In a recent article on RealClearPolitics called The University Utopia, Robert Tracinski, former securities analyst for Morningstar and now the publisher of The Tracinski Letter, tackled a very important question- Why do the young vote for dependency—when the essence of youth is a quest for independence?
…So take a look at the college experience, particularly for a liberal arts major, from this perspective. You study topics in which the answers are subjective, no one is too concerned about whether it has any practical application or economic value, and everyone is pretty much expected to repeat the conventional wisdom. You express abstract concern for the poor and for the starving masses of the Third World, while never actually mixing with anyone from outside the prosperous First World middle class. Someone else, off at a distance, provides for your material needs, paying for your housing, food, clothing, and condoms. But at the same time, no one pokes into your personal life or asks too many questions about who you’re sleeping with, what you’re smoking, or what you do with your free time. Finally, this whole lifestyle is paid for with huge amounts of debt, and it is considered bad form to ask too many questions about how big the debt is or how you’re ever going to pay it all back.
Does any of this sound familiar? Put it all together, and college life is the contemporary left’s ideal. The universities are liberal utopias…
From my own experiences in education (teaching in several school districts around Detroit and Flint and their suburbs), I would also suggest that this same dynamic also applies to students in high school and middle school as well.
High school students, and to a lesser extent middle school students, are cared for and financially supported by their parents, who never talk about how much money it is costing them- the majority of students in my classes can’t even venture a guess at how much their parents make or where the money goes in their family, and asking these questions appears to be discouraged by parents today.
Separated from the reality of money and discouraged from discovering how everything is paid for in their family, they live in an uncomfortable bubble- aware that they are freeloading on the system and guilty because of that, but unable to help out or even know how much of a freeloader they are. Four to seven years of their formative life they are raised in this environment, not having to contribute anything financially to their family and yet eating and sleeping and watching TV and talking on the phone and driving a car paid for by the family. This sort of communism only exists in the family because parents love and care for their children, yet this point is never even made to the children because to voice this sort of reality is apparently not good form anymore in our society.
And after leaving school, students go home, where they can turn on the television or go on the internet or hang out at friends houses and learn about and observe and live in a world where social choices apparently have no consequences. Sleeping around before marriage, smoking pot and doing drugs, engaging in socially deviant behavior, bullying others via facebook or email, and getting caught up in fake drama about fake controversies is the sort of unsupervised freedom that students will continue in college.
I’m not blaming the parents for this- many parents in today’s economy are working longer and longer hours just to make ends meet and even when they get home they have to work on side jobs or freelance contracts or worry about money, and that is time that they can’t supervise and raise their children. And parents are competing for time and attention with a range of competitors. The media is chief of these competitors- with slick marketing and high production values- but teachers are also to blame for the increasingly amount of schoolwork that inefficient and poor teachers send home with children to compensate for their lack of teaching ability. It’s tough for both parents and students today, and in this tough environment students are given increasingly personal freedom without knowing about or anyone ever talking to them about the responsibility that goes along with this freedom.
Children therefore have an utter lack of financial and economic liberty buy yet extensive social and personal liberty. And when you combine these two, you produce a liberal. This is exactly what a liberal is- someone who wants someone else to provide for their economic needs while wanting total freedom to engage in their own personal desires.
To create a conservative child you would need to reverse this dynamic- you would need to teach your child about economic issues and the cost of goods and services and what sort of fiscal challenges your family faces and even how much the parents earn and what the family budget is, while putting limits on and teaching about the consequences of and showing the downsides of total personal freedom and how wrong it is to embrace hedonism.
…A person’s view of life isn’t just influenced from the top down, from the ideas they are taught. It is also learned from the bottom up, from their actual experiences of life. The most powerful combination is when ideas and life experience coincide, and that is what happens in college. Young people learn the same lessons from their professors’ lectures as they do from the lifestyle of the dorm room. This also explains why college graduates tend to move to the right as they get older. They move to the right as they get out into the world, start businesses, start families, and take on the task of becoming truly independent and self-supporting….
…One way we can change the youth culture is to hasten the ed-tech revolution, breaking down the role of the traditional universities in favor of an alternative that, in addition to being a lot less expensive, gets students out of the dorm room and out into the economy sooner. I suspect that this would also hasten the decoupling of scientific and technological education from the humanities, depriving the leftist indoctrinators of the captive audience handed over to them in a traditional university system. It would also help break down the cultural class division between the college-educated and the non-college-educated, and perhaps most important of all, it has the potential to change the educational experience of young people so that education becomes associated, not with a four-year holiday and puttering around in the subjective humanities, but with a young person’s first steps toward real independence in the world of work. It would change the message young people hear from higher education, while also changing the kind of life experience they get….
In order for our nation to become more conservative- and by this I mean productive and creating wealth and understanding the importance of money in shaping choices and values, while at the same time recognizing the important role that society and culture and values and morals play- then we need to start creating more conservative children. And to aid in this, I suggest you read the whole article and start looking after your own children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and begin to go to work on them teaching them economic liberty and social responsibility.
UPDATE: Another idea that I have on how you can help create a more conservative future is by purchasing the board game The Game of Life. This board game will help teach your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren important values. Buy it and play it with them at some time and start making a difference.
Original Post: A Conservative Teacher