Educational Embarrassment or Intended Ignorance?

While perusing some news articles last week I again saw a story on a statue to a southern Civil War hero being removed from its display location to be hidden away in some dark warehouse.  Apparently, the driving force behind this decision was outrage expressed by students at a local college.  Of course, this entire sad situation has often derived its impetus from the younger generation and has been ongoing for more than a year to this point.  For whatever reason, this article engaged the ole ‘gray matter’ and I began to review this, to me, strange situation from the vantage point of a sixty five year old white male with a college education.

I remember being much more liberal in my ideology during my college years; I believe this is pretty much the norm.  But I also know after spending just a decade as a ‘functioning’ member of American society I began to realize much of progressive outlook was based upon idealism and lacked much basis in the reality of life in the United States.  This is not to say being idealistic is a bad thing; Heaven knows we could use more people willing to dream of better situations and work towards said situations!  But desiring major cultural and social changes without considering the ramifications be they political, cultural and/or fiscal is a fool’s errand.  And often times such dreamers deliberately ignore the facts because as John Adams said; “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”  But upon deeper introspection I began to wonder if this ‘statue hysteria’ was simply a matter of youthful liberalism.

Without question I am dead set against all the destructive frenzy centered on the ‘history’ of those embodied in our statues and I believe the forced removal of these statues is tantamount to fascism.  But I’ve come to believe the driving force behind this wave of hysteria is not just based in youthful exuberance but rather in a total failure of our educational system to teach not just history but why it is important.  In a nutshell, George Santayana distilled the issue down to his famous quote; “Those who do not learn history and doomed to repeat it…”.  This doesn’t just refer to learning about human history in terms of dates and events but also understanding the culture and the mindset of those different times.  It is in this area I find our educational system has failed and failed dramatically.

Because our educational system has failed to teach this absolutely necessary perspective I cannot fault the younger generations for their reaction to statues glorifying Civil War heroes who fought to maintain slavery of other human beings.  They do not appear to grasp the fact that when viewing such statues one must remember the time and events which spawned their creation.  Of course, it was far different from today yet so many of the younger generations tend to view these monuments as though they were created only yesterday.  Without question, part of this perception is based upon the solipsism endorsed and even encouraged by so many progressives; it champions the idea that we put ourselves before the greater good and are all important and unique individuals.  By espousing this concept one is encouraged to view everything through the lens of the ‘now’ without regard for past perceptions and beliefs.  But if our educational system was doing its job these same young people would have learned about ‘historical perspective’ and why it is vital to understanding history.  And, as George Santayana noted, if we do not learn from our history we are condemned to repeat it.

If I were a conspiracy minded individual, which I’m not, I could make a pretty good case for this deficiency being deliberate and based in an attempt by the decidedly liberal colleges and teachers unions to create a generation of Americans lacking in basic skills required to evaluate historical events and outcomes.  Such a population would be unable to fathom current events as compared to those of the past allowing those in power to begin maneuvering the people towards even more governmental control of their existence.  In short, creating a new generation lacking the ability to learn from their history would make them much easier to control.  This conjures up frightening memories of Nazi Germany in the 1930’s or Russia in the 1920’s.

While I do not subscribe to the ‘world-wide educational conspiracy’ idea I can see how many other folks could do so and I cannot irrefutably shoot down the idea.  I do believe there is a conscious effort by uber-progressive zealots to undermine the analytical thinking capabilities of the ‘average’ American with the ultimate goal of creating a populace who doesn’t think through the consequences of radical changes in policies and laws.  They have solid support from American universities which are now hot-beds of liberal, progressive ideologies.  And there is something to be said for those controlling the education of upcoming generations being able to better control the same.  One of the tools now being employed to ultimately promote some of this ‘control’, often as a bludgeon, is political correctness.  I’ve written previously on the evil of political correctness and how it throttles open and honest communication under the guise of making communications more ‘civilized’.  I remain convinced that political correctness is one of the major issues facing American culture and a weapon often employed by ultra-left zealots to push their agendas.

Without question this country is facing challenging and tumultuous times well beyond the seemingly insurmountable political polarization.  If we are to move forward in positive direction we need a well-educated, critically thinking populace.  Under the current climate it is mistake to believe our universities and school systems will provide the needed education.  It remains the duty of every American to be as educated and aware as possible.  Without doing so we are sure to succumb to radical ideals with little to no basis in fact presented by those with education and an agenda.

Mt Rushmore

Do we really want to destroy this monument in the name of ‘political correctness’..?!


Will the Sheep Ever Look Up..?

Across the past few months I’ve been quite intrigued, not to mention disturbed, by the ongoing miasma of miscommunications from our federal government; you know, the same one that is charged with protecting the country from all threats foreign and domestic.  Of course this administration has never been able to put forth a coherent, unified message unless it is lying but then this can be said of many of the recent administrations.  Still and all I believe the Obama administration has done the best job of torturing the truth in recent memory and there may well be a fairly straightforward reason for this observation.  Could it be this administration has sensed that the American public has finally been dumbed down to the point they are incapable of thinking for themselves when dealing with complex issues like foreign or fiscal policies?

I’m sure most of us have seen the videos of folks visiting college campuses, large cities or recreational areas and asking randomly selected people very simple and straightforward questions regarding the American government, American history and/or American leaders only to see truly epic idiocy when those questioned could even conjure up an answer.  Initially such videos were funny but very soon many people found them to be alarming; how could college students fail to know who fought in the Civil War or who lost World War II?  Given the crush of the 24 x 7 news cycle how could someone fail to identify Joe Biden as the VP or Bill Clinton as a former president?  The really sad versions of these programs then demonstrate that these same folks can name any current Hollywood member by their picture, recite the string of boyfriends and girlfriends for the same as well as their current and past acting efforts.  Somewhere something went horribly wrong with this country’s educational standards and we are now seeing the fruit of this sowing.

It is no secret the ‘higher education system’ is staffed largely by academics with strongly liberal views and these are the folks we pay exorbitant monies to educate our college enrolled children.  What has happened across the past 50 years that we now regularly churn out college graduates who are clueless regarding the basic workings of the government that controls the country of their births?  I’m sure there are a myriad of factors which play into this scenario but regardless of what the motivation the fault has to fall directly upon these institutions of ‘higher learning’ and, by default, their staffs.  Sure, it is still possible to get a quality college education but it seems as though this is now the exception rather than the rule.  Just what could be driving this inexorable flow to the mundane and ill-educated..?

Without question tenure is a major player; once attained it is virtually impossible to remove a tenured professor regardless of performance, histrionics or lack of commitment.  But I find it hard to believe a majority of the instructors in our collegiate system are sub-par in terms of teaching abilities.  So just what is happening – and has been happening for at least the past decade – that’s given us college graduates total devoid of a basic background in civics, economics and politics?  I feel that for whatever reason – and I suspect PC is at the root of this belief – maybe 40 years ago colleges began to move away from teaching critical thinking in favor of indoctrinating the students into the necessity of having a ‘world view’ and empathy towards all races and cultures.  After all, if one does think critically about ISIS any sane person will have an extremely difficult time dredging up much empathy for brutal beheadings and the raping of children all based upon the sick perversion of a theocracy.

But back to my original question:  could the current administration have decided the American public is so incapable of rational, critical thought that they can now be led about by their collective noses?  I think this is a definite possibility and I need only look at this week’s swirling direct disagreement by administration members regarding the ISIS threat to support my belief.  Earlier in the week we’ve heard Obama and Kerry (that’s the president of the US and the Secretary of State for you the clueless) both come out and tell us we are safer now than at any time in the past.  Yet following on the heels of these statements the former counterterrorism adviser at the Department of Homeland Security John Cohen said; “The West is facing the most complex and severe terrorist threat we have certainly seen since 9/11”.  Then, a few days later, the FBI’s top counterterrorism official – Assistant Director Michael Steinbach – gave this chilling assessment of America’s attempts to stop ISIS from spreading its ability to recruit new members online; “We are losing the battle”.  All this has been covered, however briefly, in the so called ‘mainstream media’ yet as of this writing there’s been little to no reaction.

How can ‘We the People’ accept such diametrically opposed evaluations of our nation’s safety?  Where is the reaction from the public demanding an honest, credible analysis of our situation?  Without question the failure by the ‘lame-stream media’ to really cover these discrepancies has contributed but this also highlights another supporting observation regarding my concerns about the American public’s inability to think for themselves; if the lame-stream media doesn’t cover it it’s not worth knowing..??  Apparently a majority of Americans cannot read this information and develop their own thoughts, evaluations and perceptions; they must have the so called ‘journalists’ – and I use this term very loosely and with the deepest disrespect – tell them what to think and believe?  If the federal government is looking to push more and more people unto its dole then seeing how clueless the public has become must really put a smile on its face.  This, coupled with the data showing 47% of ALL American households now receive some form of government assistance – and, no, this does not include social security or Medicaid – certainly backs up the suggestion that the American people are losing their ability to think and function independently of governmental support.  Is this what we want to foster in upcoming generations..?

I try to be optimistic but seeing what this administration has done across the last six years – and previous administrations since World War II – I find little to inspire hope.  In a way much of our population has come to mirror the narcissist in the White House; we have time only for our cell phones, ‘selfies’, reading ‘People’ magazine and giving no thought as to where our country is heading.  I would like to think that maybe, just maybe, the horror of ISIS might give us a rallying point but when we have a President and Secretary of State telling us we are safe and the ISIS threat is mainly something manufactured by the likes of Fox News I guess we prefer to accept that view.  And why shouldn’t we..??  After all, this is the administration that gave us ‘Fast & Furious’, Benghazi’, the ‘lead from the rear’ philosophy which worked so well in the recent Middle Eastern conflicts, the Obama Care roll out and similar; what could go wrong..?!?!  Not that I needed another reason to be pleased with my retirement to semi-rural south central Alaska but at least up here people are aware, prize individual strength and the ability to fend for one’s self.  In a way it shouldn’t be a surprise that ‘The Last Frontier’ should be one of the last states to still mirror so much of what made America great…