Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Future is Probably Fucked

I know, everyone always says that.  People have been weeping for the future probably ever since man could think.  Th irony of our current situation, however, is such that I think there is little hope for the future, at least for the next 100 years or so.

I've talked a lot about how education has been extremely lacking and that we need to fix it.  I don't think anyone argues that education 60 years ago actually meant something.  A friend of mine showed me an 8th grade civics exam from 1954, and as knowledgeable as I am about politics and government, I would have failed miserably at age 27, let alone at age 14. 

College used to mean something, too; it was actually considered to be a true accomplishment at one point.  The scholars of old would weep if they were alive to see that colleges in the U.S. are classified in three ways: party schools, sports schools, or actual academic institutions.  As one of my professors told me "today you poor bastards are only exposed to college lite." 

As an example, a good friend of mine graduated with a degree in political science from Ohio State University.  For those of you who don't know, OSU's political science program is ranked 4th in the *world*.  It's only bested by the likes of Harvard, Columbia, and Cambridge.  If I were to ask my friend, however, to explain to me the origins and evolution of republican theory, he'd draw a blank.

Here's where the irony begins.

The generations preceding mine were probably smarter, better read, and more intellectually developed.  For all of that education and intellectual development, the previous generations still managed to fuck everything up and ruin the world.  They are intolerant of damn near anything that is different (we're talking about a generation that was okay with Jim Crow for nearly 100 years), and they were perfectly content to create artificial constructs that my generation, and that of my children, will have to pay for.

On the flip-side, my generation is generally less informed and intellectually developed than our predecessors.  We have our strengths, though.  We're generally more tolerant of diversity and non-traditional lifestyles which makes us less bigoted, and we're considered to be frugal, fiscally responsible.  Because American education has declined ever since the late 50's, though, my generation as a whole is intellectually less capable of doing anything great.

The irony is that a generation of smart people fucked everything up, and now they expect a generation of dumbasses to fix it all.

My generation is tolerant of different cultures and peoples, we understand that the whole debt thing is asinine and that it's better to save your money than to always buy on credit, yet as a whole we don't have the intellectual chops to implement those ideas.  We have to wait for all the previous generations to die and phase out of government, but since we've been so stunted in our intellectual growth, can we even move humanity foreward to a less asinine world?

That's why the future is likely fucked.  We have a metric fuck-ton of problems that most people my age will not be equipped to fix once we start taking over government.  Right now, America is stuck in the mindset of previous generations, and because my generation is apparently functionally retarded, we can't move people foreward.  The history of ideas is one of progression, of change.  It's one in which humanity has come to a fuller realization of what liberty and justice mean.  Now it appears that we've stood still.

That's the whole point of Christian Fearing God-Man: to move foreward instead of remaining politically and ideologically stagnant.  I can't understand why people are so adamant about sticking to ideas that have failed, time and again, throughout history.  Why do we want another Gilded Age as if that is somehow going to make life better for the average Joe?  Why do we want to give the government greater power and create a socialist paradise when so many socialist experiments have failed miserably?

I don't count myself among the retarded members of my generation, but rather as one of the lucky few who were fortunate enough to get a very good education (I went to Catholic school).  My heart weeps because men like me would prefer to stay out of the Three-Ring Circus that is American politics, but men like me also know that because we stay out we'll have to put up with idiots.

As Gandalf said "there was never much hope--just a fool's hope."  I shudder to think what's in store for my children's generation.


Damien Charles QC said...

If there is one topic that comes to mind as one cause, it is distractions. Rather than make a thing about consumerism and escapism which is bad-targetting, I think there is simply to much reliance on gimickry and the hard-work of a few (and those before us) that makes "thinking" way to easy.

As much as the internet is a fantastic tool, platform and a revolution in communication, it aslo has, like the PC and the mobile phone, stopped us from serious reading and writting. Learning maths is just a prerequisit to a certain level, then forget about it and use a calculator.

Even at my old age I have fallen to living with my two laptops, two tablets and two telephones - Apple/Apple/Apple and VAIO/Blackberry/Blackberry and I find these days that my hands cramp when writting found it a "task" to write hand-written report or even a cheque. I have doubts that half the 10th graders could write ten pages by hand for an essay without needing physiotherapy.

Study used to be a challenge and it should be not forgotten that many of today's academic brillliances come from the developing world that still have the "old way" of doing things.

Anonymous said...

If i may,

I think you made a few really broad statements. One of wich being that going to college actually ment something. Well, that my have something to do with the fact that in previous generations (the 60's) or what have you... you had to fight to get into a college. you had to apply and sometimes actualy be interviewd so they could determine what kind of person you were.. because their name was going on your degreen.
Now there is a "higher learning center" on damn near every street corner.

I think making a college degree something that everyone CAN get has devalued it though.

I will tell you from my personal experiance that at the college i went to.. i had to share the stage with peopel who wouldent be fit to dig ditches, that boiled down to the fact that they wont expel, truely flunk you unless you do something terrible.


Jack Camwell said...

College used to be difficult to get into because it used to be much more difficult than it is now. It used to be something for people who actually had the ability to excel in academia.

Now, it's just another high school diploma, or at least its rapidly devolving to that.

We seem to have developed this retarded notion that *everyone* needs one, even if you're not good at it. It's much less a way to distinguish yourself as a learned academic, and more about having a piece of paper.

Country Thinker said...

"My heart weeps because men like me would prefer to stay out of the Three-Ring Circus that is American politics..."

Ditto. I am a very private person with little inherent interest in politics. Why then am I blogging, publishing a novel, organizing a county-level political organization, and doing radio interviews? Well, his name is Sami, and he is 4 years old.

When my wife and I decided to start a family, I swore to protect my child. None of this is about me, even if at times it may appear that way. Your piece summarizes my thoughts nicely.

Jack Camwell said...

I'm glad you appreciate what I've written today =)

What's your organization called?

Anonymous said...

I blame the misguided concepts of egalitarianism foisted on us by Marxists and Progressives.

Try to see the logic in his analogy:

The Mona Lisa is important, because it is unique -- the hand-wrought product of one of history's most noted and distinguished geniuses.

Today, thanks to technology anyone and everyone can own a perfect replica of the Mona Lisa. She can appear as Calendar Art, in chromolithographs in any size you like, in the pages of magazine, a websites all over the internet, even repeated at strategic intervals on wallpaper to hang in your lavatory. So now the Mona Lisa belongs to everyone -- sort of -- but she's not unique anymore, not special enough to make any but the most dedicated art scholar or impassioned culture buff feel he just had to get to the Louvre to see her in person.

That's kind of the way it is with everything nowadays. The techniques of mass production, radio, recordings, cinema, TV, the internet have cheapened an degraded neatly everything by making it too available. so, instead of feeling wonder, awe and intense curiosity, we now tend to feel blasé.

And so it is with getting a "college education." Now that"everyone" can get one -- and especially the insane notion has taken hold that everyone must get one -- the process has become cheapened and degraded, because it is no longer anything special. It's become just another commodity and one of dubious value a that.

With the advent of bullshit fields of "study" such as Queer Studies, Black Studies, Women's Studies, Sexology -- all of which are spinoffs from the granddaddy of all bullshit fields "Sociology" -- and "breeze" courses such as "Film" and "The History of Rock 'n Roll"-- college, except in such fields as Medicine, Science, Mathematics and Classical Music Performance, has become nothing more than an expensively acquired status symbol.

My father was brilliant man. He never had the chance to go to college, but he taught himself higher mathematics, and became a highly skilled, sought after engineer, despite never having earned a degree. In his day, you could get somewhere if you could demonstrate proven capability.

Today it's all about symbolism over substance. Hence we see phenomena such as The Peter Principle at work midst towering piles of bullshit that pass for genuine accomplishment, because no one dares to say "The Emperor is naked."

is it any wonder we appear to be coming apart the seams?

~ FreeThinke

Harrison said...

This is a solid post. We studied Latin in 7th grade. I doubt many study this now. Today's generation is essentially feeding off the work laid down 30 or more years ago. It is a copy of a copy so the words are not so clear. As time goes on, the photo copies will be so washed out that people will just invent what they think or are told and our country will crash.

Jack Camwell said...

"It's become just another commodity . . ."

Very perfectly put FreeThinke, and that sucinctly expresses what I think the college degree has devolved to.

I don't think Sociology itself is bullshit, it's just the sociologists that make it appear to be bullshit (because many of them are socialists).

And yes, Harrison, kids today have the "it's already been done for me," attitude. When John Quincy Adams was 15 he had already started to translate Cicero. How many kids have received that level of education in the last 20 years?

Silverfiddle said...

Free markets, whether financial, political or intellectual, only work when self-interested individuals are free to pursue goals and equally free to suffer consequences.

We've torn all that down. At some point, as some economist explained, when this can no longer continue, it will stop.

People will reset and pick up the pieces.