As geeks of news, politics and culture, we watch the world — watch historical events, and think how it’s going to affect us. Most of the time, nothing happens — at least not to us. Thus the motorheads and/or spectator sports fans can make a case that we watch with little return on investment. And whatever happens, we can’t much help it anyway.
What I say to the motorheads and sports fans is that they are failing to keep the sewer of mass media from the minds of their children. Kids who grow up with less exposure to mass media have better functioning brains, and it’s the news and culture nerds who keep mass media away from their kids, at least the more extreme ones. Moderate news and culture nerds are also often sports fans.
An extreme news and culture nerd like myself regarded the publication of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother as a watershed event. But the people in my social circle had seen something about it on Good Morning America and regarded it in passing.
My culture watching in 1990’s in the USA and Russia, and in particular living in a rooming house with Chinese scientists in 1995 in Arlington, MA, led me to realize that White Americans are going to lose out to high investment parenting (intellectual/scholarly) cultures and religious conservative cultures. I was in my 20’s and I would go to Army Reserve drill and have vociferous arguments with NCO’s in their late 30’s and 40’s who had kids. I’d ask them if they let their kids watch TV, asked them if they did math with their kids or took them to music lessons. In every case, the NCO’s (sergeants) did let their kids watch lots of TV and movies and play videogames, and didn’t turn them into math whizzes or piano virtousi.
I would tell them they were not good parents, and talk about the Chinese scientists (a married couple, the husband was an artificial intelligence engineer, the wife a business student, and a single man who was a physicist at Harvard). In my rooming house there was also a ne’er do well (half Irish half Jewish) son of an executive who was living on Dad-fare. His hobbies were movies, videogames, weed, beer, identity theft and insurance fraud. The Chinese scientists only understood that he sat around watching “fiction” and playing video games all the time. They would tell us that we Americans were going to lose out to the studious Chinese. The ne’er do well got defensive, albeit in a lame way, but I understood that the Chinese were right. The ne’er do well acted like I was a race traitor for agreeing with the Chinese.
The American sergeants in my army unit went so far as to threaten me with a security investigation for not reporting that I lived in the same house with foreign nationals. Some of the sergeants I was good friends with, but a couple of them (liberals, actually) wanted to have me pronounced psychologically/ideologically unfit for duty. I was in my 20’s and I didn’t “get” that military service was all about steady paychecks and pensions and keeping your mouth shut and biding your time. I considered it my duty to my country to warn my higher-ups about the threat of Idiocracy to America’s national security.
In retrospect, I was more right than I realized even then. Idiocracy is the greatest threat to national security because it leads to anarcho-tyranny — the lawlessness of kings. The bailouts and the Iraq invasion are the two shining examples of anarcho-tyranny. Iraq and the bailouts were in your face, chutzpathic law-breaking.
The kings are lawless because the people are dumbed down. And those liberal sergeants who considered me “unfit for duty” because I railed against television — I wonder how their kids turned out? I hope they came out OK, but look around at the country. The averages are not good — obesity, drug use, crazy checks.
I didn’t just argue with sergeants. I argued with a lot of liberals at my college and liberal middle class mothers. Every white American seemed to defend “slacking!” I was a lone voice crying in the wilderness.
Finally in 2011 Amy Chua said what I’d been saying for at least 15 years. I still have to spread this message to racially conscious White Americans, some of whom are beginning to “get it.” We should thank the Chinese for laughing at us for our intellectual laziness and slacking.
When we start to compete with the Asians for the better niches such as science, engineering and convenience stores, we will set our next generation of White children upon much firmer ground.
One intergenerational improvement that I have anecdotally observed is a backlash against divorcing while the kids are still minors. Married couples are not necessarily “happy” together, but they are staying together to work on an important project called “raising the kids.” However, these anti-divorce parents are not yet “tiger moms.” But that may be the next generation, because now we are going through a “lost generation” of kids who are not getting absorbed into the workforce after school/college. As Gerald Celente says, “they have degrees in worthlessness.”
I suspect that we, like every other species, will “evolve” with these social changes. Conservative and religious people will pass on their genes; let’s work to get these people to be intellectual as well. The Robinson Homeschooling Family and Curriculum is an example of religious conservatives who are also scientific and intellectual. Robinson is a model for the inchoate mindweapon movement.
By religious conservatives I do not necessarily mean “Christian fundamentalists.” Perhaps there shall be a whole new kind of religious conservative — like the radical traditionalists. But it is religious conservatives who have children and spread over the world, whether Muslims or Mormons or Irish Catholics. One problem with religion (that I remember from “Sunday school”) is a feeling of being intellectually strangled.
Is it possible to have religious conservatism without anti-intellectualism? Or will the “free thinkers” destroy any religious community? Perhaps it is one of those unsolvable problems. Perhaps there is meant to always be a tension between the opposing forces of religious doctrine and free thought.
Qigong is about playing with yin and yang — with opposing forces. Having all the weight in one foot and none in the other, then shifting to the other foot. Or trying to do a perfect 50-50 balance in between the feet (it’s not easy).
So perhaps it’s not about resolving intellectual or spiritual tensions, but living with them and playing with them, churning them. To be both a religious conservative, and an intellectual, at the same time, and live with some contradictions. Living with contradictions is like a yoga pose — a bit of short term discomfort, but in the long term you are more mobile and comfortable in your own body and you have more energy.