The fal­lacy of ‘un­healthy com­pe­ti­tion’

Lib­er­als press the idea to free young peo­ple from the re­al­ity of some­times com­ing in sec­ond

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY - By Tammy Bruce

Just when you thought lib­er­als were fo­cus­ing only on de­stroy­ing our gov­ern­ment, there is now am­ple ev­i­dence that fel­low trav­el­ers have been work­ing dili­gently to de­stroy the ideas and dreams of our young peo­ple.

With the es­tab­lish­ment of the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Jimmy Carter gave the lib­eral scourge of hope­less­ness an open door to as­sault not just the fu­ture, but also the free, com­pet­i­tive and cre­ative minds of youth ev­ery­where.

The lat­est symp­tom of an ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem aban­don­ing its young charges has been met with some hu­mor but should also be re­ceived with con­cern: Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by In­no­va­tion Cen­ter for U.S. Dairy of 1,000 adults 18 years and older, “a full 48 per­cent of re­spon­dents said that they aren’t sure where choco­late milk comes from,” Food & Wine magazine re­ports.

Per­haps even more shock­ing is 7 per­cent of adults think choco­late milk comes from … brown cows. Ad­mit it,

you’re laugh­ing.

In all se­ri­ous­ness, this in­volves some of the most ba­sic knowl­edge about food, na­ture and, well, life.

Ex­trap­o­lat­ing from the ap­prox­i­mately 242.5 mil­lion adults in the United states, that means al­most 17 mil­lion adults think de­li­cious, choco­latey milk nat­u­rally comes from cows who match the color of the yummy bev­er­age. This is noth­ing com­pared to the 116.4 mil­lion adults who just aren’t sure where it comes from.

In­stead, it’s safe to say God wanted us to earn our choco­late milk by giv­ing us minds clever and cu­ri­ous enough to fig­ure out that com­bin­ing sugar and co­coa beans with milk would pro­duce the bev­er­age that got many of us through our child­hoods. No, not whisky, but the fab­u­lous choco­late milk.

In­no­va­tion is stirred by com­pe­ti­tion, which is a nec­es­sary com­po­nent to suc­cess. One of our ear­li­est lessons about the im­por­tance of de­feat comes from el­e­men­tary school and high school. Af­ter all, why com­pete when one of the pos­si­ble out­comes of be­ing chal­lenged is fail­ure? Be­cause de­feat is of­ten the best way to learn about what re­ally works, what our own weak­nesses are, and what pro­vides an in­cen­tive to get it right the next time.

How se­ri­ous is our prob­lem? In 2013, the New York Post re­ported, “Nearly 80 per­cent of city pub­lic high-school grad­u­ates who en­rolled in a City Univer­sity of New York com­mu­nity col­lege last year had to re­learn the ba­sics of read­ing, writ­ing or math — the high­est per­cent­age in years.”

The Statis­tic Brain web­site, hav­ing gath­ered 2016 in­for­ma­tion from the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Na­tional In­sti­tute of Lit­er­acy, gives us even more of a per­spec­tive: The num­ber of U.S. adults who can’t read: 32 mil­lion, while the per­cent­age of high school grad­u­ates who can’t read is at 19 per­cent, or 2 out of ev­ery 10 stu­dents are grad­u­at­ing with­out know­ing how to read. This makes one won­der if we’re grad­u­at­ing kids with­out that ba­sic skill, what else are we do­ing to kids by ca­su­ally ad­vanc­ing them through the sys­tem with­out any ap­par­ent ex­pec­ta­tion?

Could this ex­plain the grow­ing trend of end­ing the tra­di­tion of hav­ing a vale­dic­to­rian ad­dress their grad­u­at­ing class at the end of the school year?

“The rank­ing of stu­dents from No. 1 on down, based on grade-point av­er­ages, has been fad­ing steadily for about the past decade. In its place are honors that rec­og­nize ev­ery­one who scores at a cer­tain thresh­old,” re­ports U.S. News & World Re­port. “This year, one school in Ten­nessee had 48 vale­dic­to­ri­ans … . Ad­min­is­tra­tors worry about the col­lege prospects of stu­dents sep­a­rated by large dif­fer­ences in class rank de­spite small dif­fer­ences in their GPAs. There are also con­cerns about in­tense, po­ten­tially un­healthy com­pe­ti­tion,” noted the magazine.

This is a re­mark­able turn of events. This no­tion of “un­healthy com­pe­ti­tion” comes from the left, of course, and is a nec­es­sary el­e­ment to their nar­ra­tive that ev­ery­one is en­ti­tled to what any­one else may have. It re­moves the per­sonal as­pect of suc­cess and ac­com­plish­ment and re­places it with de­mands and ag­i­ta­tion for “so­cial jus­tice.”

The fact is, school is to pre­pare stu­dents for life, within which com­pe­ti­tion is a large part of ac­com­plish­ment. What good comes from shield­ing stu­dents from what life has in store? Com­pe­ti­tion pushes us to find our best selves; it forces us to eval­u­ate who we are and what we want as in­di­vid­u­als.

A re­ward-based sys­tem is meant to drive ev­ery­one to do bet­ter. This is true in busi­ness and our per­sonal lives. This re­flec­tion of real life bet­ter pre­pares us for a fu­ture where scores of other smart, de­ter­mined young peo­ple are com­pet­ing, yes com­pet­ing, for the same job.

In the mean­time, as long as ed­u­ca­tors con­tinue to see com­pe­ti­tion as “un­healthy,” so­ci­ety will re­ceive another gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple who should be lead­ers but in­stead won’t know how to read, write or run a busi­ness. This is more than po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, it’s a crime against our youth and so­ci­ety it­self.

This no­tion of “un­healthy com­pe­ti­tion” comes from the left, of course, and is a nec­es­sary el­e­ment to their nar­ra­tive that ev­ery­one is en­ti­tled to what any­one else may have.

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