That was over twenty years ago. Since then, the United States has experienced unprecedented wealth, more youth enrolling in higher education than ever before, and technology advancements far beyond what many in the 1980s dreamed possible. And yet, the state of the American mind seems to have deteriorated further. Benjamin Franklin s self-made man has become a man dependent on the state. Independence has turned into self-absorption. Liberty has been curtailed in the defense of multiculturalism.
In order to fully grasp the underpinnings of this shift away from the self-reliant, well-informed American, editors Mark Bauerlein and Adam Bellow have brought together a group of cultural and educational experts to discuss the root causes of the decline of the American mind. The writers of these fifteen original essays include E. D. Hirsch, Nicholas Eberstadt, and Dennis Prager, as well as Daniel Dreisbach, Gerald Graff, Richard Arum, Robert Whitaker, David T. Z. Mindich, Maggie Jackson, Jean Twenge, Jonathan Kay, Ilya Somin, Steve Wasserman, Greg Lukianoff, and R. R. Reno. Their essays are compiled into three main categories:
. States of Mind: Indicators of Intellectual and Cognitive Decline
These essays broach specific mental deficiencies among the population, including lagging cultural IQ, low Biblical literacy, poor writing skills, and over-medication.
. Personal and Cognitive Habits/Interests
These essays turn to specific mental behaviors and interests, including avoidance of the news, short attention spans, narcissism, and conspiracy obsessions.
. National Consequences
These essays examine broader trends affecting populations and institutions, including rates of entitlement claims, voting habits, and a low-performing higher education system.
The State of the American Mind is both an assessment of our current state as well as a warning, foretelling what we may yet become. For anyone interested in the intellectual fate of America, The State of the American Mind offers an accessible and critical look at life in America and how our collective mind is faring.
- ISBN-13: 9781599474588
- ISBN-10: 1599474581
- Publisher: Templeton Press
- Publish Date: June 2015
- Page Count: 280
- Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-04-27
- Reviewer: Staff
The current state of the American Mind is one of “disarray,” suggest Bauerlein (The Dumbest Generation) and Bellow (New Threats to Freedom). Along with 15 other political and social thinkers, they devote this right-of-center essay collection to criticizing the selfish values and intellectual laziness that, according to this book, permeate today’s society. The authors tackle such eclectic topics as the prevalence of psychiatric drugs, the inability of young people to write well even upon graduating college, and the online prevalence of conspiracy theories. The central theme, however, is the loss of moral and intellectual rigor in American life. R.R. Reno dubs the modern-day United States an “Empire of Desire,” while Dennis Prager deems our era the “Age of Feelings.” In K-12 schools, the contributors complain, youths are taught abstract thinking at the expense of learning American history; in college, they are taught that they possess the “right not to be offended” by contrary (i.e., right-leaning) viewpoints. “The American Mind was an extraordinary creation, and it has to be remembered,” argue Bauerlein and Bellow. This anthology will be a distressing but worthwhile read for those who believe traditional American values are endangered and must be preserved. (June)