Some will recognize the title of this post as the title of a book by Arthur C. Clarke written in 1948 in a serialized versionâ€”IIRCâ€”and issued in one volume in 1953. And those who recognize both the title and the book will immediately recognize the meme and fill in the gaps of this post rather readily, even though this post will address only one of many issues that would fit with that meme.
Those who have never read the story, will simply not “get” this post quite so fully (which, now that I’ve mentioned it, makes that lack of a shared meme a meta-comment in itself… )
That’s just one of many values of shared memes: the ability to invoke a broad concept and trust that the reader or hearer will have a fuller understanding of what’s going on than the plain text of the article or story in which the meme is embedded says.
There is more to the invocation of a shared meme, but that will suffice for this post.
Now, here’s the nut of the post.
Angel, of Woman Honor Thyself, has an evocative post up, Democracy, or something like it (read the post here) that deals with what I might call the problem of an Islamic democratic republic. Interesting post, indeed.
But it spurred some thoughts in me, naturally. 🙂
Pakistan is indeed a mess. *sigh*
But Angel’s observation that “50 percent [of Pakistanis] are illiterate” struck a nerve. There’s “illiterate” and then theres… “illiterate,” American style, where half of the graduates of four-year colleges in the U.S. (according to a recent survey, another article here) _can_ sound or puzzle out words, but are clueless when it comes to comprehending the content of a newspaper editorial or… a soup can label.
(Which is worse? Someone who can’t drive and doesn’t or someone who can’t drive and tries to? Or more closely, which is worse: People who can’t read the directions on a prescription bottle or people who _think_ they can read, but can’t comprehend the instructions?)
BTW, two-year college grds (usually an “A.B.” degree) came in at less than 30% being able to comprehend normal written English.
(Oh, and in understanding “complex” literacy tasksâ€”like charts that show the relationship between exercise and blood pressureâ€”four year college grads in the survey cited above scored about a 30% literacy rate!)
Now, even if these folks can puzzle out the words in an article or book, if they can’t demonstrate comprehension of the content, how much better off are theyâ€”and our societyâ€”thinking they can read… when they plainly cannot really read?
And then there’s the vast abyss between functional literacy and true literacy.
“There is a tide…” was once a meme which would evoke a profound metaphor, but now? And there are many such that have been repaced by shallow metaphors, weak analogies, cultural illiteracy. “Western Civilization” isâ€”for many reasons, most of them without any redeeming value whatsoeverâ€”withering. It seems to me that the meme referred to above is a profound metaphor for the crossroads we face: the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization… or its renaissance:
“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
â€“(Shakespeare, Julius Caesar)
“There is a tide…” and we can either catch the tide and make use of its energy or we can be swept under by it.
Of course, I firmly believe the miserable existence Pakistan seems destined for is a product of its Islamic-dominated culture: there is little of value in Islam, and none, IMO, that cannot be found in richer abundance in the heritage of Western Civilization.
But the societal juijitsu designed in the psyops efforts of communism to defeat “the west” has borne fruit in the more and more common acceptance of the “all cutures are of equal worth” meme used by communitst (seriously: revealed as a specific tactic in recently revealed Stalinist papers) organs to hamper our society. Others may well be just as recognizable, and they ALL depend on exploitation of a culurally illiterate society. From Armed and Dangerous, excerpted from the post, “Gramscian Damage“, this list:
- There is no truth, only competing agendas.
- All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the Westâ€™s history of racism and colonialism.
- There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.
- The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.
- Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
- The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)
- For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But â€˜oppressedâ€™ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
- When confronted with terror[ism] , the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terroristâ€™s point of view, and make concessions.
And we can see that the strategy of spreading these memes has worked to the detriment of our countryâ€”and indeed, of Western Civilizationâ€”on an increasingly subliterate and even illiterate society. A genuinely literate population would be more resitant to these nonsensical memes. And the fake “liberalism” that has no connection whatsoever to classic liberal thought but has gained so much sway in politics, the media and academia nowadays? All dependant on these lying memes, and each vulnerable to a literate public.
(An obvious corollary of “a genuinely literate population would be resistant to these nonsensical memes” suggests, in the presence of many Academia Nuts who embrace these lying communist memes, that a large number of Academia Nuts, Mass Media Podpeople, Hollyweirdites and Democraps are, at the very least, culturally illiterate… or traitors… or just plain old everyday stupid.) Hmmm…. can I take door numbers one, two and three, please?
Breakin’ Bacon @ TMH’s Bacon Bits.
[Yes, I have edited for some content and a few of the awkward sentences. Those that remain are just too much trouble to fix, so there. 🙂 ]