The postwar American middle class life pattern looks like this:
- Child begins attending a daycare or preschool outside the home at around 3 to allow both parents to work full time.
- The child attends a K-12 curriculum shaped by the needs of the state
- After graduation, almost all of the middle class students will go to an undergraduate college
- Those students are not likely to marry until they have both graduated and attained some level of career stability to avoid social awkwardness.
The trend didn’t really solidify until the GI Bill went into effect, and it’s only fading now that the expense of attending university is so high, and the status it buys no longer goes as far as it once did in a hollowed out and over-regulated society.
This is the life pattern that creates what some others have called the demographic shredder. It becomes worse when the most high-achieving segments of society delay having children even longer than they might have, otherwise, in order to attend graduate school, which further expends money on tuition that could be going to feeding and caring for children.
Even if the US government were capable of righting its fiscal ship without causing even more political instability, it has the more severe problem of a middle class that has been acculturated into abolishing itself. This is often obviously the case when teachers paid for by the parents of middle class children tell those children that their entire race is evil and needs to be destroyed.
It’s a little less obvious when the same institutions that parents think will give their children a leg up in life actually make them less disciplined as employees, less capable of becoming good wives and husbands, and less dynamic as creative people. They pay to have their children hobbled in order to make them and their issue acceptable to the egalitarian state.
Competing ideals of middle class attainment, coming out of regions like Silicon Valley, say that most of those ‘mandatory’ life stages can be bypassed given hard work and talent. But, given the institutional inertia of generations of education mania, it’s not likely that it’ll have much of a direct impact. The larger impact is likely to be from that the remnants of the middle class just exhausts its resources, and is no longer capable of paying the enormous fees demanded by the gatekeepers to officially recognized status.
Obviously, not everyone is going to make it out of this one alive or even particularly OK or sane. But clarifying the errors of the past at least may help the people in the present and the near future who do find a way to recognize a thing or two about why everything went so catastrophically wrong.