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I would like to suggest a bit of heresy amidst Mr. Orlet’s just awakening conventional wisdom. I would place the “blame” for the conditions described on the “Greatest Generation.” They were truly great folks themselves, but the men went off to war all around the globe and the women left home for the industrial workplace, etc. When the twin menace of Germany and Japan had been defeated, the men came home and many of the women returned to the home front to take care of their new families. They were changed forever by their experiences — good and bad.
They had been raised with a belief in hard work and family, and a belief in America and the citizen’s responsibility to defend same. Now they were determined to see that their children would never have to go through the upbringing and trials that they endured. Their children were the first generation, virtually en masse to be spoiled. I was born just before the war, I went through the process. I know the differences between what I, and my peers experienced and what my parents experienced.
With each succeeding generation, the children have been more indulged, less parentally regulated, less educationally challenged in grades K through 12. It became virtually mandatory that every child was special, and thus deserving of special treatment, special exemptions from rules of conduct and civility. It went from “get in trouble in school, get in trouble again at home” to “get in trouble in school, sue the school system and get the teacher fired.”
Now, of course, there are exceptions to this. There are parents that are real parents, not their child’s best friend. There are parents that set real standards and enforce them through consistent and real discipline. They, however, are increasingly the exception, not the rule. I would suggest, however, that children need and want limits, and that their rude, aggressive, obnoxious behavior is really only an ongoing search to find those limits. You cannot obey the rules if there are no rules, or if the guidelines are in a continual state of flux.
A funny thing has happened on the way to where we are now. A significant number of people are beginning to realize that, if every child is special, then no child is truly special. Do you remember the time when, as a child, someone said something mean to you, and your parents simply told you to get over it? I do. Do you remember when not every child was expected to be a college graduate, many could go to trade schools or into apprentice programs to be plumbers, electricians, carpenters, construction workers, and they weren’t considered lower class or deprived? I do. I also remember when colleges taught real courses and there was just history, not black history, women’s history, Hispanic history, etc., and when literature classes did not include the script of “The Vagina Monologues.” I know many college football players didn’t go to classes back then, but they really were special, if they were 1st string on the team.
Many of us are concerned by the invasion of our country from Mexico. Bush, and his side of the argument, insists that they are just taking jobs Americans won’t do. Why won’t they do them? Because a university degree is thought to be inconsistent with harvesting food crops, or maintaining urban sewers like Ed Norton on “The Honeymooners” or driving a bus like Ralph Cramden on the same show. Remember when you didn’t think about giving a bunch of smart aleck lip to a policeman, ‘cause you knew you would suffer for it? I do. Now the cop is the one to suffer for it.
We truly are headed for a day of reckoning in America. We are becoming like France, too concerned with our own convenience and pleasures and recreation to put in a day’s work 5 or 6 days per week, 8 or more hours per day. This is also why our warriors in our military are increasingly estranged from the general population of their peers. Our warriors believe in and hold to an earlier, and yes, higher standard of responsibility, accountability, and citizenship for themselves. That is why they are truly the best this nation has to offer.
We didn’t use to need illegal foreign “guest workers” to get American jobs done. There was a time when we would be insulted by the suggestion that we could not do any job without assistance from illegal non-citizens that don’t speak English and refuse to assimilate.p>Times have indeed changed, and not universally for the better. br> —
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?