Stupid was once found only in what used to be called "pockets of ignorance." It was a a dark area that was seen as an aberration, a wart on the rising star that was America. Decent people occasionally went to these pockets and did charity work such as teaching the uneducated how to read, how to learn basic skills that would hopefully move them from ignorance to the next level which was preparing them to learn, to become educated, to become a contributing member of society. No one really thought of it as a permanent condition or as an affliction that couldn't be healed. People for the most part, believed it was something that a free and equal education could universally heal. It was also seen as character building for those who went and tried to help the less fortunate.
And for a long time it worked well. America was the land of promise where the promise was if you worked hard, educated yourself, and were a decent human being, than you would be rewarded for it. The reward was always tied in to self-determination, that the value of your worth would increase with how hard you were willing to work, how focused you were willing to remain to acheive your goals, how well you used your intelligence.
It was also a time when intelligence was actually valued, when an education was something important, when civil discourse meant those with opposing points of view could sit down at the same table and learn something from each other.
But somewhere along the way, the greedy power pigs realized that people who were free to think for themselves were also free to question the free ride the wealthy were hitching on the backs of the working class. The concept of a free education was too much of a threat to their entrenched way of life so universities grew more expensive. Only the wealthy could afford the "good" schools and eventually even they moved from a classic education that encouraged free thought and discourse, to one where business models began to substitute for philosophical models.
This allowed the children of the wealthy to obtain a prestigious piece of paper without having to study very hard to obtain it. It allowed over-indulged idiot children like George Bush to make the necessary business connections without ever having to read a book, because the rich and powerful needed their useful tools to continue stealing and manipulating the wealth of the country for their own purposes, and the Dubyas of the world were plentiful among the children of the rich.
But in order to carry out their business as usual, they had to make sure only the idiots were educated. In order to do that, education had to first become too expensive for the average person. It was the first method of legal segregation that still exists today, and with the cutting of funds for grants and scholarships, the divide between the educated and the uneducated grew larger.
However, there were still those who managed to infiltrate their schools and obtain one of those pieces of paper through hard work and determination. But because they were there for an education and were denied the business connections, many of these students actually studied and learned something. As a result they went on to become thorns in the side of the rich.
A classic education teaches you to think outside of yourself. It shows you history as something that must be learned or it will be repeated with the same bad results. It gives you a depth of knowledge that is not threatened by someone who is different, who thinks differently, who comes from a different culture.
When you open up the world for someone, you open up their hearts and minds, and that's where the problem was for the power elite. Instead of business puppets, such purely educated people became activists for the poor, the unfortunate, the victimized. And to the horror of the wealthy, they also began to show others how to get educated, how to earn a scholarship, how to apply for grants, how to set up their own businesses with their own connections.
That's when the second part of the plan went into effect. The educated person began to be mocked, was demonized as an elitist, was portrayed as out of touch with the "ordinary man." Often those who did the mocking did so from their multi-million dollar offices as they drank and ate the best and most expensive of food and drink. They ordered their paid stooges to promote the idea of stupidity as something democratic while intelligence was mocked as elitist and foreign.
This did not happen overnight. It took creating a base who would buy the myth. In order to succeed at the dumbing down of America, the wealthy and the powerful had to do something besides make education expensive and intelligence something to be mocked. They had to make sure people didn't have time to question what they were told.
People began to work more for less money. Where a job once guaranteed a comfortable life for the wage earner and his or her family, now it meant barely surviving and coming home too exhausted for anything but collapsing in front to the television, where they were fed the myth of educated elitism straight from the mouths of tools of the wealthy elitists.
It took a few years but eventually there was a large working class of people who were either poorly educated or who only attended a year or two of college, if they attended at all. Guidance Counselors in High School were there to steer the less "intelligent" to trade schools where they would learn a skill without having to think too much. The dumbing down of America began to succeed quite well.
But no subjegation of a people is complete without the very useful tool of religion. But this wasn't the religion of a few decades ago where people went to church and listened to sermons drawn from the respective holy books. This was religion that was a political arm of the wealthy elite. It was religion that played upon fears, insecurities, bigotry, and anger over having to live like an underpaid mule in order to survive. It was a religion that created deep divisions among people in order to use them some more, because there is no one more easily controlled than someone who hates. All the wealthy had to do was wave the hate carrot under the noses of the church going religidiots and they did their complete and utter bidding, no matter how immoral or unethical it was. Hate has no conscience and that's what made it such a useful thing for the power elite.
Now that the rich and powerful had a nice pool of dumbed down, exhausted, and spiritually terrified sheep, they created the appropriate anti-heroes to enslave them even further. Sarah Palin is the biggest chain around the neck of the dumbed down mules that ever existed. Everyone who wasn't smart enough for college or too lazy to educate themselves until they were, had their role model. She was the typical bad student, the quitter who was too lazy to focus on anything for too long, whether it was staying at one school long enough to actually get an education or finishing up her term as Governor of Alaska.
And she was the perfect tool of the rich because they recognized her greed and lack of ethics and morality as blood kin to their own empty souls. They knew all she cared about was the money and as long as she got rich she would spread as much hate and division as they wanted. Every time she said or did something completely stupid and idiotic, some paid talking head on TV or radio would portray it as a positive, as something that linked her to the "average" citizen.
And the dumb, fearful masses ate it up. No longer did they feel inadequate over their lack of education. It was now a positive to be stupid. No longer did they feel threatened by anyone who looked or believed differently. Bigotry and hate was back in style. And no longer did they realize how completely they were being used by the rich and powerful.
In a few decades Historians will look back on this time and shake their heads at people who took to the streets to demand insurance companies be allowed to abuse them and cheat them, who rose up as one voice to demand their air and water become filthy and unhealthy from lack of regulations, that their food risk poisoning them because corporations didn't believe they were worth spending money on for safety regulations to make sure it didn't.
They will look back in disgust at how easily they let the power elite gut Social Security and let the old and infirm die in the streets, how quickly America became a country filled with orphans begging on street corners, debtors prisons filled to capacity, and arms merchants who periodically lobbied for a new war to clear the streets of "rabble."
They will feel the nausea creeping into them as they study a culture that cared nothing for the less fortunate and worshipped the very masters who ended up destroying them. They will feel the same disgust any civilized person feels when they read about the Inquisition, about Hitler's death camps, about the collapse of the Roman Empire. They will feel this about the country that was once America and now was just another dead empire killed from the rot within.
And every time the Sarah Palins of the world, the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, the Karl Roves open their mouths, they kick another clump of dirt over the greatness of a country that will continue to decline until it becomes just another example of what happens when the uneducated savages steal the keys and drive everyone into the ditch of ignorance and stupidty.