One of my favorite sayings is, “Intelligence is a constant, the population is growing.” If I knew to whom I should attribute this piece of wisdom I would attribute it accordingly, but sadly I don’t.
The more I deal with the public at large I hate to say it but the more misanthropic, cynical and sarcastic I get toward the state of humanity. If I recall correctly back in the day either people weren’t so bloody stupid or maybe I was less observant. Perhaps my perception includes a bit of both factors: more stupidity and I have a heightened sensitivity to it.
I won’t necessarily blame public education- the state of the educational system was rather dismal even back in the 80’s. Ah, the Big 80’s, when everyone was getting laid but me, and when I was drawing on my notebooks to stay awake through classes taught by former draft-dodgers who spent their college years tuned out and still tripping on LSD. You could always tell who the former draft-dodgers were. Usually their clothing was about ten years out of style, and they always had long hair and/or badly groomed facial hair. Any dude wearing a leisure suit after 1980 or thereabouts was a dead giveaway, especially dudes wearing said leisure suits with white tube socks and brown shoes. They were the ones who would ask me to write or spell words on the board or better yet, who would sit behind the desk and read the chapter in a sullen monotone in lieu of actually teaching a lesson. Some of my best artwork came out of those classes.
I can spot a slacker a mile away largely because I perfected the art of slacking in high school. It is regrettable but true that I really only studied for the math classes I abhorred. I never had the mindset for higher math and frankly I am glad I don’t encounter very much algebra or geometry in day to day life. In every other subject I got exemplary grades for doing nothing more than doing the assigned work (usually in class) and taking the tests. This left me with a lot of fart off time- usually consumed by drawing, reading according to my personal interests, and hanging out with the few friends I had- the ones who hung out with me because I had a car and they didn’t.
Not all of my teachers were draft dodgers, thankfully, but you could tell the ones that were. Most of the draft dodgers had taken education in college because it was one of the easiest courses to pass, and these guys obviously were not rocket scientists. Most of these guys, if not for the threat of getting their heads blown off or worse in Vietnam, would have never set foot in a college and would have been quite fine with beccming roofers or factory workers.
There was also a phenomenon during the Vietnam years where college courses were intentionally dumbed-down by academic anti-war activists, so if a person could pay the tuition and show up they could pass. Presumably the mindset was if the courses were painfully easy, fewer people would flunk out and more people would avoid the draft.
The problem is that the dumbing-down never stopped.
One of my major complaints about higher education is that such institutions seem to care more about the money than the education. Some universities seem to care more about their freaking sports programs than whether or not their students are literate. I believe anyone with enough money and enough persistence to slog through the system can acquire any degree they want whether they have the actual intellect and ability to earn it or not. I know too many educated idiots- people who have very expensive pieces of paper but absolutely no common sense or critical thinking ability.
Stupidity observes the trickle-down effect. When the nation’s higher learning institutions are churning out “graduates” who would be doing good to operate a roll of toilet paper, why do we expect children to actually learn anything worthwhile in school? I’m sure that kids are learning all about Jennifer’s two mommies, and how you mustn’t talk about what you learned in Sunday School in class ’cause you might offend the Muslim kid, and how global warming is going to kill all the forest animals. I wonder if they are learning anything practical, such as how to make change- or how to read and study the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
I am surprised Steve-o escaped the public education system remarkably anti PC. Then again, he has a brain, and he was lucky enough to have a few teachers who are a part of the conservative underground. I know I had some excellent teachers as well but I am sure today the really good teachers are discouraged. There is no way on planet Earth that I could endure the crap that teachers have to take and I know I could not knowingly pass on the lies that they are required to teach. I know that if I had to deal with kids I would have to have the authority to enforce rules up to and including corporal punishment, and there is no way I could put aside my conscience to teach concepts I know are just plain morally wrong.
I don’t think the educational system would ever have gotten to such a sorry state if parents actually gave a rat’s ass regarding what their kids learn. Sometimes what kids learn in school is dead wrong. How many parents challenge that? How many parents give their kids the correct information and how many parents fill in the blanks? From what I see, not too many.
I am glad that I have spent so much time in independent learning even though no university will give me a high dollar piece of paper for the knowledge I have gleaned. Admittedly I don’t know nearly as much as I would like to, and there is no end to the learning going on in the School of the Burned Hand.