02 January, 2011

Closing Down the Shop

NOTE TO THE PEOPLE WHO FIND THEMSELVES ON THIS PAGE: As of Feb 2013 The Scholar's Stage has been reborn. A round up of all posts published in its first month can be found here. Pressing the "Home" link on the sidebar will show you the most recent posts. 

This will be my last post for the Scholar's Stage.

Or at least, the last post for quite some time.

I started this blog more than three years ago. At the time it had a paltry readership, limited to a few close friends I badgered into reading my material. At the present time the Stage receives thousands of hits every month from readers across the world. I believe that the growing readership of the Stage reflects the increasing quality of the posts written for it. My earliest posts were such embarrassing attempts at political analysis that I later removed from the Internet entirely. Nothing so woeful can be said of the Stage's more recent posts; I am confidant that the best of these rank with the finest material I have ever written. There is litle question that creating and maintaining this blog has improved my ability to analyze and write about the course of world affairs beyond measure. While the number of hits this website receives suggests that others have found value in what is posted here, the main beneficiary of the Scholar's Stage has been its primary author.

Believing the biography of a pundit less important then the strength of his arguments, I have divulged details of my own life sparingly. Despite this, attentive readers will be able to put together a fuzzy profile from the sparse pickings I have provided them, including my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Like many Mormons of my station, confidant in their testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Church, I have decided to serve as a missionary. Those unfamiliar with Mormon missions should understand that it is a very ascetic experience. For the two years in which I will be serving, I will have little to no access to newspapers, secular books, computers, or the internet. Were these things allowed I would have no time to pursue them

Thus it is with a glad heart that I say farewell to the blogosphere. Running the Stage has been a fruitful experience and I am thankful to all that have helped make it happen. A special thanks must be given to John Kranz of
ThreeSources, "Joseph Fouche" of the Committee of Public Safety, Nick Nielson of Grand Strategy: The View From Oregon, "LFC" of Howl at Pluto, Antoly Karlin of Sublime Oblivion, Wil Robinson of International Political Will, and commentator "YT" for taking a special interest in what I have written here, penning many thoughtful critiques of my ideas and providing the inspiration for many of my best posts with their comments here at the Stage, on their own websites, or through private correspondence.

I also thank
"Fabius Maximus", Mark Safranski, and the bloggers of ChicagoBoyz. The Scholar's Stage gained many, if not most, of its readers because these bloggers saw fit to repeatedly highlight my work. For this I am most grateful.

For the convenience of those who may find my material useful for the development of their future writings, a short compendium of the Stage's most notable posts is provided below:

The American Crisis

America's Greatest Challenge -- and Danger

Death of a Nation

We Laugh Because It Is True - Perhaps We Should Be Crying Too

Connecting the Dots: Social Mobility and Family Structure

A Few Brief Thoughts on the Senate

Health Care: America's Sickness, or Her Symptom?

Made by Washington: Ignorance and Hackery

Cases in Plutarchy? The U.S. Senate by Graduating Class.

Straight Talk of the TSA, Paragon of the Creeping Security State

Grand Strategy

Dreaming Grand Strategy

Addendum to Dreaming Grand Strategy

A New Definition of Grand Strategy (Again)

Manifest Destiny: A Case Study in National Purpose


Notes on the Dynamics of Human Civilization: The Growth Revolution, Part I

Musings -- How We Ought to Think About History

The Chinese Strategic Tradition: A Syllabus

Musings -- on the Cognitive Consequences of Historical Metaphors

Through the Agency of Demons: A Small Sketch of Western Thought

International Affairs

Naxalism: A Short Introduction to India's Scariest Security Threat

Update here: Roots of the Naxal Insurgency

Stealth Wars and the American Republic

America Quibbles as Mexico Crumbles

Meet our New Ambassadors (And Foreign Policy Priorities)

Three Headlines and a Moral

The Many Sided Turk

Update here: Turkey as Seen on September 12th

Copenhagen: A Failure of American Statecraft

Can Modern America Wage a Counterinsurgency Campaign?

The Missile Shield: Why We Planned It, Why We Scrapped It, and Why it Matters


Pick Your Metaphor With Care

Peak Oil and EROI: Understanding a Concept

Death by Climate

Foxes, Hedgehogs and Forecasting

Tyranny, Towards a Definition

Addendum on Tyranny

01 January, 2011

Collapse of America's National Security, or Collapse of the American Family?

Earlier this week a story dropped into my inbox that was ideally suited for meeting the Stage's stated  mission to investigate "intersection of governance, ecology, demographics, culture, history, and security":

Christine Armario and Dorie Turner. Associated Press. 21 December 2010.
Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can't answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The report by The Education Trust bolsters a growing worry among military and education leaders that the pool of young people qualified for military service will grow too small.

"Too many of our high school students are not graduating ready to begin college or a career — and many are not eligible to serve in our armed forces," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the AP. "I am deeply troubled by the national security burden created by America's underperforming education system."

Mr. Duncan is mistaken. It is not America's education system that is underperforming. It is her social system.

Several months ago I wrote a post titled "Connecting the Dots: Social Mobility and Family Structure." The conclusions of this post were clear. In America, as in most places across the world, education is the key to upward economic mobility. But in America, unlike most places in the world, educational success is tied quite closely to class.  Children born to uneducated, low-income, single parents are very likely to become uneducated, low-income, single parents themselves. Family structure is the key explanatory variable in all of this. Students from stable mother-father households are more likely to succeed in school settings than peers from alternate family structures, even when race, class, and other variables of this type are adjusted for. Single parenthood also limits the educational prospects for the parent, as children consume time and resources that might otherwise go towards the attainment of higher levels of education. Caring for children without the institutional support provided by a stable marriage is a poverty trap.

America has one of the highest rates of illigimacy and single parenthood in the world. A great majority of the  illigimate children are born poor. Likewise, most single parents live in poverty. Their educational prospects are nil - and thus their poverty is perpetual. As I concluded:
 This is the crisis of the American community. Poverty has existed throughout America's history, but only with the disintegration of the lower class family has it become a perpetual condition. The United States must now cope with all the ills that plague any polity with a permanent underclass.

Millions of young men unable to pass the military's entrance exams is just one such ill.