A Culture of Cheating

WARNING:  A rant is coming.  Read this article first, then read on:  http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/12/02/beyond-cheating-on-long-island/

I  am convinced beyond any ability to retract that we have moved into a new era in our culture that comes from a loss of true culture.  It is epitomized by controlling fear.  This fear leads and pushes all actions most of us undertake.  Because those of us who see the value of a truly liberal education lost the ideological war around 1900, we are now suffering the effects of inheriting no wisdom from the past, but rather living in something like godless superstitious terror (something like?  I think that is exactly what it is). I have beat this drum many times before on this blog, but let me beat out the wearying rhythm one more time.

“I work like a dog, selling my soul to “the man” for exorbitant wages so I can afford a comfy home and enough “stuff” that will allow me to put my child through the hoops of getting themselves a ‘college degree’ and launch their own campaigns for the covetous life.”

I know that whenever I put it this bluntly, perhaps in a caricatured form, though with questioning many parents I have dealt with eventually confirm the reality of the caricature, everyone backs off and starts asserting higher motives.  But in the end we believe that to be successful, our kids all have to go to college.  When this fear grips us, it produces a willingness to “protect” our young by doing whatever it takes to get them what we believe they must have.  And none but the mythical 1% have enough cash to simply pay outright for a college education.  That leads to the secondary myth of the “college scholarship.”

So now Dad is in the backyard forcing Johnny to learn how to throw a curve, so he can get a scholarship.  And Mom is in the den with Susie pushing her through memory hoops so she can get the 6.0 on a 4.0 scale and get a scholarship.  Remember the mantra: you have to go to college to be a success and we can’t pay these current prices for college.  Of course this leads to a few more thoughts.

If college is the key, and Mom and Dad both went to college back when it was cheap, then why has their college degrees failed to provide them with jobs that can pay for college for their kids?  What went wrong and why do we believe that our kids will do better than we did with these degree thingys?  And if all kids in the nation are vying for a few possible scholarships, then what do we need to do to get the advantage?  Well, we could pay massive amounts (topping $35,000 in some cases) for a coach to make sure our kid’s applications are the top of the pile type of packages, including coaching on how to write a brilliant essay, conduct a great interview, and put together a first rate self-promotional video or website.  (We laughed at such things, or at least chuckled, when we saw it parodied on Legally Blonde and other movies, but it is an all too real horror these days).

But then, again, we are culture-less, so we have lost our morals, so now our fear leads toward cheating.  And now we come around to the latest public atrocity, the Long Island cheating scandal.  The killer is that the only real issue seems to be that they got caught.  It’s almost like we expect the current college entrance situation to make people cheat, but we only respect those smart enough to get away with it.  Those caught are losers.

And now the angst and hormonal rush have peaked and I am coming down off my anger and all that is left is sadness and a still solid faith that God’s principle of sowing and reaping is still in place and working fine.  But that does not change my horror at living in the times right before Nebuchadnezzar comes knocking at our city’s walls.

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