Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What's Wrong with Americans?


20 comments:

Rain Trueax said...

good question....

DJan said...

This poster says it all. We are a nation in decline, and if anybody wondered why, it's all right here...

chlost said...

To be honest, I think the box that refers to the politicians being reelected due to the stupidity of the electorate explains it all very succinctly. Why would politicians want a more educated public? We would be so much more likely to vote them out or hold them accountable. THAT's why we hear such disdain for the educated elite.

Ingineer66 said...

OK here goes. The European countries can spend on education because we spend on our military to defend them. Maybe we should leave them to defend themselves against the Russians and the Muslims and put more money into our own nation.

I agree that a nearly free college education is worth more than it costs to provide it. It was one of our greatest strengths in California for years. But now it is getting more and more expensive unless you are in certain minority groups then it is free. But that is a whole different topic about what is wrong with this state.
The for profit private colleges are so successful because the big universities are pricing themselves out of the market. Most people cannot afford $40,000+ year for tuition at a fancy school. But nobody is really talking about how much inflation has taken place in college tuition or book prices.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Rain The tough part is coming up with the answer.

DJan I hate to say it, but I am in agreement, sadly.

Cholst In most totalitarian regimes, the first thing they go after are the intellectuals.

Ingineer Well we brought the full brunt of American military technology to bear on Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet even Donald Rumsfeld quipped that we had pounded their rubble into rubble. But this might an expense has proven vulnerable to a bucket of explosives detonated by a $10 cell phone and our own planes flown into towers.

But no, I agree, any country, ours clearly, needs a strong defense. But at what cost? If our country falls into mediocrity, if we lose our standing in science and technology and other areas of world competition, what do we give up in exchange for this military might? It's a tough question.

Tuition increases have far outstripped income by double-digits. I used to laugh at people who said they were saving up for a down payment to buy a house when the prices of homes were rising far faster than people could save. The same is almost true for tuition - at the rate tuition is climbing, it is ridiculous to think that my kids can save enough money in sufficient amounts at that rate to pay for my grand kids college education.

Elisabeth said...

Powerful and disturbing poster. If only it weren't so.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Elisabeth I think the statement about "hurtling toward decline" is the most frightening. Of course, the rich will remain rich... they will be able to afford to protect their wealth. I know Conservatives and Liberals struggle for power as well there in Australia as well.

Beach Bum said...

Throwing my two-cents in this discussion its my belief that for the most part the United States of America does not really exist anymore.

A long time sometime around the early 1980's I was given one of the first video strategy games for what was called the Magnavox Odyssey 2 gaming system, a rival to the first Atari.

I forgot the name of the game but it involved conquering the world. It had all sorts of neat and glossy maps with the book that came with the game and a final summation supposedly written by a "retired CIA official."

This spook wrote that a nation can have all the advantages of water, farm land, mineral resources, technology, large population, and other things that contribute to global power but if there is no since sense of national purpose you have nothing. America is pretty much like that right now, we are a bunch of small groups desperate to protect our little piles of money and property and everyone else can go to Hell.

These days calls for investing in our infrastructure and educational system will result in screams of waste and corruption from those who have settled for a form of latter-day feudalism.

Robert the Skeptic said...

BeachBum I have perhaps mentioned before that I attended a lecture by Gene Roddenberry - the theme of which was that ALL civilizations rise, come into power, then fall and are replaced with another. I agree that the USA has had it's heyday and is now withering under it's own excesses.

The Rich will remain rich, having the power to hold and control theirs, and our, wealth. And should the "Occupy" or other populist movements gain any power, the wealthy who own the few food supply and distribution companies, will use food prices and shortages to bring us into line.

billy pilgrim said...

factor in climate change and future demographics, the picture gets even bleaker.

Ingineer66 said...

I think part of our problem with falling behind In technology and science is we spend so much money on the kids that do not want to be in school and let the kids that want to learn go it alone. When I was in high school nearly 30 years ago my math teacher had to sneak us in to the computer lab that was for the kids to learn how to add. It was the only computer lab on Campus and it was for the kids that were probably going to drop out anyway or at least never go to college.

We need to spend some money on the kids that want to excel and teach the kids that don't a trade But political correctness has got the best of us

Robert the Skeptic said...

Billy Oh god... thanks for reminding me!!

Ingineer I didn't want to learn when I was in school; really how many kids are little Horatio Algers? Several years ago I read a Scientific American article (still trying to find it) where it showed that the Asian kids in inner city schools were going on to college where the other minority kids were dropping out. The key was parental involvement.

My city dwelling kids today tell me that there are students in our two grand kids classes (kindergarden and 1st grade) who have never had a book read to them by a parent in home. If the parentn's aren't engaged, the success rate is significantly lower.

Then there is "summer vacation"... yeah right, like we have to have our kids get the crops in. No such thing in Europe or Japan.

Anne said...

When I was in school I had to overcome the stigma of being a "brain". (That's specially bad for a girl.) There is and has been in our history a strong current of anti-intellectualism. In Scandinavian countries (and other European countries) teachers are honored and respected and paid well. Here teachers are poorly paid and regarded with contempt. Why would bright young people want to enter such a profession? Here we value prisons (and the guns that cause them to fill) a lot more than learning. Sad.

Ingineer66 said...

Lots of kids think they don't really want to learn in school, but I am talking about kids that really do not want to be there and drop out. Should we really be spending such a big part of our education budget on them? I am saying that spending 50% of your budget on 20% of the kids that you could be spending 20% on would get you the same result. Let's focus a little on making the top better instead of tying so hard to bring the bottom up.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Anne In Japan teachers earn what lawyers earn here. If you have a national psyche that basically embraces "every man for himself" as we clearly do in this country, we will PAY for it in the long run... Pay in dollars, pay in loss of our standard of living, pay in our decline as a world leader.

Ingineer So the dwindling middle class kids and upper class kids get all the resources and the poorer kids are throw aways? You would rather spend significantly more on prisons than on education? Seems like a bad deal both socially and economically to me.

You say "Let's focus a little on making the top better instead of tying so hard to bring the bottom up." Easy to say when the 'bottom' of who you speak are just nameless, faceless nobody's instead of human beings with the same rights as citizens as everyone else. I am curious if you read my post I linked previously about the "undeserving"? I don't wish to sound unkind, but really, how do you sleep at night?

Stinkypaw said...

We could ask the same question of us, Canadians, and this even if our fees are lower than yours...

Ingineer66 said...

Robert. I am not saying throw them away. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. I come from a very blue collar background. I am saying focus on teaching them a trade or to work on a farm or something blue collar. In California the Democrat politicians have made it policy that everyone should go to college and made it very easy for certain groups to get into college. Now the State Universities are spending a bunch of money on remedial classes. Not everyone should go to a university. I am not in favor of throwing anybody away. Just not in favor of short changing the ambitious kids to favor the not so smart ones. In reality you and I are probably closer to agreement on this than disagreement.

And as for summer vacation pretty much all of Europe (grown ups and kids) goes on summer vacation. I have ran into a few people here in California from other countries who are on a 4 to 6 week holiday.

Robert the Skeptic said...

StinkyPaw Hey, welcome back... been a while. Yes, I have seen Canadian students demonstrating over tuition costs. It is not just in America where the wealthy are taking from the middle classes.

Ingineer Indeed, this is similar to European education plans as I understand it; at some point in their school careers students either head for trades or university. In fact I have read an article that essentially said that if everyone gets a college education, the value of that (in the marketplace) diminishes. I believe there are other reasons to have a college education, of course.

But this also begs the question if education should be shared by the private sector? So kids don't go to college, but could they not be trained in specific enterprises, specifically technological ones (places where there are 'clean rooms" for example)? But notice how this, like many hot topics of the day, have no simple solutions. I am fond of quoting the great Yogi Berra in situations like this: "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice."

Regarding vacations, yes I believe some European countries, the entire country goes on vacation at the same time; schools, businesses. I would think the tourist spots would be horribly crowded. I confess, this is hearsay on my part, I don't know if it is true.

Ingineer66 said...

I love that quote.

joared said...

I disagree that Calif. has made it policy that all students go to college. What they did try to do was make it possible -- big difference -- that all students could afford to go to college, IF they wanted to do so. Thanks to serious problems that developed with financing education in this State, for which the illustrious Ronald Reagan can share some responsibility, and the later years national financial collapse, anyone hoping to go to college will find it quite an expensive challenge. And now, the Republican Party wants to continue to make it even more difficult with regard to their position on student loans. I do wonder if it serves the Republican agenda to keep the masses of people uneducated and enthralled with celebrity.