I've changed my mind. Prager's just stupid.
In the past, I have thought, that like Rush and that Dr. Laure person, he was actively vicious and wrong-headed, but no. This latest column has convinced me he just lacks the brain-power to understand what he's arguing.
Here's a bit:
A number of years ago, I lectured — in front of cameras filming for a syndication pilot — to three groups of high school students in Cleveland. The students represented diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. I asked them to raise their hands if they would take something from a department store without paying for it — if they were absolutely assured they would not get caught.The vast majority raised their hands.
They did so knowing they were on camera! That fact is vital to understanding the contemporary problem.
In the past, many young people stole — cash from a parent's wallet, candy from a store, etc.
But they knew they were stealing, and they would not have proudly announced their thievery in public.
They recognized that they had — permit me to use the word — sinned.
For example, vast numbers of young people download copyrighted music from the Internet and, more than ever before, cheat on tests.
And many would agree with the high school students in Cleveland — it's OK if they don't get caught.
Here's why:• Many young people are taught little or nothing about character development in secular schools, where nearly all spend most of their day. "Right" and "wrong" were replaced in the 1970s with "How do you feel about it?" • To the extent that schools deal with right and wrong, it is in the arena of social values, not personal behavior. Students are taught what the schools deem correct positions on matters of social concern — such as war, the environment, social justice — but little about personal integrity.
At the entrance of a highly regarded Los Angeles public school, there is a sign calling for world peace in four languages. Other signs on campus similarly exhort students to adopt various social positions. Not one sign addresses self — as opposed to social — amelioration.•
To the extent that demands are made on young people, they concern health, not integrity and character. Smoking, for instance, is villainized. Copying software, downloading music without paying for it, cheating on tests, lying on insurance claims are not.
Dennis finds a problem in ethics has opened up in the world. It's not, in fact, that more kids are stealing. It's that more kids are willing to admit that they steal.
Same number of kids actually steal and cheat. They just don't also lie about it too.
Dennis is appalled by this honesty.
(Myself, I'm appalled by the stealing and cheating, but okay, whatever.)
Dennis blames who for the lack of shame at this stealing and cheating? The schools.
Right. That makes sense.
Everyone knows school is where a child learns ethics and morality.
I bet that's who taught Dennis's kids right from wrong -- their school teachers.
And -- while we're here -- what is it with Dennis and the smoking?
Give it a rest, son.