The Murder of Wisdom? By Thaddeus G. McCotter for American Greatness
Before social media, at least you couldn’t put a television on the table when out dining with friends.
My late father called it the “boob tube.” He did so not because of the rise, in the 1970s, of so-called “jiggle TV.” He only watched sports and the news.
As a teacher, he loathed the deleterious effects television viewing had upon the intellectual practices and acumen of the populace, especially students. He contended that sitting for hours every day and every night in front of the TV to be passivelyentertained prevented people from actively learning and experiencing life. Perhaps even more than a formal education, he argued, these active experiences provided the life lessons needed later in adulthood to help provide wisdom. In sum, he believed TV stunted not only the acquisition of knowledge but the accumulation of experiences and life lessons necessary for applying that knowledge wisely.
And he made his case long before the people he called “educated idiots” and social media murdered wisdom.
Today, while the self-anointed, insular, and irony-free credentialled elitists (a.k.a., “educated idiots”) bewail the “death of expertise,” they are really whining about the public’s increasing lack of deference to their presumed superiority and right to rule. But this decline of trust is not about the public’s disregard for facts and figures; it is about their beginning to notice the utter lack of wisdom exhibited by these progressive elitists and their “woke” institutions.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines wisdom as “the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments.” As such, wisdom is rarely, if ever, found among those whose personal, professional, and progressive myopia renders their knowledge and experience insular. True believers in the coercively imposed civil religion of relativism, these credentialled leftists find no moral or cultural touchstone from which wisdom may spring—only the civilizational quicksand of progressive ideology. In sum, such a progressive elitist becomes a cynic who, in Oscar Wilde’s famous formulation, is someone “who knows the value of everything and the worth of nothing.”