I was in a local supermarket where my tab came to $8.83. I handed the cashier–a 15-year-old high girl who will be in tenth grade when school re-opens–a twenty. Then reached into my pocket and pulled out eighty three cents. “I don’t know how much change to give now,” she told me. “I already got a total before you handed me the extra money.” “You can’t do $20.83 minus $8.83 without using the register as a calculator?” I asked. “No,” she replied. “We always use calculators in school…”
No doubt this scenario occurs thousands of times a day across the country. I bring it up, not to belittle the girl, but as indictment of those who took the finest public school system in the world and “innovated” it into the ground–which is exactly what is evidenced by a high school sophomore who can’t subtract simple round numbers in her head.
I bring this up because we have an economy being assaulted by the very same “progressive innovators” who find it perfectly acceptable to have denied generations of Americans fundamental economic skills. And that assault becomes substantially easier if people lack the capacity to add or subtract simple numbers–meaning they can’t possibly comprehend trillion dollar deficits, earmarks, interest rates, runaway inflation, etc.,etc.
Unfortunately, I strongly suspect such fundamental deficiencies aren’t limited to mathematics, which leads one to a disturbing question: how many younger generations of Americans lack even the most basic skills in other subjects–most notably critical thinking?
For most of my life I’ve assumed that most kids who graduated high school had certain benchmark understandings of American life, laws, culture, tradition, etc. What cultural reality suggests nowadays is a lot of heads with little more going on in them than figuring out where the next narcissistic moment of self-gratification comes from.
And I’m virtually certain that the ruling elites like it that way.
Cap-and-trade will kill the economy? Tell the suckers we’re “saving the planet.” Don’t think illegal aliens are entitled to live here? Call them “undocumented workers” and tell the dimwits it’s racist or xenophobic (look it up, public school graduates) to resist. Government-run healthcare will destroy the best system in the world? Tell our “best and brightest” it’s “free.”
When I wrote about education for a NY newspaper, I would always get the letters insisting that the dumbing down of our public schools was a “conspiracy” to make more Americans dependent on “others,” aka government, to do their thinking for them. I dismissed such theories and attributed the dismal state of our schools to ineptitude, as opposed to some Machiavellian scheme hatched by progressives.
Ironically, it doesn’t matter if either scenario, or any other, is correct. The bottom line is that we have a lot of two-plus-two-equals-I-don’t-know-what Americans who are infatuated with “change”–even when they can’t make change without the help of a calculator. Such does not bode well for preserving a democratic republic or free enterprise.
You can’t defend what you can’t comprehend–and don’t think for a second that a lot of people in Washington D.C. aren’t “counting” on that.
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