American culture is poisoning our kids

I was horrified by David Horowitz' June article in The Costco Connection:

Nearly one out of three teens are using mobile devices to obtain test answers. What’s more, according to a 2009 study by U.S. News and World Report, “Nearly one 1 in 4 students thinks that accessing notes on a cell phone, texting friends with answers, or using a phone to search the Internet for answers during a test isn’t cheating.”

YES, THAT’S CHEATING!!! It’s the very definition of “cheating”! How can kids possibly think cheating is not cheating?

Well, I became even more depressed reading about a meta-analysis of 72 studies conducted over the past 30 years. Its conclusion: kids today are 40% less empathetic than kids in my generation. A 40% drop! That’s abysmal!

“We found the biggest drop in empathy after the year 2000,” co-author Sara Konrath, a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, said in a news release. “College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.”…

“Many people see the current group of college students — sometimes called ‘Generation Me’ — as one of the most self-centered, narcissistic, competitive, confident and individualistic in recent history,” observed Konrath, who is also affiliated with the psychiatry department at the University of Rochester.

It’s terrible enough we’re churning out millions of kids with poor academic skills. It’s actually even worse that we’re — apparently — producing a generation of egotists. Egotists make lousy colleagues and horrible parents. Besides, a “me, me, me” life is intrinsically less interesting than a “we, we, we” life.

I blame America’s “I got mine, Jack!” culture of greed, fraud, materialism and hedonism. We don’t respect learning or ideas or facts. We don’t respect teachers or books. We don’t respect or care for those less fortunate than us. Many of us don’t even know our neighbors. We turn out in droves to vote down school spending proposals. We fight fiercely… not against our multiple wars or the erosion of civil liberties or America’s neo-fascism but to prevent the poor from accessing basic healthcare. We bail out bankrupt banks even as they foreclose on ordinary Americans who can’t pay their mortgage because they’ve lost their job, lost their breadwinning spouse, or gotten sick. We spend way beyond our means, both as families and as a nation, and will inevitably stick our kids and grand-kids with our massive debt. No wonder our kids — who have watched us for 20+ years — have adopted our self-centeredness. It’s the only thing we’ve taught them.

Posted by James on Saturday, May 29, 2010