Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone. And welcome to the 115th episode of the ATLA society asks. My name is Jennifer Anji Grossman. You can call me JAG. I'm the CEO of the ATLA society. We're the leading nonprofit organization, introducing young people to the ideas of iron Rand in fun, creative ways, like our graphic novels and animated videos. Today, we are joined by professor Jeremy Adams and before I even get into introducing our guests, I want to encourage all of you to, uh, type in your questions to the chat, um, function, whether you were watching us on zoom on Facebook, on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, you know, the drill. Uh, we will get to as many of them as we can. So, uh, Jeremy Adams is an author and a teacher of American civics, 24 years, um, at both the high school and the college levels. He's written articles for outlets like the daily wire, uh, Newsweek and the LA times. Um, and he is author of hollowed out a warning about America's next generation, uh, where he warns about the current rejection of, uh, Western, uh, culture wisdom, and, um, the institutions of Western civilization by students and what we can do to turn the situation around. So Jeremy, welcome for joining us.
Speaker 1 00:01:41 Thank you so much. I'm honored to be here. Thank
Speaker 0 00:01:43 You. Uh, and congratulations about the book because, um, I was puzzling over why, um, the audible version was out, which I immensely enjoyed and highly recommend. Uh, but the paperback is coming out on Tuesday and the reason is because the hard copy book got sold out. So that's quite an accomplishment for, for, you know, you've written other books, I understand on more technical issues on teaching and presenting, but this was really your, so far your Magnum Opus of, uh, commentary on the culture. So
Speaker 1 00:02:18 Yeah, well, I, you Magnum Opus is right. I like anybody who uses that phrase by the way. Uh, so yeah, no, it was exciting that the book, you know, that the original version of it came out and did so well. Uh, but I'm really excited for it to have round two, uh, with the paperback coming out next Tuesday. And especially because, you know, it's the beginning of the school year. And a lot of these issues with young people are absolutely as relevant today as they were a year ago when it first came out. And I would argue that actually the problems have been accelerated and amplified, uh, in the last year. So, uh, thank you for that. And, and again, thank you so much for the invitation.
Speaker 0 00:02:51 So, um, you know, I understand you live and you teach in Bakersfield. And so our, uh, our viewers should know if you're coming to the gala, uh, in Malibu, in October, you might actually have an opportunity to meet, uh, during Adams in person, but I'd love to have you always lived there. Did you grow up in California? Um, why did you decide to go into teaching and, and what were some of the earlier intellectual influences that helped shape your views today?
Speaker 1 00:03:22 Well, uh, to answer your question, yes, I was, I was born here in the, uh, hot, dusty, ugly central valley of California. Uh, the claim to fame of Bakersfield of course, is that Johnny Carson used to always make fun of it. Uh, it's it's oftentimes made fun of, uh, in Hollywood movies. Uh, so we, you know, we don't have a lot to hang our hat on, uh, but I was born here and it is my home and it's, it's been good to me. Uh, I went to college though, when you talk about intellectual influences and what changed you? Um, both of my parents were very poor. Uh, they believed, uh, in the power of education to kind of be the shoulders upon which individual stand, uh, to be successful in America. Um, and my mother grew up, uh, in the Plains of Colorado. My dad grew up here in a shack in Bakersfield, but they were both big believers, uh, in the liberal arts.
Speaker 1 00:04:10 Um, and so my father's, you know, you don't understand this until you become a parent, uh, but oftentimes, you know, your dreams get transferred to your children when you don't live them. Uh, and so my father didn't get to go to a liberal arts college, uh, couldn't afford it. And so he really wanted me to go to the best liberal arts college I could go to. Uh, and so I got into Washington and Lee university back in Virginia, uh, Washington Lee has been in the news a lot because Robert E. Lee is part of our namesake. Um, and so, uh, those four years were absolutely extraordinary to, to me. Um, they, I would say evoked a kind of mental and moral metamorphosis in me, uh, quite a bit. Um, and, and I guess what I would, what I would say is I, what college did for me was it made me into, uh, a learning romantic.
Speaker 1 00:04:55 It made me into a classroom romantic, um, and I'm unapologetic about it. I, I, I do believe that, uh, the classroom can, can be transformative. It can evoke the kind of metamorphosis of the spirit of the soul of the mind. And it definitely did for me. Uh, I, I remember my, you as a teacher, you know, sometimes you have these students who once in a while, you, you feel like you do change a life. And I, I definitely encountered one or two professors at Washington Lee, who, who changed my life. And, uh, that first semester there, I took a class where, um, I had to study the classics. It was a class in political philosophy. And I remember this, this kind of seismic idea entered my brain, that it was just, and it changed my life forever. It's the reason I became a teacher. And it was this idea that, that these people who lived, who've been dead for 2,500 years, we're dealing with essentially the same problems I'm dealing with.
Speaker 1 00:05:45 They're trying to figure out how to live a good human life. Uh, they're trying to figure out the keys to human flourishing. Uh, they're trying to figure out the balance between, you know, discipline and freedom obligation and honor. Um, they're trying, trying to figure out the place of love and faith and family and, and ambition and all of it. And, uh, the idea that people who were dead 2000 years ago could make my life better today. And that teachers are the ones who bring that wisdom into my life. I, I wanted to be a part of that, cuz I didn't, I thought that was exhilarating. I don't know if that makes any sense, but I wanted to be a part of that magic.
Speaker 0 00:06:17 Wow. All right. Um, well speaking of political philosophy, one of the things that, um, stood out for me in your book was, uh, your criticism of individualism, which is a key tenant of objectiveism. So the individualism you described seemed more to me like hedonism mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, pursuit of short term gratification, um, regardless of the long term consequences. So, uh, when I think, or when Objectivists, uh, use the word individualism, um, it's the idea that every person, uh, should be the master of his or her life and that it's crucial, um, to the case for political protection of individual. Right. So, uh, are we on the same page or is this a semantic issue or? Um, no. Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:07:11 We're absolutely on the same page. Uh, I, I, um, when, when I think of, no, my critique, essentially, and since we're in the first 10 minutes of this, I might as well get, you know, brass tax. My, my essential theory here is that young people have fallen prey to a, a theory of what I would call radicalized individualism or hyper individualism. And this is a form of individualism. It's, it's not, it's not classically liberal. Uh, it, it, it's not what you and I are talking about. Uh, it's not objectives, uh, it essentially rejects, uh, objective truth. Uh, and it certainly rejects any claims, uh, of moral attachments. Um, it, it is a, a form of individualism, uh, that says that I want to be completely autonomous. I want to create my own reality, my own morality. Um, and so when you, and I think about individualism, we think about the wise usage of individual Liberty to be a unique self, right?
Speaker 1 00:08:06 This is why I, you know, my pulse raises and the palpitations within my chest, you know, explode when I talk about the declaration of independence, because I, I say to my students, do you understand how unique it is in the history of the world that you are literally liberated from the shackles of being a subject of a king or a throne or, or a class. And, and you can decide who you are, um, based upon your own opinions, your own convictions, your own, uh, personality. And so I guess I, I would, I would agree with you. It's semantic. I, I think there is no disagreement here because the mistake that our students are making that young people are making is they mistake the freedom to decide what to connect themselves to in life. What religion, what place, what person, what cause they confuse that with the freedom to connect to nothing at all, right?
Speaker 1 00:08:56 So you and I think of freedom as well. You get to go live wherever you want, and you get to love whoever you want. And you get to say whatever you want and pursue whatever dream you want in the marketplace, or wherever many of them think of individualism as I don't want to do anything and you can't make me. And I want to be able to say what's right and wrong. And really the covenant that I believe in is not a covenant of everybody gets to individually pursue their own goods. No, no, no, no. The only covenant I believe in is you don't get to judge me. You don't, you know, your, everything is radically subjective. And so that to me is, is the kind of individualism really that hollows out the soul of our young people, because they're not attaching themselves to any of the things that traditionally give life it's meaning and it's purpose that does that. Does that make sense? I really don't think.
Speaker 0 00:09:40 Yeah, no, no it does. And, um, you know, from, from that perspective, when I think of, of, uh, the word that you you've used for your title hollowed out, I, Rand has also, uh, talked about this sense of emptiness and this kind of, um, selfless, not having a sense of self zero that seeks to, uh, devour the world in, in order to fill up the void within. And so, um, that's what she says, uh, has spurred things like envy, you know, not in, not just in a, uh, acquisitiveness but a desire to tear down, um, the successful, uh, not because it'll bring, um, any individual advantages, but just because of, of really almost a realistic wanting to see the world burn. And, and I though, I, I, I do see your point, but I also, um, think that, again, I'm not the one in the classroom every day, so I am gonna defer to you that, uh, this sense of selflessness, of not having a true sense of self and building character and understanding, you know, building self-esteem, um, that, you know, they, they wanna be a part of a, a group.
Speaker 0 00:11:01 Um, and, and whether it's, you know, identity politics or environmentalism, um, that that's, that could also be a part of it. But I, so I, I wanna also though get, because the students that we come into contact with at the out society were very lucky. They, they are, you know, the best of the best. They are already kind of interested in philosophy, interested in, um, in history and in politics. But, um, now you teach at a public high school and, and you're also, um, a associate professor at a local university. So when, um, is it 24 years or 26 years that you've been teaching?
Speaker 1 00:11:43 Uh, I I'm done with 24. I'm gonna start 25. And then
Speaker 0 00:11:46 I, 25,
Speaker 1 00:11:47 I've been out here at the university for 16 years. So,
Speaker 0 00:11:49 Yeah. Okay, great. So when, you know, over those 24, 25 years, um, and you're 16 years at the university, when did you start to observe real marked changes in, uh, your students, attitudes and characters, and how did that manifest?
Speaker 1 00:12:06 Yeah, that, that's, that's a great question. I wanna be very clear about this because, you know, one of the things, uh, you know, if you are a high school teacher and you, you know, you have a very small orbit of people you deal with, and then all of a sudden you write this book, um, you have a lot of people who kind of come at you out of nowhere and it's kind of disorienting if you're, if you're not used to it. And, and what you hear of course is, oh, well, you know, every generation hates the next one. You're just a, fuddyduddy, you're just a crank. You're just a curmudgeon. First of all, I'm way too young to be a curmudgeon. I just wanna be on record of saying, you know, you've gotta be at least in your sixties to be a curmudgeon. Um, but the argument I, I wanna be very clear about is, no, this is unique.
Speaker 1 00:12:44 This is different. And I've been teaching long enough to see the change, right? So if I've only been teaching six or seven years, and I, and I write this diet tribe, that's one thing, but I've been teaching for a quarter of a century now, and I'll tell you that the timeframe is the last five to 10 years. Um, really around 20 12, 20 13, you know, I really began to see and hear some really radically different things coming outta the mouth of my students. I mean, this is, I think this is what makes hollow out a little bit different too, is that, you know, there are a lot of great books out there by politicians, journalists, and researchers about these trends, uh, and these changes, but not a lot of people are actually in there talking to the kids. So, you know, I have these conversations with my students and they start to, and what I noticed was the way they spent their time was becoming very weird.
Speaker 1 00:13:31 Uh, the fact that they weren't hanging around adults very much at all. Uh, they weren't around their parents very much, uh, the, the way that they looked at their country, uh, all of a sudden was I was like, where did that come from? I remember, um, this quick story, I, I remember, uh, talking about D-Day and about the, you know, the bravery of the Canadians and the Americans and the British. And I remember, you know, some of my best students saying, well, you know, if I were alive, then I, I would've avoided the draft. I would've gone somewhere else. Um, and I remember being a little taken aback by that. Uh, you know, the fact that not only are they not religious, cuz I don't care if they're religious, cause I'm a public school teacher, which shocked me was how much they, they didn't even know anything.
Speaker 1 00:14:08 Like they don't know anything about religion other than it's quote unquote judgmental. Um, you know, I teach honors kids and half of them have no idea what the, you know, what the, what the resurrection was. Um, and so I noticed that they were living these very isolated cloistered lives. Um, I, I noticed that, uh, they did date. They didn't wanna go to football games anymore. And then I, I would argue, I would argue Jack that the, the seismic colossal Titanic change kinda like the totem in, in, in American education was the advent of phones. The phones changed everything, exclamation point underlying italicized and red, bold, whatever the phones changed, everything, uh, for American education, because then the kids couldn't focus anymore and they were perpetually distracted. Um, and that is to me, kind of in the last, I mean, honestly, if you have not been a teacher in the last 10 years, you don't, there's no way you could possibly understand what's happening.
Speaker 1 00:15:08 Uh, my, my father, um, just passed away about, well, we're coming up on the anniversary of his death next month. And my father was one of the best teachers in the history of this county. He was a once in a lifetime kind of educator. My dad wouldn't make it a week. He absolutely wouldn't make, he couldn't take, he couldn't take the vulgarity. He couldn't take the, the policies he couldn't take. You know, the fact that the kids, I mean, literally will ignore you and, and be doing this the entire time I, if you let them. Um, and so the last five to 10 years have completely changed, um, education and, and, and, and our children. And that's, that's why I felt this urgency in this passion to write the book is because if you're not in the classroom, you're not gonna know it. Uh, you're gonna have to read it in the New York times or, or, or on Fox news or whatever. And I wanted to essentially scream out and say, no, this is what's happening now. I'm seeing it. It's coming your way. Let's get ready for it.
Speaker 0 00:15:59 Right. Well, so I wanna remind everyone in our audience, uh, we have our man on the ground in the classroom, um, and he's, uh, bearing witness. So, um, please go ahead and take advantage of this opportunity to ask him your questions, um, and have him be your eyes and ears. Just go ahead and type your questions into the chat box and we will get to as many of them as we can. Um, so just, and I still have quite a few, uh, one of them is, um, that you mentioned social media mm-hmm <affirmative> and you wrote, uh, young people spend up to nine hours a day on their phones. Most of it on social media platforms with a VAD parade of posts, comments, and pictures. So, um, I I'm taking it that you would attribute, um, a lot of the changes that you've seen over the past 12, 15 years to social media. And, and how specifically is it showing up in the classroom?
Speaker 1 00:17:03 Yeah, I, I don't think there are enough, uh, pejorative phrases in the English language to describe how, how colossally harmful it's been. Uh, I mean, think about it this way. If you were an alien and you came down from outer face in the year, 2008, and you watched young people walk around campus, and then you came back 12 years later, you would think that all of a sudden we evolved to look down all the time and, and we've grown something into our hands because that's the kind of ubiquitous quality of the phones. So I mean, it it's, it's the big and the fall. So the small, a lot of them don't know how to, how to interact with adults. They don't know how to interact with one another, um,
Speaker 0 00:17:37 Like eye contact, or
Speaker 1 00:17:39 I was just gonna say that, yeah, they, they, the eye contact, they're very awkward when they came back. And lemme tell you when they came back from COVID, it was colossally bad because you know, the, the distance learning thing, you know, 90% of them, you know, they, they turned their cameras off so they could stand their pajamas and plan their phones during class the whole time and getting them, you know, I, I wrote a piece in the LA times called the rise of the zombies because they were like zombies on, on, on zoom for a year. And so it slow things like the eye contact. They don't know how to interact. Um, but, but it's also big things that are causing massive problems. What you have now is, and I see this in my own, my, my son I know, has trouble with this is what I would call divided selves, where you have this persona, this person you are when you're texting, or you're on Snapchat, you're on social media.
Speaker 1 00:18:22 And then you have this person in the real world. And the problem is in the, in the classroom and in schools, it's colliding sometimes, and it's creating tons of anxiety and stress. I mean, think about when we were younger, you had a bad day at school, you got in a fight with a friend, you got a fight with somebody else. You're mad at a teacher. You go home and you don't deal with it for 17 hours. It's gone. Now, these kids, they are dialed into the drama all the time. And the anxiety it perpetuates in them is, is difficult to measure. Um, I mean, the extent to which they are hyper connected to their phones, there was an article. I don't know if it was in the guardian or the New York times, a few weeks ago. And they noticed that a lot of young people shows that the students were reading were using the subtitles and they're like, oh, wow, this is great. The kids are reading. No, no, no, no. What they realized was the students or the young people, they wanted to see what was gonna happen in the scene, read the, the, the, the text or the subtitles, and then go back to looking at their phones so they could multitask. And I mean, if that doesn't tell you something about attention spans, I, I don't know what does
Speaker 0 00:19:25 All right. Well, you know, we've got some, quite a, quite a few good questions here, so I'm gonna just, uh, dabble into some of them. Um, on Instagram, speaking of social media, uh, my modern GA asks, what do you think is an essential course for all students to take while in school?
Speaker 1 00:19:47 I guess I would have to, to clarify, because I mean, at my school, um, the variety of capacity is, is profound. I mean, I've had students who are reading St. Thomas Aquinas, Sumo Theologica on their own time, and we have students who are borderline illiterate. Um, so I guess it would, it depends on what kind of a student we're talking about. I will say, cuz it is a great question. I will tell you that there's no question about it and this really isn't unfollowed out, but it's something that's really become very obvious in the last 12 months, is that the number one problem, plaguing classrooms and, and we can fight about critical race theory and transgenderism. And I'm not saying those aren't important issues, but we have a profound literacy crisis in this country. Young people can't read. Um, and the evidence is very clear by the time somebody gets into third or fourth grade, you can look at their literacy levels and predict, are they more likely to drop outta school?
Speaker 1 00:20:37 Are they more likely to be incarcerated? What is their income going to be like? And get this, get this. Cause we're both in California right now, 60%, 60% of third graders are already behind on their literacy. So I, I guess I would answer the question by saying something that has to boost our capacity to read. Remember reading is a gateway skill. If you don't, if you can read, you can do all kinds of other things, but our young people are, are illiterate. Many of them. And, and I, I mean, I don't even want, you could literally spend hours talking about the economic and political and personal consequences of producing a whole generation that is borderline illiterate, which is what we're doing.
Speaker 0 00:21:12 So, um, when you, how does that show up for you? Is it, they, they can't, I mean, they see letters on a page and, and they don't know what it they are or they can't pronounce words or they can't spell or like,
Speaker 1 00:21:26 Well, again, big and small. I mean, sometimes in small ways, it's a little shocking, you know, you'll have something on, you know, using a PowerPoint, you'll say, would you, would you read that? And I mean, they're supposed to be advanced placement, 17 year olds, and they're reading it very slowly. Uh, and it's kinda like you don't, you know, you don't know that word, uh, you don't know the word epitome, um, you know, uh, but, but also, and I'll be honest with you, you just simply can't, you cannot assign that much reading anymore because they will not do it. Uh, and this is one of the things that I battle with, and I don't have an answer to this. I'm actually right now, um, I'm trying to figure this out because school's starting up in two weeks, you know, if you assign too much reading, they won't do it.
Speaker 1 00:22:04 If you don't assign enough, you're not, you're not giving them the occasion to grow and to learn. And so finding that milligram nowadays is profoundly hard because, you know, like I said, their reading capacity is so low. Um, you know, when, when I log on every day and take role, you have a picture of every student and then they have a color, right? So green is advanced and then you have yellow and red and you'd be shocked how many students read at below, you know, a sixth grade level when they're in high school, even a fourth grade level. Um, and so I, I would say literacy has got to be absolutely number one on our minds, no matter what, what it is we teach.
Speaker 0 00:22:38 Yeah. Well, um, that kind of underscores the view that, that I've taken, but I didn't have the firsthand knowledge to back it up. And, uh, I, I was really just seeing that, that reading habits have changed. And if we are an organization that is, uh, dedicated to engaging young people with the ideas of a novelist and a philosopher, who's two great Magnum OPES, we're longer, longer books. Um, and so that's why we've pivoted and done things like graphic novels and a lot of animated videos. Um, it's not about dumbing, anything down it's really about get finding ways to, to make them accessible to, to, to more students. I mean, the books are, are there. And, um, advanced students, sophisticated students, serious students will be able to find them, but, you know, do we just kind of shrug our shoulders at, at the rest of, uh, you know, it sounds like an increasing majority of young people who are not capable of reading. Um, so, alright, here's a, this kind of, uh, pegs on what you were saying earlier about how early these, these problems are starting, um, Kareen, uh, Rodell on Facebook asks what is the solution to deal with young people being stuck on their phones, a better education when they are younger and more, uh, so, so they'd be more independent and resilient. So what do you do about it as a teacher? What do you do about it as a parent? What do we do about it, uh, in our communities?
Speaker 1 00:24:20 Yeah. Well, it's, it's first of all, great question. Uh, there, um, and, and what's interesting about that is if you go back and you look at the years where you had kind of the advent of all these technologies, where you had, especially like iPads, um, and kinda these small computers, the thinking early on was that all of these wealthy families were gonna have yet another advantage because they were gonna have all these devices that could be these extraordinary learning tools. Um, and what you're seeing now is the exact opposite, which is that now kind of more affluent parents, more involved parents are now realizing that you absolutely have to take it away, um, that the amount of time that they devote to it, uh, is, is it, it, you know, there's a study that talked about how we, you know, young people took their devices sometimes over 2000, 600 times a day, those types of devices.
Speaker 1 00:25:08 Um, and so there were, there is no fancy elixir. There's no panacea here. You simply have to take 'em away for a certain amount of time. Now, I think we have to be realistic. And, and by the way, let me say, as a dad, I gave my children phones way too early. I made humongous mistakes. Uh, I wish I had not let my children start social media when they did. Um, you know, my, my daughter will never watch this, so I can go ahead and say it. Uh, I think that it kind of ruined her politically, um, you know, because all those algorithms, if you, you watch something, it knows that you liked it and will show you the same thing over and over again. So you have an echo chamber rather than a diversity of ideas. And in, and to the question about the classroom, you know, I, I am a, I am a big believer that we have got to, we have got to absolutely exile the phones from class time. I mean, about five years ago, I was of the opinion let's integrate the technology. Let's use the phones, make it our friend I've I've, I've turned my back on that. You've
Speaker 0 00:26:03 No,
Speaker 1 00:26:04 No way put 'em away. We teachers have got to be greedy greedy for the attention of our students. Uh, I think on the first day of school this year and my middle, child's gonna be in my class. So I know she's gonna be embarrassed, but I'm going to say when it comes to technology, we're going back to the 1980s. Okay. Uh, you know, it's whiteboard, uh, no devices. I don't want things in your ears. I don't want your phones on your desks. If, if you absolutely have to take a phone call, go outside. And, and I think, you know, there's some teachers who literally will let teachers or let their students have the phone on the desk, text and play games in the middle of class. And I just think that, you know, the, the basic message of hollowed out is that the adults in society have got to start adulting.
Speaker 1 00:26:45 Again, the adults have got to be put into the physical, moral, and intellectual space of young people, and yes, children need guidance. Children need to be raised. Uh, we adults have got to stop trying to be the cool dad or the cool teacher. Um, I, you know, we need to be less concerned of understanding. Now. I think we should understand our kids. I'm not saying we shouldn't, but I do think it's more important to instruct and guide our children than to simply understand them, and then use that as an excuse to let them be what they want to do.
Speaker 0 00:27:14 We have another question from Facebook, Alexandra Simmons saying now shifting a little bit aside from phones, do you see any problems in education coming from teachers and teachers unions? So, you know, maybe the, the kinds of has, has there been a change, you know, this, you marked a change in students, but what about a change in the kinds of teachers that are yeah. Graduating from these, um, schools of education?
Speaker 1 00:27:43 Yeah. Lemme say two things about that. First of all, um, I don't in my own, my own teaching career. I I've never had any kind of adversarial problem with my union at all. In fact, my sister-in-law is the vice president of my own union. So I can't really say too many bad things, but no I, but my, I, I, in my space, I, there's no real problem between what teachers need to do. And the unions have, have, you know, been pretty good about supporting teachers, but also understanding what the, the broader public wants. Um, so I, I, I'm pretty blessed with the good union. I will say. The second part of that question though, is interesting. And I do think that one of the things we need to be talking about, um, is the kind of the way that younger teachers look at their profession.
Speaker 1 00:28:24 And I think one of the things that bothers me a little bit, and again, if this makes me old and crusty fine, it makes me old and crusty, but my primary, my primary duty is still teaching. It's still curriculum. It's still to impart knowledge and skills. And I think there are, you know, there are a lot of great young teachers. I know, but there are a lot of other ones who see it more as you, I need to be your friend before I can be your teacher. Um, and, and I think it's fine to be friendly. You should be friendly, don't be a jerk to your students. Um, there are other people who, you know, they want to be a, I, I don't, that doesn't really work, being rude and, and really, really strict, but you can be friendly without being their friend. And I think a lot of young young teachers sometimes see, see education more in therapeutic terms than in academic terms.
Speaker 1 00:29:08 And that does worry me a little bit, uh, because while I do want my teachers to be kind to my children, uh, I, my primary interest is I wanna make sure they can read and I want sure, I want them to know that, you know, the capital of Idaho is Boise and I, and I want them to be able to know that the third president's Thomas Jefferson, um, be nice, be kind, but they don't, you know, they, they are not there for simply emotional support. So, I mean, I guess that's kind of where I get a little worried sometimes is the way that young people sometimes look at their job as more, uh, kind of a, a friendly capacity than an academic one.
Speaker 0 00:29:40 Scott Schiff on zoom is asking, what percentage of teachers do you think agree with more open dialogue and debate, but don't want to be vilified
Speaker 1 00:29:51 A lot, a lot. I mean, I, I watch my mouth. I mean, I, and I'll tell you right now. I do not. I, I, I don't, I do not mix it up particularly in the classroom. I mean, I'm, you know, I love, I love talking about the federal papers and congressional committees, uh, and kind of the, you know, the, the fight between the executive and the, and the, and the congressional branches. Um, I mean, there, there's a lot that I can talk about, but, but, uh, I, I'm not gonna go in there and, and start mixing it up, uh, about really, uh, controversial subjects
Speaker 0 00:30:19 Talk button topics. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:30:20 Yeah. I mean, I, you know, again, uh,
Speaker 0 00:30:23 I guess the question really though, is, is, are teachers, you know, you, you are, um, avoiding doing that because you wanna keep the focus on, you need to graduate with the ability to read and have some basic civic knowledge. Um, I think the question is, is, are there teachers that are coming in, uh, with, with a political agenda of their own and has that changed or has that kind of always been there? Is it being over exaggerated by what we see?
Speaker 1 00:30:52 I, I do. I do think it's, I do think it's always been there. Uh, and again, and I, but I, I will tell you, I do think though that if, if there are people who are going into it with a political, uh, agenda, I, I do see them as, as being kind of the younger teachers a little bit mm-hmm <affirmative>, mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, you know, because I think sometimes people decide they wanna be an advocate. Um, and oftentimes you're advocating for a specific policy prescription, or point of view. Um, and again, that's fine if you wanna do that in your own time, but I, I don't really, I think sometimes the classroom is, is absolutely not the place to do that, especially because young people don't know enough to know if, if, if, if you, uh, to fight back or to agree with you. I mean, they don't really know what they're getting.
Speaker 1 00:31:29 Um, and, and that's why, I mean, I think when you teach older students, uh, I mean, I have opinions. My students will know my opinions. Yeah. I mean, they know I'm not a big fan of socialism, whatever, but, but you admit it's my opinion, and you do not have to agree with it. And, and matter of fact, let's talk about it. I mean, dialogue debate, that's the American way. That's the spirit of the first amendment and, and John Stewart mill. Um, but when you're younger, uh, I, I, I do, I do see that sometimes in, in some of the younger teachers a little bit more than the older ones.
Speaker 0 00:31:54 All right. On zoom on Calvo, uh, says Bessy DeVos was recently interviewed, um, advocating the funding of the department of education. Uh, it seems like it's become a parent's responsibility to educate their children, not rely on schools, particularly government schools. So what programs or techniques would you recommend to parents to use to supplement that gap, um, and schools failures to teach basics?
Speaker 1 00:32:23 Yeah. Well, first of all, I don't think we should be getting rid of the, the, the, the department of education necessarily. Um, this is something where, as I've gotten older, maybe I've gotten a little less conservative on this mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, I do think that there is, uh, if there's any place, they should have a kind of spirit of equality of opportunity. It is our schools. Um, and I do think that sometimes there are glaring gaps in policy, uh, and also in resources from state to state. And I, and I, I don't mind having a backstop, uh, in the form of the federal government to make sure there's a basic level. Now I do think we can absolutely go overboard. Uh, I mean, I, in California, um, probably the one thing I've written in the last six months that's gotten the most notice is the fact that in California, the, the government has decided what start times are going to be.
Speaker 1 00:33:02 They don't even let districts decide, you know, what time to start school anymore. And I think that's that kind of thing is absolutely too every handed, especially at the federal level, but to the question about what, what parents should do. You know, there was a really famous study that came out about seven or eight years ago. And the, the hypothesis of the study was that mom and dads who go to the school and volunteer, you know, who are part of the PTA who go into the class mom class dad, the, the, the theory was those students are gonna have better grades and better test scores are gonna have better academic outcomes. And what they found is that, that absolutely was false. That really, and this kind of goes into another part of the book about having dinner together, um, and about, about, about families not spending any time together anymore.
Speaker 1 00:33:43 And what they realized was the most important thing to do. If you're a parent, is if you can have at least one meaningful conversation a day with your student or your, your child, and it doesn't, by the way, it doesn't even have to be about school. It doesn't have to be about what did you learn in trigonometry or Spanish today? It could be about football. It could be about the weather. It could be about shoe sizes. It doesn't matter, but that kind of form of engagement is, is really, really important to have. Again, you know, I, I would argue what is missing in the lives of young people is adults, um, is that young people spend all the time around other young people. So they don't absorb adult values, adult expectations, adult behaviors, any of that. Um, and so, I mean, you you've really gotta talk to your child.
Speaker 1 00:34:25 And, and I think that at the end of the day, you've gotta fill in the gaps. Um, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I am, I'm a public school teacher. I think that is a fiction to say that all public schools are bad. That is not true. Um, about half of the, if you take the top half of public schools in this country, they would be among the best in the world. We have extraordinary teachers, extraordinary schools out there. And so we cannot paint with a wide, a wide brush and say, well, all these, these teachers and these unions and these public school, they're all failing. Absolutely not the case, but there is a huge chunk, especially for people who are impoverished, uh, who don't have the best resources who don't have the best teachers. Um, and, and they're the ones who, who really, uh, our society is failing.
Speaker 1 00:35:04 So, um, parents have got to, to be conscientious about filling in the gap and to a certain degree. Um, and I know this isn't popular to say, and it means I can never run for office. There is a limit to what government can achieve. Um, you know, we love to talk about all these privileges class privilege and racial privilege and this and that at the end of the day, the evidence is overwhelming. If you have parent privilege, if you're being raised by two parents who talk to you once a day, I mean, that's the ball game right there. Um, in fact, uh, students who tested in the bottom fourth in eighth grade, uh, who are in the bottom, uh, quintile of testing in the eighth grade were still more likely to graduate from college if they had two parents than somebody who had a single parent in the top quintile. Um, and so that's, that's the power of parent and it, it it's, you know, there's limits to what government can do sometimes.
Speaker 0 00:35:52 So, um, you talked about observing these changes over the past 12, 15 years or so, um, and pausing social media as a big driver. Um, have you seen these differences and these changes showing up differently for, for boys and girls? Is it, you know, are, are they impacting boys and girls differently? Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:36:19 There's definitely a kind of a BIF. Um, and, and I see this as a teacher and I see to my own children, uh, definitely different manifestations of, of, of hoists for the girls. It's very simple. There's no question. We are going through a, a, a, a cataclysmic health crisis when it comes to their, their mental health. There's no question about it. Um, if, if you, in fact, if you go back and you look at the research and you look at kind of the level of mental health and things like suicide and self-harm, uh, and, and all of the, you know, and, and, and hospitalization around twenty thirteen, twenty fourteen, right? When the phones become kind of ubiquitous and omnipresent in their lives, you see this anxiety just shoot up, uh, in, in the, in the young girls. Um, the word that I hear all the time is anxiety.
Speaker 1 00:37:01 It is a word that is, is used. Um, I mean, it's probably the most commonly used word to describe the modern teenager is anxious. And of course we know why that is, because think about all the things that, that take away your anxiety, friendship, feeling very solidly connected to your community, to your family, having a church or some kind of faith tradition to go to, uh, participating in sports, having a sense of, of patriotism and, and like a meaning or purpose to your, you know, kind to your tribe and your nation. Those things are all missing, right? Those are missing from the that's, what's hollowing out young people, or the things that used to fill 'em in are not there anymore. And so all the things that kind of used to kind of be there to make you feel better about yourself and to kind of give you a sense of normalcy and, and, and, and meaning they aren't there.
Speaker 1 00:37:44 Um, I mean, so when you talk about the young women, uh, they, they also tend to sometimes weaponize social media. Um, I've heard many times, uh, of, of, you know, sometimes, uh, high school kids will tag themselves at a party. And then they'll intentionally tag somebody who wasn't invited to the party. So they would see that they weren't invited to the party. So they would feel bad about that. Um, I mean, absolute, I mean, to weaponize social media, I mean, so, so in young women, public mental health crisis, like, like crazy. And I, I, for my own daughters, when we went to lockdown, I never seen them so despondent, they got mouthy in a way. They, they, they didn't want to get out of bed. I mean, there was a kind of darkness kind of existential gloom that otherwise kind of sunny children, uh, were starting to endure now for the boys.
Speaker 1 00:38:30 It's really different. Uh, we all know that boys are falling behind, uh, academically and, and it, it starts really, really early. Uh, we all know that they're more likely to drop out. They're less likely to graduate from college. Less likely you have more girls like in, in college now than boys by, by something like 60 to 40%, you have more girls in law school. Uh, the boys are more likely to, at the end of the day to do drugs, uh, to commit felonies, to end up incarcerated. Um, and I think also a lot of the boys have problems with, you know, some of the gaming. I, I don't think gaming is bad. I mean, I, I, you know, some people think it's all bad. I don't gaming is fine, but again, I'm very Aristotelian about it. You gotta be moderate, you gotta be temperate. And I think some of the students, uh, sometimes spend, they get highly addicted to, and what do we know now?
Speaker 1 00:39:09 We know now that these companies literally will hire specialists on how to make them addicted. Right. Be, and, and I remember a quick story here. Uh, I, about four or five years ago, one of my best students have been gone for a few days. And I remember saying to one of their friends, are they sit, are they outta town? What's up? And they're like, oh, no, the, the, the latest update of their favorite video game came out and I said, Well's that have to do with anything like, well, he's, he's not gonna come to school. He's gonna play it for the next few days. Like he can't pull himself away from it. And that was one of my best students. I, you know, and I, again, another dad mistake, I let my son start playing Fortnite. And I mean, he, and, and the, he could do it for a while. And then you get to like, hour, two a little bit longer than that. And just kind of the, kind of the anxiety, the rage kind of the addiction to it, uh, was, was absolutely there. So yeah, definitely looks very different. Um, but it's, it's there for both, both genders, for sure.
Speaker 0 00:40:00 You also write in your book about how views about romantic relationships and marriage have changed. Yeah. How's that showing up?
Speaker 1 00:40:10 Well, I mean, they don't date, uh, very much, uh, people don't, you know, when you, when you talk about prom or formal, uh, people go in kind of group settings nowadays, um, and then you see this, of course, you know, this is something in the last year, you know, one, one of the annoying things about writing a book, uh, is that it comes out and then you have all this stuff that comes out right after it kind of confirming you were right. You just wanna say I was right. I was right. But I mean, when you look at the birth rights, right, we we're, we're dealing with kind of European level barrenness, uh, in the birth rates. When you look at marriage rates, uh, among people, you know, young kind of gen Z, even millennials, um, there was a poll that came out of a few months ago talking about how some millennials would rather have a dog, uh, than a child.
Speaker 1 00:40:50 Um, and kind of going back to the very beginning of this conversation, my thesis, which is that a spirit of radical individualism has infected and ensnared their relationships. It, it it's paradigmatic right here in marriage. Why? Because marriage and I, Jack, I don't know if you're married or not, but if you've been married, you know, that marriage is not about you finding your own form of happiness. Uh, you're you're going to evolve and change as a human being if you're a husband or a wife. And I think a lot of young people see marriage as just a different form, a different way, a different avenue of gratifying, their own individual wants and needs. And if you do that, then you're, you're not really willing to, to, to participate in, in marriage. Um, and, and so, uh, the other thing which is kind of this kind of an awkward conversation, I, I do think that pornography is a profound problem, uh, for a lot of young men.
Speaker 1 00:41:36 Um, and again, pornography is, is radically individualistic. Uh, I'm going to look at this, not as an act of love, not as an expression of love, not as, as, as any form of, of, you know, uh, not because this is about somebody else in my affection for them, it's all about me and what I want. Um, and so, like, you have a lot, I mean, you have a lot of people in their twenties who are not sexually active at all, like zilch, because the, you know, because they don't wanna make that connection and they, and they, and they, they, they have, you know, what they need in other ways. And then sometimes you see the other extreme, you know, which is where you have like Tinder and all of these other apps where, um, it literally is just using other human beings as objects for your own sat satiation.
Speaker 1 00:42:17 Um, and in that instance, it it's really weird too, because while they're definitely not, you know, they're engaging in it, it's once again about them, right. It's not about love, it's not about connection. And, and by the way, I mean, there was, I remember one of the most heartbreaking things I found in the research for the book was this young woman was talking about Tinder and how she just finished hooking up with a guy and as they, they hadn't even departed yet. And he was already scrolling for, for another, another date. Um, and I mean, talk about kind of cheapening, uh, one of the most important parts of the human condition. Uh, there you are. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:42:51 Um, well, I know that you've said that, uh, you, you are not seeing the whole issue of, of transgender, uh, activism coming up a lot in terms of your students, other than a few that want to be called, you know, different pronouns and, and stuff. But, um, we had Kara Dansky on, and she's very critical of, uh, of the whole activism and, and some of the, um, the, they call themselves the, the, uh, uh, trans exclusionary radical feminists have, um, have some criticism for, uh, pornography, particularly the kinds of, of, um, pornography that are, uh, you know, kind of glorifying violence or, and degradation of, of women because, um, they are seeing that young girls see this and they are like, well, if that's what it's means to be a woman, I, you know, that's, uh, frightening and repulsive. And maybe if I have the option to be the boy, I'll take it.
Speaker 1 00:44:00 Yeah. Well, well, I would, I mean, again, not to get too, too far into a weird place here, but I think broadly speaking, the fact that it is kind of bastardizing, what, what love and and sexuality is about. I think it does affect both because I think you're right with the women. They're like, I'm, I'm not doing that. I mean, if that's what, you know, and I think the men might say, I can't, you know, whatever, you know, whatever these performers can do, that's, that's not something that I I can necessarily do. And if that's the expectation, I'm scared of it now. Um, so I, I, you know, I definitely think that it's, it, it, it it's destructive of, of, of human relationships. And I, I would furthermore say though, uh, on, on the marriage front, um, you know, the, the thing that really bothers me about it, uh, is this idea that, um, that, that marriage is something that is only an intrusion on your autonomy.
Speaker 1 00:44:44 And I think that's how a lot of young people say, see it, as in, if I connect to this person, that means I can't connect to that person. If I live here with that person, I can't go do what I want. And so a lot of people see it as a form of entrapment. Um, and that's why I said early on, we're not in a different place about our views of individualism. Uh, I think this kind of radical subjective individualism that says any kind of infringement on what I think or want to do is IFSO facto bad marriage is a good example of, of why they're wrong. Uh, because I mean, I don't wanna be, you know, I married my high school, sweetheart. You know, I met my wife when I was 15 years old and to, to not love deeply, to not have fallen in love and to understand what it means to love something more than you love yourself and to not experience the kind of transcendent love that that a parent has for a child, because you wanna have a dog. I, I don't even know what to say Ja about that. I mean, it's like to, to, to have taken a walk walk of life and not to have felt that, um, it's a tragedy. It really is. And I think radical individualism, um, is definitely hollowed out that part of the soul.
Speaker 0 00:45:48 All right. We have a few more questions that have come in Meg 44 19 on Instagram, uh, asks in regards to older kids, do colleges still matter, or should we bring back trade schools?
Speaker 1 00:46:03 Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:46:04 How important is college for, for young people?
Speaker 1 00:46:06 Yeah, I think, I think that's a great question. I think first of all, that second part is true. I think that, uh, we have definitely in the last 20 years done a disservice in the sense that we, we have told a lot of people who probably shouldn't have gone to college to go to college. Uh, and that's been a problem for two reasons. One there, they could have spent that time at a trade school, uh, learning a trade, uh, learning something that's very valuable. I mean, my, my plumber, my electrician, my solar panel person all make more money than I do. Um, so this idea, uh, that you, you, you can't have a good job. You can't make a decent living, uh, by just having a trade I think is wrong. And we've, we, we related to disservice and what really makes it wrong is that we ask people to take out huge sums of money in order to do it.
Speaker 1 00:46:47 And then we, we saddle them. Now, they made the choice. I'm not necessarily, I'm not a big believer that the government should come in and bail you out. I'm not saying that, but, but I do think it's unfortunate for a lot of people who, you know, borrowed $160,000 to go get a degree in, in, in, in English or, or whatever, um, when they didn't necessarily need, need to do it. Um, now do I think that college still matters? I absolutely do. Um, and again, I, I know that this is, you know, my, my older brother totally disagrees with me on this. I, I'm still a, uh, kind of a romantic about the liberal arts. Uh, I do believe the ability to think critically, to write, to communicate, to know some of the essential ideas and books of Western civilization makes us into better, not just workers.
Speaker 1 00:47:24 I mean, this is something that bothers me is that we need to stop looking at education merely through a lens of, of, of commercialism, right? That we're just gonna create a bunch of consumers and workers, no, in, in, in a free society, we have to produce men and women of substance and conviction who can be not just good citizens, but good friends and, and, and good and good, you know, fathers and mothers and, and, and on all of these things. And I think that education is intimately intertwined with that. And I, and I think that having a good quality education, um, should be done by everybody. Um, even if you're an autodidact, even if you read it on your own, I think the best teachers don't necessarily tell you, you know, what to know, they instill a kind of love of learning so that you kind of start your own journey. Mm-hmm,
Speaker 0 00:48:04 <affirmative>, mm-hmm, <affirmative> uh, on Twitter, Sean, Sean, one asks, um, he says, I have a nephew who is 23 and has never dated. I've seen other young men like this too. How do we get people meeting each other again?
Speaker 1 00:48:25 I, I don't know. <laugh> I, again, I, you know, I, I, I married the only person I ever dated, so I'm not, uh, I, I don't really know other than to say though. Uh, I do think though that, like dating is important. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, when you're younger, I mean, I think learning how to be with people is a really important skill. Um, and we don't think in terms of skill, right. We always thinking like, you know, economic skills, like, you know, being able to fix a car or being able to, you know, create a spreadsheet or do taxes, but you know what, like relationships are really hard. Um, and, and dating is about kind of figuring out the kind of person you are in those relationships and what you're willing to put up with and what you're not willing to put up with and, and the kind of things you find attractive and don't find attractive.
Speaker 1 00:49:04 And I think when you're 23 and 24, if we've never dated anybody and I, again, it's so funny, you get this question because, you know, I keep track of a lot of my former students. Um, I mean, a lot of the book is not just talking to my students. It's talking to my former students about 28, 29 and they, they just, they, they don't get out there. Um, and, and again, I think a lot of it has to do with, uh, the inability to, to be kind of, uh, vulnerable. Um, I think when you live your life on a phone, you can carefully manicure every response mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, things are not organic. Um, you know, you can, you can always, you just show the pictures that make you look good, you know, what, and real life isn't like that because in real life you say, and do things in the moment that you absolutely shouldn't. Um, and, and then you have to apologize for it. And, uh, and, and I think it's just too much for a lot of young people to handle.
Speaker 0 00:49:52 All right. On Twitter also, Timothy thro 92 asks, do you think the failure for young people to be, uh, receiving a good education explains why the service industry is struggling to find people right now? Or could that be more about attitudes, uh, about work?
Speaker 1 00:50:11 No, I do. No, I do. I think that he's Tim Timothy is absolutely correct. Uh, I, this is one of my problems with, um, kind of this movement that we have right now in education. And I write about this quite a bit and hollow it out. Um, I understand that we don't wanna take a kid who makes a little mistake in mouth soft and then suspend them for five days. I mean, I think that there is a, an overreaction sometimes. Uh, and then, you know, you get kind of this, uh, kind of in more liberal circles, they talk about the, the school to prison pipeline because kids who aren't in school and aren't in their learning communities are more likely to drop out and then they don't have a good job. And then they turn to crime and, and I get that. Uh, but I do think that we have gone the exact opposite extreme, where you can tell a, a, a teacher to F off and you're back in class the next day.
Speaker 1 00:50:53 You know, you can, you can be, you know, you can, you can scream and yell pro planting on campus. You can take the food that you get and throw it against the wall. Um, you know, this idea that if a, if a disruptive student, um, this will be shock. A lot of people who aren't in education, this is something that shocks people who are not in education and people who are just, are just kind of roll their eyes. There is a, you know, a very popular idea out there that if a student is being disruptive, you should stop class, get in a circle and have a conversation in class as if, you know, like as if you know, teachers are, are therapists, um, and, and have it out there, which, you know, I, again, I, I don't think that's what teachers are made for. I don't think that that's the proper use of class time.
Speaker 1 00:51:32 Um, and so I think that extreme has definitely, you know, kids think that they can get away with murder. And so they go to the workplace and they have all kinds of expectations about what they should and should not be able to get away with. Uh, and it shocks him. I remember had a great student three or four years ago, and he came back and he visited me and he, he got a job at, um, uh, what, it's a cookie place, Mrs. Ms. Fields's cookie mm-hmm <affirmative>. And he was two minutes late for his first day. And his manager fired him. She's like, Nope, you're not gonna work here. And he goes, what do you mean? What are you talking about? It's my first day, she goes, you were two minutes late on your first day. What's gonna be like on your 10th goodbye. And he was shocked because in high school, you know, you're not supposed to be mad if the kids are late, you're not supposed to be mad if they don't turn in their work, you're supposed to, bely forgiving of it. And I think that there's, that kind of chasm between what we allow at school and what's expected in the workplace. So I think that's a great question.
Speaker 0 00:52:20 Where are, you've wrote about this a bit in, in the book, um, these ideas coming from about discipline in, in class, um, is it coming from school administrators? Is it coming from, uh, schools of education and what, what, what have you seen? I mean, you mentioned a few examples just now.
Speaker 1 00:52:42 Yeah. It's, it's so funny. Uh, you know, sometimes, uh, at the beginning of the school year, we used to say, okay, well, what's the new trend going to be? Right. What's the new thing. Um, and I actually wrote a book, um, just a few years ago, which is again, not a commentary book, but it was called writing the weights. And it's about the fact that the number one, objection, that teachers have, the thing that causes us the most anxiety and stress and kills morale is that every year we're asked to do different things, right. Every you're like, well now, okay, now this is what we're going to do. No, no, no. Now that's what we're going to do. Oh, you know, we, we should never suspend anybody. Oh, oh no, we should suspend immediately. And so like, it's really hard to kind of get our balance.
Speaker 1 00:53:16 So the answer to your question Ja is sometimes I don't know where the trends the trends come from. I mean, I, I can only imagine that a lot of these things are because of, uh, you know, the, the summer of 2020 and George Floyd. Um, and, and, and really trying to, you know, the, the, the buzzword right now in education is equity. Uh, we talk about equity a lot, of course, you know, as I said earlier in our broadcast here, I don't wanna hear anybody talk about equity. If you're not gonna be talking about literacy. Right. Don't, don't, you know, if you wanna find, what is it that creates cycles of poverty in this country, what makes generational, uh, what makes it so there's generational inequality? It, it is a lack of, of literacy and educational excellence. Um, and so, uh, sometimes I don't know, I think schools of education are, are very hip and trendy and agars sometimes, um, so it's a mystery sometimes to those of us who are in the trenches about where some of these new ideas come from,
Speaker 0 00:54:06 Well, we are coming up, uh, we've got about five more minutes and I, I wanted to, um, also get in something that you do write about, which I, I thought was very apropo, uh, you wrote that in our hollowed outselves we are, we are our political views. Uh, so what did you mean by that? What do you see as evidence of, of increased polarization? Why have politics become so polarized from your perspective?
Speaker 1 00:54:36 Yeah, this is the part of the book where I was probably hitting the, the, you know, the hardest, because, you know, I spent my life teaching political science, right? This is my, my passion. And one of the things, and this is, this is really Jack. This is really that kind of last five to 10 years. This is what this has been a profound pivot is that young people nowadays, the way they look at politics is very different. 15, 20, 30 years ago, politics was simply a way of having a conversation about public policy. Um, it's in a liberal democracy. Uh, politics is a difference between the public and the private. Um, and, and again, this is where you can have your disagreements, but they're not personal, they're political, right. You know, I believe that a, I believe in a more robust government, I believe in a more limited government, I believe in more government interference, I believe in more laws, fair.
Speaker 1 00:55:21 I mean, you can have your disagreements and then you go play racketball and you're done. But what I want people out there to understand is that the reason why we are so poli, uh, polarized the reason why we are fighting so hard about politics, especially young people, the reason why they're offended all the time, um, is because the things that used to go in and define who you are, your family, your faith, your community, the books, you read, your friendships, your relationships, all of these things that used to define you, right? They're not there anymore. They're literally not there. And so what's been put in the place of that, your politics, right? And so now it used to be, if you disagree with me about same sex marriage, we just disagree about, you know, article four of the constitution. Now it's no, no, no, no, you are against me because that's personal.
Speaker 1 00:56:08 Now politics is personal because that's who I am. And you see it, you see it in all kinds of ways. I mean, even little things like they did an analysis of how, you know, how, like on Twitter, how you can like, have described your, your bio and how they see this huge increase in people define themselves by their politics. Not so much family, not so much religion, not so much, uh, you know, marriage, but their politics. Um, I don't know if you remember this in the book, uh, and this is one of these things where you do the research. Like that's fascinating. Um, people who used to have a, who, who used to be, uh, they, they were matchmaker, right? They used to find people, you know, kind of do that. And it used to be that religion, right? You wouldn't ever, you wouldn't take somebody who's a diehard Mormon and a, and, and a Muslim and meet them or somebody who's an atheist and evangelical people, just, they don't date.
Speaker 1 00:56:54 Right. If they are, uh, you know, such different religions nowadays, the number one thing is politics. People who are progressive, I will not date. I will not date somebody who voted for Donald Trump or people. You know, I see this with a lot of my friends who, who love Donald Trump. So I was talking about them. They are trying to destroy the country. They hate America. I can't be friends with them. And you see it by the way. I mean, you also see it in just political outcomes. I mean, look at the electoral maps, right? And you see like, you know, you can blue America and red America. And what you want is you want kind of shades of like, you know, light red and light blue, where, which means that, you know, it's not overwhelming. And what do you see? You see more and more that you see deep red America and deep blue America.
Speaker 1 00:57:37 And that leads to even more polarization because you're not talking to people who you disagree with. Right. I mean, one of the things that saves us from extremism is a really wonderful human being who's smart and votes differently and convinces you that you're not right. But if all you do is, is, is hang out with the choir and preach to the choir and for them to tell you you're right. No, you're right. No, you are right. You become even more extreme. Right. And that's where I think, you know, things like immigration, you know, where we say things like we used to be like, okay, well, we need to have a path to citizenship. If you've been here for 20 years, blah, blah, blah. And now we like, Nope, open borders or no immigration. We just kind of go to these huge extremes. And of course, then we elect people who won't create any consensus. And if you know, James Madison in the constitution, our system doesn't work. If you don't build coalitions and, and, and then you get called squishy. If, if you compromise, which is your job, by the way. So it's, I think polarization is, is, is a huge reason why our political system is dysfunctional and it starts with this hollowed out, uh, view of the world.
Speaker 0 00:58:34 Well, uh, again, uh, the book is, is definitely worth reading. It is available for pre-order it's, uh, I think if you go ahead and order it, now, it will be delivered on Tuesday. Um, it's the books hollowed out a warning about America's next generation, and I can speak from personal experience that the audio version is quite good. So, uh, Jeremy, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for, uh, your two and a half decades of service, uh, teaching, uh, the next generation. And, uh, and for writing this, uh, very fascinating book, um, I could tell from reading it that, uh, it was something that you cared passionately about, and I see that confirmed with this interview today. So thank you. Thank you so much for having me. And I wanna thank all of you who joined us for this power. If you enjoyed the video, uh, or any of our other materials, please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Atlas [email protected]
and join us next week. We're gonna be continuing this theme, discussing education with professor Barbara Oakley, uh, talking about her new book, mind shift on next week's ask the ATLA society, the ATLA society asks. So thank you. Thanks again, Jeremy.