This came in from Mr. John Dungan:
Many, many years ago, about a year after I graduated from high school, a very wise man wrote these words:
We are doing something wrong. We haven’t found out what it is yet. But somehow we have turned all these big glossy universities into places which the thinking young ones, the mavericks, the ones we need to most, cannot endure. So all the campuses are in the hands of the unaware, the incurably, unconsciously second class kids with second class minds and that ineffably second class goal of reasonable competence, reasonable security, reasonable happiness.
Perhaps this is the proper end product to people–a second class world. All mavericks ever do, anyway, is make the sane, normal, industrious people feel unfomfortable. They ask the wrong questions. Such as–“What is the meaning of all this?” So weed them out. They are cultural mistakes. Leave the world to the heroes and the semi-heroes, and their rumpy little soft-eyed girls, racing like lemmings tgoward the warm sea of the Totally Adjusted Community.
(From “A Deadly Shade Of Gold” (Travis McGee #5), by John D. MacDonald, 1965).
I doubt that very many people today have a clue about who Travis McGee was, or, for that matter, who his creator, John D. MacDonald, was. Short version: Travis McGee was the hero of a series of books in the mystery-thriller genre, and a sort of mid-century Robin Hood, trying to right wrongs, while paying his expenses, and a bit more, along the way. He was widely admired, often copied, but never, ever duplicated.
This particular quote appears part way into a thriller wherein Mr. McGee was seeking information about some rare golden objects, and his musings were about the then state of higher learning in the United States. He was visiting a university campus in Florida, about to meet and pick the mind of a highly educated expert (not coincidentally a professor) on rare artificats.
I think what is so significant here is that Mr. MacDonald had these thoughts more than fifty years ago, and today we have seen the end results of what he saw way back then. We just went through one of the saddest presidential elections in the history of this once great nation, and the products of that world described by him had a lot to do with the outcome of this election.
Our nation today is dominated by the undereducated, unread, functional illiterates, who are too lazy to even form an opinion on their own, and/or ill equipped to perform any basic research to check facts. They are ignorant of history, which easily explains why we see the same mistakes being repeated over and over. They are passionate about what they’ve been told to believe, without really knowing why they are passionate. They, like the censors of days gone by, may not be able to articulate what it is, but they damn well know it when they see it!