The Higher Education Scam
There are two simple principles which, if they were adopted, would solve almost all social problems. The first is that education should have for one of its aims to teach people only to believe propositions when there is some reason to think that they are true. The second is that jobs should be given solely for fitness to do the work. —Bertrand Russell
I have had low energy pretty much all winter, and have been feeling rather contracted, almost as though the coldish weather has induced a mild torpid state in me, like a reptile. I suppose that is a contributing factor to why I’m bothering to write about things that are pretty damn obvious, and don’t require a lot of hard thinking, but which lots of people don’t notice for some odd reason. Today’s topic is one of those.
Some pernicious phenomena in western culture have existed for many years but only recently have become outrageously obvious to a significant portion of the population. This is the case, for instance, with corporate mainstream “news” media being revealed as little more than propagandists. That has probably always been true to some degree, and there have probably been times, like the heyday of yellow journalism more than a century ago, when it was even worse than now; but now, largely thanks to the Internet and alternative media, people are being redpilled en masse. The scam of higher education is becoming another case like this.
A weird kind of Ponzi scheme has taken over western academia. Cultural Marxism (alias Social Justice) has practically taken over the educational system, especially the university system, and thus universities have degenerated into little more than neo-Marxist indoctrination centers. This much is pretty much common knowledge at this point, and I won’t double the length of this little rant with lists of examples, other than simply pointing out the proliferation of Grievance Studies departments and also a vast bureaucracy of Diversity and Inclusion offices, with the director of such an office making (I almost said “earning”) a salary well up into six figures at large universities, and all at the expense of the taxpayers and the people who pay tuition. The scam part of the deal is that millions of young people spend many thousands of dollars, even go many thousands in debt, to get an “education” (indoctrination) which may consist of a practically worthless degree in some sort of Gender or Race or Sexual Deviance Studies, suitable for almost nothing other than positions in the bloated diversity bureaucracies within academia itself, or else positions in corporate Human Relations departments, the purpose of which is evidently just to make trouble and persecute anyone guilty of expressing politically incorrect wrongthink. Consequently, vast multitudes of these misguided unfortunates wind up working at Starbucks and do not earn enough money to pay back their loans.
People nowadays are conditioned to believe that a university degree—of any kind—is practically necessary for material success and upward social mobility. Somehow the degree certificate itself is like some success-inducing magical talisman. This may have been true at one time, but is no longer; in fact at present it may easily have the opposite effect, especially with regard to material success. So, many of these young people can’t find a real job with their useless and expensive degree in Cinematic Anthropology or Lesbian Studies, or whatever, and so they find themselves deep in student loan debt and with a job not as a cinematic anthropologist but as a barista, or a street activist, or a manual laborer at a green organic farm. Then the same left that saddled them with this worthless degree that has them too broke to start a family or buy a home holds out the juicy plum of forgiving all student loan debt, and providing them with what they should have been able to buy, for “free.” Also they offer free tuition for students in future—free indoctrination for everyone! As though multiplying the problem is the way to solve it. It’s some kind of Marxist dream.
Even science degrees are depreciated in value, on average, as a result of science itself being taken over by leftist ideologues intolerant of political heresy within the hallowed walls of academia. Although engineering departments still contain a fair amount of conservative professors, even they are required, more and more, to submit to the new gospel of “wokeness.” So now even engineering departments, which can’t really inoculate whining into their curriculum, are nevertheless compelled to find whatever females and black people they can to fill their diversity quotas, generally at the expense of more qualified students, generally white or Asian males. The university system, much like the corporate mass media, is earning for itself a really lousy reputation.
Another complication is that the diversity quotas (a symptom of the disease of Social Justice) inevitably result in people unqualified for a higher education being accepted even into the elite universities, not only as students but ultimately also as faculty and managerial staff—almost all they are qualified for after all is to contribute to and perpetuate the delusional system that produced them—and then writing a lot of fourth-rate crap which which is then considered to be as good and true and important as the western classics. These classics, of course, are dismissed because they were written almost entirely by white males. So we wind up with students studying the writings of some semiliterate angry black lesbian instead of, say, Shakespeare, Milton, or Locke. Which of course renders their so-called education even more worthless.
All of this is simply (or complicatedly) hastening the inevitable failure of the system. One pays for a neo-Marxist indoctrination, is too foolish, naive, or just unintelligent to get one’s degree in something actually useful like engineering, medicine, or chemistry, goes deeply into debt, finds one’s indoctrination not so compatible with external empirical reality, or more likely just not nearly as useful as one thought it would be, and then when one can’t get one of those academic plum sinecures that would actually pay one’s debts, one wants, essentially, reparations from the world, or rather from the taxpayers and the false god of socialist government. It’s a scam. And it used to be something really valuable.
Pretty obviously, the thing to do is to acknowledge that most university education is hardly better than nothing, to shut down the Grievance Studies departments and the Diversity and Inclusion bureaucracies, and go back to colleges and universities being open markets of ideas with genuine freedom of thought. A university education should teach young people how to think independently, rationally, and critically, and not simply provide that young person with a foolish indoctrination, an atrophied backbone, and a magic talisman for opening doors to HR departments. Until that happens, if you are young you’d probably be better off going to a vocational school and learning how to weld or fix electronic equipment.
|the baseball bats are for attacking "racists"|
If there is to be toleration in the world, one of the things taught in schools must be the habit of weighing evidence, and the practice of not giving full assent to propositions which there is no reason to believe true. For example, the art of reading the newspapers should be taught. The schoolmaster should select some incident which happened a good many years ago, and roused political passions in its day. He should then read to the school children what was said by the newspapers on one side, what was said by those on the other, and some impartial account of what really happened. He should show how, from the biased account of either side, a practised reader could infer what really happened, and he should make them understand that everything in newspapers is more or less untrue. —Lord Russell again, from the same pamphlet, “Free Thought and Official Propaganda”