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Wonderful read.

Thank you.

I also grew up on the East Coast and saw the reverse. Kids who were "C" students moved to California and suddenly were placed in "Advanced" classes, making straight "A's".
California's size and dominance have impacted the entire education establishment.
SAT's now have a written section, just to accommodate California's desire to circumvent Ward Connorly's Civil Rights initiative barring discrimination against or in favor of any one because of Gender, Race, etc. California colleges could no longer offer "Bonus" points just for being a protected class, so Minority enrollment dropped dramatically. This is their response to restore minority enrollment to previous levels, in spite of the evidence that such advancement actually increases minority drop-out rates at Universities.
Similarly, the Stanford 9 test has replaced the traditional Iowa test used to measure student progress in K-12. We can no longer reliably compare current generations with their parent's or grandparent's generation.
Amidst all of these Liberal deceptions, at least one survived and prospered! Congratulations and thank you for your words of encouragement.

I also grew up on the West coast (but further north). I attended school in the '70's and '80's. I too remember dirty waterways, and acid rain. I remember harsh regulations helped improve those problems-- you don't hear much about acid rain anymore. I remember going to museums and the zoo and learning about how the key to wildlife is habitat. That the best way for nature to prosper is for mankind to leave the planet as close to the way "he" found it as possible. I remember math and english, whether it was new or not, I don't know. I remember good teachers who inspired me to try harder-- and frankly I don't remember the bad teachers. I remember going to a private christian school that taught me stuff about the origin of mankind and the earth that is frankly a boldfaced lie. I remember families moving out of the city for the 'burbs and attending nice middle class schools with virtually no minorities. I also remember the disastrous experiment that was trying to bus those kids back into the city. I also remember when AIDS came on the scene and "certain people" saw the disease as God's judgement on homosexuals. I don't ever remember my family or friends families being involved in a key party. But yes, some of my friends, did drugs. And yes, a few of my teachers were gay (though none would dare say so openly--not sure why), yet somehow they managed to keep their hands off me and my friends. I remember playing yahtzee at home, and doing trigonometry and physics at school. I don't ever remember taking an IQ test in school, so I wonder how administrators would have that information.
Fast forward 20 years, I did well in high school (but not great), did well in college (but not great), and now I have a great job, and a great family (only one). My kids will likely attend public school, but I will be careful where I choose to live. I voted Republican growing up and have slowly but surely moved left. I have learned that rigid adherence to political dogma is at best counterproductive and at worst, dangerous. I have learned that the world changes and we must change with it. I have learned I don't like to pay taxes, yet tax cuts alone are not the answer to the significant challenges we face (terrorism, energy dependance, climate change). I have learned that Republicans had no problem doubling the deficit over the past 8 years, and now that we NEED to spend the money (in the short term) to turn the economy around; they've rediscovered fiscal prudence, how convenient. I have yet to see any politician put forth a budget that lowers taxes, lowers our debt, without cutting social security, medicare, medicaid and defense spending (which represents almost 85% of federal spending along with interest. )And I've also learned most of the home schooled kids I've met are weird.

Thank you for posting that, great read.

And, Scott ... the world changes but the right thing to do stays the right thing to do. Yeah, I was disappointed at how much money the Republicans spent. Doesn't mean the solution is to spend four times as much. (No, we don't NEED to. That is incorrect.)

Maybe the Republicans will come back to their roots ... or we need a third party. I really cannot understand any serious adult being a Democrat.


Interesting counterpoints right up until the last line when you lost me with the unnecessary dig at homeschoolers. Given our host's admission that she home-schools her children, your gratituous dig was just rude. You really should apologize.

The point of her bringing up all the "ecoawareness" was that it was not education, but indoctrination. It did nothing to teach those students the skills the schools were supposed to impart. Unfortunately, for a large part of the population, that indoctrination worked.

"Acid rain' disappeared because it was a hoax. It turned out that the problem was that reforestation of unbuffered soils of cleared farmland (like granitic soils of New England) causes rainwater to accumulate the acidity of decaying leaves and vegetation. Eventually the forests reestablished a new equilibrium and the problem went away. The "harsh regulations" you approve of were magical thinking like the old joke: "If I draw this line on the sidewalk, it keeps the tigers away. Since there are no tigers in my neighborhood, my line is the reason why."

"I also remember when AIDS came on the scene and "certain people" saw the disease as God's judgement on homosexuals."

I remember all the scares about "heterosexual AIDS' and how any day now it would prove to be a disease that could be spread by vectors besides homosexual activity. Scares ginned up by "activists" who wanted more funding.

I have learned that Republicans had no problem doubling the deficit over the past 8 years, and now that we NEED to spend the money (in the short term) to turn the economy around; they've rediscovered fiscal prudence, how convenient.

That 8 years of deficit was in large part because the GOP got the idea that they could buy Dem votes by offering "third-way" versions of the Dem's favorite program. Turns out they found out that given a choice between the "lite" version and the real thing, people want the real thing. And learning from mistakes, and not repeating them, used to be considered a good thing. Realizing you have a problem is the first step, then comes finding the solution.

As for the "need" to spend even more, usually when an action causes a problem, part of the solution is to stop engaging in that action and try something different. Only in Dem politics is it considered "wise" to fix a problem by throwing even more money at at, or acting like a Lotto winner going on a binge.

And I've also learned most of the home schooled kids I've met are weird.

The schools I experienced were great training grounds for bullies, the lazy, the self-important and their mass of followers and victims. The difference between schools and prisons is that those in the latter had to commit a crime to get there, but both'll let you go when your time's up whether or not the time served did you any good.

Meh, spelling checker between my ears on the fritz tonight. Change "gratituous" to "gratuitous".

I now remember why I stopped debating Republicans, it's like bangin your head against a wall. It only feels good when you stop. Anywhoo... yes the "weird" comment was a bit of a cheap shot, but I don't like it when someone villifies a group of people (gays) by implying they're all a bunch of pedophiles. I also feel strongly that school is not just a place to learn the abc's. It's just as important to learn how to get along with people you don't know, or even like. You're going to have to deal with people at your job who may be whackos. Home schooling robs children of that sometimes painful but valuable experience. I have no problem with charter schools though.
Ok, now to the meat. Acid rain was not a soil imbalance. Someone's been reading too much Freedomwatch.com on line. That is a ridiculous argument.
The argument that Bush kowtowed to the Democrats and that's why the deficit was so big. That is such wishful thinking I don't even know where to start. The fact is, Bush had to buy off Republicans to keep them voting for the Iraq war. The notion that tax cuts would pay for a war, was criminally stupid. It indebted us to China and almost bankrupted our country. Let alone the thousands of lives lost.
Then for my favorite line. More spending will not fix our problem. This is why I can't be a Republican, because they live in a dream world. Find me the economist who says government spending wasn't vital to turning around the "great recession". Most say we're not spending enough. I need you to look up something called the "paradox of thrift". In essence, saving is good, but if we as a society save too much, we all get poorer. That's essentially what's going on now. If we don't spend now to turn the economy around, we are all poorer tomorrow. Now, one, two years in the future we need to start tightening the belt. Here's your homework, if we're spending too much now, where do you get the savings from? And if you don't want to save, then where does the extra revenue come from? I'm all ears.

p.s. If there was a party that truly kept government out of people's lives, and was committed to balancing the budget in an equitable way, I'd join it. Right now, the democrats are the closest thing available. There's plenty I don't like (too close to organized labor, lawyers), but at least there is some commitment to science and not pseudo-science.


Any apology containing the word 'but' is really just another insult dressed up in evening clothes.

Repeat after me: "I apologize for implying that your children are weird. It was wrong on my part, and I have no excuse. It won't happen again. Will you please forgive me?"

Manners matter, especially on the internet.

Scott: "Find me the economist who says government spending wasn't vital to turning around the "great recession"."

In fact, many "Chicago school" economists (and essentially ALL "Austrian school" economists) will argue exactly that --- some going even further to say that New Deal policies EXTENDED and EXACERBATED the Great Depression. (It's kind-of hard to run a "control experiment" though ;-))
Also a small history lesson: the unemployment rate in 1939 was... not very different from that in 1933. It was WW II that wiped out unemployment, not the New Deal. See "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shlaes for a popular account.

Now back to the main post: a very interesting look inside growing up in California. (Lived in California myself, but as a graduate student.) A couple reminiscences of my own:
* grew up in Europe in the 1960s-1970s
* spent 12 years in state-subsidized Catholic boys schools (and we did have a couple of priests removed or transferred for "liked" little boys too much)
* got exposed to the disastrous "New Math" experiment myself. Since I was about 2 grade levels ahead of my class (but was not allowed to skip grades: grade-skipping etc. were "not egalitarian" enough) I knew enough old math that it couldn't screw me up any further (and much later on I actually did find uses for set theory), but a number of my peers had to take remedial classes (and do things like relearn long division) after our school dropped "new math".
* grew up in a (Euro-)conservative Catholic household. Never heard of wife-swapping as something people around me actually did (that was for "the Dutch" as Belgians put it), but the #1 skeleton in closets among families around me was relatives who had been Nazi collaborators or even served in the SS "Flemish legion".
Turned hard left in response, quickly recoiled into the moderate left, and pretty much stayed there for 20 years. Growing doubts came to a head upon leftist responses to first the Second Intifada, then 9/11. These convinced me that I was aboard a rotten ship and that the "progressive" left had actually degenerated into a deeply reactionary movement. Consider myself a "neo-centrist" now: in the US I would vote Republican not so much because I love the Republican party (or any other party) but because I think the Democrats have gotten completely round the bend.
* Having seen both hardcore bigotry and its supposed antidote, "multiculturalism", in action up close, I believe a healthy societal body should steer a middle course between the twin extremes of unthinking multiculturalism (the equivalent of immunodeficiency) and bigotry (the equivalent of an autoimmune disease = the immune system attacking healthy parts of the body).
* saw the post-national and post-democratic monster known as the European Union in the making from close up (lived a comparative stone's throw away from its headquarters) and learned my lessons about statism
* always took the welfare state for granted while growing up: now Belgium is confronted with its unsustainability and trying to preserve the system at any price (euthanasia is legal in Belgium to begin with, but I was horrified to learn from doctors that it is not even uncommon even in situations where the patient would never consent). A first-hand experience with the latter, as well as first-hand experiences with US-style healthcare, made me completely revise my assumptions about socialized medicine.
Then saw Israel, which has a similar healthcare system but where the "Belgian solution" is (thank G-d) literally unimaginable --- and much higher per-family childbirth means a healthier social security tax base --- but the same sustainability problems assert themselves as I speak.
* am an AGW skeptic not "despite" having a Ph.D. and the equivalent of another, but "because" I deal with computer models day and night and understand their limitations
* have learned the hard way that in my profession, expressing political views other than the New Class liberal-left "groupthink" doesn't make you popular ;-)

OK, I have rambled quite enough for now ;-) Keep up the good work, Kristin :-)

oops, "liked" should be "liking" -- mea culpa...

Great read, but "Eager" Allan Poe?

I'm curious as to what Scott intended to accomplish with his posts.

How about it, Scott? What were your goals?

Couple things, first off the great depression was exacerbated in the late 1930's, yes. And most economists agree, that was due to Roosevelt raising taxes and cutting back spending in an attempt to balance the budget. And when people say WWII ended the Great Depression, they leave out something very important. WWII was not an example of tax cuts turning the country around. It was an example of huge increases of government spending and debt. It really just proves my point.
As for my "apology", I have to admit, the more I think about it, the less I'm sorry. I think it's interesting that people are upset for using the word weird. You know what, I'm weird (I went on a GOP websites and was fired up enough to start a "debate", that's weird in itself). Yet, the people who demand I apologize seem to have no problem with someone accusing a teacher of pedophilia (and by extension all gay people). So, it's ok to accuse people of a crime--no apology necessary there-- but I have to apologize? Do you see the disconnect there?
As for why I started this in the first place, I guess it just upsets me when people villify another subgroup of people as an example of what's "wrong".
I've voted for Republicans and Democrats. I agree liberals can be arrogant and foolhardy. I would consider myself socially somewhat liberal and fiscally conservative. The facts show that deficit spending during a recession is necessary. Show me a good scientific study that's been replicated by other researchers and I'll tend to agree with that argument. It seems to me conservatives don't follow that example. There's is a more Divine argument. And I just don't buy that any more.

Excuse me, "theirs".

My teen aged daughter is still forced to change clothes in front of not one, but TWO lesbian coaches in her high school locker room here in Spring Texas. And no, I am not at all happy about it. My wife says that there is nothing I can do, that the teacher has done nothing wrong, but I think she is wrong. She is being forced to change in front of a person who finds looking at naked female bodies sexually arousing. It does not matter to me whether that person is physiologically male or female. The coaches might as well be men for all the difference it makes.

There's deficit spending and then there's deficit spending. What Obama is pushing is unprecedented levels of debt, absolutely huge levels of spending. I presume you've seen the bar graph around that shows the deficit this year quadrupling or quintupling Bush's last year horrendous deficit.

I (and every other conservative I read) was horrified at how recklessly Bush shoveled borrowed money out the door during the last few months of his presidency.

Obama is four or five times worse. This isn't "deficit spending during a recession" -- this is idiocy. Somehow we have to pay this money back, it isn't a gift.

One might also point out that virtually none of the new spending is on matters that are the responsibility of the federal government. In fact -- defense, which actually is a Constitutional responsibility of the federal government, is getting cut. I have no idea how the adults-in-charge can justify that, especially since if all you are after is "stimulus", military spending does that too.

I agree, deficit spending is a bad idea under normal circumstances. However, these aren't normal circumstances. Please name the economist who says increased deficit spending by the government is NOT the best (only) way to turn around a severe recession. Americans are saving money like they haven't in years. If the government doesn't help to make up for that in the short term, we could get into a deflationary spiral that would be worse than what we're going through now. I'm open to all suggestions, but so far I've heard nothing. Republicans are simply proving themselves to be the party of no, as in the part of no new ideas.

Thank you for your post. This post illustrates and illuminates the harm done by the egocentricity and lack of charity in political correctness and the adage, "If it feels good, do it." A commenter above also as a result of this egocentricity can only accuse when asked a direct question about goals.

I commend the stated choices you have made in response to some of the betrayals of trust by those in authority around you committed. I have made choices based on like betrayals in the hope of preventing like harm to others.

Thank you, Clayton Cramer for your mention of this blog.

Keep up the good work!

Thank you for replying, Scott.

Unfortunately, though, as dumrray pointed out, I didn't ask you why you "started this in the first place". I asked what you were trying to accomplish, and/or what your goals were.

And your response doesn't really answer either of those questions. You appear to believe that we should automatically know simply from being told that it just upsets you when you perceive scapegoating villification.

It's almost as though you're trying to make us responsible for your personal subjective emotional state. Now, if you were a small child, that might be understandable and acceptable behavior, but you appear to be a normal adult Citizen, and therefore primarily responsible for your emotional state yourself.

So, again, Scott. . .what are you trying t accomplish with your posts here? What are your goals?

Oops! I apologize for that misspelling, dmurray. I've got a new keyboard here and I'm still getting used to its quirks.

Ok, I thought I was clear. I thought highlighting someone's attack (in my opinion it was an attack) on an entire subgroup of people required a response. Particularly from someone who is not a member of that group (and used to be a Republican). I also shared some similarities with the original poster. I grew up on the west coast a little bit after the author, and felt that my experience was a legitimate juxtaposition to hers. I'd never heard of a key party until the movie "the ice storm" came out a decade ago. Yes, some kids did drugs at the "smoky" parties (as they do everywhere), took some advanced math classes (that never involved Yahtzee). Essentially, my point was to "defend" the west coast as not some "loose", "druggy", "hippy" home to pedophiles.
Interestingly enough, the headline of this page is "why I am a Republican", but the author doesn't really explain why those early experiences make her a Republican today. There is no "new" math any more, and infidelity is not a left or right issue, it's a right and wrong issue. I would argue those early experiences have nothing to do with the current issues facing our country. A later poster called "ecoawareness" nothing more than indoctrination. We will have to agree to disagree on that. As if learning about our environment is some sort of waste of time. Anyone who thinks we don't need to change our energy policy is freakin' kidding themselves. Forget global warming (which I'm sure we will also agree to disagree on) we will never ever drill our way out of our need for oil. We must find a more sustainable way to live (nukes included, I have no problem with that).
Then there was my comment on home schoolers, a pet favorite subject amongst many conservatives. I admit it was a bit of a cheap shot, but I stand by my statement in the sense that every home schooler I've ever met--and I've met several including a cousin-- are all a little... different.
Finally, a secondary motive might have been just to see what Republicans are thinking right now. I put out my thoughts and see what comes back, and as usual, I'm disappointed. No real grasp of solutions to contemporary problems, just strong feelings against debt. Strong feelings that took 8 years off, and now have returned when we must spend money (in the short term) to ward off Depression II. I hope I have fully answered your question. My questions are still waiting to be answered.

Scott wrote, "Essentially, my point was to "defend" the west coast as not some "loose", "druggy", "hippy" home to pedophiles," and, "Finally, a secondary motive might have been just to see what Republicans are thinking right now."

Those are stated goals. Good for you, Scott.

Still waiting for answers to my questions though. That would be even better for not just me, but everyone. Since, I answered my question.. here's your homework.. again. If we're spending too much now, where do you get the savings from? And if you don't want to save (on spending to close the revenue gap), then where does the extra revenue come from? Let's see if you can convince an uncharitable egocentrist like me you're as concerned about our collective financial future as you are about the difference between a "stated" goal and an inferred reference to defend a "minority" population.

Great article! A refreshingly short and well-written summary of what our generation has seen. Isn't it hilarious how many people on the left think they're shocking folks like us with stories of hookups and swinging and free love (depending on how long ago it was)? Or, with dirty pictures thrown in our faces? It might as well be a snapshot of our old childhood diaper pail. Just because it doesn't shock me that doesn't mean it excites me. It depresses me to see porn and shirts with degrading art and parents taking off on the kids to have some "fun" with people they picked up. It depresses me to see the absence of standards in schools and the resulting vanishing of words from our language and erosion of critical thinking skills. It depresses me that special interest groups have the school system and public media in their pocket for the purpose of outright ordering the young to have sex long before half of them even want to and giving them a false sense of safety with a handful of free condoms -- then assuring them that the natural outcome of the pregnancies they will inevitably conceive is the early "medical" death of the child, of which their parents need know nothing. Of course some still have enough of an attention span left to notice that if they are that likely to get pregnant while using a condom, and a spermatozoon is much bigger than a virus.... Safer? Than what? It depresses me that the economic understanding it takes to get and keep a job, or start a successful business, is undermined by the rhetoric of socialism so often, so ubiquitously, and so softly, that it is only after a year or two in college that many people (like myself) can figure out why they never have any money. By then the student loans are sky-high. It's not shocking because it's not new. It's just the smae old story.

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