American Education - Take a Bow
Oh, dear. Another shortcoming of the overachieving class was brought home by an incident that occurred on the television show Cash Cab. It's a quiz show that plays out in a Manhattan taxi (seriously), and it's often a painful indictment of our country. Take, for instance, what happened when two young women were asked to name, in thirty seconds, the U.S. Presidents whose first and last names started with the same letter. I suppose there are a number of approaches to answering such a question. The approach these girls took was...hilarious, sad, and typical of people whose grades far outrun their intelligence.
One girl just started naming all the presidents, in order, starting with Washington. This is one approach! But a little thought will determine that this is a bad approach. To take one flaw (not the most serious flaw, but...), "Ronald Reagan" was unlikely to pass her lips within thirty seconds. To take the real flaw, she didn't actually know a damned thing. Like a .doc file or, hell, a piece of paper, all this chick could do was to repeat, thoughtlessly, a list of facts. Apparently the very idea of sorting the facts internally, selecting some, and focusing attention on them (you know, what we high-class intellectuals call "thinking") was foreign to her poor data-stuffed mind.
This sort of thinking-without-thinking can survive very long. All of the authors of this blog have spent substantial time in law school classes. All right, guys, how many times have you heard a student approach a complicated legal question by doing nothing more or less than listing elements? It is as if, to the question "How well does the application of the felony-murder rule advance the policy of retributivism?" these clever fools expect the answer "A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the second degree when it is committed while defendant was engaged as a principal or an accomplice in the perpetration of a felony" to score high marks. This kind of reasoning is over- and under-inclusive. Where some aspect of the answer isn't even arguably in dispute, it looks like ignorant redundancy (like answering "George Washington" to the original question); when the answer fails to address a relevant aspect of the question, it looks clueless.
This isn't smart. Stop rewarding it and these retards can skip seven years of schooling and go straight to their unrewarding desk jobs.