It starts at school.
Our country is not in great shape. In any direction you look, you see a cultural, political and economic landscape piled high with difficulty.
We start with inflation. Inflation like we haven’t seen in more than 40 years is making people poorer by the day. Rising prices for food, clothing, utilities, shelter and gasoline are impacting everyone. The upper middle class and the wealthy and certainly the coastal elites who dominate media, entertainment and Washington, D.C. are coping comfortably. But working-class families and the poor are, as always, getting clobbered. It’s now the consensus among bankers and economists that we will suffer a significant economic recession in 2023.
The chaos on the southern border continues unabated. More than four million illegal migrants have come to the United States since Joe Biden took office, bringing with them poverty, illiteracy, a disproportionate need for social services, crime and a flood of illegal drugs like Fentanyl.
Rising crime and homelessness have become the defining characteristics of most of our largest cities. Murder, aggravated assault, robbery and burglary are rising to levels not seen in decades.
To top it all off, school-aged children are now alarmingly behind where they ought to be academically. The education industry – not without justification – blames COVID. But American education was in trouble long before the pandemic. The long-festering decline in American education is directly connected to the economic, cultural and political problems that are piling up like cordwood.
Over half of American adults cannot read above a sixth-grade level. Consequently, even though information on any topic is readily available with the tap of a finger, the American populace is both less informed and simultaneously more misinformed than at any time in the last century.
The cultural knowledge of today’s teens and young adults is increasingly limited to what they see on their phones via social media. And even as tuition and concomitant student debt continue to rise, U.S. universities increasingly marginalize classical liberal education in favor of a progressive “woke” curriculum that, among other things, is hostile to the founding principles of the country.
The result of all this dysfunction is a society filled with people whose economic illiteracy makes it impossible for them to understand that those free “stimulus” checks they received in 2020 are directly responsible for the groceries they can’t afford in 2022.
High schools and colleges that have dismissed Shakespeare and Homer and the Founding Fathers as contemptible “dead white men” have led to a generation of misanthropes who, rather than celebrate America as a beacon of freedom, instead condemn it as a place of irredeemable racism and oppression.
Young adults in America are increasingly favorable toward socialism for the simple reason that the schools they attended never told them that socialist societies are by their nature repressive. An entire generation knows literally nothing of the mass murders committed by Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao.
The country is in trouble. The education system is failing. The two are connected. We’ll never fix the former until we address the latter.