Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Decadence of the West? 

I long suspected, and subsequently had confirmed, that the new methods of teaching children were responsible for their incapacity. I could think of no greater disservice to children in a modern society than to leave them semi-literate and innumerate, and began to conceive of teacher training colleges and the Department of Education as an evil conspiracy to ensure that there were a substantial and sufficient number of dependents and hopeless cases to justify an enormous bureaucracy of welfare. No doubt an exaggeration, but a possible interpretation.
The whole article is rather interesting. Here's the main point of Mr. Dalrymple's piece:
Is there then a zeitgeist which affects the West as a whole, almost irrespective or independent of the individuals who live there? Not long ago in Australia, I shared a panel with a woman described as "a social entrepreneur", who had won awards for her pioneering thoughts and efforts. She, too, was part of the great bureaucratic drive to create a substantial class of no-hopers, though she went further that the global recognition teaching method, which at least acknowledges, in theory, that it is desirable for children in modern societies to learn to read. She said that reading and writing were almost obsolete "technologies", and that voice recognition systems were now so advanced that they would be redundant. She said she spoke on behalf of those minorities for whom the culture of reading and writing had never been very important: though to my ears, it sounded like the sovereign method to keep the Abos down.

It is tedious to have to argue against this nonsense, which triumphs by boring its opponents into submission. But my question is, what is the zeitgeist that, like the sleep of reason, has brought forth monsters? It is frivolity without gaiety and earnestness without seriousness: in short, decadence.
Decadence. Why does this remind me of Gibbon and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire...

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