A Prophetic Vision of Our Present

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Title: Idiocracy

Rating: 4 Stars

Is it already 2505?

I watched this several years ago, got an itch, and just watched it again.

The basic premise is that as part of an army experiment, a man and a woman are put into a deep sleep for one year. Due to mix-ups, the one year turns into five hundred. When they come to, they are in the year 2505. In those five hundred years, humanity has descended into a state of idiocy and is on the verge of collapse.

Considering the madness that is 2016 (a scant 10 years after this was released), the parallels are astounding.

We have a reality star billionaire running for president spouting words about Mexican rapists and young, strong Syrian men coming to both sow terror and steal our jobs. We have another man running for president whose main claim to fame is pretty much singlehandedly shutting down the federal government and reading from a children’s book during a fake filibuster. We had a black presidential candidate compare health care to slavery.

Presidential candidates on both sides offer plans that have no chance of being passed into law and, not only that, if passed, have no chance to work. We have presidential candidates making completely unreasonable claims about economic growth and balanced budgets using techniques that have been proven repeatedly not to work.

We have presidential debates where men in power suits stand behind lecterns, yell at each other, and brag about their penis size.

Over 40 percent of Americans believe that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. Despite years of record temperatures, significant percentages of Americans either don’t believe in climate change, or think that it’s natural, or don’t believe that it is important to care about.

40 percent of college graduates will never read a book after graduating. 80 percent of American families either did not read or buy a book last year.

All in all it’s very depressing. Idiocracy, although crude, is devastating social commentary. It very well could be the future of our country.

OK, that concludes the rant. If you want a counter argument, here it is.  Read Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. It’s pretty dense, but a remarkable read. His thesis is that humanity is on a historically inexorable path of forward progress.

One of the more provocative discussions surround the Flynn effect. IQ tests, by design, must have 100 as the mean score. Over time, the tests have had to become more difficult due to the increasing average scores. In fact, it’s estimated that, if the average person who scored 100 in 1932 were to take the test today, he/she would actually now score an 80.

There’s lot of theories for this (including that it’s not true): nutrition, schooling, more engaging environment, testing familiarity.

So, although it does look grim, maybe, just maybe, this is just a really bad spell. Our future pretty much depends upon it.

Otherwise, I can look forward to getting a hand job from Starbucks..

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