Friday, November 13, 2015

A Nation of Miscreants


Yesterday, while taking the day off from teaching for Veteran's Day, my wife and I headed to the zoo. The weather was pleasant. The usually raging Arizona sun was hidden behind a cloudy sky. We had a great time. The day was marred only by a few malcriados - children who probably learned their manners from university campus protestors.

For example, my wife and I sat down for a moment on a pavestone block wall to enjoy a snack and to watch the myriad wild birds which descend on the zoo every day. While we sat talking, a young man, perhaps about ten years old or so, walked along the top of the wall, then stopped in his progress because we were sitting in his path. Without missing a moment's thought, the yelled out, "You're in my way!" My wife and I, of course, did what we usually do with such miscreants. We ignored him. He yelled, "You're in my way!" at us again, and again we ignored him. Too young and small to pick a real fight, he finally went around us.

Again, as we were hiking back to our car, a different young man raised his voice to whine about some perceived injustice. The man with him, most likely his father, argued with him the entire time, while also including what I assume he considered to be witty putdowns.

It's nearly axiomatic these days that some petty offense or misplaced idea will spark a protest on one of our campuses of higher learning. We can assume from such frantic outbursts that the term "higher" learning is a measure of how much cannabis is currently in the bloodstreams of our college students, rather than as a measure of any real gains against ignorance. Such outbursts are the province of ten year old children whose parents have never taught them an ounce of self control, nor the merest foundations of manners.

The parents of these spoiled brats, whether they are the ten year olds at the zoo, or the children playing grown-ups on a university campus, have failed to instill that rarest of social commodities - common courtesy. We have become a nation of miscreants.