Crises clarify what is true, and what is indisputably true during this crisis is that academia, as currently constituted, is a poisonous cancer infecting our society. Like many other institutions, academia has gone from respect to contempt in the eyes of normal people, if not our garbage ruling class. But its latest series of public disgraces may wake up even the most obstinate cheerleaders for pretending that nothing fundamental has changed. And let’s use the opportunity we have been given to eliminate this dinosaur institution. At the top of our conservative agenda must be making it extinct.
It has outlived its usefulness. Among people paying attention, academia’s reputation is already in the garbage bin. From political correctness to administrative bloat, from its inability to teach basic concepts, from its greed to its arrogance, those of us who know what time it is already despise it. But these last couple weeks have been clarifying for everyone else. It’s almost beyond the point to go through the litany of the moral illiteracies that idiots in and around academia have demonstrated over the last two weeks. We’ve all seen them cheering on the slaughter and hating the Jews – a lowlight was a Cornell associate professor of history who found the mass rape/murder spree to be “exhilarating.”
His words. Uttered in public. Uttered without shame.
This is what we are paying for, both in cash and cachet.
This is the kind of mutant teaching our alleged best and brightest, though they are neither our best nor our brightest. Much of the reason it is so hard to reform our college campuses is because of the default inertia towards respecting them held primarily by people who enjoyed their college years and embrace nostalgia for a dead reality. They can’t imagine that things have actually changed from back when they were a Delta Gamma Something and enjoyed the football games and the keg parties and, after they graduated, the network of alumni that helped them get ahead in the world. Of course, college is not about that today. It is, instead, a grim conformity factory where students’ academic and social lives are both patrolled and controlled by official and unofficial commissars suppressing any kind of dissent in favor of liberty, tradition, or patriotism.
But there was another aspect to this, one that is even more likely to change minds and hearts in the direction of reality. It is the realization by the people with an antiquated view of the universities that their kids are likely to never see the inside of a big name campus. Oh, the very richest kids’ spawn will. They will have no problem getting into the Harvards and Yales because daddy has $1 billion and just paid for the new wing of the Social Justice and Decolonization Department building. But regular folks, whose children aren’t able to check multiple boxes on the intersectionality form are out of luck. The big lie is that if you work hard enough and show merit, your kid can get in too. But your kid can’t. These are exclusive clubs, and your kid better stay outside the velvet rope because your kid is not on the VIP list.
Everyone recently saw that story of the A+ graduate with near perfect SATs who actually started his own company, and yet couldn’t get admitted into any of the top universities. He made the mistake of being Asian, which is a mistake on par with being some white kid from the suburbs. The colleges have decreed, and the awful wine women inhabiting their admissions departments concur, that if you were those things you don’t get a shot. Merit is dead for the designated undiverse. And when people realize that their kids are out of luck if they don’t have some bizarre gender identity or something else that makes them thrill the hearts of the Chardonnay-swillers who pick and choose the Ivy student bodies, these voters are going to say “Oh, hell no!” next time they are asked to subsidize academia both with tax money and respect.
Worse for the college complex, this all comes when people are seeing that college is not the only pathway to success. We all know that a huge percentage of college graduates are borderline morons, generally useless for anything unless completely retrained. College is now purely a credential manufacturing operation. You go to Harvard, and the product is not an educated person but a person holding a degree that says “Harvard.” That kid who got turned down for all the colleges, despite his stellar academics? Google gave him a job. He’s skipping four years of treading water in a cesspool of communist nonsense to skip ahead and get the merit-based success that used to be available via academia. If he wants to obtain the well-rounded education that colleges are supposed to provide, but never do, every single thing he might want to learn is available online and for free.
Think about that. All the knowledge of humanity is available on the same device you are reading this column on. If you really want to learn, the only thing stopping you is your own unwillingness to go out and learn it. And learning on your own is where you actually do your learning. Let’s not fool ourselves. The democratized four-year college experience that has been normal for the last 75 years – a process largely started by the G.I. Bill that made college financially practical for many more young men – has become not an educational process, but a socialization process. Those four years constitute what high school used to, a transition to adulthood. What you learn in your classes does not translate into what you need to make a living. Hell, that was true 40 years ago.
I went to what is considered a top university, and the only real use for anything I learned in a classroom was when I watched Oppenheimer this year and knew the names of all the nuclear scientists thanks to one of my classes on the Cold War. That’s not an exaggeration. What I got out of college that was tangible came from my extracurricular writing, both political and humor, and a gig working in Congress over a summer. That, plus a lot of fun, was the practical sum of my college experience four decades ago. It was also about 10 grand a year, pricey but doable even for my middle-class family. What is impractical is to expect that same kind of bespoke experience for $75,000 a year today. That’s crazy. It is unsustainable, and therefore it will not be sustained.
So, what we are seeing in the decline of academia as we knew it is a combination of structural factors, new technology, and bad decision-making that totally alienates the very voters who need to be mollified in order to continue to support academia as currently constituted. That, on top of the fact that college students are demonstrating themselves to be useless little pieces of garbage being taught by useless bigger pieces of garbage, and you have a giant comet coming to wipe out these dinosaurs.
Let’s use the opportunity. Let’s not let this crisis in academia go to waste. I propose that conservatives starve academia of money and respect, and thereby gleefully hasten the inevitable creative destruction that would inevitably be underway anyway in order to drive this failed institution to extinction.
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