contained. But like peek-a-boo, it is also endlessly entertaining.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with playing peek-a-boo. And there is nothing wrong with entertainment. As some psychiatrist once put it, we all build castles in the air. The problems come when we try to live in them. The communications media of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with telegraphy and photography at their center, called the peek-a-boo world into existence, but we did not come to live there until television. Television gave the epistemological biases of the telegraph and the photograph their most potent expression, raising the interplay of image and instancy to an exquisite and dangerous perfection. And it brought them into the home….To put it plainly, television is the command center of the new epistemology. There is no audience so young that it is barred from television. There is no poverty so abject that it must forgo television. There is no education so exalted that it is not modified by television. And most important of all, there is no subject of public interest – politics, news, education, religion, science, sports – that does not find its way to television. Which means that all public understanding of these subjects is shaped by the biases of the television. (page 77-78 [emphasis added])
The conclusion and summary of the chapter whose truth should send shudders through a biblical Christian:
There is no more disturbing consequence of the electronic and graphic revolution than this: that the world as given to us through television seems natural, not bizarre. For the loss of the sense of the strange is a sign of adjustment, and the extent to which we have adjusted is a measure of the extent to which we have been changed. Our culture’s adjustment to the epistemology of television is by now all but complete; we have so thoroughly accepted its definitions of truth, knowledge, and reality that irrelevance seems to us to be filled with import, and incoherence seems eminently sane. And if some of our institutions seem not to fit the template of the times, why it is they, and not the template, that seem to us disordered and strange. (page 79-80 [emphasis added])
Originally posted June, 2007, this analysis still produces clarity at a high level. It is a longer read than some posts, but well worth the effort to do so, especially given the feckless response of the current administration to ISIS and its subsidiaries. We are seeing even now the accuracy of the thoughts outlined below in our current events. Note that what Ms. Phillips calls Islamist is what I call Islamofascist. Six of one and half a dozen of another.
I don’t know if I should be disappointed or relieved. Having somewhat addressed the internal conflict we face in this country relative to our leftist Marxist comrades in previous posts, (e.g., here and here) including the finale of my Amusing Ourselves to Death series, [sorry, not reposted yet] I’ve been collecting information specific to the external (and sometimes internal) conflict we currently face with the Islamofascists to present a more detailed analysis thereof. And then I find that, not one but two people have written up concisely what I’ve found and essentially what I wanted to say!
The first writer, Melanie Phillips, hails from Britain, a country considerably further along in its capitulation to Islamofascism, and she is the author of Londonistan, so there is probably a reason for her to having beat me to the punch. Her posted essay so clearly states what should be obvious that it is worthy of a full verbatim reposting here, which can be found below with [my humble comments] to place emphases and [my own thoughts] alongside Ms. Phillips. Hopefully this synthesis will prove enlightening to whatever readers stop by. The original can be found here. (Again, remember that the author is British; thus some of the spellings below are the English version of the words, not the American.) There are no emphases (bold) in the text of original; all such emphases are added by yours truly.
Liberalism versus Islamism
Posted By Melanie Phillips On May 18, 2007
Presentation at Neo conference, Stockholm, Sweden, 11 May 2007
First of all, let me define my terms and say what I mean by Islamism and liberalism. Islamism is the politicised version of Islam which mandates jihad, or holy war against the infidel and conquest of the non-Islamic world for Islam. I’m well aware of the argument that there’s no difference between Islamism and Islam: that’s a theological argument for others to have.
[My second author will have more to say regarding this argument, and as a Persian himself, probably has a better perspective. See upcoming post.]
By liberalism I mean the commitment to a free society, founded above all on the separation of secular government from religious worship — from which follow the concepts of equal respect for all people, freedom of conscience, tolerance and the rule of law.
[I think this must be what Dennis Prager means when he says he is a liberal. In the odd twisting of our language, this actually now describes a more conservative position that what we usually consider the liberalism currently in vogue, which is permeated by leftist Marxism.]
Another interlude in the Amusing Ourselves to Death series, originally posted October 2006.
Gregmc [a blogger at Townhall at the time] commented on the last Amusing Ourselves to Death installment with two excellent questions, the answers to which I thought warrant a full post. I was already thinking of providing some attempt at answering such questions at the end of this series, but it may be more useful to introduce this discussion here so that as the remaining evidence unfolds, we can consider it in this light. So, with thanks to gregmc for the input, here goes.
The first question, preceded by a summary of what he understood me to be saying:
…what I gather from this article is that there are those of us who, due to the fact that we don’t spend the majority of our time brain dead watching the boob tube, we instead deliberately and happily concentrate our attention to the pursuit of knowledge through the written word. Therefore, I feel that sometimes a majority of what I attempt to explain to someone is simply lost on them regardless of how much I try to simplify it. Is this what is inferred here and if so what are the possible cures?
Yes, what Postman has concluded from his observations is that those who study and pursue knowledge in a typographic environment tend to develop and maintain skills in logic and reasoning that those in a visual world will not, rendering the latter class of individuals less capable cognitively (at least I believe the data suggests this rather strongly). Consequently, what we try to share with them about reality based on data and logic, may, indeed, go over their heads. As we will see in later chapters, Mr. Postman has assembled an impressive body of data in several relevant fields to prove his thesis.
But the analogy of muscle is very useful here. The muscle is always there. It’s not that the visually oriented can’t think objectively and logically. It’s a skill that must be learned, just as muscle must be fed and exercised to be able to fully and efficiently do its job.
And this muscular analogy also provides insight into the possible cures. To strengthen muscle, it must be both fed and exercised. In terms of the question on hand, this translates into proper education (feeding) that includes “opportunities” to use the knowledge that is imparted in a way that goes beyond simple regurgitation of rote facts (exercise). Alas, our public education system, in most instances, can’t even get rote facts right. As noted here [alas and forsooth, I’ve lost this link, but the documentation of the assertion is not hard to find], most of 14,000 randomly selected freshmen and seniors at 50 four-year colleges and universities nationwide flunked a 60 multiple-choice question test of their knowledge of US history, government, foreign affairs, and economics. Most of this information should have been imparted in high school, so the fault cannot strictly be placed on the colleges and universities (although they apparently do nothing to solve the problem as evidenced by virtually no difference in scores between freshmen and seniors). But I think the words of Winston Churchill apply here:
Never give in. Never, never, never, never! Never yield in any way, great or small, large or petty, except to convictions of honor and good sense.
One cure would be to make the public schools focus more on reading, writing, and arithmetic rather than values clarification and pretending you’re a Muslim to promote “understanding.” Private schools that major in the 3 R’s should be sought out and supported. For those who can, homeschooling is another excellent option, and is actually a rather large movement in this country owing to the stark failure of the public education system.
Nor is it ever too late to change. Education and mental exercise can start anytime in life. Here Paul’s advice to Timothy is applicable:
But the servant of the Lord must not strive, but to be gentle to all, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose, if perhaps God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…. (2 Timothy 2:24-25)
The second question:
It has taken generations for the socialist agenda to dumb down our populace and I imagine it will take generations to fix it. How do we hang on long enough to reverse the damage done?
What we are engaged in here at TownHall.com [OK, so this would be past tense now for the Townhall blog platform] and other such websites is one way to hang on. I think the evolution of the “new media” and blogosphere is itself a good indication that there is a significant “remnant” of people who can still think, and who exercise their mind by reading and writing. The mental acumen of many of our fellow TownHallers appears to be way above average (if I do say so myself; of course, my sample size is somewhat small, especially compare to the entire blogosphere, but….).
The other thing we need to do is get involved in the education of our children, and that includes not just our own family. I’m using “our” in the big, generic sense of “our American children.” If you have children of your own, start there. And then teach your children to teach their peers.
Any other ideas are welcomed in the comments section.
I will close with this quote from Rene’ Descartes as a suggested goal for our efforts, or perhaps a motto:
It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.