an article by our site
The story of civilization is constant convergence, with everything getting closer and closer. But there is also constant education, which is part of the convergence. H.G. Wells wrote that civilization is a race between education and catastrophe. What we have to do in the present and the future, as this great race continues, is to make sure that education wins. —Frank Snowden Hopkins
Unfortunately, there is overwhelming evidence that the cultural lag is increasing.
In the war between education and ignorance, ignorance won, and in the war between science and religion, religion won. This does not bode well for the cultural lag or human survival.
Neurotic & Unhealthy Product Consumption: Drug Abuse, Alcohol and Tobacco Abuse
On a PBS television special called "Hard Drugs, Hard Choices," panelists debated numerous issues concerning drug use in the U.S. population. At the conclusion of the series Fred Friendly, the moderator, stated: "Unless we make a major commitment to understand the rage and reasons for these insatiable appetites, all of the undercover busts, all of the border patrols, and all the prison construction will do nothing but escalate drug commerce. The question is: are our lives so barren because we abuse drugs or do we abuse drugs because our lives are so barren?" He went on:
"We shall continue to be defeated in the crusade against drugs and booze until we begin to learn more about the reasons why these addictions exist in so many of us. Perhaps our failure to probe that hunger is our most inexcusable abuse." Of course, as of the publication of The Big Answer and The Forest Through The Trees, people like Fred will no longer say that we don't know why these addictions develop or what to do about them.
In 2010, 22.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview, which represents 8.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older
In an American Demographics editorial, Cheryl Russell states that "Drugs are the symptom of a bigger problem: the lack of opportunity for young Americans. For the past 20 years, the nations's young have been molested and neglected by an indifferent and even hostile government . . . no national child-care policy . . . tax deductions and credits [that] help offset child-care costs [have been] gobbled up by rising Social Security taxes . . . government will no longer allow parents to deduct costs of caring for children 13 and 14—a group most vulnerable . . . government has cut student aid for college . . . and the cost of a college education since 1970 . . . is up by 24 percent (public schools) . . . 57 percent (private) . . . median incomes of men and women under 30 have fallen sharply since 1970 [which] explains why [so many] 18 to 24-year-olds live with their parents . . . why home ownership rates among young adults are falling . . . why 20 percent of the nation's children now live in poverty (15 percent in 1970) . . . why so many young people see nothing better in their future than drugs. . . Instead of waging a war on drugs, we need to end our war on the young . . ."
At the end of 1989 there were twenty million Americans addicted to narcotics (that's 8.4 percent), eighteen million Americans (7.6 percent) addicted to alcohol, and fifty-seven million Americans (23.9 percent) addicted to smoking.
However, in 2010, an estimated 22.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users, meaning they had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This estimate represents 8.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older.
Surveys are great marketing, sociological, and demographic research tools
Also in 2010, marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, with 17.4 million current users. It was used by 76.8 percent of current illicit drug users and was the only drug used by 60.1 percent of them. Also in 2010, 9.0 million persons aged 12 or older were current users of illicit drugs other than marijuana (or 39.9 percent of illicit drug users aged 12 or older). Current use of other drugs but not marijuana was reported by 23.2 percent of illicit drug users, and 16.7 percent used both marijuana and other drugs.
Let's Not Be Fooled
Although we may want to pat ourselves on the back when certain statistics show improvement (like cigarette smoking), we should exercise caution and not become complacent about problems that are still very serious, even though statistically they "look better than they used to." We might be tempted to use the statistics of improvement as an excuse to not act, and use this type of false logic as a defense against taking responsibility.
For example, we have seen a decrease in tobacco consumption levels over the last 25 years. However, in the United States alone over 400,000 people die every year from tobacco-caused deaths—that's one in every six deaths. But the cost is not only death, it is lost productivity and other job-related expenses. One study shows that smoking costs employers an average of $5,662 per year because smokers are absent more, have higher medical insurance costs, die younger, and have decreased productivity from the time spent smoking. Smokers also damage furniture and sensitive equipment, and present risks to nonsmoking employees from passive smoke.
Tobacco Smoking and Tobacco Smoke Both Kill
Illegal and Prescription Drug Use
Nonprescription Pain Killers, Antacid and Other Drug Use
Junk Food Consumption
Criminal Activity and Arrests
A Criminal Profile
The Costs of Crime
Physical and Social Dysfunction
Health Care Costs
The Mental Health Care System
Poverty in the U.S.
Teenage Mothers, Prenatal Care, and Injuries
Injuries of Babies and Children