Of Infrastructure, Generations, School, and Families

What could those four, seemingly unrelated things have to do with each other sufficient to make a single blog post combining all of them?

I received an email this morning containing a copy of an article written and published last October 2019 by Victor Davis Hanson that makes several salient points and asks a couple of pointed questions.

For those who wish to read it in it’s entirety, Mr. Hanson’s full article can be found at the Washington Times here: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/oct/9/previous-generations-of-fearless-pioneers-now-seem/

In brief, he points out that previous generations of Americans built massive transcontinental transportation systems and other massive public works in less time than it now takes to procure the permits to even attempt much smaller projects, and those smaller projects often end in partially completed “monuments” that are never finished due to cost overruns and other problems. One of the examples he cites is California’s planned/stalled/failed high speed rail system. Another is the earthquake damaged 1/4 of the San Francisco Bay Bridge which took 11 years to repair versus the entire bridge from conception to completion being accomplished in six years 82 years ago.

Moving on to Hollywood, he says, “Hollywood once gave us blockbuster epics, brilliant westerns, great film noirs, and classic comedies. Now it endlessly turns out comic-book superhero films or pathetic remakes of prior classics.”

He similarly skewers several other sectors of today’s society, then partially redeems himself by complimenting social media.

His final parting shots are thus:

“Our ancestors were builders and pioneers and mostly fearless. We are regulators, auditors, bureaucrats, adjudicators, censors, critics, plaintiffs, defendants, social media junkies and thin-skinned scolds. A distant generation created; we mostly delay, idle and gripe.

‘As we walk amid the refuse, needles and excrement of the sidewalks of our fetid cities; as we sit motionless on our jammed ancient freeways; and as we shout on Twitter and electronically whine in the porticos of our Ivy League campuses, will we ask: “Who were these people who left these strange monuments that we use but can neither emulate nor understand?”‘

To Mr. Hanson, and anyone else who cares to read and consider, I have a few thoughts to share.

Asking the questions the article does requires analytical thought, something which is no longer taught or encouraged in today’s schools.

The school standard now is regurgitation rather than analysis.

When was the last time public school children had to learn the rules of grammar and how to diagram a sentence? Or the rules of phonetics so they can both learn new words and spell words they’ve never heard of? No, those grammar and phonetics rules are too difficult for today’s children so they get a tiny smattering of them and are then taught to read primarily by sight & memorize how to spell – aided by computer spell checkers. Shoot! Most of today’s teachers don’t even know most, if any, of the rules and were themselves taught that the rules are too confusing because there are too many exceptions, so how could they be expected to teach them? And the concept of there being rules to govern the exceptions is impossible for them to comprehend!

Creativity is neither encouraged nor tolerated in most public school classrooms. From kindergarten on the children are taught to stay within the lines in everything from drawing/art to literature to science (global warming anyone?) with zero tolerance for those who would question the accepted “facts” (Galileo today would be treated just as badly or worse than he was in his own day) or create something new and different, unless it consumes electricity or fuel. For example, what transportation has been invented in the last 50 years rather than simply being re-designed to look better or go faster?

Our society is one of bureaucrats whose job permanence requires creating endless rules and regulations not dreamers (no relation to illegal immigrants), consumers of disposables not producers of durables, selfish takers who believe the socialist/communist lie regarding wealth redistribution rather than honest, charitable workers who sincerely give every day and every job their very best efforts.

There are, of course, exceptions, but it is sadly our generation that has produced this deplorable state by trying to give our children everything we never had from cheap manufactured toys and closets bursting with cheap fashionable clothing (that might last a year) to cars complete with gas & insurance for 16th birthdays to college educations for all – often paid for by mom & dad taking out a second mortgage to put a spoiled and immature child through school rather than making them work and earn their own way and become adults in the process.

WE have created a society that requires more and more formal “education” to get even a menial job, and the spoiled children we raised would rather collect unemployment and welfare than work at menial jobs so those jobs go to immigrants who are willing to get their hands dirty and come home at night covered in sweat and grime.

Whatever happened to children who played outside with nothing but what nature provided as toys?

Whatever happened to children who spent rainy days inside reading classical literature rather than watching inane mind-numbing cartoons or playing video games?

Whatever happened to mothers who sewed their children’s clothing, and taught their sons and daughters how to sew on buttons, mend, and patch to make things last?

Whatever happened to clothing made of durable fabric that could actually be handed down through SEVERAL FAMILIES rather than being tossed into the garbage before a single child has outgrown them or into the (now non-existent) rag bag? Now we even have to buy rags because the fabric our clothing is made from is so thin and… disposable!!!

Whatever happened to nutritious, home-cooked family meals planned and prepared by mom and children in the kitchen where the children were taught not only how to cook, but also how to plan nutritious meals on a budget, and preserve food to get the family through hard times?

While we’re on the subject, whatever happened to homes with large pantries to store enough food to get the family through at least a year from harvest to harvest, to say nothing of times when the harvest doesn’t come in or the breadwinner is unable to work?

Whatever happened to families spending time together in the evenings reading good books as a family or playing games that don’t require electricity?

No Mr. Hanson, I lay about 90% of the blame for the stylish, selfish, lazy brain-dead sheep who used to be our children at our own feet. I won’t say 100% because I was a mother who did the teaching, yet I still have a couple of children who have embraced the phony gimme socialist ideals in spite of the training and education they received from me.

The promise of something for nothing is a powerful, even compelling, deception.

So, what is the answer to all of this?

Somehow, we must start over.

We must return to families spending time together, talking, teaching, sharing, having fun as families, without the “assistance” of electronic gadgetry or fuel guzzling toys.

We must return to mothers who consider it a privilege to stay home and teach their children how to be good citizens, good producers, good budgeters, wise consumers, and generally good human beings.

We must return to teachers who actually teach and encourage children to think for themselves, and that includes encouraging the children who analyze information and come up with different answers than what the rest of the class comes up with, or what the teacher wants to hear.

We must once again begin to teach our children that REAL tolerance means accepting and respecting people whose opinions are completely opposite our own, and that the color of one’s skin has no bearing on worth or race. Truly, we are all members of the same race – the HUMAN race.

 

Comments are welcome, but are moderated. Foul language and/or belittling of other opinions will be deleted without anyone seeing them but me, and, to quote a great leader of the past, scurrilous comments will be read only so far as to know they are scurrilous before being tossed into the trash. On the other hand, if you think there is something of merit to this, please share.

 

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