Demonstrating all that’s wrong

…with America today, college students at Oberlin (annual tuition: $49,928) are demanding the school support their careers in activism by abolishing midterms and giving no grade less than a “C.”  Seriously.  (Be sure to read this story in the New Yorker as well, to get a sense of what “higher education” consists of these days.)

Makes me wonder how many of the violent demonstrators in Albuquerque yesterday were college students who have no business going to college at all.  There seems to be a lot of those these days: self-absorbed, petty little brownshirts and mentally maladjusted misfits who spend more time trying to shut out and shout down any idea they don’t like than they do studying and learning concepts that might make them more successful in the world they find so all-oppressing.

The Left likes to accuse traditionalists and conservatives of being violent, but it’s increasingly clear that’s just psychological projection.  They have gotten away with it for a long time, because by nature traditionalists and conservatives are loathe to go that route unless absolutely necessary.

What these radicals fail to realize is that their deranged and increasingly violent action is causing more and more of their foes to conclude it may just come to that.  And woe unto them if it does.  They will quickly find out that facing midterms in college was a privilege, after all.

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What can Brown do for to you?

The Ivy League brand is the only reason anyone would pay $65,000 a year to experience this nonsense.  But with any luck, the past year or so of public attention to what is really going on at these campuses will irrevocably destroy that brand — and good riddance!

“There are people breaking down, dropping out of classes and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” said David, an undergraduate whose name has been changed to preserve anonymity. Throughout the year, he has worked to confront issues of racism and diversity on campus.

His role as a student activist has taken a toll on his mental, physical and emotional health. “My grades dropped dramatically. My health completely changed. I lost weight. I’m on antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills right now. (Counseling and Psychological Services) counselors called me. I had deans calling me to make sure I was okay,” he said…

Justice Gaines ’16, who uses the pronouns xe, xem and xyr, said student activism efforts on campus are necessary. “I don’t feel okay with seeing students go through hardships without helping and organizing to make things better.”

In the wake of The Herald’s opinion pieces, Gaines felt overwhelmed by emotions flooding across campus. Students were called out of class into organizing meetings, and xe felt pressure to help xyr peers cope with what was going on, xe said. Gaines “had a panic attack and couldn’t go to class for several days.”

And these are the well-connected supposed leaders of tomorrow?  Consider the irony of ‘students’ (can we call them that if studying isn’t the top priority?) who rally to decry “privilege,” while constantly seeking Dean’s notes that extend their academic suspenses so they can be disruptive crybullies (a recently coined term I find to be spot on) at campus speaking events featuring opinions with which they disagree.  What, exactly, are they paying exorbitant tuition for — the latitude to make public nuisances of themselves?

This surrealistic nonsense has gone on long enough.  It’s time to stop pretending these institutions produce anything but confused and quite possibly mentally damaged permanent adolescents who are incapable of dealing with reality.  These ‘future leaders’ are steeped in the warped worldviews of the self-professed ‘social justice warriors’ who now infest everything from Twitter and other tech industries to entertainment outlets and educational institutions, and who use their influence to enforce a velvet-glove version of fascist thought control.  It’s long past time to return the favor and begin the process of ostracizing anyone who supports this insanity.  Aside from social networking and trying to signal some sort of liberal virtue, what possible value could be had by hiring someone whose ‘education’ consists of the Red Guard indoctrination described in Brown University’s own newspaper?  Any business owner with a smidgeon of sense would be well advised to simply drop in the wastebasket any application from an Ivy League graduate, and to make it known they place no value on a diploma from these cesspools.  No high-performing company or organization has time for such drama queens and distractions.

And considering their behavior in recent years, it’s not as though any of “xem” have a leg to stand on to claim viewpoint discrimination.  If they want to break the truce of civility, so be it – let xem reap what they’ve sown.  Those of us who live in the real world don’t need xem… they need us, just as a parasite needs a host.

The hosts, as our current politics show, are getting a little tired of the non-productive bloodsuckers…

Every Kid gets a trophy

Indeed

Today’s read:

“It’s disheartening that an avowed socialist is a viable candidate for president of the United States. Socialism is a dead end. For hundreds of years, it has failed everywhere it’s been adopted. The enthusiasm of our youth for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders is a symptom of our failure to educate them, not only in history, government and economics, but also basic morality…”

Read the entire thing.  Even as our nation reaches $19 trillion of acknowledged debt, too many people still seem to think it’s the best source of lots of goodies.  We’ve reached a point today where in education there is emphasis on science, technology, computing… but not on the lessons learned from basic human experience over 4,000+ years of recorded history.  And we wonder why we’re repeating mistakes that should have been proscribed long ago.

Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it

The past as a battlefield

What does the French Revolution and the Khmer Rouge have in common?  Upon achieving power, both tried to make a clean break from the past, as though man had entered a new era of perfection.  For the Khmer Rouge, it was now “Year Zero.”  For the French revolutionaries, everything from the names of the months to the way anything was measured was fair game for change.

This is a dangerous tendency for radicals, and even more dangerous for those — including the living — they feel a need to ‘erase.’  So it should be with great seriousness that we confront the new anti-historiography on college campuses.

A student group called the Black Justice League is demanding that Princeton University, which Wilson molded in his image first as professor, then as the school’s president, acknowledge “the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson” and move to strip his name from both the public policy school and the residential college. For good measure, these student radicals want Princeton to institute courses on “the history of marginalized peoples” as well as “cultural competency training.”

As the linked article points out, Wilson’s racism was a product of his times, in the same way the author of the Declaration of Independence (that would be Thomas Jefferson, college students) was himself a slaveholder.  There is but One person who can be honored for a perfect legacy.  So the tendency to “unperson” historical figures who do not live up to modern sensibilities is simply a quest for perpetual outrage, yet another version of Orwell’s “Two Minutes’ Hate” to fire up the revolutionary vanguard.

It also reveals the shallowness and fragility of today’s college students, some of whom apparently require therapy upon being ‘victimized’ by merely seeing a Confederate flag sticker!   Is it any wonder with such drama queens running amok that at least some university leaders have (finally) reminded the public higher education is “not a daycare center?” 

The ironic thing about these fans of the fainting couch now targeting Woodrow Wilson is that he’s one of the founders of their modern American ‘progressivism.’  His racist views aside, in my mind his legacy is far more tarnished for having advocated the theory of a ‘living constitution,’ laying the groundwork for an income tax and vastly expanded government, and for taking a very reluctant America into the First World War — a war in which we had no vital national interests.  Recall that Wilson was reelected in 1916 on a campaign slogan “he kept us out of war,” but then declared war on Germany five months later, mobilizing an unprecedented American propaganda machine to paper over the whiplash for the public.

So on the one hand it’s nice to see modern progressivism begin devouring its own.  On the other, we need to be aware of just how much higher education has become incubators for totalitarian impulses.  Very little separates the modern progressive who wants to airbrush Wilson out of Princeton from the actions of Joseph Stalin or Joseph Goebbels, who literally airbrushed ‘nonpersons’ from photos as though they’d never existed.

Deleting history prevents learning from it… the very OPPOSITE of ‘progress.’  One final thought: it’s not just past evils that ‘oppress’ today’s generation.  The past can also show just how self-absorbed and self-destructive the present has become.  Sometimes, what people call ‘oppression’ is merely a response to their conscience being pricked, as Dr. Everett Piper pointed out:

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Despite all human efforts to erase or obscure it, Truth endures.  And it sometimes hurts.  It hurts even more when you insist on “kicking against the goads.”

 

Inmates running the asylum

I’m more than a little tired of hearing of colleges rescinding invitations to speak on campus after leftist-indoctrinated students and (in many cases) faculty stamp their little feet, throw a hissy fit and demand exclusion of ideas with which they disagree (all in the name of ‘tolerance,’ of course):

Williams College students invited Suzanne Venker, a writer and longtime critic of feminism, to speak Tuesday night, but changed their minds and took back the invite for her talk, “One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: Why Feminism Fails.” . . .

The students who run the series decided to cancel the event, co-president Zach Wood explained, after its Facebook page began to attract acerbic comments and “things got a little out of hand.” …

Somewhat ironically, Venker had been invited to participate in Williams’ “Uncomfortable Learning” speaker series, which was created precisely for the purpose of exposing Williams students to perspectives that contrast with those they regularly hear on campus.

This is but one of many reasons why a college ‘education’ is rapidly becoming a useless commodity and a bad financial investment.  We are raising a generation of children to believe it’s their right — duty, even — to drown out the voices that don’t comport with the utopian memes with which they’ve been indoctrinated.  And so you get the irony of students yelling “fascist” at various right-of-center guests in an attempt to drown out their presentations, all the while historically oblivious to the fact they are acting little better than the brown or black shirts — the original fascists.

Where are the faculty and administrators willing to be adults and push back, reminding the students that speech is either free for all, or not free at all?  Where are the mentors telling these students that avoiding unpleasant challenges to your pet view of life is no way to prepare for navigating the adult world?  Does no one these days quote Aristotle to these little totalitarians?

Far from being a place to expand one’s horizons and learn to think critically about the challenges of life, higher education today is largely an assembly-line process by which students check boxes next to impractical courses to get an increasingly worthless degree, all the while being conditioned to be part of the leftist collective literally hell-bent on telling all of society how to live — by force, if necessary.  For many, the result of the college experience is a lifetime hangover of debt and an aversion to traditional ideas of limited government, personal independence, and self-reliance.

For collectivists, all those results are features, not bugs.  It creates an ill-prepared and debt-saddled mass of citizenry that can be swayed in support of ever-larger government to bail them out.  For the rest of us, it’s time to reevaluate how much social emphasis we place on completing such a process

Check YOUR ‘privileges’

The prevalence of this sort of arrogant nonsense is enough to make me question whether ANYONE should send their offspring away to college these days.  “Higher education” in many instances seems to have become little more than a way to get parents to pay for the ideological harassment and indoctrination of their own children:

A bulletin board hung by a resident assistant in a primarily freshmen and sophomore dorm shames those who are have white, male, Christian, able-bodied, heterosexual, or cisgendered “privilege.”

“Why can’t I hold all this male privilege,” reads one meme on the bulletin board hanging at Appalachian State University.

“‘I don’t see color’ which also means I deny having white privilege,” reads another flier on the red board adorned with colorful puzzle pieces.

The fliers are products of the “Check Your Privilege” campaign started by three University of San Francisco professors, as previously reported by Campus Reform.

In other words, a Gramscian propaganda campaign of creating class, racial and gender envy as a precursor to revolution, started by some tenured (i.e. “employment privileged”) ivory-tower Marxists has spread from the Left Coast all the way to Appalachia.  Just great.  How, exactly, is this different from living in a totalitarian reeducation camp, also designed to tear down and rebuild your sense of self-identity?

I’ve had more than enough of this incitement to jealousy crap.  So as a Christian white heterosexual able-bodied male (who also happens to be only the first in my family’s history to have gone to college, and not because my parents paid for it out of pocket), let me be blunt: everyone in America is living in the civilization my ancestors and their culture built.  That you are doing so is a PRIVILEGEone you were born to, the same as me.  By virtue of being born in the USA, regardless the circumstances and challenges that accompanied it (and we each have our own), you are ALREADY better off than two-thirds of the people living on this planet!  Try focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t, for a change.

This nation is not perfect (I defy you to find one that is), but tearing down a successful society because you want to obsess over past–or perceived–sins isn’t “enlightened.”  It’s STUPID.  It’s also stupid to reject–and actively fight against–the premises that made this nation what it is (i.e. self-reliance, self-restraint, family commitment, and that oft-derided “protestant work ethic”), and then claim those who held to them are somehow ‘privileged’ because their life choices produced better results.  Try some applied science: if you don’t like your personal results, change your personal formulas!  Don’t go trying to turn this land into the same sort of factionalized war-torn hellhole that predominates too much of our world already.

If these radical egalitarians put half the effort they do into this well poisoning into something useful to society, they might find their paycheck getting larger, among other social benefits.  I realize being a normal working stiff isn’t as exciting as, say, role-playing Che Guevara, but you really ought to compare the likely outcomes of those two approaches to living (and dying) before making that choice.

If you REALLY believe you have no opportunity to succeed here — that society won’t let you have anything (I’m looking at YOU, Mr. College Student Resident Hall Advisor who draws a stipend), then GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!  That’s another ‘privilege’ you have here that doesn’t exist in many of your favored national models — the ability to emigrate anytime you like.  I’m sure your talents for cut-and-paste propaganda and antisocial energy would be eagerly welcomed in places like Cuba, Venezuela or, if you’re really ambitious, China.

They are NOT welcomed here!

Now that I’ve addressed this particular residence hall advisor, it’s time to ask Appalachian State: what the hell are you paying this kid for?  To create a hostile living climate?  How about focusing on something more practical, such as figuring out why nine of your students have died just in this school year alone — at least three ruled by suicide?   There’s such a thing as challenging one to see things from a different perspective, and then there’s gross harassment and reverse bigotry, which, for all you know, may be part of your problem.  If you consider this RA’s actions appropriate, then you should just come right out and say that Christians and Caucasians are not welcome on your campus.  And families should plan accordingly — i.e. refuse to send their kids there.  There are far too many educational choices available today to be willing to put up with such hostility, and parents need to be closely scrutinizing exactly what environment they are sending their kids into.

Sadly, as the spread of this ridiculous campaign shows, the problem isn’t just one university.  Which is part of why the Oldest Musketeer is attending a community college, where students aren’t considered full-time suckers to pay for classes that focus on this sort of indoctrination.  His mother and I are only too glad to have him continue living at home, so that if he does encounter such nonsense, there’s an antidote available that same day.  And after working a year before starting classes, he’s paying as he goes, without taking out student loans to subsidize status symbols like the latest iGadget.  When he finishes his degree, he’ll be debt free and have options.  He’s going to school to learn a useful skill and become gainfully employed, not to become part of a revolutionary vanguard.

Though more and more, I worry he and his brothers may one day have to help put down the inevitable full fruits of this insanity that has infested our social institutions.  Freedom, in the end, isn’t a privilege.  You have to be willing to fight to have it — and to keep it.

That’s an understatement

It seems the Boomers kept taking so much equity out of their homes they’re finding it hard to retire.  An article on the subject has this to say about the phenomenon:

Rising debt levels also reflect a psychological shift among Americans, financial advisors and economists say.

“People who lived through the Great Depression came out of that period with a great aversion to debt,” said Lori Trawinski, director of banking and finance with AARP’s Public Policy Institute. “As a culture we have loosened our opinion of debt.”

Loosened our opinion?  How about completely giving in to it?  Whether it’s the national debt, the annual budget deficits or our own personal spending habits, everyone seems to have just accepted that ever-more-massive numbers are a fact of life on this side of the ledger.

And in doing so, we are building our own literal living debtor’s prisons.

Even the spectacle of hundreds of thousands of Americans losing their homes in the recent economic downturn hasn’t caused a fundamental shift in thinking about debt yet.  People still whip out the credit card to buy the latest iPhone, or take out tens of thousands of non-dischargeable debt to pursue increasingly questionable degrees that may or may not contribute to landing a job.

We didn’t get here overnight.  Those who’ve been paying attention have been talking about the exponential growth in debt, and how one day there would be a reckoning.

Regular readers know that I’ve spent years teaching my Musketeers that “debt = slavery.”  They understand the concept that taking on debt gives someone else a higher priority on your life and earnings that you yourself have.  They’ve seen that in the last 20+ years their parents have bought only two new cars (and one used one–paid in cash–when having two vehicles became necessary).  And now, as the oldest Musketeer is in his first semester of college (at a relatively inexpensive but highly praised community college) it’s still cash on the barrel.  He worked for nearly a year after graduating home school.  Between what he saved to add to what his mother and I put away, his AA degree is banked.  We’re almost to that point with the Middle Musketeer, who graduates this year, and still have several years before the Youngest has college in his sights.  We’ve explained that our goal was to have the first two years provided for each of them, but that if they want a full Bachelor’s Degree they’re going to have to play a larger role in getting there.  That said, we’ve discouraged them from taking on any debt for school, which seems to have become a means of enslaving the last couple generations of graduates.  Because of that, I have no intention of cosigning for any “student” loans.  I would rather they alternate work and school, even if living at home longer, in order to graduate debt-free, than to get on the cookie-cutter mill of four or five years of school followed by a decade or more of loan payments.

I realize many people have entered a cycle of debt just to meet basic necessities.  I also understand, as the article above points out, that attitudes in this area have changed substantially and thus peer pressure can be crushing.  The Oldest Musketeer was one of only two in his high school graduation ceremony that didn’t have a declared college plan.  But he’s also now one of of maybe two that doesn’t have a bank saddling him for a long ride even as he studies.  I think that’s a good tradeoff, no matter how many eyebrows might be raised at first.

Take “the path less traveled” — and less leveraged.  It’ll make all the difference…

“Be not one of those who give pledges,
    who put up security for debts.
If you have nothing with which to pay,
    why should your bed be taken from under you?”

Proverbs 22:26-27