Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Downsizing American Expectations (2): College Education, Redux

“Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.”

--President Barack Hussein Obama,
2012 Democratic National Convention Acceptance Speech

It used to be enshrined in the hallowed pantheons of conventional wisdom that as an American in America there are no formidable limits to what you can achieve as long as you set your mind to it.  This in a nutshell has been the traditional essence of the proverbial American Dream.


Ironically, while Pres. Obama aptly pointed to education as a valuable tool in pursuit of that dream, in the same teleprompter frame he denigrated the tool as nothing more than a gateway to mediocrity, the essence of “a middle class life.”  Pres. Obama being himself a highly educated man, I cannot divine for him to consciously diminish the value of higher education, per se. 

It therefore stands to reason that wittingly or unwittingly, he was setting the fetters that would circumscribe the domain over which the American Dream can be pursued without violating the unwritten protocols of “fairness,” one of the most invoked concepts by Pres. Obama himself.  He had given unmistakable notice that downsizing the American Dream is integral to the agenda of his second term.  This was the functional equivalent of the open microphone pledge of “flexibility” to Vladimir Putin when he
told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that, after he is reelected, and never has to face the voters again, he will have the "flexibility" to make a deal with Russia on missile defense systems.”

There are compelling reasons for President Obama to advocate a damning down of the quality of college education, which in and of itself already desperately needs to be rescued from its less than sterling quality.  As Rush Limbaugh emphasized, in his ever so deliciously succinct patentable way, in order to get re-elected

“. . . Obama is trying to put together a majority coalition made up of the least-informed people in this country, and, in some cases, maybe the dumbest? He's not targeting the brains of our society. He may figure he has academia all wrapped up, but, I mean, his big electoral push is for the mental midgets in this country . . . He's really coalescing the Moron Vote. He's banking on the fact that of the universe of Americans who vote, that there's a winning majority of morons in there. . . .”

I have illustrated earlier elsewhere (c.f., e.g. pp. 220~221 & 284~285) the deplorable state of American education.  But in a somewhat different context William E. White of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in a provocatively titled piece proclaiming Education in America Serves No Purpose Today, went on to opine that:

 “. . . there is only one purpose for an education system in a republic: to educate citizens. Anything that distracts us from that singular objective is destructive to our children and the nation. . . .


“. . . Without active and informed citizens, the republic will fail. Over and over again the founding generation reminded themselves, and us, that an educated citizenry is the fuel -- the guarantee -- of a strong, vital republic. . . . But our twenty-first-century schools do everything but train our children to exercise their civic responsibilities. . . .”


My firsthand experience with American college education was limited to walking out midstream of an ESL (English as a Second Language) session in Columbia University, convinced that my skills in the language was far better than that of the instructor’s who was a Teaching Assistant of either an Indian or Pakistani descent, judging from his accent.  The event ended my attempt to land a berth at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for a semester-specific Research Assistantship.  More importantly, it triggered my escape from the protective cocoon of academia into the rough and tumble of capitalism’s rat race in the open marketplace.


It was in this setting that I verified that the education I received before coming to this country was no slouch compared to what obtains in American colleges.  I interfaced with one graduate student from Brooklyn College finishing up her program for a Master’s degree in Education who asked me, on spying the book I was reading, “who, or what is Kant”?  The question was impressive because I was part of the first batch of 282 students in a just established state university in the Philippines where we were thought about the giants of Western Philosophy in the second semester.


I came to this country adequately educated after twelve years of sojourn in three government colleges, in Japan and the Philippines, splendidly spending other people’s money.  As a student, I was the recipient of one scholarship grant after another.  As a member of the faculty, I taught geophysical engineering with a relatively generous administrative operating budget of taxpayer funds, and a promise of ad valorem levy on nationwide gasoline sales to sustain my long term budgetary requirements. [C.f., chapter 1 pp. 5 ff at].


Assuming that adulthood starts at age 20, (voting age was 21 when I left the Philippines in 1974) twelve years represent 25% of my adult life spent in colleges.  President Obama’s machinations aside, I claim to be sufficiently qualified to have an opinion about the value of a college education, in general regardless of the geographic and cultural setting. 

To wit, college education anywhere in the planet is designed to cater to people who don’t know what to do with their lives.  It serves as a staging domain to ease the growing pains of joining the society at large as a fully credentialed citizen member of the human race.  There is a long list of people who were hugely successful sans college education.  Bill Gates, Greg Norman, Rush Limbaugh readily come to mind to name a few.  They just were certain what to pursue and pursued it with passion from the get go.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Downsizing American Expectations

"It is dangerous to uphold freedom. That is the lesson we should take".
--Harry Roque, Law Professor, University of the Philippines

It is indeed a sad day in God’s green acres when a university lecturer in an erstwhile American colony exhibits more principled intestinal fortitude in defending the U.S. Bill of Rights than evinced by the White House and the Obama regime’s various tentacles of power from the State Department to the Justice Department. 

Prof. Roque, at the risk of antagonizing his employers and losing an ongoing gig on human rights, insists “during a lecture on constitutional rights . . . to teach his students about freedom of expression.”  It seems he understands better than our Lecturer on Constitutional Law in a President Obama that the First Amendment also protects the most dysfunctional expression of even the most idiotic and incoherent ideas, regardless of whose feelings might get hurt in the process for deeming it “insensitive,” Muslims definitely included.

The State Department puts out TV ads promoting by denunciation this so-called incendiary video. We spend borrowed money from China to proclaim that the United States government does not unconditionally support the Bill of Rights amendments to the Constitution, especially if it offends Islam’s religious sensibilities.  Admittedly, this is par for the course for Liberal Democrats a.k.a. Progressives.  And some Americans want four more years of this regime? Go figure.

I can only conclude that either the pollsters are deliberately lying to promote an agenda of their own or the national polity has irretrievably gone dyslexic.

As I emphasized earlier elsewhere, [c.f., pp. 220~222 ff at]
“That Barack Hussein Obama ascended into the Oval Office is symptomatic of the political dyslexia that the country has sunk into, thanks in part to sustained assault on American educational institutions perpetrated by the so-called “Progressives,” that goes as far back as the turn of the last century, and the philosophical ideas of John Dewey, . . .

“The celebration of decadence and the sanctification of victimhood and dependency are two sides of the same currency coin which I dubbed as National Dyslexia. Not just in the context of literacy in particular, but in the context of perception in general, i.e., the difficulty if not outright failure to recognize and synthesize visual, spatial, and auditory relationships into a coherent gestalt, reliable and replicable perceptual representation of the outside world.”

That there are no “spontaneous” (to borrow the regime’s parlance) eruption of mass protests in the streets of Washington, DC and other metropolitan areas expressing outrage at the sight of the American Flag being burnt and trampled upon in the Islamic world, and demanding that the Obama regime, at the very least, honor its oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” has been proof positive that the Obama regime has successfully diminished the country’s expectation of what America can and cannot do.

It is a sad day in God’s creation when Old Glory is reduced to a groveling apology for what it used to proudly stand for by a constitutional scholar and community organizer to appease the sensibilities of his Islamic heritage.

[Next: Benefits of College Education, revisted]

Monday, September 17, 2012

Incompetence Bordering on Treason


 Most chances as begot of discontent
           Of others, prove best opportunities
           To probe the limits of your worth; else, vent
           Your umbrage at some worthless legacies:
           Such are the monuments of gross incompetence,
           Much shame well-hid in codes for else ill-hidden sins!
~~The Schuman-Spinoza Sonnets (C.f., p.140)

By its own admission, the Obama Regime was utterly clueless as to what ravaged the once awe-inspiring ethos of American sovereignty on the eleventh anniversary of the 11-Sep-2001 initial jihadist assault on American soil.  The effort to attribute the recent Egyptian and Libyan assaults on American territories to an obscure internet video non-sympathetic to Islam was pathetically long on chutzpah and short on credibility. 

That the regime even attempted to sell this narrative to the American people is yet another instance of the contempt that the Obama Regime holds vis-à-vis the intelligence and sensibilities of the American people.

Apparently, despite President Obama’s explicit claims to being sympathetic to the Muslim agenda because of his capacity for better resonance with Islamic sensibilities stemming from his father being a Muslim socialist and having spent part of his boyhood in Indonesia under the tutelage of his Muslim stepfather, the POTUS had not heard of Islamic Triumphalism.  He therefore could not even suspect that the jihadists would seek to celebrate the anniversary of their initial 11-Sep-2001 exploits with another successful assault on American sovereignty. 

He was too pre-occupied in his mission to keep his job.  He did not even bother to reinforce the security measures around our domains abroad.  This gross negligence took place notwithstanding explicit warnings from no less a reliable source than the Muslim Brotherhood.

Every American worth a grain of salt should seriously and deliberately ask: if President Obama can so audaciously flaunt about his blatant disregard for the security of the country at the height of his campaign for re-election, to which direction would he stir the ship of state once he gets re-elected?  What exactly was the nature and scope of the flexibility he pledged to Putin to be at his disposal during a second Obama term?

When the traditional media painstakingly avoided asking this question they abandoned their once exalted role as the voice of the national conscience.  They effectively became protectors and enablers of the recalcitrant mendacity that characterizes the Obama White House.

Thus it came to pass that after the Cairo Embassy perimeter was breached, the best response the regime could deliver was fifteen hours of deafening silence.  This was the historical equivalent of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burnt down.  In marine ballistics parlance, this was the logistical equivalent of rigging a torpedo for delayed detonation.

Americans should be weary and apprehensive of both the historical and the logistical parallels.  They should be acutely cognizant that the decadent recalcitrance of Nero was a prelude to the demise not only of just the Caesar Dynasty but also, and more significantly, of the grandeur that was the Roman Empire.

Likewise, deploying a delayed torpedo to a deliberately camouflaged target for the sake of confusing the American public respecting your real intentions, or to disguise the fact that you are absolutely clueless on what you need to do or what you are doing can backfire and reduce the ship of state to smithereens.  The fallout of such devastation would make the noonday landscape of a nuclear winter a veritable vivacious inspiration Shangri-La.

It behooves to emphasize that the targeted killing of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi represents a qualitative escalation of the Islamic jihadists’ war against us.  The atrocities of 11-Sep-2001, horrific as they might have been, were vastly and loosely targeted assaults designed to inflict the maximum number of casualties.  In contrast, the Benghazi affair meant that the enemy’s specific tracking and targeting capabilities for high value assets prevailed over our own counter measures. 

It does not bode well for America.  If we continue to tolerate the myth that this was all provoked by a YouTube video that hardly anybody has seen, it would amount to a self-deception bordering on treason.