I have currently been reading the autobiography of Ben Franklin and I am now reading about when he started his library project and when it really started taking off in other towns and he said something interesting.... ...reading became fashionable, and our people having no public amusements to divert their attention from study, became better aquainted with books and in a few years were observed by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries. Today Americans are very distracted by so many forms of entertainment that they have no interest in learning new things and those that do have trouble staying focused on a subject because there is something interesting on TV, or they want to play a game on facebook. Even if they are away from the entertainment in thier homes, they still bring portable entertainment with them. When I drive by people sitting at the bus stop, 90% of them are listening to ipods, playing a game on their cell phones or using a portable game system like Nintendo DS. I rarely see people reading books out in public. The few people I do see reading books are reading the variety that are for entertainment and offer no educational value. They read King, Koontz, or whatever is the current "bestseller" that week for the entertainment value of the book. We keep complaining that our schools need more money or better teachers, but I believe we need neither. We are at a point in our society where entertainment is not going to go away. It will keep Americans in general "dumbed down" and anyone that wants to excel will need to do so of his own accord and resist the temptations of entertainment. Franklin had listed 13 virtues for improving ones Character which you will likely notice, the majority of our youth today does not possess. 1."TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation." 2."SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation." 3."ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time." 4."RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve." 5."FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing." 6."INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions." 7."SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly." 8."JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty." 9."MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve." 10."CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation." 11."TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable." 12."CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation." 13."HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates." I think the only way to improve the intelligence of the people of our country is to improve their character and teach these virtues in public schools and make children practice them until they become habit,the same way good old ben franklin did to improve his character which made him the man he was.