A reign of stupidity 10

Nothing new, stupidity in power. More the general rule than the rare exception.

Think of the First World War. A greater blood-letting than the human race had ever achieved before in all our blood-stained history. Death the only victor. Virtually a whole generation of young men wiped out. Why? For what? To gratify the vanity of a bunch of stupid monarchs. Stupid, vain monarchs and the leaders of a couple of stupidly governed republics.

But their stupidity was not deliberate. Not chosen as a preference over wisdom. Never until now have governments decided that stupidity is a chief qualification for high office. 

But now it is, in America.

Now, in America, under a leftist Democrat federal government – the stupidest government the republic has ever had with a doofus gone senile for a president, a cackling fool for a vice president, a childishly vindictive harpy for speaker of the House, all supported by mass media staffed with parrots and toadies – generations are being raised to be ignorant and dumb. Illiteracy and innumeracy will be conditions of honor; ability, talent, mastery, mere proofs of “white privilege” and “white supremacist” ambition.

Joel Kotkin writes at the American Mind on the intentional stupidifying of Americans:

Our educational deficit with other countries, notably China, particularly in the acquisition of practical skills in mathematics, engineering medical technology, and management, has grown, threatening our economic and political pre-eminence. Our competitors … are focused on economic competition and technological supremacy. In math, the OECD’s 2018 Program for International Student Assessment found the United States was outperformed by 36 countries, [including] not only China, but also Russia, Italy, France, Finland, Poland, and Canada.

Only 5 percent of American college students major in engineering, compared with 33 percent in China; as of 2016, China graduated 4.7 million STEM students versus 568,000 in the United States, as well as six times as many students with engineering and computer science bachelor’s degrees.

“In the U.S., you could have a meeting of tooling engineers and I’m not sure we could fill the room. In China, you could fill multiple football fields,” Apple CEO Tim Cook has observed …

The skills shortage may be even more profound on the factory floor. Due to an aging workforce, as many as 600,000 new manufacturing jobs expected to be generated this decade cannot be filled. The percentage of the skilled manufacturing work force over the age of 55 has doubled in the last 10 years to 20 percent of active workers. And there is no deep bench of talent waiting to replace retirees—50 percent of the active workers are above the age of 45. The current shortage of welders, now 240,000, could grow to 340,000 by 2024. Manufacturing employment is expanding more rapidly than in almost four decades but there are an estimated 500,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled right now.

To maintain our factories, offices, and laboratories, America needs more rigorous training, not less, and greater emphasis on skills and the ethic of work.

But more rigorous training, an emphasis on skills, an ethic of work are not on the schedule of those who make the big decisions. The Democrats in power believe – have always believed since their slave-owning days, their Ku Klux Klan days, their days of Jim Crow laws – that Blacks are intellectually inferior to Whites. In recent decades, still looking down on Blacks but opting to be charitable to them rather than cruel as of old, they have insisted that Blacks must be given special concessions, special advantages, to help them compete with Whites. And now they are going much further in their folly. Blacks can’t compete in exams, they say, so abolish exams. Further still: Whites and Asians must be handicapped so that Blacks can surpass them in academic achievement and governmental power. For Blacks to be elevated, Whites must be brought down. Blacks must be honored as eternal victims; Whites execrated as eternal oppressors.

That lie, that racist lie, is what Democrats insist they must be taught. That false and perilous belief – not literacy, not numeracy, not the acquisition of skills – is, they say, the business of education, from first grade to college.

They call it Critical Race Theory.

Kotkin deplores the effects of it:

Critical Race Theory is re-enforcing, and enhancing, a long-developing pattern of educational failure ever more evident.

The current educational philosophy has purposely downplayed the acquisition of skills by scrapping such things as exit exams, or clearly comparable measures of achievement. …

Critical Race Theory and its growing chorus of implementers—from the highest reaches  of academia down to the grade school level—have little use for practical skills acquisition and brook little dissent from teachers and researchers who raise objections to the new curriculum of racial grievance. ‘Woke” educators, like San Francisco’s School board member Alison Collins, claim that meritocracy [is an] essentially racist system. Some denounce habits of punctuality, rationality, and hard work as reflective of racism and white privilege.

In a world where brainpower pushes the economy, the denigration of [such] habits of mind can only further weaken our economic future and undermine republican institutions. Even though the vast majority of corporate executives perceive a growing skills gap, they have failed to stop educators from abandoning skills in favor of ever greater emphasis on race and gender. …

The new educational mandarins, increasingly strident and increasingly influential, have little use for our [cultural] inheritance, which they consider little more than a screen for racists and misogynists. The Western classics, no longer celebrated, are at best fodder for deconstruction. Yale English majors no longer have to study Shakespeare or Chaucer, while you can get a classics degree at Princeton without learning Greek or Latin.

For years, humanities have been molded by post-modernist ideology, but now even the sciences are becoming, as in Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China, politicized. One would think the tech oligarchs at least would advocate for a well-educated domestic technical workforce. But secure in their wealth and power, the new hegemons feel little fealty to traditional ideas about competition and merit; some, including Bill Gates, openly support groups that promote the idea that science and math are themselves racist for focusing on grades and performance. A new Canadian math curriculum stresses the way in which [math] works “to normalize racism and marginalization of non-Eurocentric mathematical knowledges”

So now there is not knowledge, a pool of learning common to all humankind, but race-differentiated “knowledges”, all equal in value.

The goal is to “decolonialize” math, which is ironic, to say the least, given the huge role of Indian and Arabs in generating the symbols and concepts critical to the understanding of numbers.

Rather than science based on evidence and argument, we now get something closer to Science as Revealed Religion [most notably] on issues like the pandemic and climate change.

Government and their allies in the oligarchy, the media, and academia … have transformed science into fallacies that turn unsupported assertions into “accepted truths”.

As the concepts of objectivity, debate, and merit decline, even talent is now seen as yet another “social construct” of our “corrupt society”. Asian parents have to fight off attempts to eliminate merit for admission to elite high schools

The pushback against the war on merit won’t come from the craven masters of Wall Street or Silicon Valley but from the grassroots, operators of small businesses, new and old, and most importantly, from parents. Most American voters—by wide margins—reject the notion of teaching Critical Race Theory in schools, even though the effort is supported by most Democrats, the powerful teachers’ unions … and the White House. 

Without knowledgeable, motivated, and skilled workers, America’s future will be dismal. … Merit has to be restored …

Has to be, yes. But will be? When? How?