Whatever happened to the skilled labor force? It went to college, and that’s not an entirely good thing:

When everybody’s special, nobody is. Getting everyone into college means you have to dumb down the curriculum until it is nothing but meaningless drivel that has no application in the real world…

Forcing everyone to become smart is like a countrywide affirmative-action plan. It doesn’t work…

The controversy that destroyed 11-plus [the British meritocracy exam system] is long and complex, but the CliffsNotes version is that some clueless politician saw educated siblings do better than uneducated siblings and thought, “They should all have the opportunity to do as well as their brother.” But the educated sibling didn’t thrive because he was educated. He was educated because he thrived. If you think his brothers got ripped off, tell it to God. He was the one who doled out the lower IQs…

I’m not denying that outsourcing and automation has made many jobs obsolete. Of course it has. But that doesn’t mean you abandon the entire concept of a working class. There is still a huge demand for skilled labor.

But our young people aren’t skilled (or interested) in hard labor, so we bring in illegal Mexicans. When you take away a young person’s ability to work, you take away their pride.

True, but we have to be careful not to promulgate the myth of the stupid-but-happy worker, singing joyfully at his/her trade no matter how menial. A lot of work is boring and nasty, and a lot of people who used to do it were crippled or broken by it and nourished the dream that for their children things would be better.

And to a great degree, it was. But the article’s author, Gavin McInness, is correct in asserting that the whole process of pretending everyone is suited for higher academic study and a job in the professions has gotten absurd, and has had the effect of lowering standards to an alarming degree.

If you think about it, it was kind of a no-brainer (pun intended) that this would be the result. No doubt there were sincere people who thought (and still think) that human beings are infinitely malleable, and that inherent differences in intelligence and personality and abilities either don’t exist or don’t matter and can be transcended through enough and better education. And additionally, there are people who thought (and still think) that, even though education won’t equal everything out, it still is necessary to pretend that it will, and that this should be the highest and most pressing goal of a society no matter what the costs.

Not so bright, is it?

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]