American Elephants


There Are Always Consequences. That’s How Life Works. by The Elephant's Child

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In his speech, Dennis Prager mentions the bad ideas of the Left, and rates the Self-Esteem Movement as possibly their worst idea ever. Back in 1945 Dr. Spock published his “Baby and Child Care” for the generation of the mothers of the Baby Boom when the fathers of the baby boom came home from World War II. “He began his book with the reassuring words:”Trust Yourself”, but as Kay Hymowitz wrote,”Not that he believed it.” For some it was a bible, others simply found it to be a comfortable reference. So when Nathaniel Brandon published a path-breaking paper in 1969 called “The Psychology of Self-Esteem” that argued that feelings of self-worth were a key to success in life, new parents were ready for advice, since they had been raised on Dr. Spock.

The American school system was ready for the”key to success in life” and  his big idea soon became the hot new thing in education. The California Legislature, always ready to be the leader, even established a “Self-Esteem Task Force” for the state’s schools. Competition was frowned upon. Soccer coaches quit counting goals and gave out trophies to everyone. Criticism was replaced with praise, even when undeserved. In Britain, which usually follows our fads, Author Melanie Phillips wrote in her book All Must Have Prizes in 2003;

 Alas, the latest pronouncement from those in charge of our exam system is truly beyond satire.

Their new idea for boosting examination success is to abolish the very idea of failure, along with the difference between the right and the wrong answer to a question.

Overpraising does not work. Kids know when they deserve praise, and false praise makes them become cynical about the undeserved praise they receive. They perform better with skilled and serious criticism rather than empty praise.

Seventy-six-million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964— the biggest generation ever, anywhere, and they became known as the Baby Boom. Tract houses, bomb shelters, hula hoops, an economic boom, assassinations, Rock and Roll, Vietnam, and protests. Society had a hard time dealing with the numbers of the Boomers—they were simply unprepared. The Sputnik Generation, the Pepsi Generation, Love Generation, Protest Generation, Woodstock Generation. The sheer numbers demanded, and got, attention. Great Expectations by Landon Jones  (1980) was a marvelous study about how society and the numbers interacted. They’re not through with us, as their retirement is playing hob with Social Security, Medicare and elder care as the first Boomers turn 73.

Boomers moved all over, and so did their children. New parents didn’t always have a parent  close by for advice. College and graduate schools admissions became harder. Unemployment went up, divorce went up.

In 1996, Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. AMBER stands for Americas Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hageman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington,TX and then brutally murdered. Other states and communities soon followed suit, and the idea was adopted, but that too had consequences.

Before there was AMBER, there were news reports of abducted children. Doesn’t take much of that before parents start monitoring their children’s activities more closely. We now have “helicopter parents” — moms who “hover”over over their children to protect them from the dangers of the world. Parents who allowed their children to walk to a nearby park were turned in to child protective services. “Play dates” have become fashionable, and children are walked to and from school.

Psychology Today has even published a report (2017) on “The Effects of ‘Helicopter Parenting'”, which is continuing into the college years as some parents call the school regularly to find out how their kids are doing and trying to make sure they will get into graduate school. All these trends, fashions, movements  have an effect and have consequences.

You can’t watch Dennis Prager’s speech and his comments on the Left’s Self-Esteem movement without thinking of the celebrated  “survivors” of the Parkland school shooting. CNN and Media Matters have used the very young David Hogg for their own purposes, which are banning guns and destroying conservative talk radio, as well as preparation for the midterm elections. This is the worst kind of child exploitation. They have taken the young man’s ill informed cause for gun control, and are using him as a puppet to attack Laura Ingraham by attacking her advertisers. When corporate heads follow the misguided lead of a 17 year-old kid, there will be some probably severe consequences for that as well.



Some Premature Remarks on A Dreadful Tragedy by The Elephant's Child

Since it is way too early for any solid or real commentary on the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, naturally all the Lefties are running off at the mouth. Guns must be banned, of course, and the NRA banished forever. I finally realized why they are so frantic about the National Rifle Association. The NRA donates to Republicans.

Judd Apatow accused Trump of being “too much of a coward” to buck the NRA. Who is Judd Apatow? Is he some sort of celebrity? Chelsea Handler, whoever she is, said we must elect candidates who are not funded by the NRA who allow kids to go to school and get shot. Patricia Arquette, (the name is vaguely familiar), said that “If people can blame drug dealers for the drug problem then we can blame the NRA for the shooting problem.”  Utterly brilliant commentary. But typical.

I can’t forget our legislators, who are never shy about speaking out. Nancy Pelosi said “We have to be bold. We have to go forward. We cannot let the National Rifle Association—however they get their money and that’s another subject—to decide what the character of America is.” One would assume that the head of the NRA, whoever he is, did the shooting all by himself because he hates American children. Dianne Finestein reminded that she has a bill banning assault weapons.

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) made a speech on the floor of the Senate, apparently in the midst of the shooting. He said that Congress ‘ “inaction” is “responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.”

As we speak, there is a horrific scene playing out at a high school in south Florida. Turn on your television right now, you’re going to see scenes of children running for their lives, what looks to be the 19th school shooting in this country, and we have not even hit March. I’m coming to the floor to talk about something else, but let me just note, once again for my colleagues, that this happens nowhere else, other than the United States of America. This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting. It only happens here, not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.

That was too much for even the left-leaning Washington Post, which explained “No, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong.”

Guns are inanimate objects. Guns do not shoot people. People shoot people. America is a big open country, and we publicize all our faults as well as our triumphs. Guns have probably saved a lot more lives than were ever lost to gun violence.

Israel and Europe have had recent bunch of stabbings. Knives are also inanimate objects, useful in the kitchen and elsewhere, but deadly in the hands of someone intent on killing.

In Nice, France, a terror attack with a large white truck killed 84 people and injured many more on Bastille Day. A truck attack in London left 8 dead, but more than 40 injured, including children. There was a deadly truck attack in Jerusalem. A car was the lethal weapon in Melbourne, Australia. There was an attack with a vehicle in Manhattan on October 31st. And a truck attack in Barcelona, Spain, left 14 dead and 100 injured. So we should immediately ban trucks, cars, and the American Automobile Association.

The 18 year-old shooter is in custody, clearly a troubled kid. The FBI was warned about him last year.

Steve Scalise (R-LA), still recovering from being shot by an enraged  Democrat supporter of Bernie Sanders, said “don’t try to promote your agenda in the middle of a tragedy. One  magic law won’t stop shootings.”

Here in Washington State, authorities arrested an 18 year-old whose grandmother discovered his journal with detailed plans to shoot his high school classmates, and detonate homemade bombs at school, and she called 911.  This happened in Snohomish County on Tuesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that recognizing ‘signals and signs’ could prevent shootings, and he’s right.  I have never seen much discussion of the fact that the high school years are difficult and troubling for many kids. I don’t think I know anyone who has not been deeply affected by their years in high school. Making friends, falling in love, trying out for things and failing, finding the world increasingly difficult and confusing, and they are still very young and don’t know anything at all.

John Hinderraker has excellent premature observations.




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