Many liberals have, out of good intentions, been goaded into supporting leftist ideas to uplift the poor. The results have been the exact opposite. Not only have their efforts been unhelpful but have instead deepened the divide and created a permanent underclass.
A great many incarcerated criminals have one thing in common: They can’t read. Illiteracy is the best predictor of not just crime but also poverty and other social ills. The detrimental effects of not being able to read at a functional level are so enormous that if society could fix this one single problem, many other issues would disappear. Literacy is the closest thing society has ever had to a magic wand for social troubles.
The Phonic Alphabet
The Chinese have a higher IQ on average than Europeans. Despite this, the literacy rate in China has been much lower than in the West for a long time. The reason? The Chinese lacked a phonic alphabet and had to learn to read by recognizing one whole word at a time.
Since this task is more mentally challenging, reading remained a secret art among the high-IQ Mandarin bureaucrat class. In Europe, by contrast, one of the greatest inventions in human history – the alphabet – democratized the ability to read. Therefore, literacy was surprisingly widespread in ancient Europe.
The introduction of Indian-Arab numerals during the renaissance had a similar effect on numeracy in Europe. By lowering the cognitive skills required, more people mastered math.