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 The No Times
higher education

The higher education pages to be available here shortly are a result of my many years of interviewing high school seniors who have applied to a highly selective college, as well as friendships and interactions with my children’s peers.

The educational intent is to help high-achieving high school students who are interested in an authentic liberal arts education, and to inform them (with prose and parables) of a few of the most outrageous trends now poisoning the Ivory Tower and its leafy surroundings. Knowing the origins and originators of the fads and fantasies corrupting higher education should inoculate some, immunizing them to resist those afflictions.

This is avuncular advice from one perspective. I do not expect this wisdom to be accepted or be applicable universally. You will be wasting your time reading any further if you hope your time at college will be a four-year bacchanalia with unhealthy doses of concupiscence and inebriation.


A Dose of Reality & A Critique of PC Egalitarianism

Within the Utopian Religion, as in other denominations, there are the Utopians from birth and the recent converts, the Orthodox (the majority) and the  Heterodox (the minority), and then there are the true believers, the fanatics of the Egalitarian confession's PC Synod. Their founding theologians include Antonio Gramsci and Georg Lukacs, along with latter-day disciples, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse.

PC Synod Egalitarians who, of course, still venerate certain quixotic saints and martyrs, worship most fervently at the altar of Absolute Proportional Inclusion and at the nearby niche of the demigoddess, Diversitas. Their worst sin is Exclusion (whether intentional or not). A condemnation of hubris, however, is not inscribed in the tablet of their Heptalogue.

They proscribe numerous minor sins, termed microaggressions, and seven major sins - including both thoughts and deeds. Curiously, many of their sins can be committed only by those with minimal cutaneous melanin. The same deeds committed by those with substantial melanin are not only excused, but often celebrated. Whatever happened to the noble ideal of judging a man by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin? Have PC Synod Egalitarians killed that dream?

Please do not confuse PC Synod Egalitarians with the rational souls who believe in mere equality. These Egalitarians subscribe to quite irrational beliefs. Suspending disbelief is indeed one of their sacraments. Their acolytes, in the manner of Saint Hegel, often learn to hold two opposing views simultaneously in a mystical rite known as the Dialectic.

Let us consider their beliefs concerning education, and, if we dare, their thoughts about biology.

While it is self-evident that human beings (excepting identical twins) are genetically unique, and each was born with varying heritable traits (hair and eye color, height, athletic ability, etc.), PC Synod Egalitarians will deny to their last breath that intelligence varies thus. To them, all of God's children are capable of college-level work and all deserve to attend college. As in a mythical Minnesota township, all of these children are above average. Only a reprehensible, mouth-breathing, knuckle-walking, elitist reprobate would hold otherwise.

Historically, college attendance had been limited to those of superior innate ability and drive. At first, such an education was available only to men seeking holy orders as their vocation. Next, admission was granted to those sacerdotal or ministerial students also wanting to learn law or medicine. Later, the religious vocations lost their primacy and those students wishing to become men of letters or practice medicine or be admitted to the bar were allowed to matriculate.

Just before WW II in the U.S., 1/10th to 1/7th of secondary school graduates sought a tertiary education. Some attended actual academic institutions, but others attended the Land Grant "cow colleges" (then lacking extravagant academic pretensions) that nonetheless provided a solid education and an honorable pathway to the Middle Class, yet still produced a few notable scholars.

Immediately after WW II, the hordes (qualified and unqualified) filled the Quadrangles, the makeshift dormitories, and the classrooms. Their invasion drastically altered the quality and character of post-secondary education. As education became an entitlement (in the PC Synod Egalitarian sense), financed with federal loans, grants and other subsidies, the time-honored standards were bent, then eliminated.

Since PC Synod Egalitarians are over-represented on college governing boards, faculties (especially in the Humanities), and admissions committees, a college education is not what it used to be. The bachelor's degree has been devalued. A typical High School senior at the beginning of the twentieth century was expected to have more broad knowledge and greater critical thinking skills than a current doctoral candidate. Anyone who has read dissertations from throughout the last one hundred years can attest to that decline. The rate of debasement accelerated in the years after WW II, and reached terminal velocity toward the end of the 20th century.
 

Confusion as to cause and effect, or stated differently, the temporal sequence of chickens and eggs, persists. In the past, when a collegiate education was difficult and scarce, was the enhanced lifetime earnings potential of graduates due to their having a diploma or would such persons, with their superior innate ability and drive, have earned those premium wages anyway, sans degree? This inquiring mind wants to know.


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