It's been quite quiet here. I haven't had much to write, and have been sort of busy. Things slowed down there for a couple of weeks in September. October was fairly calm except for our longish excursion West. November is dawning crisp and calm. I expect the calmness could pass soon (Super Committee-related scurrying may be in order around the end of the month).Occasionally I'll think about life before we moved here and it seems so long ago. Strange how just a couple or a few years can make for so much distance.
You never learn.
The rules have changed
since we were nine.
This isn't school,
boys don't assault
the girls they like.
The taste of blood,
the claim of love;
these two will hereon
cease to be
your fists and tongue:
this Carolina waits for me.
[America] housed four hundred thousand Nazis on American soil during the war. We wet ourselves over housing one hundred seventy-two miscellaneous troglodytes from Afghanistan… many years after the war. It’s just too dangerous!Now, I'm not some "Good Old Days" apologist, but apparently we were made of sterner stuff back when.
Kids these days are so unprepared for college/the real world! They have no skills/critical thinking/knowledge base! Aack! I recall reading (somewhere) of a litany written more than one hundred years ago deploring the decline of the admissions requirements for some elite college. The writer was incensed that Latin and Greek were no longer both mandatory (possibly provided proficiency in one other modern language).
Truly, things are always already in decline.
I would agree, however, that there is a serious problem: a small portion of high school graduates are either functionally illiterate. That's just unconscionable. Another serious problem: too many kids these days (!) can't do math. More problems: no knowledge of how things interact with one another in the world, etc.
Most people would agree that these are significant ills. But what to do? Lots of people have great ideas about how to fix things... "if only they could add a class on estimating!" or "what they really need is training in life skills!" or "why don't they just..." Fine. I agree! But there are only so many hours in a school day (and only so many school days in a year [and both hours and days cost money, people, and you have to pay the dreaded taxessss to fund it-oops, guess that'll be the day, right?]). So: what would you add, and what would you take away to make room?
As you might now know from Susan's blog, we went down to Charlottesville for a quick trip last week. We saw James Madison's home, The UVa, and Thomas Jefferson's home. It was interesting, and generally very nice.
However... as I think more and more about it, I find that whatever their other virtues, it is almost impossible to admire "The Founders" on any personal level. They may have been diligent, intelligent, and full of righteous abstemiousness, but they owned other people. Bought and sold them, often without regard to their family or other attachements. They almost certainly engaged in illicit and ethically problematic relationships with them... And I find it impossible to believe that they didn't know it was wrong (obviously some even acknowledged the practice was evil, but didn't stop).
It's pretty "icky," for lack of a better word. I also am not at all sure that I can excuse it based on the norms of the times. Clearly the people we're talking about thought long and hard about ethical matters-and hardly lacked either insight or the fortitude to engage in perilous change.