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A Short History of Stupid

The Decline of Reason

Bernard Keane and Helen Razer

The first drug panic in mid-C18 Britain. Upper classes outraged at gin consumption of the lower classes. The poor drank too much and didn't work hard enough. It caused poverty and crime, they said. But even contemporaries pointed out that living conditions had more to do with the problem than alcohol.

Catholic groups led the charge against the morality of movies in 1910's and 20's. It was particularly the corruption of children they were worried about, despite the total absence of evidence for any effect. The same thing happened with radio, and then with TV.

And music - first the African-American jazz and R & B, then pop, then the anti-war songs of Vietnam era, and finally heavy metal, intil video games took over as the new bogey-man de jour.

Final cost of Iraq/Afghanistan wars $4 trillion. 4500 US troop deaths, but also at least 100,000 Iraqis. And the overall result was to make the terrorism problem worse. The fragmented political system allowed ISIS and other jihad groups free rein. And the atrocities, real or perceived, fed a world-wide terrorist grudge mentality.

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