Mindweapon described how other countries work students hard to get the best out of them for the benefit of their nations, and how the US doesn’t. Beyond my own analysis of why non-European countries and European countries behave this way respectively, I would like to talk about the change in America as I have seen it in my lifetime.
My parents both came from Catholic families in industrial cities. Their attitude toward life was that it was very important to be educated, and to be a polite, cooperative person who treated others well. In the old days being an educated and courteous person would lead to an office job, a much better way to make a living than being a factory worker making low wages under dangerous conditions. They believed that it was important to be kind to poor working people without educations, because while they may be roughly behaved they had it hard and did not have access to civilizing influences. They were of course New Deal liberals.
I grew up in southern California in the 60’s and 70’s, first in a small town where my father worked as a government scientist, and later in a lower middle-class/working class suburb where he worked as a computer programmer. Their view of life was not too challenged in the small town. Most people we knew were scientists and engineers and their families. The lower-class whites were well-behaved.
The suburb we moved to later was a great deal different. Our neighbors were less educated than my parents, and generally rude, nasty people, but they had more money. My parents struggled but our neighbors had all kinds of cars, boats, RVs, off-road motorcycles, and toys like that. Part of it was debt, but a lot of it was that they were simply enjoying the post-war prosperity that made blue collar work highly paid. These people despised education and courtesy, but why would they respect them? They were doing better than people like my parents who they probably regarded as suckers.
There is an interesting episode of “Mad Men” where Don Draper is in Los Angeles and goes to visit the widow of the man whose identity he stole. She lives in a nice house by the beach, and he walks down the street and sees a couple guys working on a hot rod. He starts talking to them about it- showing what Half Sigma would call a prole interest in cars- and introduces himself as Dick Whitman, his true identity. He asks them about jobs in the area, and he seems to be thinking about the idea of a comfortable life without pretense as Dick Whitman, the poor farmer’s son. In that era, Dick might have gone to college on the GI Bill (had he survived Korea) and become a man like Don Draper, or he might have just moved to LA and got a job in an aircraft factory. In times past getting an education would have been the far better choice, but Don/Dick’s ambivalence shows that in the 50’s and 60’s it was maybe a tossup. 30,000 people used to work at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach, all making good money and living nice suburban lives. Not making as much money as Don Draper, and not drinking on the job and screwing secretaries, but living easily and without pretense.
And yet learning still had prestige back then. I remember being surprised when an older guy told me that if you weren’t a scientist in the 60’s, you weren’t shit. We think of the 60’s as free love and hippies, but for most of the country it was still high-tech manufacturing and the space program. A lot of people were stupid and proud of it, but plenty were still smart.
That changed, though. In 1970 my dad got laid off from his government job. The government decided spending money on science wasn’t important any more, black people needed the money. People started to make money in real estate and consumer businesses, and getting a science or technical education seemed like a waste of time. Being a hustler of whatever, a guy looking out for himself, became the model of success.
People had been given the option of being dumb, but still comfortable, and took it. Before long the comfortable part was gone. LA used to have all kinds of factories- aircraft, the countless machine shops that supported the aircraft factories, a GM plant, a huge Anheuser-Busch brewery, a tire factory. All are gone now.
The country has supposedly gone “high tech” since then, but this is a lie. All the science for computer hardware was done in the 60’s. All they do now is shrink the stuff and make programs for it. Programming is thought of as a sophisticated activity, like science and engineering, but this is a lie also. I think a big part of my father’s disappointment was that he thought being a programmer would be like being a scientist, and he found himself among people who were much less sophisticated and intelligent than himself. Programmers are moderately bright problem-solvers, and the work can be done by Indians anyway, so it provides little opportunity for intelligent white people.
Americans tend to think of a middle-class lifestyle as their birthright. For a while any shithead could make a good living, but those times are long past. The shithead lifestyle has to go. Whites must return to quality learning, quality thinking, and quality behavior. This won’t guarantee prosperity- that is hard to come by these days for anybody- but it will provide dignity and self-respect, which a jet ski can’t.