Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Red dots and blue stains

It seems just about everyone has a pet reason explaining the decline and fall of their patch of the planet. Over the years the following have been singled out to me: beehive hairdos (my great-grandmother), on-street parking (my father), TV commercials for feminine hygiene products (my demure aunt), and the repeal of Sunday Blue Laws (friends who live in mall-laden suburbs).

Cause and correlation be damned, they’re confident in their choices.

As is Daniel Henninger, who has determined that America’s economic plagues are the result of the War on Christmas.
This year we celebrate the desacralized "holidays" amid what is for many unprecedented economic ruin -- fortunes halved, jobs lost, homes foreclosed. People wonder, What happened? One man's theory: A nation whose people can't say "Merry Christmas" is a nation capable of ruining its own economy.
Unlike my great-grandmother’s beehive-hairdo theory, Henninger’s theory appears in the pages of the Wall Street Journal.

And Victor Davis Hanson cites the lack of compulsory high-school Latin as one of the top 10 reasons for America’s downfall.
Four years of high-school Latin would dramatically arrest the decline in American education. In particular, such instruction would do more for minority youths than all the 'role model' diversity sermons on Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Montezuma, and Caesar Chavez put together.
Now, I loved studying Latin in high school and college, but I've found that it’s not something that comes in handy in normal adult life, unlike being able to divine the intentions of predatory mortgage brokers, unscrupulous credit card companies, and idiot political scions enabled into public office.

Sorry, VDH, but an understanding and appreciation of the trials and triumphs of Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Montezuma, and Caesar Chavez have been of much more value these days than the ability to conjugate verbs and decline nouns, pronouns, and adjectives in Latin.

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