Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid

MSNBC had this piece about American high school students' thoughts on our First Amendment rights.

Saying the results are disturbing is like saying Bill Clinton has a wandering eye.

More than a third of respondents said that the First Amendment goes "too far" in the rights it guarantees to us. Only half of the students said that newspapers should be able to publish stories without prior government approval. Fully 17% said that citizens should not be allowed to express unpopular opinions.

Think about that for a minute.

Now, as bad as these results are (and they are really, really bad), I think the point it makes is not that our current crop of high school students are dictators-in-waiting (or mullahs-in-waiting). Rather I think it highlights the dismal performance of teachers in America.

If our high school teachers were doing such a great job, how is it American kids believe that burning the flag is illegal? Where could half of American high school students have gotten the idea that the government can ban material on the Internet that it deems indecent?

Like Wanda tells Otto in A Fish Called Wanda, "These are all mistakes. I looked them up."

All I can think is that I am glad I won't have to live long with this cohort of Americans running our society.

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