Are We Smarter Than Our Ancestors?

Barb Wire

I’m having a controversy with a guy who says that, thanks to universal public education, widespread literacy, and other features of modern civilization, “People today are smarter than ever.”

Pity the poor ancients. It was all they could do to invent writing, build roads and aqueducts, sculpt out of cold, dry marble what seems to be wet cloth clinging to the skin, create the calendar, and a lot of other achievements that look pretty trivial compared to “gender reassignment” surgery. Later on they came up with other poor excuses for progress, like the printing press, ocean navigation, watches and clocks, paintings by dullards like Giotto and plays by clods like Shakespeare. You could hardly find anything they did worthy of being put in a Super Bowl halftime show.

I wonder if our ancestors, if they could see us now, would think we were clowns and oafs who can’t perform even the simplest and most necessary tasks without the aid of computers: who use high technology to predict blizzards that don’t happen, create school systems that dumb down students, news media that tell lies when they’re not tightly focused on celebrity gossip, rap “music,” and the Kardashians.

I wonder what people will be saying, a thousand years from now, about this stage of human civilization (if we can call it that) with its plummeting birth rates, whole-hearted embrace of perversions, appeasement of Islam, and its uncanny ability to turn out high school or even college graduates who never heard of King Arthur or Julius Caesar, think Switzerland is a country on the Pacific coast, get the Civil War mixed up with World War II (if they’ve even heard of either of them), read at a 5th-grade level, watch movies based on comic books, and have no idea where their food comes from.

Trending: Kids Tutored in “Pleasure” Despite STD Epidemic

Smarter than ever–hot dog!

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Lee Duigon
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on

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