What is going on with our species? On the one hand athletic and sporting achievements show us to be physically much stronger than we were 30 or 40 years ago, yet it suggests our minds are much weaker. There has been a progressive dumbing down during that period but I tended to believe it was because dumb rich kids went to top schools whilst poor kids with massive potential are dumped on the scrapheap.
Of course I have to apportion a lot of blame to America. I've seen things change over the years as we adopt certain American ways we would have been better off leaving to them. If I'm fair I cannot really blame America because the things we copied did seem like a good idea at the time. I refer specifically to two anathemas dressed in sheep's clothing...... Health & Safety and Political Correctness.
As kids we were frequently told "Sticks and stones...." or "Grin and bear it" and not to "Tell tales". Parents weren't there to monitor our every move and wrap us in cotton wool. Bullying was as rife back then as it is today but it was largely overlooked by teachers and adults who had better things to do. Without the internet, bullying was different though, it was far more physical. If you had asked me if I would prefer the bullies to call me horrible names instead of kicking the crap out of me, I would of course have answered in the affirmative.
In my primary school only 3 out of 100 had asthma, ADHD and Asperger's hadn't been 'invented' so we just had the cane for errant kids with NCS (Naughty Child Syndrome) as it was known back then. Nobody I knew had heard of any kids committing suicide and on the rare occasions it happened it was front page news. Political Correctness over a period of time hasn't solved the problem of bullying, racism, and bigotry, it has merely given added strength to hurtful comments. The comments aren't nice and should be frowned upon but gagging the perpetrators has paradoxically aggravated the situation.
A trip to social media emphasises just how hypersensitive subsequent generations are becoming. In the bigger picture, hypersensitivity causes conflict. I can imagine Trump and Dim Wrong Un sat around the table to negotiate a peaceful resolution. They'd both end up hitting the nuclear button as soon as they got home.
Perhaps Political Correctness alone could have been manageable but when you add it to the 'dumbing down' and chuck a handful of Health & Safety into the mix, things really start to go pear-shape. Health & Safety has brought with it a 'blame and sue' culture. Instead of getting on with things, people look to apportion blame rather than 'deal with it'. Let me give you an example. Twenty years ago when working on a building site I had an accident "which was not your fault, phone claims direct"...... sorry that annoying little jingle is etched indelibly in my mind.
The point is, it wasn't my fault but I needed a trip to A&E. After being patched up I went back to the site and finished my work. These days the site management would have been sued and I'd be looking at a free holiday for a gashed leg. It is so ridiculous now people are trying to get compensation for a stubbed toe.
Okay I agree safety should be a priority but not everything in life comes with a guarantee, life itself is a risk. Health & Safety has gone way too far and it's getting worse. One particular grievance is the ban on conkers. Conkers were one of the highlights of autumn and eagerly anticipated. Now we're told conkers are dangerous, a piece could fly off and hit a child in the eye. Considering how many kids played conkers and how many were blinded by them, there is more chance of being struck by lightning. Perhaps Health & Safety should ban us from going out in the rain.
Parents today are a major problem but when their kids become parents, the implications of their 'neglect' will become apparent. It seems today parents have no time for their kids. Just shove them in a room with a computer game so you know they're safe. It is ironic that parents try to cover their kids in bubble-wrap to care for them, yet exactly the opposite is happening. Kids are more withdrawn and moody as a result. They lose social skills, are aggressive towards criticism and have an inability to deal with reality.
A lot of this comes back to the education thing. An inability to coherently air their views results in the shutters going up. Instead of listening and debating they will argue black is white. They cannot ingest information and analyse it for themselves, they adopt views of others and stick to them rigorously no matter how flawed the arguments may be.
It's time to revamp our education system. Each child should be appointed a school on merit not wealth. Theresa May and the Conservatives want to keep education elitist, the reasons are obvious. Rich thick brats need to learn how to hang on to the wealth their parents 'stole' from the masses.
The problems are there for all to see, my fear is we are too far down the line to make any sudden change. Change will be a slow difficult process, but it needs to happen and it needs to begin now!