Experts Agree: Everyone Wants Your Fluids


Wise words from Timothy Burke:

Expert authority may have much less influence in American public life today than it did in 1960, but one segment of the population is still intensely glued to what experts recommend or demand: the professionalized middle classes, who exist in a state of perpetual anxiety about social reproduction. They want to know one thing: what must they do to secure a steady, reliable future for their children in which their children will do jobs and have status approximately commensurate with their parents (or better)?

When experts in education, childhood, psychology, economics, what have you, venture forth into the public sphere to say that our schools are failing to do something utterly essential, or that tomorrow's children must absolutely have some skill that they do not have now, or that oh my GOD SWEDEN and CHINA and ARGENTINA all have started teaching children how to program in Java while they are still in the WOMB, you know what that's the equivalent of? It's like going up to someone who is starting to develop a dissassociative identity disorder and pretending to be one of those little voices from a satellite that he's hearing that tell him that everyone's out to drain his precious bodily fluids.

Middle-class parenting is precisely where expertise and the authority of both state and civic institutions often have their most toxic intersection, and where unintended effects blossom like ragweed in September….What a lot of those parents need now are experts who will help them chill the fuck out about the lives and education of their children, who will remind them of how robust children are, who will reassure them not to sweat the small stuff. Your kid is not going to get crushed in 2025 by an army of monstrously capable technological prodigies from South Asia because you didn't have them reading chapter books by kindergarten.