Category Archives: Education

FRED REED: A Faintly Curmudgeonly Analysis Of The Sino-Dimbulbian Clash

America, China, COVID-19, Democracy, Education, FRED REED, Free Speech, Intellectualism, Russia

“America runs on a sort of inverse socialism. Instead of an economic system in which the means of production belong to the government. America is a system in which the government belongs to the means of production. Wall Street, the big corporations, the media, military industry, and so on”~Fred Reed

BY FRED REED

A staple response of nationalistic commenters on the web, when told that China is advancing rapidly in technology, is a truculent, “If the Chinese are so damn smart, why do they send their students to American universities? Huh?”

The answer may surprise. Appended below is an email from an internet friend with a career in math and engineering:

“Fred,

“….My oldest daughter, being half Asian, has joined many Asian circles of friends at her university. When one of the groups was talking about why Chinese come to (state), to study, one of the male students said “Not the best of the Chinese students come to America.  I came here because I couldn’t get into a good college at home.  It’s much easier to get into an American college. ”

The acceptance rate at my daughter’s university’s college of Science and Engineering is 7%.  This student felt that it was very easy to get into.

My daughter’s best friends are now mostly foreign Asians who come here to study. Her American friends are almost all lost and adrift.  Her high school has been consistently ranked in the top 3 in the state, but her former classmates are almost all lost and failing. Those classmates who got into the U of (state) of CSE are dropping out because of the work load.  I don’t think those analysts at the CIA, Harvard, etc., realize that the nation’s defense depends more on what is happening to America’s young people, rather than defense or economic technology.  When I was in China and visited two schools, I could see that China knows its future depends on these students.

George”

This is not an isolated view. A few years back another friend’s daughter, then teaching petroleum geology at (I think) Rice, told him that her Nigerian students were better prepared mathematically than the American.

This, boys and girls, is the American system in flower. Degeneration is now the norm. A cursory Google search produces countless examples of math being dumbed down as being racist, grammar being abandoned for the same reason, advanced placement courses being eliminated or enstupidated for the same reason, and standardized tests and admission requirements in general being eliminated for the same reason. The underlying explanation (I will guess) is the anti-intellectualism in the fundamentally plebeian American character and the realization by the rabble that in a mobocracy they can vote themselves the treasury, government, and culture. Which they have.

The foregoing are just a few examples of the growing inferiority of America’s social, economic, and governmental systems to those of China. As Americans we are told from birth that we are the smartest, most technologically and scientifically advanced, inventive, free, militarily powerful, democratic, and astonishing country in the world, far superior to such authoritarian and undemocratic nations as China. Well, it just ain’t so. Not now.

Why?

First, the Chinese government is heavily technocratic, rife with engineers, scientists, and economists. At the top, Xi Jin Ping is a chemical engineer, Biden a second-rate lawyer graduating low in his class at a mediocre law school after being caught cheating. America chooses leaders in popularity contests, and so has leaders whose chief accomplishment is being popular. When last I looked, I think that in all of Congress there was one scientist.

Since American leaders are elected every two, four, or six years, they spend more time running for reelection than governing–posing, polishing their images, consulting pollsters, testing the wind. Today the midterms preoccupy Washington with pols looking not at what the country needs but at how not to look soft on China or Russia. In 2024, will we get more Biden, or Harris? Trump? Some pretty governor whose chief appeal will be that he is not Biden or Trump? None of whom could do high-school algebra.

Second, the inherent and ineradicable weakness of democracies, that the great majority of the public lack the intelligence, knowledge, interest, or some combination of these, to be allowed to vote. So do most of Congress. They are elected for their ability to be elected, nothing else.

Hiding this ignorance, both of people and leaders, is an important duty of the media. Reporters ask, “Senator, what do you think of America’s Afghanistan policy?” not, “Do you have the slightest freaking idea of where Afghanistan is?”

A third of the public cannot name any of the three branches of the federal government, and they vote! Far fewer know what the Dardanelles are or what countries border the Caspian, whatever that is. This makes the populace easily manipulated. If CNN and MSNBC for three months say, “The Russians are coming, oh god, the Russians are coming,” polls will show that the public sees Russia as a grave danger. Not one in ten could tell the Duma from a poached egg. (I might add that it is difficult to tell our leaders from poached eggs. If the media then said, “The Guatemalans are coming, oh God…,” in three months….)

Chinese leaders do not have to concern themselves with election or this or that political fad. They can focus on long-term ends and maintain constant policies. It shows.

Third, Chinese leadership is authoritarian. When Beijing decides that something needs to be done, it is. Over two decades ago, China decided that it needed high-speed rail. It was constructed year after year and now has combined length of twenty-four thousand miles. This sustained focus, applied to a gamut running from bridges to the space program, produces results.

America cannot do this. It bogs down in a tangle of bureaucracy, infighting by special interests, and struggles over funding. America cannot undertake high-speed rail because the Republicans would block funding, airlines would pay Congress to drop the idea, racial lobbies would object that it went through their neighborhoods, environmentalists and many others would file suit, and the project would degenerate into pork.

An aspect of Chinese authoritarianism is that the government governs. If Beijing says that Bitcoin mining will stop in China, it does. Right now. If it says that some IPO won’t take place, it doesn’t. If it says that such-and-such is needed to block covid, such-and-such happens and covid is blocked. By contrast, America runs on a sort of inverse socialism. Instead of an economic system in which the means of production belong to the government. America is a system in which the government belongs to the means of production. Wall Street, the big corporations, the media, military industry, and so on. This results in policy to the advantage of these, not the country. For example, purchases of hugely expensive and unnecessary weapons while infrastructure decays, an inability to fire incompetent teachers or raise standards for hiring.

Forth, American government is weak. Rebellious groups riot night after night, burning and vandalizing, and government does nothing. Flash mobs loot stores and organized shoplifting drives stores out of cities, and governments look on when they do not actually approve. Effective vaccination against covid is impossible because many refuse, with whole websites encouraging refusal. Crime flourishes, carjackings, racial attacks, shootings, and governments do nothing.

Since the Chinese do not loot, I can’t be sure how they would solve the problem. They don’t have the problem because they are civilized, and we no longer are. America could end looting with four words, “Looters will be shot,” followed by perhaps two demonstrations. But American governments have ceded control of the streets to pillagers.

Fifth, China does things to benefit its people. America doesn’t. Whether the Chinese government does this from a resurgence of Confucian values, or to keep the people happy so they don’t revolt, can be argued. The fact cannot. The standard of living in the Middle Kingdom has been going straight up, astonishingly up, over four decades.

Compare this with an America in which sprawling, growing aggregations of homeless people live on sidewalks in city after city, schools in the downtowns (we mustn’t say “slums”), annually produce millions of semiliterates, retirement programs vanish, people can’t afford medical and dental care, university students are craftedly loaded with crippling debt for increasingly sub-mediocre educations by predatory banks, and thousands are shot annually in cities to the amazement of the civilized world.

Beijing decides which industries are vital to the country’s advance and encourages them by subsidies. This is common sense. Washington says it is “unfair trade practice.” Why Washington gets to decide the developmental policies of other countries isn’t clear and in any event Biden’s infrastructure package includes multibillion-dollar subsidies for the semiconductor business, but perhaps incoherence is thought a virtue.

Sixth, China differs starkly from America in its approach to international relations. America relies on economic coercion and military force for its threat. China depends primarily on commerce. Thus it has a huge trade surplus with the rest of the world from a for-profit economy and uses the consequent money for massive spending on China—roads, bridges, power plants. America has a massive trade deficit with the rest of the world, in particular China, and a huge national debt from the printing of money. It spends hugely on its military while infrastructure crumbles and begins to look like something from the Fifties.

Examples abound. America goads Russia militarily and economically, while Sino-Russian trade rapidly increases. America sanctions Iran and threatens it militarily, while Tehran and Beijing sign a large trade contract and Iran joins the SCO. America concludes naval alliances against China while rail traffic from China to Europe grows apace. America builds military bases in Africa while China buys up resources and builds infrastructure. America bombs Afghanistan without mercy for twenty years and then confiscates its financial reserves to starve its people; China provides aid and wants to build infrastructure and open mines. America bombs Iraq into rubble, but China inks a deal to build schools.

Seventh, Americans believe that they are free and the Chinese are not. They believe this because the media, social and legacy, tell them so. There is some truth in this. In China, if you say wrong things in chats, they simply disappear and, if you persist, the police will show up. “Wrong things” include mention of Tian An Men, Tibet, and Taiwan. In China, you do not buck the government.

In America, which has freedom of speech, websites that say wrong things disappear from Google, cannot be reposted on Facebook, are banned from YouTube and Twitter, disappear from the Wikipedia, and have their credit-card accounts canceled. If you are discovered to have said something deemed racist in an ancient email, and almost anything can be deemed racist, you can be fired. Yet there is free speech in America. The media say so.

There is a real sort of social control in China that does not exist in America. When China decided that boys were spending so much time playing video games that it was becoming a problem, it banned the games during the week and limited them to three hours on weekends. When it decided that private tutoring of children was becoming harmful, it forbade the undesirable parts. Done.

Further, China values morality of the sort that America did until recently. Pornhub is blocked, full stop. China does not have a philosophically advanced Supreme Court believing that Thomas Jefferson meant for children of ten to watch sadomasochism on cellphones. Violeta watches East Asian television series for the young out of cultural curiosity (these have Spanish subtitles). I can’t see well enough to read these, but she reports that Chinese series push civilized adolescents (to the extent these exist) speaking and behaving decently and solving the usual problems of such shows in a way consonant with morality. The US did the same in the Fifties and pre-war Sixties.

Today, the American series are all fuck this and fuck that and motherfuck the other thing and did Sally give Bobby a hand job after the prom. Take your pick.

Finally, a somewhat amorphous observation: The Chinese seem quicker, more agile, faster to market, to be moving into the future while America remains almost torpid. Five G, rapidly built out, quickly gets put to use in ports and factories. The digital yuan booms along while America talks. The digitization of almost everything roars ahead. While American trains creep along, China’s 360-mph model is in advanced development. Companies seem to get an idea Tuesday morning and have it in production by Friday afternoon. Where is this heading?

I need a drink.

******************************************

FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

* Image credit

To Sir Sidney With Love: Lessons For The Educational Idiocracy

Britain, Celebrity, Education, Film, Human Accomplishment, Kids, Relationships

British, and so subtle,  To Sir, With Love (1967) was my favorite role played by Sidney Poitier, RIP. And what an object lesson it is for America’s disgraceful unionized teachers in the age of COVID.

Mr. Mark Thackeray, “an out-of-work engineer who turns to teaching in London’s tough East End,” loved his students, yet he disciplined them; taught them self-respect, a love of learning, a work ethic and a proportional sense of fun, not the degenerate sense of abandon that now infuses our progressive schools.

“Sir’s” lesson: Never give up on The Kids, but knock ’em into shape.

Teacher was to be addressed as “Sir” because the use of honorifics and proper names, not invented pronouns, is important in an ordered society. It denotes not only a healthy hierarchy and a respect for a figure of authority, but for each other. Thus Pegg is not “Babs” (we have to wonder what such a traditional educator would say of naming  a child North, or Londyn, a black name).

After transforming one class into responsible, self-respecting adults ready to face life; Thackeray is offered an engineering job—something better than working with London’s tough, truant East End kids. But following their poignant farewell to him; he is overwhelmed with love for the kids and a sense of his real vocation. He shreds the promotion, realizing the next intake needs him just as much as the first. He has found his calling.

Once there were teachers.

Lulu at her best:

Western Man Forgives Unspeakable Violence Against Himself And Those He’s Obligated To Protect

Christianity, Crime, Education, Family, Kids, Left-Liberalism, Race, Racism, The Zeitgeist

Kids like Ethan Williams are sent into the world wide-eyed and filled with only wonderment. (Read “Sacrificing Kids To PC Pietism,” 2011 and “Progressive Crazies Are Getting The Kids Killed.”) Nary a warning are they issued as to the reality of crime in America—and beyond. Parents are instrumental in these tragic events, having never given their kids “The Talk,” as John Derbyshire called it.

As a neighborhood to bunk down in, during a visit to New York City, Ethan Williams chose Bushwick (pictured). Bushwick is known as dangerously and diversely hip. Was this reckless decision not made against the background of a lifelong, familial devotion to such displays of hipness, “openness” and an obsession with The Other?

His father, Jason R. Williams, says the kid was all about curing “poverty and violence” and doing “mission work in Rwanda” (as opposed to in white, impoverish Appalachia).

Likely race-related, the murder of this typical innocent do-gooder, Ethan Williams, was masked as a ‘stray bullet.’ Writes his father, who—it has to be said—seems to have helped cement this delusional, progressive-Christian ideation in his kid’s mind:

Police believe our son’s killer mistook him and his friends for rival gang members. They were instead just a group of Midwestern boys on their first trip to see “the greatest city in the world.” If he had been given the chance, without question Ethan would have embraced his would-be killer, asked his name and hung out on those same steps with him swapping stories deep into the night.

From “Sacrificing Kids To PC Pietism (2011)“:

Here is how an alien from deep space would puzzle over the creatures who, by dint of a miracle, still dominate the Western world:

This prototypical Western man is flabby in body and mind. He is fearful and easily cowed. He erupts in tears at a drop of a hat. He is gripped by the culture of apology, and flagellates over sins he has not committed. His eternal state of expiation is driven not by goodness, but by insufferable self-righteousness.

This archetypal Western man forgives unspeakable violence against himself and those he is obligated to protect. He would not hurt a fly, much less repel a foe. An astute alien (from deep space) would notice that, in this regard, there is not a dime’s worth of difference between the “conservative” and “liberal” earthling. Both insist on catering to and enabling organized entities—in politics and in other crime— that despise them for their abilities and frailties, and instinctively seek to harm them.

These hostile identity groups segregate themselves voluntarily from the western weakling …
Flash- feral mobs flood places of commerce across the once-great country of America. What does the overwhelmed creature under observation do? “Conservative” or liberal, he refuses to finger his assailants. Instead, his experts implicate abstractions (“risk-taking”), and his media mouthpieces (Daily Beast or and Fox News) point to technology such as social media. Yet another, least logical, bogus causal agent invoked: the racism of the Democratic Party.

Not only does this generic Joe refuse to identify his proud, empowered attackers, but he rejects the possibility that they act out of ingrained animus for his kind. The swarms that descended to take what is his—to hurt him and even kill him—he jocularly terms mischief-makers, teens, twitter-operators, technology savvy youth. Yes, this brow-beaten, emasculated, excuse-for-a-man uses diminutives to describe the contempt-filled stalkers who menace him and who would squash him like the bug he is.

If not for YouTube footage of the racially uniform formations terrorizing businesses in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, in the upmarket area of Streeterville, in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., in Las Vegas, in St. Paul, Minnesota, in Philadelphia, on and on—our studious alien from outer space would be none the wiser about the hue of hatred on Planet Earth. As the man from outer space has surmised, his strange subjects are certainly impervious to facts.

 

* Image thanks.

FRED REED: The Possible Virtues Of A Salutary Distance

Affirmative Action, Conflict, Crime, Education, English, FRED REED, Intelligence, Law, libertarianism, Multiculturalism, Race

By Fred Reed

Most of the profound anger and apparent actual insanity afflicting the United States stem from racial antagonism: The Floyd riots, the tearing down of statues, affirmative action, the renaming of buildings, hostility to everything Confederate, racial attacks on whites by blacks, critical race theory, the fury over trials. Racial policy isn’t working and isn’t going to. America had better find another approach before, one day, the guns come out.

Sez I, a massive step toward racial reconciliation could be achieved simply by deregulating the schools. The races have very, very disparate cultures and want different things. In the integrated schools, either blacks must be forced to learn things of interest only to whites, or whites must be prevented from learning these things. It is hard to see why black students or their parents would have any interest in Jane Austin, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, or Beowulf. Nor is it clear why whites, of either generation, would care more than passingly about Africa. Why, unworkably, force each to do something both alien and of no interest to it?

Many object that the study of mathematics constitutes racism, or is a means of oppressing blacks. Why force math on blacks or, more importantly, prevent white kids from learning them? Similarly, English grammar is now said to be racist. Why should black young of a background having no interest in such things have to be burdened with it?

These difficulties could within an administrative district be remedied by allowing different groups to establish such schools as they chose, for such students as they chose, teaching such material as they chose. Charges of discrimination could be avoided by requiring by law that all students be subsidized at the same per-pupil rate. Further, allow schools to select such students as they choose. If some schools wanted only white students, or black, or racially mixed, so be it. As long as they were given equal resource’s, it would be their business. If some parents preferred schools of mixed race, it would be their business.  Evangelical schools? Fine. Jewish? Equally so. Chinese? Equally.

The right of schools to choose teachers without governmental bureaucracy—most importantly, certification—would be crucial. Certified teachers are often of low quality and always carriers of industrial-strength political correctness. The teachers unions are just that—unions, interested chiefly in the good of the membership, not the students. I would not be allowed to teach either writing or journalism whereas a half-literate political hire would be.

This would also allow parents of very bright kids to use such tests as they chose to find the extraordinarily smart and then to teach them at their level.  Those opposed to testing could avail themselves of schools not engaging in testing. Forcing kids of IQ 140 or better to agonize in classes at the level of “Mommy Beaver had two sticks and Daddy Beaver had two, how many did that have in all” is child abuse. A child in that range in the second grade is reading at the ninth-grade level and school is nothing but an obstacle. Why do this?

In aggregate these measures—we could call them “freedom”—might go far to reduce hostility.

Smaller and seemingly less important matters count in racial relations. Blacks often deprecate other blacks for “acting white.” This is not unreasonable. People naturally want to be around others who share their culture, manners, and ideas of consideration and propriety. I don’t want my children, or people around me, “acting black.” I don’t know what “acting white” means and I don’t care. I don’t want my children wearing their pants below their knees and saying “muggafugga” every second word. These practices do no actual harm, but are extremely disagreeable to most whites. While I do not want to dictate the culture of blacks—it isn’t my business—neither do I want them transgressing mine. Would not separation be the comfortable solution?

Housing is another matter in which less government would be of use. Here again, policy is disastrous. The races obviously do not want to live together. When blacks move into white neighborhoods, the whites leave. When whites move back into the city, “gentrifying,” blacks are enraged. Upon reaching university, blacks often demand dormitories only for blacks, courses only for blacks, student centers only for blacks, and graduations only for blacks. If whites had the same privileges, friction would diminish. By (again) providing these things on a rigid and transparent basis of equal money per student, discrimination could be avoided.

Since the races usually want to live apart, why not simply let them? Those who wanted to live in mixed neighborhoods could, but if a black neighborhood wanted to avoid gentrification, it could vote to do so.

The voluntary separation of races would greatly reduce the very high rates of crime against whites by blacks, and the fear and intensifying hostility caused by this crime. I don’t know how to end crime, but reducing the fear of blacks would go far to encourage racial reconciliation.

Blacks say that white police discriminate against them.  Whether this is true would make no difference if blacks policed black neighborhoods and whites, white. Cities typically burn because white policemen have beaten or shot a black. The blindingly obvious solution is, in racially homogeneous regions, to have the local race do the policing. Friction might in some degree continue between police and policed, but at least it would not be racial.

Further, though it will at first sound strange, I suggest that black and white neighborhoods be permitted to decide what laws to enforce, at least in those matters affecting only the neighborhood. If blacks chose to ignore use of marijuana, drinking in public, selling crack, or driving without a license, why should they not? Do they not know their neighborhood, its needs and problems, better that I? Why are these things my business either way? The result would be vastly fewer arrests of blacks by whites and fewer blacks in prison, both of these contributing greatly to hostility between the races.

I am not recommending the abandonment of black neighborhoods to crime, but rather letting those affected decide. For example, blacks often hate stop-and-frisk policing. Why not let those affected make the decision? This would reduce the impression of the police as an occupying army, often white.

Nor am I suggesting the subjection of blacks to a punitive regime. I believe that all citizens should have access to good medical care, that providing schools with textbooks of their choice is a proper function of government, as is maintenance of streets, water supply, and electric supply. If a black university wants microscopes or a computer, it should get them. And universities should be free to hire any staff they choose, depending only on the willingness of the staff to be hired. The various forms of welfare should be continued as there is no choice other than causing great hardship–even hunger.

Since the races are in America, and none is going to leave, finding a workable approach to amity would seem a good idea. What we have hasn’t worked, is not working, shows no sign that it ever will, and indeed things are getting worse. A little distance might go a long way. If there is ever an explosion of the very real, very deep anger in the country that the media are hiding from themselves, it might make Floyd’s uprising seem trivial. In the Floyd riots, the guns didn’t come out.

 

******************************************

FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE