Dumbing down

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Concept.png Dumbing down 
(social control,  Social change)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Dumbing down.jpg
Interest ofJohn Taylor Gatto

Dumbing down is the purported phenomenon whereby people are adapting to modern society by being progressively less capable.


Full article: Rated 4/5 School
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Mass compulsion schooling, which Ivan Illich named the "reproductive organ of the consumer society", is the most obvious means of dumbing down. Its effectiveness is chronicled in John Taylor Gatto's Underground History of American Education.

Environmental toxins

Across the developed world, especially in the US, pollution by chemicals with poorly understood health effects (even in isolation, to say nothing of their synergistic effects) is suspected to be damaging the human mental capacity. A test of 168 US baby foods found that 95% contained known toxins, including lead and cadmium.[1]


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Full article: Water/Fluoridation

Many governments have deliberately added fluoride to drinking water on grounds that it reduces tooth decay. It is known to lower IQ. In 2016 The Lancet classified fluoride as a neurotoxin.

Modern examples

The Telegraph reported in 2018 that UK Schools are removing analogue clocks from exam halls as teenagers find that telling the time with a traditional clock is a cause of unnecessary stress.[2]

Suspending April Fools Day

Swedish and Norwegian newspapers announced that they would refrain from the tradition of publishing April Fools' Day jokes in 2017 out of fear that it might spread "fake news".[3]

"Smart" technology

Adaption to the environment suggests that as machines display "artificial intelligence", their human users may develop "artificial stupidity".

Illusory nature?

Elder generations have a long tradition of decrying social changes. An alternative perspective states that although younger people now are less capable of doing what their ancestors did at their age, the converse is also true.



Page nameDescription
Learned helplessness


Related Quotations

George Carlin“Governments don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that... that doesn't help them. That’s against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they are getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin' years ago. They don't want that. You know what they want?... They want obedient workers, obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.”George Carlin
Pesticide“Acute pesticide poisoning occurs frequently in children worldwide, and subclinical pesticide toxicity is also widespread. Clinical data suggest that acute pesticide poisoning during childhood might lead to lasting neurobehavioural deficits. Highly toxic and bioaccumulative pesticides are now banned in high-income nations, but are still used in many low-income and middle-income countries... birth cohort studies provide new evidence that prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides can cause developmental neurotoxicity.”Philippe Grandjean
Philip Landrigan
March 2014
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