Saturday, October 17, 2009
We're #1 -- But Not for Long
How much longer will it be before the "we're #1" crowd will have have admit that the USA has seen its best days. Yes, we are probably still #1 at the moment, but only because we have the most powerful military on earth. I was recently told that it is likely that the 20th century will be seen as the "century of the USA". But the 21st century will belong to China. Why is that? Because there are more Chinese who are just as smart as citizens of the USA and who are willing to work much harder. Also, the Chinese value education.
While the USA sits back and watches their infrastructure decay, the Chinese are building a modern 21st century infrastructure. While the USA cuts funds for education, the Chinese are throwing money at education, building new universities and training engineers, architects and scientists and other professionals. Meanwhile, the USA is dependent on Indian engineers to answer our questions and solve our problems.
The USA became #1 in the 20th century for a couple of reasons (in my opinion). The GI Bill which trained and educated thousands of soldiers after WWII and the space race (with the help of a few German scientists). Both of these endeavors involved education and both endeavors made the USA stronger and the number 1 power in the world. Unfortunately, in a couple more years, we will be relegated to hitching rides to the space station on Soviet spacecraft. The Chinese will meanwhile be colonizing Mars.
Respect for a good education in the USA has dropped drastically in my opinion. In the 21st century, most Americans do not accept the well-documented theory of evolution, many believe that climate change is a "hoax" (or not a concern) and that the swine flu vaccine and other vaccines, which have improved the health and safety of millions, are dangerous. We have leaders who think the internet is a series of pipes and that the government intends to either kill our citizens or intern them in concentration camps.
Remember the superconducting super collider that was to be built in Texas? The most powerful particle accelerator on earth. Funding for the project was canceled in 1993. Instead, the Large Hadron Collider, located in Switzerland and France (yes, that France) was built because the USA could not "afford" it. The Europeans, socialists that they are, will get the credit for discovering the Higgs Boson while the USA sits back and does whatever it is we do.
Let me express my humble opinion. What the USA cannot "afford" to do is devalue and defund education (which is happening as we speak). We can't afford to run our institutions based on "gut reactions" and so-called "common sense". We need a population of people who can think critically and solve problems. We need leaders who support and praise technology rather than spend their time fear-mongering with the result of dividing us against each other.
If we want to remain #1 on the World stage, a strong military isn't enough. We need a population that can pull our country into the 21st century. And, that will be an educated population.