Apparently, as this man claims, worldwide spread of idiocy began in 1979:
Early that year, Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran and inaugurated a radical Islamist effort to turn the clock back to medieval times. A few months later, Margaret Thatcher's Tories were elected in Britain, and Ronald Reagan was elected in November. Thatcher and Reagan also wanted to retreat from the 20th century -- to the 19th century, in their case, a time innocent of welfare states, regulated economies, or interventionist governments. In the quarter-century since, the Enlightenment insistence on rejecting tradition and authority as the infallible sources of truth has taken a bashing in both America and Britain.Well, I suppose we can always claim that this idiocy might be a Western tradition that does not involve little banana republics like ours. We've been there longer than they did. D'oh.