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'Easily Terrified, Mindless Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian Lemmings'

“We are, as far as urban public education is concerned, essentially at rock bottom. We are now at a point where we are essentially churning out ignorant teens who are becoming ignorant adults and society as a whole will pay dearly, very soon, and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait.”

These are the musings of San Francisco columnist Mark Morford, writing for SFGate.com, the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle. Usually CMI doesn't throw columnists and op-ed writers under the bias microscope, but when you read a paragraph like that …. Well, sometimes you can't NOT write.

Morford's invective appears in a column titled “American kids, dumber than dirt: Warning: The next generation might just be the biggest pile of idiots in U.S. history.”  Morford passes along the opinions of a “longtime reader,” a public high school teacher in the San Francisco area, about the “horrifying” state of teen minds.  The teacher “speaks not merely of the sad decline in overall intellectual acumen among students … not merely the astonishing spread of lazy slackerhood ….” Morford shared a few more observations about iPods and cell phones and the lack of time spent outdoors before throwing the “mindless, fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemming” bomb.

Morford's teacher asserts that those same students can't define “agriculture” or “democracy.”  Sounds like the whole teaching thing isn't happening in that particular high school.  Or maybe there aren't enough parents investing the time to make sure junior studies and learns his vocabulary words.

Then there are these plums:

“It gets worse. My friend cites the fact that, of the 6,000 high school students he estimates he's taught over the span of his career, only a small fraction now make it to his grade with a functioning understanding of written English.”

“It is, in short, nothing less than a tidal wave of dumb, with once-passionate, increasingly exasperated teachers like my friend nearly powerless to stop it. The worst part: It's not the kids' fault. They're merely the victims of a horribly failed educational system.

Then our discussion often turns to the meat of it, the bigger picture, the ugly and unavoidable truism about the lack of need among the government and the power elite in this nation to create a truly effective educational system, one that actually generates intelligent, thoughtful, articulate citizens.

Hell, why should they? After all, the dumber the populace, the easier it is to rule and control and launch unwinnable wars and pass laws telling them that sex is bad and TV is good and God knows all, so just pipe down and eat your Taco Bell Double-Supremo Burrito and be glad we don't arrest you for posting dirty pictures on your cute little blog.”

The “ugly truism” is that the government is keeping them down because they want a dumb populace so they can “control and launch unwinnable wars.”  Well of course!

And somehow sex, TV, God's omniscience, Taco Bell and internet porn all end up in the same sentence.

Say what?

This is what liberal goulash looks like.  String together a bunch of leftist lunacy, smear Christians and blame everyone else.  Personal responsibility? Pshaw.

Somehow Morford overlooks one obvious point: the teachers who dominate the “horribly failed educational system,” whom he suggests are deliberately dumbing down American students, are overwhelmingly liberals.

Morford wrote that he tries to counteract all the negativity with optimistic observations about “generational relativity” where every older generation thinks teens are losers, and acknowledges that “teens and youth movements and actions that impress the hell out of me” exist.  The teacher suggests most of those kids are foreign-born and went to private schools.  They're probably not “mindless, fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings” either. 

Morford closed the piece by asserting:

“As for the rest, well, the dystopian evidence seems overwhelming indeed, to the point where it might be no stretch at all to say the biggest threat facing America is perhaps not global warming, not perpetual warmongering, not garbage food or low-level radiation or way too much Lindsay Lohan, but a populace far too ignorant to know how to properly manage any of it, much less change it all for the better.

What, too fatalistic? Don't worry. Soon enough, no one will know what the word even means.”

Perhaps if Morford and his reader/teacher traveled outside the liberal enclave of San Francisco, where the city grants permits for fairs celebrating sadomasochism on public streets but denies the Marines permission to film a commercial on those same streets, they'd see a different American teen.  And maybe if they, and parents, held kids accountable for making the most of their education, instead of blaming the government and the “power elite,” they'd be a little less despondent.

I bet the typical “easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemming” teenager knows what that word means.

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.