Feeling alienated from the mainstream? If so, you're not alone, and you're most likely a good deal healthier in mind and spirit for it. But it can be difficult to know how to live in such a world. Victor Davis Hanson belongs to the oddball club:
We in the oddball club live two lives, as sort of wandering souls who censor our speech and thoughts hourly. In line at the market, we assume the guy with the iPhone and the Camry does not really need the VISA-looking state food card, but we accept that that if we were to suggest he might not, a blizzard of venom would fall upon us — we would be called cruel, callous, racist, nativist, selfish, crack-pot, angry, hateful. So we shrug, smile, and say to ourselves: “Why not let him use the card at a restaurant as well?” And so it will come to pass soon no doubt. [. . .]Read the rest. Also see VDH's Confessions of a Cultural Dropout from October 2009.
We don’t listen to rap, since we don’t blaspheme women, use the N-word, or resent the police. We don’t go out to many movies, given the usual choice between yuppie, metrosexual pyschodramas and the latest corporate or CIA conspiracy uncovered by a crusading George Clooney or Pocahontas android. I suppose after a half-century we do not need to be reminded that our ancestors were racist, sexist creeps whose untold sacrifices mysteriously did not lead to our present affluence. Ditto evening television. Some scripts we suppose in theory are well-written, but most are simply Southern California and New York ministry of truth efforts to condition us about what is good (urban, upscale, gay, left-wing, promiscuous, etc.) and bad (the oddball).
The stakes are much higher for parents who wake up to certain realities while they still have children to raise. Gregory Sullivan and his wife took what many would see as drastic action to escape intact from the dominant culture:
We're happy stranded here on this "island" in western Maine, surrounded by a forbidding sea of pulpwood trees and ski areas, relying only on our exertions and the intimate bonds of family to get by in a strange place. [. . .]Their story is interesting. Sullivan has the zeal and fresh perspective of the new convert. And he's a talented writer as well. One of my favorite installments is That's Funny; I Have Zero Tolerance For You, Too. It's about what Mark Steyn has referred to as (quoting from memory) "our country's single greatest structural defect": government schools. Yeah, they stink:
My wife and I noticed the utter breakdown of enormous parts of the lives of average Americans, the destruction or subversion of many formerly useful institutions, and a general retreat to barbarism masquerading as progress. We decided to change our lives a while ago, and not unlike the Swiss Family, the last three or four years took even the last lifeboat we found ourselves in and smashed it on the rocks. We have reinvented ourselves, and we'll tell you how we're doing it, if you're interested.
We thought the public school would be passively bad; i.e., the curriculum would not be very demanding, and would not particularly reflect our worldview, but the children would be safe, and whatever guidance they required would be given to them at home. We were very, very wrong.This little detail speaks volumes:
The public school system is not passively bad. It is actively -- malignantly -- bad. I'm not going to put any caveats in there. I'm sure there are many, many public educations that are worse than what we experienced, but even the best of them are very, very bad. Scholastically, they are inflexibly wedded to discredited approaches to teaching. No matter how many hundreds of thousands of subliterate and innumerate adults the public schools turn out, they refuse to acknowledge that all the "improvements" they've introduced in the last fifty years have been unmitigated failures. Then they demand more money and power. Not over your children; they have all the power there is over them already. Now they're going to tell you what to do, holding your kids as hostage.
Academically, we couldn't help but observe that our fourteen-year-old son was made to watch My Big Fat, Greek Wedding in English class because they're supposed to be studying Homer -- and Homer’s Greek, you know;You can't make this stuff up. RTR.
Most recently, Sullivan describes his family's new life lived outside The Blob:
The United States, or at least big portions of it, will still allow you a great deal of independence if you’re sturdy enough to accept life outside The Blob. It’s still legal to pay a doctor with money. The most independent of my fellow citizens inside The Blob can’t imagine that, they just talk about co-pays all day long.Right. You've got choices. The most critical one for parents, after the SAHM question, is whether to teach them at home. It may make you and your kids oddballs or cultural dropouts but given the state of the culture dropping out is the saner way to go.
You can still heat your house with firewood if you’re willing to put your back into something besides going to the gym because you’re vain about your appearance. I’m still allowed to stay married to my wife forever if I want to. You can teach your kids anything you want if you teach them yourself. If you are devout, no one but yourself is stopping you from saying Grace over your meal in a restaurant. [. . .]
If you’re self-employed, you can go to the beach with your kids in the summer if it’s a pleasant day, even if it’s Tuesday. Parental leave? You can take an eighteen-year parental leave after your child is born if you want to; it’s just harder to have granite countertops and a new Lexus and two hundred pairs of shoes if you do.
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