The consequences of democratization

It is itself indicative of an educational failure that the inevitable consequence of democratizing anything leads inevitably to mediocrity should prove surprising:

Years ago, school was not for everyone. Classrooms were places for discipline, study. Teachers were respected figures. Parents actually gave them permission to punish their children by slapping them or tugging their ears. But at least in those days, schools aimed to offer a more dignified life.

Nowadays more children attend school than ever before, but they learn much less. They learn almost nothing. The proportion of the Mexican population that is literate is going up, but in absolute numbers, there are more illiterate people in Mexico now than there were 12 years ago. Even if baseline literacy, the ability to read a street sign or news bulletin, is rising, the practice of reading an actual book is not. Once a reasonably well-educated country, Mexico took the penultimate spot, out of 108 countries, in a Unesco assessment of reading habits a few years ago.

One cannot help but ask the Mexican educational system, “How is it possible that I hand over a child for six hours every day, five days a week, and you give me back someone who is basically illiterate?”

The concept of group schooling is fundamentally flawed from the start.  But throw in the expansion of the number of students attending as well as the elements of entrenched, self-interested administrative and teaching bureaucracies, and you have a perfect recipe for teaching absolutely nothing of import, regardless of whether you are considering American college students or Mexican elementary schoolers.  It should be readily apparent that the more children attend school, the more mediocre the education that ALL of those children will receive.

It’s not exactly a zero-sum game, but it might as well be.  The more resources that are committed to education, the more the parasite class is drawn to it and the more resources will be diverted away from its primary purpose.

Now lets contemplate the consequences of importing tens of millions of these uneducated quasi-illiterates with zero familiarity knowledge of the Western political tradition and giving them citizenship and the right to vote.  On what planet does anyone possibly think this is going to lead to any sort of improvement in the national well-being?  What is the case for believing this is going to do anything but hasten the decline and fall of the United States?

People sometimes wonder how I can be an open and avowed anti-equalitarian elitist.  To which my response is: precisely how mediocre do you believe yourself to be that you are not?