As did Mr. Vaughn, I watched a little football on Thanksgiving Day. I spent much of the day with my son, Erik, cooking dinner that would make my wife proud, because she had to work all day at Swedish Hospital, a few blocks away. More intriguing was the Denver Broncos – San Diego Chargers game yesterday afternoon, which did go into overtime. One team would win and one team would lose (unless the game remained tied). Both teams displayed grit, intensity, dedication; players on both teams suffered pain, injuries, unsportsman-like aggression and all players battled on. Pride, self worth and, of course, money, propelled the players toward epic physical achievement.
The themes raised in Vaughn’s article directly relate to how we raise our children and how likely our children will succeed in this brutally competitive world.
Mr. Vaughn makes interesting points. He speaks from the perspective of what is called a conservative, whatever that means these days. I share only the slightest glimmer of my views of the so-called Occupiers: I hold them in infinite contempt. They stand for nothing virtuous and are, by and large, unknowingly the tools of forces they do not understand. Here is Vaughn’s article.
On the Playing Fields of Eton
by Russ Vaughn
I spent the waning hours of Thanksgiving weekend in true American fashion, watching NFL football. Doing so, I was reminded of how we seem to be ignoring the key enzyme which enables the muscle function of the Great American Success Story: competition.
Far too many among us are trying to eliminate the hard reality of winning and losing from our children’s lives. Watching the camera close-ups of the two opposing coaches, whose game had gone into overtime and come down to a single play, a relatively easy field goal kick, I was struck by the calm resignation and acceptance displayed by both. Each had given it his best and his team had played the opponent to a stalemate. Yet one of them was going to leave the stadium a loser, a fact which could bode ill for his continued employment. For these men, and their fans and employers, winning is everything and their place in the world depends on their continuing to do exactly that. Yet both accepted the outcome with equanimity and decorum, knowing that one of them had to leave that field a loser, a fact which could forebode negative consequences.
So what is my point? Well, actually they are two. First, these men, who personify the pinnacle of American competitiveness, are the absolute antithesis of the modern liberal theory of intramural sports and academic achievement which declares that everyone is a winner regardless of the outcome of any competitive event. To progressive parents and educators, it is simply unacceptable to have winners and losers. That’s such an out-dated concept and so destructive of self-esteem.
Yet, isn’t it amazing how quickly the advocates of this utopian silliness abandon it when their little darlings take to field and floor to engage in intermural competitions? Somehow, liberal sense of fairness and self esteem tends to brake hard at the boundaries of school districts. Even progressive parents relish their kids beating the snot out of the cross-town rivals. And yes, liberals at the college level, even Marxist professors, can be very enthusiastic fans of their varied sports teams. Truth is, they, like all humanity, celebrate victory. I’m no anthropologist but I would wager that the sense of elation associated with winning is an inherent human trait crossing all racial, cultural and ethnic boundaries. It just feels good to win.
My second point is the observation, repeatedly affirmed by other conservative writers, that the young people who make up this ongoing Occupy business are of a generation raised entirely immersed in this liberal concept of non-competitiveness and enhanced sense of self-worth. They have been smotheringly nurtured by well-intentioned ninnies to believe that they don’t have to compete, more importantly, that they don’t have to win to be successful and self-fulfilled. My viewings of the reporting on the Occupy participants lead me to the conclusion that their well-intentioned parents are being proved half-right: these young folks are very long on sense of self-fulfillment and apparently very short on success, a reality they attribute to unfairness. They have been suddenly thrust into a world where self-esteem counts for little and accomplishment counts for all. Ill-prepared for life, they are unhappily realizing that that they have been poorly-served by their do-gooder parents.
Think about this for a moment. In all the excessive media coverage given these full-of-themselves losers, have you seen one who displays that easy confidence of the athlete? One who might someday be an NFL coach?
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