Civil libertarians who are on the alert to oppose tyranny fail to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.
The importance of an educated citizenry, as envisioned by the architects of America’s Constitution, is that they have the analytical and intellectual ability to recognize and challenge inevitable government corruption. If people can’t read, or simply will not, or are distracted, the safeguard of a democracy, an educated informed citizenry, is in peril.
It is difficult to distinguish fact from fiction in a media dominated age where the lines between politics and news reporting are blurred. Superficiality, voyeurism, celebrity and image trump truth.
Humanity’s predilection for distractions and love of entertainment and trivia has, according to some, destroyed our capacity to think. The individual is engulfed by a group mind set and the tyranny of mob-think.
Some authors and pundits warn that we should fear those who would ban books, but perhaps we should fear there would be no reason to ban a book because there would be no one who wanted to read one. Author and media critic Neil Postman observes, “our devices deliver so much information we have become a captive audience preoccupied in a culture of trivia where truth is drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”
Postman writes that Aldous Huxley in “Brave New World” fears man is controlled by inflicting pleasure, that what we love will ruin us. In other words, we are amusing ourselves to death.