América del Norte/Canadá/Noviembre de 2016/Fuente: The Star
RESUMEN: Los estadounidenses, esto es lo que sucede cuando usted abandona su sistema de educación pública. Canadá tiene una buena. Puede ser mantenido, o nuestra nación se estrellará como nuestro vecino de al lado tiene, un patio trasero de restos llameantes y oh no, donde están las armas nucleares. La educación es la clave de la vida civilizada. Durante años hemos estado escuchando acerca de las escuelas con fondos insuficientes de Estados Unidos, maestros mal pagados o ausentes, libros de texto, edificios dañados, voluntarios en Teach for America – semanas de entrenamiento post-B.A. No hace un profesor hacer – los niños unfed demasiado hambre para aprender, y una falta de respeto general para la profesión de enseñanza. Cuanto mejor se le enseñe, más desea noticias precisas y mejor será capaz de evaluar para tomar una decisión racional de votación. Pero, ¿qué pasa si dejas la escuela? ¿Incluso trataste de ir a una universidad local? “Ninguna variable demográfica refleja el éxito electoral de Trump mejor que la educación”, escribió Andrew Flowers de fivethirtyeight.com. Cuanto más bajo es el nivel educativo, mayor es el voto Trump. Lo contrario ocurría para Clinton. Los votantes estaban mal equipados para darse cuenta de que Trump no les estaba ofreciendo nuevos empleos en la fábrica, sino un poco de comodidad.
Americans, this is what happens when you abandon your public education system. Canada has a good one. Long may it be maintained, or our nation will crash as our next-door neighbour has, a backyard of flaming wreckage and oh no, where are the nukes.
Education is the key to civilized life. For years we’ve been hearing about America’s underfunded schools, underpaid or absent teachers, no textbooks, damaged buildings, volunteers at Teach for America — weeks of training post-B.A. does not a teacher make — unfed kids too hungry to learn, and a general disrespect for the teaching profession.
The better you are taught, the more you want accurate news and the better you’ll be able to assess it to make a rational voting decision. But what if you quit school? Did you even try to go to a local college?
“No demographic variable reflects Trump’s electoral success better than education does,” wrote Andrew Flowers of fivethirtyeight.com. The lower the education level, the higher the Trump vote. The reverse held true for Clinton. Voters were ill-equipped to figure out that Trump was not offering them new factory jobs but a bit of cold comfort.
Education does six things, and more.
1. It teaches you to value thought over feeling, reason over passion. Throughout the U.S. election campaign, I was intrigued by the triumph of illogic. The New Yorker’s interviews in West Virginia were a classic example. “I think our country has finally started to wake up to the fact that everything’s soft,” a retired military man said as he explained his Trump vote. “You don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.” He deplored this.
People had been afraid of sounding racist before, a black Democrat in Charleston told the reporter. “Now the lid is off. People feel free to say what they really think.”
But schooling is what keeps the lid on. It teaches rational discourse. Do you want to live in a world where people feel free to say what they really think? Trust me, you do not want to hear what I’m thinking right now. My thoughts would be rancid, my words hot tar.
2. Education socializes you. There’s a huge disadvantage to home-schooling: you learn all about your mom, but nothing about students of varying ages, backgrounds, genders and abilities. School is an institution. It teaches social norms. Then you’ll get along with others in a workplace, a coffee shop or a public square.
An educated person will learn that violence is a last resort, especially in response to mere words.
3. Education teaches you to assess facts and understand statistics. For example, U.S. anti-immigrant feeling was strongest where there were fewest immigrants, concluded fivethirtyeight.com. Learning about percentages might have made Trump voters a little less terrified of The Other.
4. Education teaches history and economics. You’d feel sparks down your spine to see an ethnic group or religion singled out for a national register or deportation. You’d know where that leads. And you’d understand the reasons for a regional economic decline and learn ways to adapt. You would not blame your situation on perceived “elites” who you deride as much as you suspect they deride you.
Democrats think we’re a bunch of redneck racists, Trump voters complain. Well, are you? Do you know the history of waves of immigration in your melting pot country? Have you read a speech in which a black man yearned for the day his little children would “not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”? If you don’t want to be judged for your whiteness, don’t judge the black, brown and vaguely tan. Understood?
5. Education teaches you to put things in context. You don’t flame out over a minor incident and you may find, as President Obama taught, that it teaches sublime lessons.
6. Education makes you read fiction, perhaps in another language. Never will the lives of others flower for you faster and more heart-hittingly. You’ll identify with characters who seem glorious but are grimy underneath. You’ll spot greed and self-interest. You’ll learn about the unreliable narrator, about skepticism.
You will perhaps read Joseph Conrad’s 1900 novel, Lord Jim, about a young man striving for heroism. My favourite quote: “A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea,” says Stein, the philosopher. “If he tries to climb out into the air, he drowns. The way is to the destructive element submit yourself, and with the exertions of your hands and feet in the water make the deep, deep sea keep you up.”
In other words, think first. The destructive element is life itself but you can survive with a cool head and much hard work. You must do it on your own and blame no one.
I’ll end with another fine quote, this one from the 19th French poet Rémy de Gourmont, who presaged this current election horror. Don’t blame Trump. “Demons are like obedient dogs; they come when they are called.”