One of the more profound quotes from Charlotte Iserbyt that really sticks in my mind - " a person unable to think for themselves, ultimately, is a person unable to defend themselves".
As newer generations of young people continue to be herded through the state-operated, centralized education farms "schools", the impact and depth of being dumbed down grows, and deepens .... that gradual creep effect you talked of.
What does this have to do with any branch of natural "alternative" health? .... everything, for anyone willing to think long, hard and honestly about it. Is there anything more natural to a person's overall health other than their capacity for thinking for themselves?.... and while we're at it, how did actual natural methods, whether it is the natural methods a person uses to think for themselves ..... or a person deciding to eat / use actual plant stuffs that grow out of the earth ..... how did this kind of natural behavior end up on the sidelines for the masses to merely scoff at as an "alternative" .... ? A logical conclusion to our state mandated dumbing down system, one that at times can already be glimpsed on the near horizon, is that it will evntually be commonplace & accepted for people to not even be aware that they are unable to defend nearly every practical aspect of their lives that they inherently should be able to defend..... oh well, this is an already old story, so no use in belaboring the point.
That exam from 1895 (and the comments you collected from professors and such) reminds of the reason why, way back, it was originally named "high" school. That reason no longer applies, most of the genuine meaning has been lost, hollowed out, but it was called high school because the overall extent and content of education, back then, was rigourous enough that the student who successfully passed that height of learning was evidence of a young person prepared with enough smarts & self sufficiency to be able to go out into the world and be successful in living their life while achieving a livliehood no matter what endeavor or direction they chose. Compare to how woefully inept the average child of today is, a child who is so lacking in intellectual skills that they really do not have much choice of a next step to take other than going off to the next level of educational farming system "higher ed", nod nod, wink wink. Those who can't afford to be dumbed down at the higher ed level are left to chose between flipping burgers, joining the ranks of the war machinery, or hanging out on the corner. If it seems I'm being too hard on the young generation, I'm not, really. I don't begrudge them for their state of dumbed-downedness. I look at my own ignorances programmed into me from passign through the (effectively) stone-age version of the state's dumbing down system, then look at how far below me the younger generations are, and I am full of rage and outrage on their behalf, to the point that I pitty them and their future.
PS - I read a post you made the other day, it had several references to sources, including one that sells organic plants (out in Oregon, I think...?), anyway, thanks for that. I called and spoke to them 2 days ago, to place an order for some plants. The woman who answered the phone told me about their history as a small, family run operation.