How Bad Are Things?

Some have argued, this could turn out well. From my information, homeschooling has grown explosively across the U.S.A., and this doesn’t seem to be receding much, as the Batflu lockdowns ease.

Whether Catholic or not, parents across the continent have been learning what the public education system provides: little besides “progressive” indoctrination. As I discovered when my own children were young (in Canada), they learn everything needful at home, anyway.

A nice example was my elder lad – an engineer by nature – who was still using feet and inches a quarter-century after the government had imposed the metric system. This was done well before he was born, under the late, unlamented, elder Trudeau’s regime.

How wasn’t he metricated?

He explained that while the schools only taught in metric, his teacher was innumerate. My son had acquired the old (British Imperial) measures from his mother and father. Eventually, he taught himself metric conversions from a book, but he still thought in feet and inches.

Yes, I hear gentle reader telling me, this is just anecdotal. And I could supply many anecdotes besides. But it helps explain why, when light is cast on our state schools, they tend to evaporate. We’re often told they have good teachers. I’ll tell you when I meet one.

Better yet, the universities follow. There are thousands of these degree-granting institutions, and perhaps a few good professors, still not retired. But they will be gone in a very few years, and from what I can make out, especially in the humanities, their successors teach nothing but attitudinizing.

There is still fine training to be had from several places in the technical disciplines, which draw big salaries. But President Trump’s boasts notwithstanding, the country is actually dependent upon foreign students and immigrants, to staff the more sophisticated industries.

Whether or not they are allowed to confer credentials, good training colleges may survive. They may also grow, into the vacuum, as bad ones disintegrate. The students themselves are discovering that the innumerable soft degrees they offer give them nothing but a mountain of debt. Bankrupting mediocre universities will be a boon to society.

I mustn’t be too negative against virus infections that escape from (largely American-funded) Red Chinese labs. They may do spectacular damage; though mostly it is from the ambitious response of exploitative politicians – trading, according to me, on an electorate that is superstitious; that is easily frightened and gulled.

We see it in the cloth muzzles almost everyone is wearing in the cities, quite voluntarily. No one demands proof that they are even slightly effective. Or we see it in the hysteria about “infection spikes,” as often as not caused by false positives on tests, while the death rates continue to fall.

And in the death rates themselves, which are wildly inflated. For these deaths are overwhelmingly among the old and already dying. That the cause of death is “COVID-19” is not sometimes, but usually, a surmise.

Photo: John Minchillo, AP

I could waste gentle reader’s time with an exhaustive analysis of the flaky statistics, but this is already being done. Unfortunately, the media’s money seems to come only from false alarms.

The two aspects of our educational apocalypse now come together. We live in environments where the majority is no longer intellectually, or morally, cultivated. They panic easily when something bad happens, inspiring further idiotization. And something bad is always happening.

In particular we, like all previous societies, should be able to cope with pain, inconvenience, and death. There will always be natural disasters, even if the plurality are man-made.

Which takes us to the third aspect. The season of riots – of looting, arson, and mayhem in the cities – may be the product of the lockdown, like so many other apparently evil things. You bottle young people up, and then some ideologue puts a match to them. I call them “the Molotov people,” for they are filled with nothing except natural fuel.

Even many from reasonably good families had parents who left teaching them to the schools. They foolishly believed their kids were too smart to fall for radical nonsense. They hadn’t taken warnings from previous generations.

In your country, as in mine, there was a direct connection between the deracination of shopping, schools, and entertainment, and a hunger for violence. The inherited wisdom of religion and nation was simply not available to the vast majority, not only of the “Millennial Generation,” but often to those who raised them.

Not having tasted normative civilization, they don’t know what they’re missing, as it were. They have learned to think in fantasies, instead. They aren’t anchored to anything; certainly not to the “socialism” many profess. Were it not that Christ can do miracles, I’d have no hope for them.

But here is where my pessimism comes flooding back in.

Yes, it would be good to extinguish our atrociously counter-productive school system. Yet it is hard to imagine much good coming, just from destroying a few more things. True, we learn from experience, and experiencing some reality is better than experiencing none.

But I am reminded of an old joke, told by Poles against themselves, just after the Soviet tyranny collapsed. It went, “How many Poles does it take to change a light bulb?”

The answer was, “None. The free market will take care of it.”

The same mindless notion that socialism might work, carried forward into capitalism. Good things don’t happen because a constitutional order is well designed. They happen because real, heroic people make them happen; because living souls tirelessly created them.

While stupid obstructions can get in the way, they don’t matter when there is nothing pushing. The old-fashioned liberals, who wanted to remove obstacles, may have been sweet and well-intended, but they didn’t BUILD.

It is as we rebuild the fabric of civilization, that we recover from civilizational collapse. There is no alternative to re-establishing Christianity and Catholicism. None.

David Warren is a former editor of the Idler magazine and columnist in Canadian newspapers. He has extensive experience in the Near and Far East. His blog, Essays in Idleness, is now to be found at: