October 10, 2019

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Is America Entering a Dark Age?

In terms of learning, does anyone believe that a college graduate in 2020 will know half the information of a 1950 graduate?

In the 1940s, young people read William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pearl Buck and John Steinbeck. Are our current novelists turning out anything comparable? Could today’s high-school graduate even finish “The Good Earth” or “The Grapes of Wrath”?

True, social media is impressive. The internet gives us instant access to global knowledge. We are a more tolerant society, at least in theory. But Facebook is not the Hoover Dam, and Twitter is not the Panama Canal.

Our ancestors were builders and pioneers and mostly fearless. We are regulators, auditors, bureaucrats, adjudicators, censors, critics, plaintiffs, defendants, social media junkies and thin-skinned scolds. A distant generation created; we mostly delay, idle and gripe.

As we walk amid the refuse, needles and excrement of the sidewalks of our fetid cities; as we sit motionless on our jammed ancient freeways; and as we pout on Twitter and electronically whine in the porticos of our Ivy League campuses, will we ask: “Who were these people who left these strange monuments that we use but can neither emulate nor understand?”

In comparison to us, they now seem like gods.

As Glenn noted on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing man on the moon, “The ‘Golden Quarter Century’ of stunning progress ended in 1971. Weirdly, that’s when the regulatory explosion took off. And it’s when economic inequality started to get worse, so it’s a two-fer for the left.”

It’s also around the same time that identity politics fever began to slowly capture the left, giving them plenty of excuses for not even reading Fitzgerald and Steinbeck, let alone producing something of comparable worth.

Oh, and speaking of the new Dark Ages:

Presumably the Economist will now cease publishing online and revert to cuneiform on stone tablets going forward.

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