In speaking to the students in Alma Boykin‘s class in Amarillo yesterday morning (the second year I’ve done this), I was struck yet again by how innocent they are in terms of the real world out there. Most of them have no idea of what the Third World is really like, or the history of colonialism and its aftermath, or the tens of millions of people who’ve died in forgotten, backwater conflicts since the Second World War. Alma’s class is fortunate in having her as a teacher, because she tries to give them much more information than the pablum served up by the textbook they’re forced to use; but she can only do so much in the time she’s been allocated.
It seems to me that there’s a deliberate policy on the part of the powers that be to “dumb down” our children. They’re to be taught just enough to keep them compliant, obedient members of US civil society (leaving out, however, the details of how that society was constructed and foreseen by our founding fathers – can’t have civics get in the way of political correctness, you know!). Kids nowadays are just plain naive. It’s not that they’re stupid – far from it – but they’re deliberately uninformed, kept ignorant of reality. What’s more, many of the ‘hard’ subjects – math, science, biology, geography, history – are short-changed in favor of less important ones like the social ‘sciences’, interpersonal relationships, political correctness in the form of sex education, discrimination in its various forms, etc., and other ‘contemporary’ or ‘modern’ or ‘life’ issues. When it comes to skills they’ll need for a career, school seems to leave our kids woefully under-equipped. It’s no wonder many universities have to offer remedial courses to their entrants, to bring them up to speed in such disciplines.
I can’t help but wonder how a modern American high school graduate would fare if forced to enter his or her first year at university as they were in the 1960’s or early 1970’s. Those of us who did will remember the experience. We were thrown in at the deep end, metaphorically speaking. We could either sink, or swim – and we were expected to know how to swim before we entered the university’s gates. If we weren’t adequately prepared to take up our studies, no-one was going to hold our hands, wrap us in cotton wool, and assure us that it wasn’t our fault. It was all on us, and if we couldn’t make the grade, we flunked out and went elsewhere to continue our education or training. Today . . . that’s simply not the case, and I think our kids are much worse off for it.
Perhaps we need to go back to the draft, if only to force today’s special snowflakes to deal with hard, physical demands and the discipline of the military life. Sadly, I daresay many of them would simply melt down at their first sight of a drill instructor, and run, screaming hysterically, for the nearest psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or anthropologist, demanding reassurance that this nightmare simply couldn’t possibly exist in reality.