Poor Editing Is Dumbing Down America

One of the things that I believe is responsible for much evil in society today is poor grammar. Yesterday I remarked that Jill Biden did not compare Latinos to tacos, yet many Hispanics, many conservative pundits, and some politicians still are offended, as if she actually did. I firmly believe that this is due to a failure of our education system. In the case of Jill Biden’s remarks, it’s the failure of many to even parse a sentence.

I am not a professional writer. I make mistakes in grammar, spelling, word choice, punctuation, and more. I believe that we all do from time to time. But I think that it’s important to try to communicate clearly and accurately, and if a person is being paid to write they should make certain that they spend the extra effort to do so.

When I was a teenager I was lazy. Grammar, and the like didn’t matter that much to me, but my teachers thought that such things were important. When I didn’t do the work in my sophomore year of high school, I failed my English class during the second semester. I deserved to. In the decades since I’ve learned the importance of the rules of language.

It used to be that if you didn’t know which words to use, or how to spell them, you could read books or newspapers for examples. This would at least give you a fighting chance of getting things right and being able to make your point clearly. These days, you are more likely to discover the wrong way to express yourself if you take that approach. For proof just look at this objectless statement from Townhall.

It’s no wonder that the public’s economic is so profoundly gloomy…

The public’s economic what is so gloomy? Economic is an adjective, not a noun. I know that the author likely meant the public’s economic outlook or something like that from the context, but this is the sort of incoherent expression that earned me an “F” in second semester English in high school. And Townhall paid for it. They paid both the author and the editor for this muddy thinking.

I gave just two examples here, but just look at the faux outrage from ideologues and others because people can’t parse a sentence. We tar each other with charges of racism because we can’t figure out what someone meant or we’d rather be offended than expend a little effort trying to understand what someone is trying to say.

We’re lazy, under educated and gullible because of it. The Internet has made idiots of us all, as has the so-called smart phone and the search engine. Why bother to learn, if we can just “Google it” (Now we’re even using nouns as verbs.)? Why bother to learn if auto-correct will just fix our spelling (while totally butchering our meaning)? Why bother to think at all, when someone as poorly qualified as we are will tell us what to think?

Our education system once was intended to teach us how to become productive members of society and how to think rather than what to think. Sadly like nearly every other institution our society has, it’s doing exactly the opposite of the original intent.

Lord forgive us and open our eyes, hearts, and minds before it’s too late. Please.

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