Friday, July 13, 2012
Rebuttals, Round 2
A bad movie because it understated their accomplishment. They
didn't always get the privilege of arguing what they believed.
LAKE. I LOVE HIM TOO. Don't blame Lake if his rebuttal doesn't appear till Monday. I have family stuff to do. The Emotional Weather Report is severe around here at the moment. We'll get through it fine, but there's stuff to do.
My opponent has missed my principal point. I began with the "how," (education) and ended with the "what," (a new aristocracy of government and media that rules a new permanent class of dependents). He focused on the "how" and created an attractive distraction consisting largely of platitudes. His stair-step ridicule of the possibility that one generation can be lesser than another appeals to our general optimism. He conceives of the Internet as the Great Escape for all the victims of the public school system. Somehow, miraculously, they will reassemble all the missing bits and school themselves into a great new age of creativity and competitiveness. My noticing that they have none of the tools to effect this miracle makes me Clint Eastwood ordering people off his lawn.
But if they have not been taught how to write, how to think, how to do math and understand statistics, if they have been coddled and rewarded for just being there, if they have so little curiosity that their response to every challenging question is "Whatever" and their most frequent complaint is how bored they are and how boring everything is, if they cruise the main byways of their towns without realizing that anything was ever any different from the row of fast food joints they see -- or more interesting -- if they have no grand sense of the continuum of time and human history that brought mankind from the caves to the technocratic present, they are become the Gammas of Huxley's Brave New World. They have no place in their unformed minds to file the new information they are being exposed to. Their highest aspiration can take them no higher than a winning play at Trivial Pursuit. Without the context of systematic early education in the basics, they're done.
How will their internet wanderings take them from Facebook and Twitter to Bastiat or Franklin? And even if they stumble upon them, how will they relate that to a life in which they text their every meal and mall adventure without even being able to name the current vice president of the United States?
I want to say this as tactfully as possible. All of my opponent's examples of positive indicators about today's youth come from a school that is training the new aristocracy destined to crush us.
Crush us? Indeed. Look at the real figures about job growth, unemployment, and where the people are going who fall out of the unemployment statistics. New jobs are being outstripped (a lot) by people who are applying for disability. New claims for unemployment are still significantly larger than new jobs, even though the MSM won't report it in such stark terms. But the people who are no longer unemployed because they are "disabled" are disabled forever.
We are less than one more presidential term away from a dependent majority that our new aristocratic ruling class (government pay and benefits now significantly exceed private sector compensation on average) will be only too happy to placate with more and more handouts.
In his last rebuttal, my opponent supplied the "how" and "what" of despair, the transformation of the young generation into Gammas by the destruction of the educational system. In this one, I'll respond with the "when" of hope. You see, the grim picture that he paints surely leads to a dark chapter of America's story, but not the end. America rolls, and it will roll through this dark time again, as it has throughout its scarred history.
All along, I've been arguing that this is a generational debate. Older generations always want their progeny to have it better than they had it, and the new generation always reacts. This happens in a cycle, one that I'm sure you've seen or experienced yourself. The grandfather works hard, makes the money, builds the family fortune, and is respected in the community. The father grows up wealthy, coddled, and protected, lives a better life than his father had but never develops quite the same character. And the son? He's in prison. His act of rebellion is to lash out against his father's character weaknesses, the guy who didn't really ever raise him. He becomes the ne'er do well son of negligent parents, and that's the end of the story. Right?
No. Out of the ashes comes a new generation. Their rebellion is against the ruined lives of their families. They have to work as hard as their great grandparents, make themselves out of nothing, earn everything they get to spite their predecessors. Out of nothing, something, fiery and determined. Sound familiar? It's exactly the story of the Punks of the Boomer Bible. Written by you know who. And it was MY spark of hope. It'll take more than some vapid, misbehaving Y-Gen Gammas to snuff that out.
When will this new generation of thinkers, writers, readers, historians, artists, and real scientists arise? The answer is simple: when it gets bad enough. If you think things are bad now, hold on to your hats... but don't despair. A second Obama term may be the historically perfect ordeal that catalyzes a new greatest generation, the one that refuses to quit. America rolls, and it will roll into another cycle, count on it.
As to my opponent's question: "How will their internet wanderings take them from Facebook and Twitter to Bastiat or Franklin?" They won't, not directly, but these sources will be found by someone. They are not destroyed, they are backed up forever, and the very fact that you can link to and read these pages of magnificent quotes (not to mention the complete written works) instantaneously gives me great hope. The revolution may not start on Facebook or Twitter, but I guarantee you it will involve the internet. Robert himself has pointed to the incredible diversity and richness of the offerings on YouTube, and he's not wrong. One video leads to another on the playlist, and new discoveries and connections are made, constantly. And while much of the internet is junk, so are most of the books in the library. Don't be too quick to dismiss what hyperlinking and connection-seeking can do for the coming generation. All it takes is one spark in one life to get that fire going, and the internet is home to millions of sparks, however small.
Stay tuned. We may be at the end. All but Lake's concluding summary.