a classical education, A Modest Proposal, academic rigor, barack obama, Charles Murray, deplorable, diversity, IQ, self-imagined elite, shut up you racist, socialism, Swift, taxpayer money, undergraduate degree
Diversity: Noun. Synonym for “equity.” Euphemistic term for any belief, philosophy, policy or practice that cannot be supported on legal, logical, moral, practical or sane grounds.
SHUT UP YOU RACIST! Most common response to any argument against diversity on legal, logical, moral, practical or sane grounds.
Should everyone go to college? If one believed everything The One, Barack Obama, said, of course. He believed it so much he federalized the student loan industry. Actually, one can’t really say Obama and D/S/Cs really believe in anything other than amassing power and destroying their political enemies. They also don’t believe in anticipating consequences, which is why colleges used the loan windfall not to improve and fortify their academic offerings, or to lower student costs and operate more efficiently, but to dramatically increase tuition and other costs to cover hiring armies of administrators, like the assistant to the assistant to the assistant of the assistant dean for diversity and inclusion.
In answering this question, let’s review an issue colleges and the left—I know; same thing—really don’t want to discuss. Some people are just smarter than others, and so are some cultures.
You can’t say that you racist! Sure I can. Not only is this my scruffy little blog, but it happens to be true, and we all know it.
Consider this: in athletics, we do not, for a moment dare to suggest everyone is equal, that some people are simply better at sports than others. That’s because sports, unlike education, is really important. We also know white people tend to be better than other races at swimming, and black people tend to be better than white people at basketball, or at the very least, their numbers in the NBA are wildly out of proportion with their numbers in the general population for some inexplicable reason. But dare to suggest some people are not as smart as others, or that there is a cultural component, and the most persuasive and reasoned counter argument is certain to be: SHUT UP YOU RACIST!
Back in January of 2020 I wrote College: Certificate of Attendance, which I present herein in substantially updated form.
It is an article of faith among the self-imagined elite that Deplorables are sub human. Mentally ill, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, toothless, smelly WalMart shoppers who cling to God and guns, virtually none of them are–gasp—college educated, and those few that might be certainly didn’t attend the right (left) colleges. We saw this article of faith implemented during the Obama years when Mr. Obama federalized the entire student loan industry, the better to ensure that everyone would attend college. We see it now as cancel culture ends its end-stage manifestations by trying to shut up all dissent from the self-imagined elite.
Are the self-imagined elite right? Are those that do not obtain a college degree somehow lesser beings? Are they fit only to be ruled by their intellectual and moral betters, because inferior as they are, they aren’t qualified to determine their paths in life? And for that matter, does a college education invariably produce the intellectual and moral superiority such exalted beings claim?
Clearly, college isn’t for everyone. For many, college is a disastrous detour from a productive and happy life.
Charles Murray, the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute is a prolific writer on education issues. One of his most interesting works is Intelligence in College (available here). The quotes that follow are from a related Murray article that closely reflects the linked article. Murray referred to a survey that found high school guidance counselors encouraged 90% of high school students to attend college. It is not surprising, therefore, to discover:
For 40 years, American leaders have been unwilling to discuss the underlying differences in academic ability that children bring to the classroom. Over the same period, federal policy, backed by billions of taxpayer dollars in loans and grants, has aggressively encouraged more and more students to try to obtain a college education. As a result, about half of all high-school graduates now enroll in four-year colleges, despite the ample evidence that just a small minority of American students — about 10-15% — have the academic ability to do well in college.
Using his own research and that of others, Murray came to an interesting conclusion about what is necessary for genuine success in college: an IQ of at least 115. He wrote:
There is no inconsistency between Kobrin’s results and a 115 mean IQ among white college graduates. The students who make salient points in classroom discussions, who write well-researched term papers, and whose final exams demonstrate that they understood the material are usually well into the upper half of the distribution of academic ability among those who go to college. In other words, they are somewhere in the top 15% of the population — and usually in the top 10%.
I do not for a moment suggest people not in the top 15% of the population in IQ should not attend college if that is their desire. I’ve known many people likely not in that cohort (thankfully, we don’t—for now—ask people we meet their IQs) who worked very hard to earn degrees, even before college became more or less a remedial high school. Let us, gentle readers, consider the more surface issues first.
Let us also keep in mind that even before 2009, America’s colleges—I’ll use this as a generic term to cover 4-year+ degree granting institutions—were well into academic, social and moral decline. Circa 2021, most colleges will accept anyone whose checks don’t bounce, including people they know are not remotely fit for even the watered down curriculums they offer. A great many freshman are forced to take remedial high school courses that may or may not bring them up to even a minimum level of ability for college, but must pay full tuition for no credit, adding at least a year to a four-year degree many will never earn.
Most people can’t actually do genuine college-level work. The self-imagined elite in the college racket constantly complain about the quality of students in freshman classes. What’s wrong with those public schools? they cry. Yet, needing to pay for bloated administrations an diversity empires, they admit anyone with a pulse and solvent bank account, and dumb down the curriculum. In most colleges a student will encounter at least some courses of minimal, genuine college rigor, and those will prevent the intellectually unprepared, and people in college because they can’t think of anything else to do, to fail.
Many people just aren’t academically oriented. Academic orientation takes a certain mindset, certain fields of interest, and the ability for abstract reasoning. While one can develop such interests, it’s not automatic, and for many, trying to do it is a costly distraction from learning a useful trade and living a productive life. What good a high paying job as an Apple software engineer if you can’t keep your home sewer system functioning?
Most people don’t need to go to college. Despite the claims of some we will imminently be a society employing nothing but coders and computer geeks, reality–fortunately–is different. There are, and always will be, a great many occupations that provide not only satisfying work, but good wages and benefits, none of which require college degrees. A great many small businesses, and small businesses that became great corporations, were founded by people who never set foot on a college campus, or did so only briefly. There is no reason to imagine that will ever change. Gropin’ Joe Biden is wrong about this and much else: we’ll always need miners, and coding and such occupations generally don’t intersect.
Most people can’t afford to go to college. This was the point of federalizing the student loan industry: convincing people those without degrees were doomed to miserable lives, and cost was no obstacle. Borrow as much as you like, and you won’t have to pay it back for years, maybe not ever. President Biden—not for long; you heard it here 100,000th–wants to forgive at least $50,000 dollars—for each person now holding that debt–in outstanding college debt. It’s public money, so it’s free! Not quite. It’s actually taxpayer money, so people who will never attend college, and those that did, but paid their own way—like me—will end up paying for the college experiences of people who majored in “studies,” or in waking up in unfamiliar rooms in pools of someone else’s vomit. In anticipation of Biden’s spending of other people’s money, many debtors are refusing to pay. Grinnin’ Joe is in effect saying: We tricked you into taking out loans you didn’t want and couldn’t pay back, so now we’re gonna make others pay for them, and you’d damn better vote for us. C’mon, Man!
Unfortunately, many drop out without ever earning a degree, but with crushing, immediately due debt they are no more prepared to service than before taking out tens of thousands in loans. One does no one favors by talking people into debt, knowing they’re not going to be able to earn a degree, in essence, setting them up to fail. The damage to their psyches is incalculable. One might also consider this willful cruelty.
Trying to send everyone to college is harmful to secondary education. “College readiness” is a contemporary fad consuming resources, and worst of all, time, in secondary curriculums. Underlying such initiatives is the idea that everyone should attend college. In the process of implementing this fad, time is taken away from actual teaching and learning, denying them the intellectual development they need, making kids less ready for college.
Trying to send everyone to college is harmful to higher education. This is why virtually all colleges have remedial high schools on campus. People academically unprepared for college discover they have to take remedial high school level courses at full tuition, but for no credit, adding great expense and years to an undergraduate degree. Such students are not prepared to participate in class discussions, and are constantly struggling merely to avoid failure in their classes. Actual college level courses are further dumbed down, a trend very well developed and accepted without this motivating factor. When employers can’t count on college graduate’s writing and reasoning abilities, of what value is a college degree?
People not ready for college are consumed, and not in the Swiftian sense, by the experience. Those that don’t get the reference to Jonathan Swift’s 1729 A Modest Proposal, may not have paid attention in high school—or college—or may lack the ability to understand and appreciate satire, a terrible deficit in any college student. Yes. Many contemporary college students have poor reading comprehension abilities. Even during my college days in the 1400s, I was among the few English majors that read well and fast enough to complete all the assigned reading. Most skimmed, or faked it.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy involved is the damage done to the individual. Burdened by enormous debt for which they will have nothing to show, penniless, the dropout who should have never been in college feels like a failure, worthless and stupid. This is the kindness of the self-imagined elite.
There is no doubt many—probably most–-Americans make good livings for themselves and their families without college. They are productive, solidly middle class, citizens. Without them and their contributions to society, we would not be the technologically advanced civilization we are. They make, maintain and repair and buy the consumer goods engineers design. Many are inventors who have immeasurable contributed to our necessities and wants. Why then do the self-imagined elite so disparage them?
They dare to hold differing sociopolitical values. They point out the fallacies and foolishness of the values and policies of the self-imagined elite. Worse, people that value common sense and who have no time or patience for doing the same failed things over and over again and expecting success, by their mere existence, mock the self-imaged elite. Because such people can never admit failure, they must attack normal Americans, who because they don’t have college degrees, must surely be inferior. It’s circular reasoning: anyone opposing them is obviously inferior, so they must not have college degrees, and because they don’t have college degrees, they’re obviously inferior, so they have no business trying to tell the self-imagined elite what’s what.
It is interesting to note the self-imagined elite tend to be primarily but not exclusively Democrats/Socialists/Communists. As such, their policies can never be wrong; they are non-falsifiable. Even though they may (ha-ha) admit socialism has never succeeded in the past—or the present for that matter—they will succeed because they are more intelligent, more moral, more capable than every D/S/C before them. Anyone opposing them is therefore inferior and must be deplatformed, demonitized, canceled, shut up and crushed.
But what if they’re not inferior? What if they’re right? What if they persist in pointing out the errors, perversions, failures, foolishness, cruelty, hatred and downright stupidity of their betters? Obviously, they’re wrong, not because they’re objectively wrong, but because they haven’t attended college, and if they have, at the wrong colleges. They attended inferior, non-elite state schools where they didn’t earn degrees in “studies,” but in actual academic and scientific disciplines, disciplines where math wasn’t racist and where they didn’t learn how bad and evil they and America are, and how racism and sexism and every other ism inform and drive everything they think, do and are.
So who should attend college? People sure of their chosen careers, which require college and even graduate education, knowing those careers will provide them the financial means to live without burdening others while repaying their loans. People who value education for it’s own sake, and are willing to do whatever is necessary to deal with the financial issues, not expecting others to carry them.
That’s about it. I’m not saying others should not attend college, only they must be very aware of the realities involved, and expect no one to bail them out. Realities? Like the fact so many colleges are little more than leftist indoctrination centers, where English departments are abandoning even junior high level writing and reading skills, have thrown Shakespeare and virtually all the great literature of western civilization under the faculty Mercedes, where math and science are thought to be racist and independent inquiry is racism, white supremacy and or bad/wrongthink. There are institutions where a genuine classical undergraduate degree may be gained, but one has to carefully search.
College, if it’s more than mere political indoctrination, provides opportunity, valuable opportunity, but it does not automatically build character, useful personal habits and morality. It is necessary, in some respects, even vital, yet a college degree is ultimately proof of nothing other than that its holder had the time, money, and some degree of determination to obtain it. Even for jobs that require an Ivy League degree to get in the door, in most circumstances, merit still matters thereafter. But no longer, not for many years, has virtually anyone been able to rely on a degree as a reflection of character, knowledge, ability, reliability or usefulness, and surely not morality. All too often, it’s merely a certificate of attendance—and deposit.
How much should anyone be willing to deposit unless they’re reasonably certain of the return?