Strong Children

I was at my church this past weekend and was struck by the large number of college-graduate children that are now back living at home with their parents, out of work. The impression I have is that many of these kids still have no idea what they want to do with their lives. I get the sense that most pursued college degrees in either the soft social sciences (sociology, psychology, political science, environmental science), liberal arts (English, history) or hobby-arts (music, physical training), without any idea of what they planned to do with those degrees.

I largely blame their parents for this.

Meanwhile, I was at a professional meeting last week (I work in a technology-intensive industry) and heard over and over again, “we just can’t find any qualified new hires”). There are companies all over my industry looking to hire young talent. I had an executive with a large French company recently lament to me that he couldn’t find qualified American scientists, they were all from “China or India”.

I also watched a young adult professional give a PowerPoint presentation replete with misspellings and disconnected thoughts.
Where have we gone wrong in parenting and education in our society?

What do we need to do to build strong individuals and productive citizens?

The dismal state of the British citizenship test

If I were devising a citizenship test for Great Britain, I can think of some things I would ask.  Broadly, I would ask about her  history (what makes Britain British?), her form of government (details about Parliamentary Democracy), and the duties of a citizen.

But you see, I’m not writing the test one needs to take to become a British citizen.  Instead, the Labour government has written that test.  Labour’s role in the process means that, while there are a few historical or civics questions thrown in, your average test taker needs to know how many Brits are drug users, when women got the right to divorce, how many black people are in Britain, how many single parent homes Britain has, when people become eligible for government welfare, how many immigrants have come from Southeast Asia (that means Pakistan), etc.  The test has everything to do with reassuring Southeast Asian and African immigrants that they are not alone, instructing them on welfare and child labor laws, and giving them info about British substance abuse.

In other words, the test is an insane measurement of what it means to be a British citizen, and a very good guidebook to how to game the British welfare system.  It’s a very good indicator of the canker that is socialism, isn’t it?

(Thanks to Mr. Smith for correcting my geographic confusion.  I should have known better or, at least, been more careful.)

Who’s crazy now?

In today’s American Thinker, James Lewis says Americans have to stop being so polite and start calling crazy ideas by their true name.  Alan Keyes manifestly agrees:

Regarding Keyes’ points, I have a couple of my own.  Keyes is 1000% (yes, I meant 1000) right about the economic and border insanity that Obama is trying to foist on the American people.  He’s right about the fact that, even for a pro-abortion type, Obama exists on the extreme, brutal edges.  He’s right that this way lies madness and that we have to speak out about this craziness.

But then there’s the birther issue, which occupies the middle third of Keyes’ talk.  Certainly Keyes has something of a point.  While we all know that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, Obama’s unwillingness to make available substantive documentary evidence about his birth, childhood or education is stubborn verging on weird.*  The absence of smoke here is so unnatural that it almost seems to prove that there was a fire.

As for me, while I’m perfectly willing to accept that Obama was born on Hawaii in 1961, I’d just like him to be more forthcoming about his past.  It’s Obama’s reticence, not his mysterious place of birth, that bugs me.

Having said all of that about Obama’s closely kept secrets, however, I absolutely do not want conservatives to go down the birther path.  I don’t mind that various committed individuals are working in a low key way to discover what’s going on.  First of all, there’s nothing in a free country I can or should do to stop them.  Second of all, if they turn up nothing, there’s no harm and no foul as to the larger conservative movement, while if they turn up something . . . well, that would certainly make things interesting.

The problem remains, however, that for the conservative movement as a whole being a birther looks insane.  And sadly, while we conservatives are too polite to call the ideas animating the Democrats crazy, they have no such constraints.  Every media outlet will cheerfully use the birther issue as proof positive that we’re mad as March Hares — and that being the case, all of our ideas must be discounted.

Nor will anyone out there be amenable to the concept, well known in probate law, that a monomania, even a patently ridiculous one, is not an indicator of insanity.  In probate, even if a man is convinced that all dogs are actually agents from Venus who are planning an attack on earth, that isolated fact is irrelevant if it can be shown that he understands the nature of his estate and the identity of his heirs.

Being tetched as to one thing does not necessarily mean being tetched as to all things.  Once conservatives look insane, though, no one will take seriously their sane views on the economy, national security, immigration, etc.  Giving the birthers free rein will consign conservatives to that part of the dust bin of history in which the crazy people live.

Giving up on this point is not just a matter of placating the press.  There are real virtues to appearing sane on the issues of imminent importance — the ones that affect voters’ pocketbooks.  Our manifest rationality will highlight the fact that Democratic policies function effectively only in an alternate university, one in which (a) a broke government can spend its way out of debt; (b) government control of health care doesn’t mean that citizens abandon privacy and quality, and are instead subject instead to scary rationing and personal control; and (c) the bad guys of the world, rather than having their blood lust inflamed by groveling weakness, are instead assuaged and pacified by that same submissiveness.

One other pragmatic points is the fact that, even if Obama is kicked out, we still have Biden, Pelosi, Reid and Al Franken to contend with.  Nothing changes, but the insanity increases.  How much better, then, to focus on the rational world where the outcomes are real, and the effect on the American people profound.

That’s all, except that I have to end with an appropriate song:

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*As I understand it, although I’m very willing to be educated, the Hawaii short form birth certificate Obama has made available is not an original document showing his birth.  Instead, it is a contemporary document (the type face alone proves that it is a modern, not a historic document, not to mention the code at the bottom, showing it to be an official form created in 2001) reflecting a bureaucratic reality:  In 1972, Hawaii did away with its former practice of issuing two types of birth certificates, one of which reflected actual births and one of which retrofitted off-island births.  In other words, the current document does not tell us what the facts were on the ground in 1961.  As of 1972, all those birth certificates were merged into a single on-island category.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Prerequisites to the presidency *UPDATED*

Obama refuses to release his birth certificate. I’m with the Campaign Spot in believing that it shows nothing more than some embarrassment about the fact that his birth name was a Motown sounding Barry, rather than the hip, foreign sounding Barack.

Be that as it may, given that a prerequisite for the Presidency is a “natural born citizen,” it’s worth asking this question: When the citizens ask for it, on what possible basis can Obama refuse to make a copy of his birth certificate available?

Hat tip: LGF

UPDATE:  Please see comment no. 1 to this post, in which suek introduces some fascinating information.   Wouldn’t it be interesting if Obama was disqualified from the race for failing to meet the most basic prerequisite for the American presidency?