The Value of Shop Class

The New Atlantis argues that kids (and parents) should stop looking for ways out of taking shop -- not only is it harder for us to do things for ourselves, but skilled tradesmen might be the only people with any job security in the near future.
A decline in tool use would seem to betoken a shift in our mode of inhabiting the world: more passive and more dependent. And indeed, there are fewer occasions for the kind of spiritedness that is called forth when we take things in hand for ourselves, whether to fix them or to make them. What ordinary people once made, they buy; and what they once fixed for themselves, they replace entirely or hire an expert to repair, whose expert fix often involves installing a pre-made replacement part.
So really, it's not my fault that I broke an entire closet system from IKEA while I attempted to assemble it myself. It's my education that has failed to provide me with a viable manual skill set, thus giving me any number of options for intellectual careers but rendering me incapable of putting together a closet system. I made beautiful work of the bookshelves though. Perhaps that says something about my priorities.

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