I used to want to teach law or political theory at the university level. Now I do not. Well, honestly part of me still does. However, I have come to the conclusion it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. For years – a decade or so – I had a search running at Higheredjobs.com. I recently turned it off.
After maybe 100 failed inquiry letters and several first (and last) interviews I realized there is a disconnect between me and the academic system. It’s a good thing. I would not fit in. I imagine being the only non-communist on the faculty might be uncomfortable. Less comfortable would be my students. As I have chronicled here modern university students are large toddlers, less concerned with learning than feeling safe.
There’s a new and better educational model anyway. It uses independence and technology for a new take on the classical school experience. Socrates and Aquinas would approve if they were still around. In their respective ancient days only those who desired to learn furthered their education beyond a rudimentary level.
Times had changed by the 1970s when my father was teaching at Mississippi State. The emphasis was primarily on learning but the post hippy culture was creeping in. Serious students mingled on campus with party animals. In the corners social revolutionaries plotted the future of safe spaces, inclusion, and sustainability (still not sure what they sustain – certainly not education). I remember the pretty girls and the copious amounts of coffee and cigarettes consumed by the faculty.
Times kept changing. By the advent of my tenure at the University of Georgia the counterculture was taking control. Still, those that wanted to learn could but it was frowned upon. I fell somewhere between the studious and the partyers. The pretty girls still got my attention. Things were worse in law school. There I joined, fully, the ranks of the studious. As a rebel of demented mental ability I sought out the fundamental theories and origins behind the law. I largely did so in secret and on my own.
Today the inmates run the asylum. Beyond math, science and engineering real learning is frowned upon. There’s a lot of frowning. Tell a pretty girl she’s pretty and you may be brought up on charges. Coffee still seems safe but nicotine is verboten. Say things like “I like guns” or “taxes are too high” or “people should work for a living” and the student crybabies will melt and the faculty will launch into hysterical tyrades.
To be a white man on campus results in treatment once reserved for the likes of Hester Prynne. Pride in Western tradition, morality and common sense are treated like leprosy.
The schools (as they are still called) waste resources on sports, safe spaces, counseling, women’s studies, black studies, gay black women’s studies and a host of other nonsense.
These are the universities mind you. From Harvard to Notre Dame to my beloved UGA the failure of education has spread like a cancer. The lower, primary schools (especially those run by government – most) are in even worse shape.
Notre Dame professor Dr. Patrick Deneen says even the best colleges, like his, are “committing civilizational suicide.”
“What our educational system aims to produce is cultural amnesia, a wholesale lack of curiosity, history-less free agents, and educational goals composed of content-free processes and unexamined buzz-words like ‘critical thinking,’ ‘diversity,’ ‘ways of knowing,’ ‘social justice,’ and ‘cultural competence.’
Our students are the achievement of a systemic commitment to producing individuals without a past for whom the future is a foreign country, cultureless ciphers who can live anywhere and perform any kind of work without inquiring about its purposes or ends, perfected tools for an economic system that prizes ‘flexibility’ (geographic, interpersonal, ethical).”
Frightening but accurate. What happened? What are the sane and the responsible to do?
Gary North did a fantastic job laying out the history and demise of American education. His conclusion is simple and right – “close the schools.” They have failed. They do the opposite of what was once intended. They are beyond the point of redemption. Close them all.
The public schools are in group two. They are likely to die, no matter what. The only economically relevant question today is this: “How long will voters authorize the tax money required to keep them on life support?”
– North, March 19, 2016.
He mentions the modern, better alternative, guaranteed to deliver real learning – the online education. The Kahn Academy is the largest school in the world with 25 million students. It’s free to anyone. There are others like it. They are beginning to take a bite out of traditional, failed schooling.
MIT boldly put nearly all of its courses online for free, for anyone. Some books will need to be acquired. There will be a small expense associated though many, many books are completely free on Kindle. Any ambitious young person with a laptop and a very basic comprehension of English and fundamental math can literally educate themselves at little to no cost and at their own pace.
There are a host of other opportunities online like Udemy. It’s an outfit or concept like this I may end up going with. Or I might just publish books and/or create my own e-classes in topics that interest me. The sky is the limit.
Educrats and silly professors are panicked because of this increasing competition. No time wasted waiting on the lowest common denominator to catch up. No boredom. No anti-western indoctrination. No crushing student loans of money illegally printed out of thin air.
No need to wallow amid a bunch of weak socialists in a dangerous environment. I recently noted the progress of Georgia’s H.B.859, a bill that would allow free people to legally carry firearms at state colleges. At present these schools are gun free zones – the type of places where the majority of violence occurs. It happens because criminals have a monopoly on force in such places. The bill would tilt the tables in favor of ordinary people.
As such, it is opposed by criminals and school faculty and staff lacking common sense. UGA law professor Sonja West wrote a hysterical piece for Slate decrying self-defense. Using backwards antidotal evidence and shaky psuedo legal reasoning she conveys her central thought: she does not like guns. At least not guns in private hands. It’s just terrible people might have a legal fighting chance to repel attacks; the Second Amendment be damned.
The hoplophobia and mania runs deeper at the Red and Black, UGA’s leftist student newspaper: “Donald Trump may be the 21st-century equivalent of Mussolini, but the real threat to democracy is right here in Georgia.”
That’s all I really need to quote. Having worn out the Hitler label the lefties are turning to Mussolini. The poor argument is that guns threaten democracy. Democracy is about as big a threat as one might contrive. Free people with guns are a check on violence and tyranny, democratic or otherwise. Pitiful.
There was a death at the academy. Learning died. Now the schools themselves are headed to the graveyard. I hope you will share this information with a young person and said person’s parents. Help save them from wasting time and money and from exposure to whimps, communists, and freedom haters. Help them learn and explore their world freely.