Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Culture in Regression

 My perceptions aren't especially erudite or deep, but sometimes I get a glimpse of what appears to be significant phenomena occurring in our country and our world. For some years now, the last twenty-five at least, I have been telling the few who would stand still long enough to listen that we have reached the "bread and circuses" stage of the Roman Empire, our version being Oprah and Mc D's (was Oprah on back then? I can't recall). That our society is in a decline indicated by what the majority of people across the country seem to hold dear, believe to be valuable.

Television is something I stopped watching back in 1987. At that time I had been watching cable TV in order to see the Discovery channel and one or two other channels providing educational information. When I bought a little 40 acre ranch outside of town, the choice was either satellite dish or nothing. I chose nothing, and it has remained that way since 1987. I enjoy watching videos now, but I have no connection to any form of television programming, nor do I wish any. Books and the Internet have been my mainstay, including books available on the Internet. (Speaking of which, check out Francis W. Porretto at Eternity Road and then go to smashwords.com, deactivate the adult filter, and download all of his novels. Some are free and all are cheap. He is a superb writer, very entertaining, and is a strong libertarian. He is also a religious individual, so that directs some of his writing quite strongly, but it actually enhances his work. He does not proselytize or beat a drum, merely informs some of his stories with strong Christian values and a connection to Judeo-Christian morality and philosophy.  I speak as a moral atheist who does not believe (by definition) in G-d or any "Supreme Being". Porretto's religious leanings add nicely to his stories when he displays them.

[Be advised, he is not a prude, however. His collection "A Dash of Spice" is quite erotic, done in a nice way. Perhaps not what you want your twelve-year-old to be reading, but it wouldn't be harmful if he or she stumbled across it.]

OK. This is all in service of an essay written by Fred Reed at Fred On Everything called, "A Culture in Regression". It is an excellent look at the state of our society today, with its trivialization of those things which are/were important, replaced by "social networking", immediate gratification, and a loss of manners, consideration, and true civility (not the pretend "civility" of the liberals, which is actually their insistence on censorship of anything they don't want you to say). The sorry state of education, and the fact that - if you really want to spare your children a lot of agony and wasted time (not to mention keep them from being twisted into little "progressive clones") - home schooling is almost mandatory for parents who wish to have children who are not the barbarians so many of them are these days. At one point he says,

 "If you correct a high-school teacher's grammar, she will accuse you of stultifying creativity, of racism, of insensitiviy. If you reply that had you wanted your children brought up as baboons, you would have bought baboons in the first place, she will be offended.

Home-schooling, it seems to me, becomes a towering social responsibility. I have actually seen a teacher saying that parents should not let children learn to read before they reach school. You see, it would put them out of synch with the mammalian larvae that children are now made to be. Bright children not only face enstupiation and hideous boredom in schools taught by complacent imbeciles. No. They are also encouraged to believe that stupidity is a moral imperative.

Once they begin reading a few years ahead of their grade, which commonly is at once, school becomes an obstacle to advancement. This is especially true for the very bright. To put a kid with an IQ of 150 in the same room with a barely literate affirmative-action hire clocking 85 is child abuse."

This is so true it almost beggars the imagination. The complaint I have so often heard mentioned, that children home-schooled will lack "socialization" is absurd. Would you want your children to become socialized to pre-teen sex and drug abuse? To learn how to suck up to the most popular children in their school, willing to submit to any misbehavior or indignity in order to belong, to fit in? To be willing to beat up children who don't fit the "norm" of the group they have attached themselves to?

Fred goes on to say,

"In an age of blinkered specializaton perhaps we should revive the idea of the Renaissance man. Today the phrase is quaint and almost condescending (though how do you condescend up?), arousing the mild admiration one has for a dancing dog. A time was when the cultivated could play an instrument, paint, knew something of mathematics and much of languages, traveled, could locate France, attended the opera and knew what they were attending. They wrote clearly and elegantly, this being a mark of civilization. I think of Benvenuto Cellini, born 1500, superb sculptor, professional musician, linguist, elegant writer, and good with a sword.

If there is any refuge, it is the internet. Let us make the most of it."

I have an ex-brother-in-law (thankfully for him - my sister is a total bitch) who is a modern-day Renaissance man. He was in the small group that left Xerox to start up Adobe. A software engineer with post-doctoral work in mathematics, a superb chef who demonstrates during some of the culinary conferences at the Awahnee Hotel in Yellowstone, a man who sings and plays musical instruments, does fine woodworking including furniture, builds houses for Habitat For Humanity, is very well read and quite funny. (Dr. Richard Sweet is an extremely nice man who deserved so much more than to be deceived into marrying my gold-digging, money-grubbing sister.) He is a complete gentleman, and although I don't believe he has ever wielded a sword, I would gladly have taken him in hand and introduced him to the fine art of gunnery if our friendship had been able to withstand the damage done by my sibling.

Read all of Fred's little essay, and understand that our culture truly is in decline. Short of a full sea-change in the direction we have taken (including the firing of all the socialist drones currently infesting our educational system right now, which will never happen), I am afraid we will not recover. The best we can do is attempt to better-equip our children via home schooling and teaching them the moral qualities that were once prevalent in our society. Instilling an appreciation for good manners, consideration of others, and a good work ethic - along with a hunger for the written word - will serve them well. Teach them to shoot and be able to defend themselves, and they may prosper even in these times.

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Sorry, folks. I was completely ignorant about comment rules. Anyone can post, but I'd prefer a name, even if it is made up. Anonymous posts just seem cheap, if you know what I mean. Also, if you want to argue a point, that's fine. Cheap shots and name calling towards me or another person commenting (ad hominem) is rude and will get you banned. Other than that, I'd love to get some comments.