San Diego – The first week of the winter break has started off rainy, gray, cold, and damp. Actually it is POURING outside at the moment. I hope it is not an omen! Today I will get the grades all done and hopefully submitted online and then that will be done and I can get on to other things.
There have been a couple of interesting forum discussions, one revolving around a professor from the east who is surgically having a camera implanted in the back of his head. No I am not making this up. i can just see the artist’s statement now: a master piece of obfuscation and esoteric double speak to the effect that the “Artist” (not how I would describe him) will capture people thinking they are unobserved and therefore revealing themselves to his unique perspective and in some profound way revealing deep insights into the human condition. Good Grief. What amazed me as much as his stunt itself was the number who fawned over his “artistic journey” and his willingness to go “outside the box” for his art. Oh puu-leeeeeeeeze!
We are in the age of “ME” and “NOW” when increasingly instant gratification isn’t quite fast enough. And in our headlong rush towards simplistic perspectives and philosophies that allow us to escape consequences for actions (and inactions) we have thrown away the three once-universal forms of learning that gave us perspective. A solid Classical Education, taught us that in reason and logic there is a difference between true and false From a Scientific Education, demonstrating that experimentation was to test theories and conclusion followed objective fact discoveries leading to supportable conclusions rather than a way to mask cherry picking isolated facts to support cherished theories, we were taught how to determine which is true and which false. And finally, a Religious Education was seen as the way to teach us why the distinction between true and false matters.
In my hallowed halls of academia we have thrown all of them away. Academics buy into junk science and make it a replacement religion because they accept theories from the proper (to them) political figures to magically become fact and law and evangelically attempt to impose it upon penalty of academic death to their students and colleagues all the while chanting the mantra of academic freedom which really means the freedom to voice and enforce their own perspectives and stifle any abhorrent thinking that might tend to dispute the sacred line. Political correctness has become the new truth while speaking real unvarnished truth is often seen as intolerant; tolerance itself has been elevated to a level of sheer cowardice, and philosophical discrimination, the ability to tell good from bad, truth from falsity, is linked to bigoted kind of discrimination and so the word itself is tainted and not to be used nor even its “real” meaning which in the me and now, of course, HAS no meaning because we have failed to deliver that first element, the Classical Education that shows there is a difference.
Not just our educational system but, in my opinion, the country and its core values are at risk as never before. In 2000 I predicted that by then end of the terms of the next two presidents we as a country would have cast our paths in stone to either reverse our rush to the historical ash bin or turn us around and back on the path to greatness we were once on and proud of. I still think that timeline is fairly accurate although it might be a little long because the move toward the ash bin has been accelerated in the past few years. If we do not bite the awful bullet and undergo the un-anesthetized surgery necessary to remove our addiction to unfunded and unfundable entitlements and change our monetary policies and rapidly move away from being a debtor nation, we risk loosing the status of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, a state of affairs already in decline. And if that happens our reduction to just another Balkanized, Europeanized 2nd rate country will happen fast.
So celebrate this and hopefully the next few Christmases well. Embrace the paradigm psychologists refer to as the “Normalcy Bias” (which leads people to believe and act as if the world as they know it is normal and so proper that it can never be lost or replaced by anything worse) and assume the best will happen. Do not under any circumstances read the accounts of the ordinary Germans and especially the German Jews in the 20s and 30s who never conceived of a world we now call the Third Reich. Do not read the foreign economic journals talking about China and Russia signing a treaty to explore de-linking in trade from the dollar and then about major european countries meeting in France all discussing disconnecting from the dollar, and certainly do not read the material from the middle east describing how the Saudis are encouraging the creation of a new common reserve currency among Arab countries to be used instead of the dollar. Rather keep on believing the government and the Fed about how they will solve all of this by continuing the policies that got us into trouble only doing it harder. Finding themselves in a hole their solution is to dig harder. Einstein said that you cannot solve a problem using the same kind of thinking that created it in the first place. Too bad our leaders are not listening.
Want to give us all a better chance at a future of Christmases? Start getting educated in the classic style so that your BS meter is better tuned…