One of the most tragic consequences of the deterioration in education is the progressive abandonment of those disciplines specifically aimed at training people to think; like for example logic, philosophy and theology.
What we nowadays have instead is an excessive reliance on technical knowledge, without considering that this in itself is no guarantee of sound thinking. Therefore, whilst in the past we used to have a sufficient number of people thinking right enough as to influence the public discourse, today we have a tragic absence of people promoting sound thinking , whilst we drawn in (useful, but ultimately sterile) technical knowledge.
This is why we live among people who would know how to build a bridge or write a software programme, but never stop to think of the many absurdities of modern life, let alone act upon this knowledge.
Look at the UK. A country which allows the slaughter of (if memory serves) 180,000 unborn babies a year is so worried about whether the hounds will kill the fox in a “humane” manner (!) that it delivers itself a decade-long battle on the issue, concluded with the great advancement of civilisation that the fox may be killed with a gun instead (very natural, you see…). Of course the subtext is political here – the envy for the well-off finding an outlet valve in the supposed “care” for the foxes, of which many times as many die horribly and unnaturally on motorways and other roads without anyone thinking of banning the roads; the same mentality, by the by, is at work with the “global warming” – but this is further confirmation of the emotion-driven, logic-free way politics is made in this country.
It goes on in the same fashion in so many other aspects of real life: think of the frontal attack to our most elementary liberties from self-appointed nannies for which our health must be imposed on us against our will (again, whilst children get murdered); or the now defunct, but until very recently fiercely raging global warming hysteria. I could go on, but you get my drift: never has this country had so many people who think of themselves as well-educated but are unable to think logically, and live in a world of media-driven emotional craze instead. Their ancestors ( factory workers perhaps; or miners, or domestic servants) were in the end smarter than they are, because they lived in an environment shaped by logical thinking rather than brainless emotionalism, and the very thought of world where you can kill children but hounds cannot kill the fox would have been dismissed as a very, very bad joke. The decline of religious instruction – both Catholic and Anglican; the Methodists & Co, are apparently already extinct, and if they aren’t they don’t want you to know…) has obviously gone hand in hand with this, dumbing down religious knowledge at the same time as sound thinking was going down the drain…
Not so today: more and more babies get killed so that those who are born may be made more and more dependant from an omnipresent state teaching them that the government is needed even to breath, that is the source of morality (this is very important; religion is a hobby one can practice in private, but should never be allowed to challenge The Supreme Good, State Morality) and that it wants them to live in a un-thinking, obediently voting, semi-vegetative and, no doubt, very healthy alcohol- and smoke-free state (they’ll be able to contracept and abort at their heart’s content, though… these kiddies are so expensive…).
A country where education was progressively eroded is now experiencing a deterioration of political, moral and social thinking at all levels; because again, even if once higher education was open to only a few the mainstays of the thinking of these educated people would percolate down to all social classes, making the principles of sound thinking and acting work for everyone. Nowadays, you’d think million consider Jeremy Paxman a moral instance, are utterly unable of logical thinking, and do not know the Ten Commandments.