Technology: Can we bridge the values gap?
While the need for America to arrest its decline down into a new Marxist Dark Age grows painfully more obvious each day, just how do we arrest and, hopefully, reverse such a steep decline? For starters, letís assume those of us born before 1946 understand the need for a return to our founding documents and values, meaning a return to Traditional American Values. the younger generations who will have to do the heavy lifting needed to restore America to where it was prior to the elections of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. "Patriot Act" Bush, and Joe Biden*.
Communications technology, despite all the upsides of computers, the Internet, and Social Media, also has the downside of creating a huge communication gap between our elders and our youngsters whose knowledge of the world comes from their computer screens, video games, their cell phones, and from a public education system that has abandoned even such basics as cursive handwriting.
For example, if Granny hand writes a note of congratulations to grandson Jimmy for achieving something worthwhile, Grannyís cursive handwriting will look like a foreign language to little Jimmy. Jimmy, who only understands block printing on computer screens, will need an older person to interpret Grannyís kind note. Already many Jimmies of driving age are totally baffled by cars with manual transmissions. Moreover, Jimmyís grandchildren are likely to grow up knowing only autonomous vehicles and wondering how on earth their elders were allowed to drive such dangerous machines by themselves.
Many of these examples are found in Victoria Kirinís book: Stories of Elders, 2019. Kirin poses the question of how can older generations transmit their values to younger generations who have become high-tech incommunicado?
Our exhortations of the thinking of Aristotle, Epictetus, Herodotus, Plato, and Socrates, Cicero, Franklin, Paine, Hamilton, Madison, and Jefferson are not likely to reach ears covered by earbuds. Nor are they likely to comprehend the values of the early (not the later) Romans: Mercy, Dignity, Tenacity, Frugalness, Gravity, Respectability, Humanity, Industriousness, Prudence, Wholesomeness, Self-control, and Honesty.
Early Romeís values produced an empire with a 10,000-mile border that lasted for over 1,100 years but only fell when their version of Las Vegas (Pompeii) diverted their attention from robustly defending their borders. Hello! Does this sound familiar?
Our mere 245 years of existence pale in comparison with the Roman Empire. Recall, many empires fell due to internal decay: Mandarin China, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey, Tsarist Russia, and Soviet Russia. Great Britain exhausted itself by fighting Germany twice and Japan once. Tojoís Japan and Nazi Germany had to be bombed into submission.
So, whatís the solution to inculcating the values that made America great into the younger generations? If this writer knew the answer, you would be reading it right here. Meanwhile, it might help if all of us elders try to live our lives like the Pilgrims of old and make America once again like the Reverend Winthropís "Citty upon a hill."
Suggested reading: Stories of Elders by Victoria Kirin, 2019. Caesar by Adrian Goldsworthy, 2006. The Mayflower by Rebecca Rose Fraser, 2017.. Errand into the Wilderness by Perry Miller, 1952.
©2023. William Hamilton.