June 4, 2020

COVID-19: opportunity for a rebirth of common sense

This morning I was taking the dog for a walk and I was ruminating on the growing dearth of common sense in younger generations.  I've often been stunned in talking with younger people by the lack of basic knowledge of math, science, English, history, geography - you know, all the things they should be learning in school instead of global warming, American imperialism, etc.  The same old drill.  How many millennials would know what words like ruminate, or dearth, let alone use them?

But it extends beyond that.  As I walked past a blooming lilac bush and enjoyed the fragrance, I started thinking, I'm not sure if my own children would be able to tell the difference between the smell of lilac and the smell of say lavender. It got me thinking. I remember my grandmother  teaching me about just basic things like being able to tell if it was going to rain based on how high or low certain birds were flying.  That sort of 'folk wisdom' was more often than not, correct.  I know there was a ton of information she never got to share with her grandchildren, and I know that I know a lot more of those types of things than my own children do, even though I've tried to share the things I know.

Folk wisdom is akin to common sense, or rather a reasonable proxy.  As a society I think we have failed ourselves in so many ways.  We've governmentally spent money that we don't have and passed that debt onto our children and their children.  At the same time we've abdicated our responsibility in teaching our children knowledge, common sense and even eventually, values to schools.  They have had their own agenda and our children have suffered for that abdication.

But we have been presented with an opportunity to shift the current paradigm.  Just as the election of president Trump represented a paradigm shift, now is a time we can capitalize on that along with the current 'crisis' (I'm not referring to the protests and riots).  We are at a potential turning point in history as a result of COVID-19 hysteria.  

Working from home was something I thought was going to be an eventuality for a significant portion of the working population.  That means a decentralization of population.  In addition to rethinking how many highways we need, or subways, or urban condos, there are some real political impacts.  If I can work from home I don't need to be in New York City, I can work from Ithaca.  It's cities that provide the bulk of liberal political leaning in America.

But more people living in rural situations is not the solution to an education system that is off the rails.  It provides the potential for a solution.  Just as a growing percentage of people working from home is going to be expedited due to COVID-19, so too is the potential for education to become a remote exercise.  Make no mistake, that brings with it a whole host of problems - lack of exposure to viruses (resulting in weakened immune systems), and a lack of in person socialization for children for example.  At the same time, it also invites parent more opportunity to oversee what their children are learning in school.  More control over our children's education is a good thing.  And the increased proximity allows the opportunity to impart more common sense simply because more time together is possible.  In addition, there's an opportunity to re-localize education.  Take away the opportunity for  one-doctrine-fits-all from the radical left.

It means a lot of work, and it's work that we have previously abdicated in too large a part.  People must take ownership of their children's education.  It's hard work but it's worthwhile - both for families and for a renaissance of the American spirit.

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