Thomas Sowell: “Artificial stupidity” and the destruction of civilization

Thomas Sowell has a lot of good things to say. This is one of them:

Ours may become the first civilization destroyed, not by the power of our enemies, but by the ignorance of our teachers and the dangerous nonsense they are teaching our children. In an age of artificial intelligence, they are creating artificial stupidity. - Thomas Sowell

A Facebook friend adds – accurately, in my opinion:

“If you are a teacher, this is on you. You may protest you are a great teacher, most do, but in fact, if you teach the drivel that public school systems dictate, then you are no more than a parrot for an evil scheme to make our children stupid enough to want to be subjects when you could be teaching them to be citizens.”

Yep. That’s one of the reasons I am not a public school teacher, despite the economic security that would give me (so long, of course, as I kept a low profile and watched what I said). But unfortunately, despite many excellent teachers – and not a few fine schools – contemporary public education is a big part of the problem.

It may be very good (usually, with some notable exceptions) at delivering its content in an effective and engaging manner. It is the content itself that is the difficulty!

Alexandria Keyes Suspended for Posing With Gun on Snapchat | Pluralist

High School Suspends Teen Girl for Posting ‘Innocent’ Photo Where She’s Holding a Gun

Endeavor Academy, located in Centennial, told Fox 31 their decision to suspend 17-year-old Alexandria Keyes stemmed from concerns over “safety.”

Source: Alexandria Keyes Suspended for Posing With Gun on Snapchat

If there was any doubt that the lunatics are running the asylum:

“According to the school, social media posts made by Keyes ‘concerned the school community and resulted in multiple parents keeping their kids home from school out of concern for safety.'”

Seriously??? This is saying something unflattering (to put it gently), not about Keyes, but about the snowflake “multiple parents” in question. Aside from this specific incident – where she was posing with her brother, a U.S. Army veteran –

“Keyes and her mother, Kelley McCollum, told Reason they believe the other posts the school references are from much earlier in the year. Eight months ago, Keyes posted a video and picture to Snapchat showing her shooting at a local gun club.”

Quelle horreure! How terrifying, that a 17-year-old should be shooting, at a shooting range, with her family. GAH!!! The stupid… it burns!!! The idiocy of these people is surreal.

“Keyes says she never intended to threaten anyone with the posts and that visiting the shooting range is something she does often with her mom and brother.”

Good family time, doing something with what the late great Aldo Leopold, called “the father of modern conservation,” would have called “split-rail value”: any activity that reminds us of our distinctive national origins and evolution. Shooting sports / recreational firearms use are among these activities.

Her mother, Kelley McCollum, is understandably outraged by the lunacy, according to the linked post, and reports that

“McCollum told Reason her daughter is scared to go back to school once her suspension ends on Friday because she’s ‘getting death threats, hate mail, and [negative] comments on her [S]napchat.'”

Think about that, please, for a moment.

This young lady, whose legal recreational firearm use – outside school hours and far away from school grounds – supposedly caused parents to keep their kids home from school out of concern for safety, is getting death threats.

Just who, here, is the threat to safety? NOT Miss Keyes, that’s for sure!

How long, O Lord – how long???

Special Snowflake Award 2nd Class
For all those parents out there (and students, too), who felt that their safety was threatened by a young lady exercising her Second Amendment rights, on her own time, in a safe location, and daring to post about it. And of course, the school administration, which REALLY should have known better (they missed a “teachable moment”). As Bill Engvall might say, “Here’s your sign!”

 

“Biology is not bigotry”: teacher blasts bill that would force teachers to receive LGBT “training”

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An elementary school teacher packed a powerful punch in a two-minute testimony last month against a proposed law that would require teachers to affirm homosexual, lesbian, and transgender students.

Source: ‘Biology is not bigotry’: teacher blasts bill that would force teachers to receive LGBT ‘training’ | The Pulse | Lifesitenews

One of the most basic principles of my philosophy on living has been and remains this: if you don’t bother me, I won’t bother you; but your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

With regard to this specific issue, that means that what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home(s) is their business, unless they make it my business: either by requesting my personal or professional (as a Christian clergyman) opinion on the matter, or more generally, by insisting that I “affirm” or even “celebrate” their life choices. That’s when the fist impacts the nasal structure. Continue reading ““Biology is not bigotry”: teacher blasts bill that would force teachers to receive LGBT “training””

“Churches could win back teens like me if they were more welcoming and less judgmental” | USA Today

Stacia Datskovska in New York City on July 24, 2019.

“Church should offer more open-ended resources such as meditation, discussion groups and even nature walks. Let teens come to God in their own way.” Stacia Datskovska, Opinion contributor: USA Today

Source: Churches could win back teens like me if they were more welcoming and less judgmental | USA Today

As I read this essay, I am reminded of the introduction to C.S. Lewis’ essay, “Priestesses in the Church”:

“I should like Balls infinitely better,” said Caroline Bingley, “if they were carried on in a different manner … It would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dancing made the order of the day.”

“Much more rational, I dare say,” replied her brother, “but it would not be near so much like a Ball.”

I am not defending the gratuitous self-righteousness of the woman with whose example this young woman opens her essay; lack of charity is never excusable.

But when Miss Datskovska jumps from the unkind words of an unpleasant person to generalize, “many Christian denominations are too deeply rooted in tradition. Whatever this ‘tradition’ comes dressed as, we find it a turnoff,” she is basically saying “I should like church much better if it were less like a church.” Continue reading ““Churches could win back teens like me if they were more welcoming and less judgmental” | USA Today”

“Imagine a world that is clean…” – on traditional courtship and dating, by Professor Anthony Esolen

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The Sailing Signal Gun, 1880-1881 – by Arthur Hughes

Source: Is Traditional Courtship Really “Unrealistic” Today? | Crisis Magazine

From the inimitable Tony Esolen:

“Imagine a world that is clean, insofar as a world of fallen human beings is ever going to be so. Imagine then that a boy’s heart would beat a hundred times a minute just at the thought that he might hold the hand of the beautiful girl whom he admires so much – because she is kind and good and merry.

“Imagine that they have walked aside from a feast at their parish church, to watch the herons wading in the river to catch their fish, and the sun is deepening to orange in the west, and the sounds of children playing come to their ears from far away. Imagine that she too can hardly think of anything else but his presence, and that she is hoping that he will take her hand, though she is a little shy of it.

“Imagine that that they sit on a bench, and when they run out of things to say, he places his hand upon hers. And they sit like that for a long while…

“That boy and girl I have described will remember that moment for the rest of their lives, whether or not they end up marrying one another. It will be a memory filled with the sweetness and the innocence and the promise of youth.

“It will be a moment without guilt, or shame, or, God forbid, the remembered fear that they might have made a child, one that they were not in the slightest bit ready to care for, and one whose life would be at grave danger as soon as he were conceived. They could stand before God and man without anything for which to apologize.”

Just gonna leave this here…

P.S. Read the whole essay. It’s worth it.

Why Don’t Schools Teach Children Morality and Empathy? | The Atlantic

The pressures of national academic standards have pushed character education out of the classroom.

Source: Why Don’t Schools Teach Children Morality and Empathy? – The Atlantic

“By omission, are U.S. schools teaching their students that character, morality, and ethics aren’t important in becoming productive, successful citizens?”

Most of my reader would at once answer some variation on “sadly, yes” – and we can see many of the bitter fruits of this in our society – but the fact that the question is even being asked is significant. You know the situation is bad when a mainstream, Left-leaning journal like The Atlantic is wondering whether we’re doing a poor job of teaching character, ethics, and morality to our students!

Granted, that is a job that is best done by parents and church, not schools. But like many other once-common life skills (I’m thinking of things like gardening, the use of simple tools, and home economics), ethics, morality, and character are things that many contemporary parents are ill-equipped to teach their sons and daughters, because they’re not too well-versed in them, themselves.

Despite the old tongue-in-cheek adage that “those who can’t do, teach,” you can’t teach what you don’t know, yourself.

What is interesting (though not surprising) to me is that students are hungry for such instruction, or at least discussion and guided exploration:

“‘Do you think you should discuss morality and ethics more often in school?’ I asked the class. The vast majority of heads nodded in agreement. Engaging in this type of discourse, it seemed, was a mostly foreign concept for the kids… As my students seemed to crave more meaningful discussions and instruction relating to character, morality, and ethics, it struck me how invisible these issues have become in many schools.”

This is indicative of an abject failure in our educational system. In an earlier and wiser age, the formation of students into not only good citizens, but good persons, was a primary – perhaps the primary – function of schooling. There may not have been a formal class called “ethics,” but moral lesson permeated the academic ones.

Duty to God and country, respect for duly-constituted authority, and compassion towards others were part of the curriculum: from the Pledge of Allegiance and Lord’s Prayer in the morning, through “reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmatic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick,” throughout the day. Stories (and poems, which tend to be especially memorable) selected for reading, reciting, and expostulating upon in various forms invariably carried a moral message.

That was already starting to go away by the time I got into school, in the early 1970s, and the trend has only accelerated.

Unfortunately, some of what it has been replaced by has been of questionable merit – the starkly utilitarian teaching-to-the-test of “No Child Left Behind,” and its successor, “Common Core” (as the linked essay describes) – or even frankly morally vicious, as in the moral relativism and intentional sidelining of traditional morality that has become the dominant ethos in the contemporary educational establishment over the last four or five decades.

We didn’t get where we are now overnight, and we won’t get back to a place of greater sanity overnight, either; but if reflections like the linked essay can be published in “mainstream” media outlets like The Atlantic, that at least gives some grounds for hope that pendulum may be starting, however slowly, to swing back. God grant it! It needs to.

Harvard Study Reveals Religious Upbringing Better for Kids’ Health, Well-Being | The Stream

A Harvard study reveals that children who had a religious upbringing will likely be healthier and have a higher degree of well-being in early adulthood.

Source: Harvard Study Reveals Religious Upbringing Better for Kids’ Health, Well-Being | The Stream

While this is no surprise to me, or probably to most of those who read this blog, what is most saddening is that it probably does come as a surprise to many in the wider culture.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

— Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)