DeTocqueville Had It Right

~~ Paul V. Hartman ~~

      With every passing year, we see the steady widening of an educational gap destined to divide our country into a very tiny group of highly educated people and a very large group of citizens with fuzzy thinking and a collection of "facts" which have no importance beyond the edges of their own neighborhood. Ask a young black male what he would like to be "when he grows up" and he will tell you: a Sports Star.

       Contrast that with the same question directed at a young white male whose father is a university professor and he will tell you: a Sports Star.

      Not a business owner. Not a chemist. Not an engineer. Not a rocket scientist. Not a physician. (Well - maybe a "doctor".) A Sports Star. Oh, maybe a "music star" - the same cache.

      You may insist that there was always this dichotomy: a few bright people who acquired educational depth, and the larger mass which was educationally "average." This is not what I mean. What I mean is that prior to say "the 60s", the average educational attainment in America was Substantial. That this is true is evident by reading any high school examination from the 1950's. Back then, the average person learned Shakespeare and the history of the Greeks and Romans, mathematical principles sufficient to balance check books and understand mortgages and taxes, enough French to read a menu, enough mechanical skills to make small repairs on a car, enough science to understand some fundamental principles of the function of our bodies. Plus: the names of his congressional representatives and how the local government functioned.

Today the average young person knows every detail about "American Idol" and "Jersey Shore" and how to text whole phrases with the fewest letters, and cannot hold a discussion with their own parents or anyone in that age group.

      There have always been elites, those who govern, those who direct, those who own, those who provide. In most African nations, they come from the military and rule through the barrel of a gun. In communist states, they come from the political arm and rule through the barrel of a gun. In socialistic states, they come from the political arm and rule through near confiscatory tax laws and then the re-distribution of "public" money. In democratic states they come from the business/government sectors and rule through an enforced dependency class which cannot function without government money and direction.

      There are many ways to make a population more "pliable" to government interests, and one way is to insure that the great majority are as ignorant as possible. This can be achieved by making government schools compulsory, but inferior. Immigration from ignorant third world countries can be encouraged. The advantages of non-intellectual factors such as skin color can be promoted. The success of good intentions can be demanded over good results.

      Curiously, only in sports have these principles been resisted, though we have been told in recent years that it is "not fair" to keep score. Only in sports is Ability rewarded above good intentions. Non-winning coaches have short careers. Quarterbacks are yanked. Only the most skilled rise to the top. There is no affirmative action in sports, else there would be hundreds more white basketball players and 12% black hockey players.

      Theoretically, in a democratic society, ability should rule in any endeavor. And (with the possible exception of sports although this is by no means certain) ability in most things should flow from intelligence - by which we mean the ability to think keenly and learn quickly. In fact, it once did. Prior to the past 50+ years, success did hinge on ability. Then the country discovered multiculturalism, diversity, and affirmative action, and it has been a down hill slide ever since.

      Ability presupposes learned things, and learned things presupposes intelligence. But "intelligence", in the bibles of the new liberal theologians, is a culturally derived bias, and need not be considered. If people have been randomly "lucky" (i.e. smart) in the sweepstakes of life, Government can correct all that through the re-distribution of money with the ability to tax and regulate, by taking money earned by the lucky (the smart) and giving it to the unlucky (the ignorant), provided that the unlucky (the ignorant) appreciate the government action by rewarding that government with continous votes.

      Ultimately, the small group of educated people recognize that the only place to be is in politics, for every other endeavor is regulated by the same politicians who are, at the same time, making this year's public education even dumber that last years, thus driving the process of political totalitarianism from both top and bottom. Ready evidence for this - among several different types - is the steady discovery of corruption in the Obama administration which not only goes unpunished, but is even largely unreported.

      In America, the politicans increasingly control everything in what was once a free country. If you get sick, it will be government regulation which will determine which doctor you see and how (or whether) you will be treated. Alexis de Tocqueville, the French statesman, traveler, and historian, predicted (in "Democracy in America",) the eventual triumph of political demogogues, when he visited this country in 1832. He noted that American democracy was a great experiment, but that when the Unlucky, combined with the politicians which fed on them (he said "Americans", but these two groups are what he meant) discovered that they could vote themselves money from the public till, the experiment would be over.

      On November 4, 2008, the American people, by a 52/47 split, knowingly voted in Socialism. The prophecy has been fulfilled.