Skip to comments.Has America Lost Its Grit?
Posted on 03/14/2014 5:59:37 AM PDT by Kaslin
Amy Chua, the "Tiger Mother" who launched a thousand panic attacks among ambitious but lenient parents, is back with an almost-great book about why some groups achieve spectacular success in America while others languish. Written with her husband Jed Rubenfeld (both are law professors at Yale), "The Triple Package" examines a number of groups who've succeeded in this country and advances a thesis about why groups (and nations) prosper or decline.
The success of Asian-American immigrants (this principally includes people from China, Japan, Korea and India) is legendary. Less familiar is the bounding achievement of Nigerian immigrants. Though they account for only 0.7 percent of the black American population, they comprised 25 percent of the blacks at Harvard Business School last year. Nigerian immigrants are estimated to be 10 percent of America's black physicians. The average family income of Nigerian immigrants is not only above the black average, but above the national average as well.
While we think we know about Asian achievement (who hasn't seen the Asian students walk away with most of the honors at high school graduation ceremonies?), the statistics still have the power to startle. For the last five years, nearly 50 percent of the top prizewinners at the Intel Science Talent Search have been Asian Americans. They constitute "30 to 50 percent of the student bodies at the country's leading music programs." In 2012, of the 141 top-ranked high school students in the country, those designated as "presidential scholars," 48 were Asian-American. On the SAT, Asians score on average 143 points above the norm. Though only 5 percent of the college-age cohort, they represent 19 percent of the study body at Harvard, 16 percent at Yale, 19 percent at Princeton and, well, you get the idea. If there were not an unspoken quota on Asians imposed by universities, they would probably account for half of the students at the leading schools.
The high fliers academically and economically are not only immigrants. Mormons have recently been taking the top spots in the corporate and banking worlds. They have risen to the top at Dell, American Express, Sears, Roebuck, Fisher Price, Lufthansa, Black & Decker and many other companies. Goldman Sachs's third largest office is now in Salt Lake City.
Cubans, Jews, Lebanese, Iranians, blacks from the West Indies and others also excel. Chua and Rubenfeld think they know why. It's three traits that combine to drive achievement: 1) a sense of group superiority; 2) a feeling of insecurity and something to prove; and 3) a capacity for delaying gratification.
All of the groups that have excelled in America share all of these traits, though some are showing diminishing levels of these qualities. Jews, for example, have been losing place to Asians in science prizes, admission to Julliard and other measures of achievement, perhaps, the authors speculate, because they've been in America long enough to feel secure. In fact, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of super achievers do seem to slide toward the mean. Certainly, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants have long since lost their dominant positions in the American elite. They are generations removed from the sense of exceptionalism that motivated the Puritans, for instance, and no longer believe that God requires great things from them.
The Chua/Rubenfeld thesis is consistent with the latest social science trends. Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania wrote an influential paper suggesting that grit, not IQ, was the best predictor of success. The authors cycle back several times to the "marshmallow" study, which found that small children who could resist eating a marshmallow for 15 minutes on the promise of getting another were more likely to have life success than their more impulsive peers. Asian Americans, they urge, succeed not because they have higher IQs, but because they spend less time watching TV, playing soccer and hanging out at the mall, and more time drilling their times tables, practicing their violins and reading. The authors' insistence that Asian IQs are no higher than others is debatable. But they are certainly right to highlight the research showing that Asian students with an IQ of 103 get higher grades than white students with same IQ.
Chua and Rubenfeld are careful not to transgress politically sensitive topics, and their obedient liberalism leads them into some embarrassing mistakes, as when they misperceive President Barack Obama's comments about American exceptionalism. Still, their willingness to bash the culture of "self-esteem" and immediate gratification that characterizes so much of American life today is welcome, as is their belief that America is, at its core, a "triple package" nation -- if it can find its way back to the traits that made it great.
When the government provides for your every need, why do you need to be exceptional?
“When the government provides for your every need, why do you need to be exceptional?”
...except when you discover that the government is populated by the most incompetent boobs on the planet and you are depending on them for your existence.
On Fox News this morning, the former head of the HSS published a scathing letter with his resignation saying that working for this administration was the worst job he ever had and as a taxpayer, he is outraged at the incompetence he found. His job description required that he make “the bosses look good,” quite a task when no one in Obama’s administration has ever run anything but their mouths and their conniving networking to get their jobs.
For the past 80+ years, the Welfare State has sapped the American independent spirit and self-sufficiency. We are at the point where kids graduate from high school (or drop out) and immediately start trying to figure out how to start collecting a government check. Any little problem turns into a reason to get a disability check from Uncle Sam. Pretty much anyone can get food stamps and a free cell phone. And in each generation, it gets worse. There is no more pride in hard work and no more shame in taking Welfare. At some point, America is going to wake up and realize that the whole country has joined the moochers and there is no one left to work to pay for them. The last productive person will have turned off the lights and left for China, Russia or some country that is less Socialistic than the USA.
America hasn’t lost its grip.What we have lost is leadership and the belief that those leaders work for the public.Not vice versa.
Today we have “Leaders” who go into politics to feather their own nest and fail to look at where the future of the country and it’s “Citizens” are going.
Things are not as easy as they might appear. There is no recipe for character or the lack thereof, only general principles. Children can adopt or ignore what their parents, peers, teachers, and life experiences teach.
Neither conformity nor non-conformity are enough. Children need elements of both. They need rules, but they also need liberty. They need multiple opportunities of success and failure; leadership and subordination; direct, indirect, and surreptitious efforts; how to interact in an aggressive, defensive, or neutral manner; experiences with good and bad judgment; intellectual rigidity as well as speculative creativity; and the list goes on and on.
Some things could be taught and practiced, but aren’t. For example, children are sometimes taught “extended physicality”, how to stretch out physical effort for an hour or two, such in learning sports. Other children may be taught intellectual focus, so that they can sit down and study for an hour or two.
But very few are taught to keep a particular emotion at the forefront of their feelings for an hour or two. But doing so gives them extraordinary emotional depth, which is as noticeable to other people as the body of a weightlifter. It gives them command of most any emotional experience.
Training to achieve a given goal is often not the way to go. In its past, the US produced Midwest farm boys who turned into top notch US Navy Admirals; and others who could barely pass flight school but were unsurpassed masters of fighter aircraft. (It should be noted that the top graduates of flight school also tended to be very good. Something very frustrating to flight school faculty who wanted a “formula” for eduction.)
So the majority of immigrants (illegal Mexicans) not so much. :-)
This is a matter of sample bias, basic statistics.
The Nigerians who can legally get into the country are skewed to the well educated or have some money. Legal immigration requires proof of self-sufficiency.
We are not seeing a representative sample.
Its the same reason people in Asia think all Americans are rich - because you need some money to travel there.
The Nigerian immigrant I know has the most elegant written English of anybody I’ve ever met. He completed his PhD and is now a Professor of Computer Science.
I am a figure skating fan and one ting I have noticed is that at least 50% of the top young FS’s in the USA are Asians. This is particularly true in both the USA and in Canada with the male skaters.
Asians are not physically big people. They excel in sports that do not reward big or tall size. They are particularly good at sports that require intense training and persistence toward perfection. Hence they are good at FS, gymnastics, etc.
In the recent US Junior FS championships most of the medals went to Asians, especially in the boys division. Notice that Canada’s top male skater is Patrick CHEN; and their tip junior male skater is Nam Nguyen - who is currently leading the pack at the World JR Championships. He will likely win it tomorrow with his long program. Representing the USA in the Jr Men’s division is Nathan Chen. Get the picture?
Most of America is being homosexualized, feminized and infantilized. We can pretty much kiss it goodbye.
Nope. Everywhere we look, folks are gritting.
Redact contracting combine operators. I haven’t seen any heavy equipment operator dismount to dig or lift anything since doing it myself over 10 years back.