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When I was a kid back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, rebellion was in fashion. The idea that your elders were lying to you was pervasive. “Never trust anyone over 30″ was a popular motto.

Social change was remarkably rapid — you can date women’s lib to 1969, not 1968. And gay lib can be dated precisely to the evening following Judy Garland’s funeral in July 1969.

Today, though, I’m fascinated by the credulity of younger, well-educated people toward their elders, and the endurance of their bad old ideas. Stephen Jay Gould, for example, has been dead and gone for years, but the mellifluous old blowhard is still constantly cited by the relatively young as a great thinker whose golden ideas must remain unchallenged by we lesser mortals doomed to live in this age of brass.

By way of analogy, I’m reminded of a passage from Michael Blowhard’s amazing review of last year’s movie hit “300.”

The film is another example of the way we’ve caved in culturally to adolescent values. Here’s how the story goes. Boomers were the first sizable generation of adolescents ever to have their adolescent tastes and pleasures catered to. This is really-truly true, by the way. Nothing like it had ever occurred on the face of the planet before. And — since anything that occurs to you in the teen years has a big effect — that’s playing with fire.

So the Boomers became experts in being adolescents, and in adolescent pleasures. When they got older and the time came to attend to the business of catering to the entertainment needs of the new crop of adolescents, Boomers proved much much better at it than their own elders had been. What they created for the new adolescent audience wasn’t just memorably exciting and full of promise, as post-WWII pop culture had been. The pop culture the Boomers created proved so exciting and satisfying for adolescents that for ensuing generations nothing beyond adolescence and adolescent values and pleasures exists any longer.

I think much the same holds true in the educational and intellectual realm. The 1960s ideas promoted by Boomers were essentially adolescent and thus when they gained control of the education system, change ground to a halt. They serve up puerile bilge to puerile young people, so everybody is satisfied. It’s a perpetual anti-motion machine.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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The beginning of my upcoming article in The American Conservative (not yet online):

Despite its tradition of editorializing in favor of openness and public participation, the prestige press offered virtually no complaints when the Senate recently voted to skip holding hearings on the convoluted “comprehensive immigration reform” package worked out behind closed doors by Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kyl with Bush Administration support. Nor did the mainstream media object when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced his intention to ram this vast concoction of highly debatable effect through the Senate in one week, a ploy that even Reid soon admitted was wrong.

This high-level disdain for open debate over immigration was not an anomaly. You might think that our nation’s elites — political leaders, public intellectuals, and the press — would find immigration the single most fascinating domestic policy issue to explore. After all, besides ourselves, nothing is more interesting to us than other human beings. And few political questions would seem more compelling than which of the six billion foreigners we would want to become our fellow citizens, neighbors, workmates, and, eventually, the ancestors of our descendents. Immigration policy directly affects nearly every other question of our day, from education and crime to economic inequality and health care costs.

Yet, the national newspapers cover immigration with no more enthusiasm than they muster for local zoning board meetings. When they deign to discuss immigration at all, their approach is superficial and sentimental. Actual debate over immigration legislation is routinely denounced as “divisive,” as if democracy is the opposite of “division” (which is the English term for a legislative vote). The palpable contempt the mainstream media radiates toward anyone well-informed about immigration contributes to the vapidity of its coverage.

An insightful economist, writing under the protection of anonymity, recently pointed out:

“Power today very largely consists of being able to define what criticisms are off the wall, over the top, and out to lunch… Those who wield it do not ‘run the world.’ Rather they can block significant changes that reduce their power.”

There may be no better example of this than how the powerful treat informed analysis of illegal immigration.

For example, recall the Amnesty Baby Boom. What, you haven’t heard of it?

According to a 2002 study by demographers Laura E. Hill and Hans P. Johnson of the Public Policy Institute of California, due to the 1986 amnesty (another “comprehensive” compromise, combining legalization with enforcement provisions that were never enforced), “Between 1987 and 1991, total fertility rates for foreign-born Hispanics [in California] increased from 3.2 to 4.4″ expected babies per woman over her lifetime. Why? “Many of those granted amnesty were joined later by spouses and relatives in the United States.” This fertility explosion among former illegal aliens choked California’s public schools, leading to the expenditure of over $20 billion for construction of new school buildings by the Los Angeles school district alone.

Now, this bit of recent history might strike you or me as relevant to assessing the wisdom of the current amnesty before the Senate, but a Google search shows that we are off the wall and out to lunch according to those in positions of power. It’s not quite accurate to say that the PPIC study was tossed down the memory hole because it was never allowed out in the first place.

Why is respectable immigration reporting so one-sided, inane, and downright dull? Just as immigration is tied into every domestic issue, the failure to examine immigration intelligently illuminates much that is wrong with American intellectual discourse in general.

Here are some reasons for this sorry state of affairs …

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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