On Tuesday this column quoted The Dispatch writer Chris Stirewalt as to the vast imbecility, by way of the education system, of American culture today. Adding on, I went so far as comparing it to the film “Idiocracy”, the reality of it set now, not 500 years in the future. And I posed a question at the end of the piece: Can anything be done about it?
Time, if a renaissance is to come, will be the essential engine of a rebirth of high culture and intellectual curiosity. No, I’m not advocating a return to the Baroque era or The Enlightenment, if only. Merely to the American cultural, not necessarily political, apogee of the early 1960s, before the counterculture became the culture. Perhaps even a bit earlier. The 1950s may be a place to start. It was a time, a decade before Lyndon Johnson crippled America with his Great Society, of The Reasonable Society.
What I mean is that during that period reasonable adults of most views could come together and run government and the society without giving in to the passions of the moment, without, as today, giving credence to the crazies.
If we look at today’s political alignment there may be 30 percent on each side who are rational adults. The rest is filled with frothing cretins who turn their emotions into politics. These people must be culturally, not politically, suppressed. But how? As Stirewalt notes, the problem stems from education. So we must start there. What we need to do is to make the society much more elitist. Not in the sense of money or breeding, but in merit. A good way to begin the process is to make it a lot harder to get into college.
Basic logic says if there’s too much of something it drives value down. So it is with American higher education. The diploma mills that pass for learning in this nation are putting out, and have been for decades, the imbeciles Stirewalt notes. If there was a consensus to raise college entrance requirements, then those who wanted to pursue a profession requiring a college degree would have to work harder for it. The process would cull the fools and instead direct students who are looking for viable employment, not necessarily a degree, to a junior college or votech institution where the jobs could be found without the needless expense and debt of a useless college degree.
But since those degrees are big money to American higher education, they will continue to be pushed out like so many factory widgets. By ending that travesty we could possibly put a dent in the mediocrities of the culture and advance from there. But how and to where? We’ll cover that tomorrow, in the last installment of this three-part series: The Reasonable Society-The Details.