LIFE IN THE ASYLUM
WHERE TO BEGIN?
Today, when one undertakes to address the problems confronting our great country, the phrase that inevitably comes to mind is: Where to begin? No doubt we have successfully dealt with serious problems in the past. In a second war with Great Britain, our nation’s capital was captured and the White House itself burned to the ground. Yet we prevailed. In our Civil War, the very concept of our national unity was put to a bloody test. Yet we prevailed. We emerged better and stronger after that terrible conflict than in any comparable event in recorded human history. The major reason for that outcome is that a gangly, unphotogenic bumpkin set us on a path to bind up the nation's wounds rather than engage in an orgy of executions and imprisonments.
By the way, if during the last several decades that bumpkin had been a candidate for president, he would not have gotten through the impenetrable media filter. He was not a Democrat, he would not have looked good on the cover of GQ, he was not schooled at Harvard or Yale, and no stock photos of him windsurfing or playing basketball would have been available. Worse yet, he had a propensity to use the word “God”. He used it six times in his four paragraph second inaugural, while using the first-person singular only twice. Stupid man – he didn’t realize that an inaugural address was the perfect opportunity to blather on for an hour, promoting himself with first-person singulars by the score as they rolled up his teleprompter. Which brings up a perfect opportunity for a Life In The Asylum challenge: if any reader of this column has a child in our wonderful public education system, show the child this column and see if he or she knows who the gangly bumpkin was. Feel free to post the result as a Comment.
Despite our ability to prevail in the past, today’s situation is unique in the sheer number of serious, potentially catastrophic problems that confront us all at once. We have herein identified several of them (not in any particular order): our despicable sham of a “media”, our atrocious joke of an “education” system, and the combination of those two that has given us our absurd method of selecting pygmies as presidential candidates. [The good news is that we will have room for a lot of our recent presidents on Mount Rushmore if we size their images on the mountain in proportion to the presidential stature of the ones already there.]
Lets start with education, because it not only overlaps other problems, but in many ways it holds the key to other problems. For instance, if you (as a staunch Progressive) want to take over our nation’s media, it gives you a nice head start if you have already taken over the journalism schools. And the journalism schools being parts of various colleges, it gives you a nice head start taking over the colleges if you (e.g., Bill Ayers) have never left college since the Summer of Love. The progressive takeover method is admittedly somewhat slow (compared, e.g., to the more direct Hugo Chavez method), but it has the virtue of going almost entirely unnoticed by the somnolent American people.
You do remember Bill Ayers, don’t you? Wikipedia begins his bio as “an American elementary education theorist and a former leader in the movement that opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.” One might more accurately begin his description as “an unrepentant terrorist whose bombing campaign resulted in multiple fatalities”. In 2001 he published his “memoir,” for promotion of which he posed standing on a crumpled American flag [see picture, prominently featured in “Chicago” magazine]. For reasons at which one can only guess, the University of Illinois at Chicago gave him a career, a fine income, and lofty titles such as “Distinguished Professor of Education”. If you want to barf while thinking about Ayers, click on the above “educational theorist” link. His other claim to fame was when he lent his living room to introduce our current president (hereafter referred to as “B.O.”) to electoral politics. B.O. described Ayers as “just a guy in my neighborhood”, and the watchdog media diligently let that pass.
But the point is, for decades we as a nation have allowed Bill Ayers and people like him to be in charge of the curricula in our schools. By electing the inimitable Jimmy Carter, we gave ourselves the Department of Education, and gave people like Bill Ayers the opportunity to take their “education theories” nationwide. When such people control the education schools, the next generation of teachers comes out indoctrinated in such theories and passes garbage on to our children. When such people control the journalism schools, the next generation of “journalists” come out inspired not to report facts to the people, but to promote “social justice” and to “make a difference”. When such people control the law schools, successive generations of lawyers come out with the same inspiration, ultimately giving us lifetime-appointed Justices like the “wise Latina”.
We once had ways, such as the SAT, to gage how well our children were learning under all these new theories, and the answer was always “not too well”. So naturally we needed to dumb down the SAT scoring. When that didn’t work, we naturally needed to make the test partially essay instead of all multiple choice, thereby doing away with the very concept of the “standardized” test. Since that didn’t work either, of course the SAT has to go, and we are working on that. Meanwhile, other tests have been producing award-winning gains by students, the result of a new education theory: widespread cheating by teachers and principals.
Along the way we allowed militant left wing unions to “organize” virtually every one of our teachers, willingly or not, into their corrupt clutches. This was something even a left wing hero like FDR would not permit. For those who were watching, the militant, organized teachers put on a wonderful display of concern for the children in Madison, Wisconsin not so long ago. These same types of people now have the next generation of Americans as captive indoctrination subjects from kindergarten through college and beyond. And for our trillions of dollars we get people like this in charge of our schools.
Test scores aside, viewing a few videos of the college folks at the Occupy sites tells us a lot. To the extent they are able to articulate a coherent sentence, they frequently express astonishment and anger at the fact and amount of their college loan balances. There is rarely a discussion about having read the loan documents before signing them. [Can we assume that we still require people to sign for government loans?] Naturally their demands include forgiving the loan balances. In other words, free college at the school of their choice. Couple this with B.O.’s inspiration that every American should go to college, and our new path to the future beckons.
But first, we must see to it that any college professor who wants our darlings to do any actual work has been purged from the system. We have begun this process, and not at Berkeley or in Manhattan, but in Orem, Utah [at Utah Valley University]. A professor in the business school dared to inflict several outrages on his students: he wanted them to work in teams (they did not want to), he asked them questions (they wanted him to just lecture), and, take a deep breath, he sometimes called on them even when they did not have their hands raised. The students retaliated by trashing him on their evaluations, and the University denied him tenure (effectively firing him). The matter now resides, of course, in the courts. God help us.