It’s easy to see why defeatism and depression reign supreme. Every day the headlines announce how far behind we’ve fallen. Preschoolers in South Korea can recite the square root of pi to the 300th place. Chinese kids know the periodic tables even before the umbilical cord is cut. A half-naked Sri Lankan child just built the first fully functioning perpetual motion machine. The fact that his school has no electricity, desks, or even a roof drives home that infrastructure investments aren’t the answer. Even if we repaired every leaky schoolhouse roof in the country — the central plank in the Democrats’ education program — it’s doubtful our first-graders would be able to discuss quantum physics the way Japanese tykes can.
But why be pessimistic when we can just pretend that America’s can-do spirit will overcome all?
This was the brilliant insight of America’s educational industrial complex, which has worked tirelessly to make our kids think the most of themselves regardless of their accomplishments.