My objections to higher education are primarily three:
- Academia has become an indoctrination center for leftism/secular humanism.
- The staggering cost of education has given rise to a new indentured servitude.
- The college degree itself fools people into believing they now have skills instead of something pretty worthless.
Universities have been hostile places for conservative-minded people for quite a long time now, subjecting students to mandatory reprogramming sessions disguised as orientation sessions, preaching liberalism from the pulpit and reinforcing the message via grading for anyone who might not have realized certain kinds of thought were actually verboten in places devoted to "open mindedness," and hiring only faculty who will advocate the Party message. It was bad when I went to the University of Michigan in the early nineties, and academia has only marched leftward toward Gomorrah since. I mean, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't send my son to an institution that brings prostitutes and porn stars on campus to educate him about sex. He can learn about BDSM and incest on his own time. Or not. Please, God, not.
But it's not just the hedonism. To a certain extent, college campuses have been hedonistic for a century - heck, since they've existed. It's the government mandated speech codes, and the accusations that cannot be defended against. Step out of line a little bit - or not - and they'll throw you out (but not your loans; they'll keep those). The campus miasma is just unbreathable now.
But all that is just sort of frosting on the cake. Yes, the cake universities are baking is rancid, but the price they are charging for it is obscene. In a recent "survey of college pricing, the College Board reports that a "moderate" college budget for an in-state public college for the 2012–2013 academic year averaged $22,261." $22,261! For one year of college! At a state school! In this unending economic depression! Who can afford that with wages being cut or frozen, the cost of benefits eroding any raise given, and companies cutting back hours to avoid the penalties of Obamacare? No one can pay that out of hand, except the very rich. And that's not most of us. Up until recently, young people have believed in the long term value of education and have been willing to sign up for an indecent amount of student loan debt just to have the chance to succeed. But in the last five years, they've seen their older friends and siblings graduate and be unable to find a job making enough money to pay even the interest on those loans, let alone the principal, and are now becoming wary. Good for them. Who wants to sign up for indentured servitude with no understanding of the real cost or length of indenture? These loans will deny them the freedom to form families, to change jobs or careers, to settle down and buy houses or buy anything at all. They will hang about their necks like weights in perpetuity, unable to be discharged. It's a national shame that the government has participated in such shackling of our young people for the benefit of banks and insatiable university administrators.
Finally, the lunacy that a college degree - any college degree - is a ticket to the Big Time - is still being floated, largely, I believe, by Boomers who have been repeating this mantra to themselves and others religiously for decades, assuming that because college elevated them (in a time of prosperity and world economy dominance) it will elevated their children and grandchildren (in a time of austerity and empire decline). This is almost like a religious belief. We must confess it. We must believe it. Because if we in the bread line were to believe the rumor that, say, the bread was running out and most of the people in line will very likely not get any, that might change how we look at the people in the front of the line still pocketing their loaves.
The fact is, most people don't need a college degree to do their jobs, and they never did. Additionally, we've created this unbelievably stupid system whereby we assert, in the face of all evidence, that college is like a huge money tree and anyone who comes in contact will be able to grab some leaves and prosper. Then we watch as college graduates compete desperately for barista jobs and scratch our chins. We sign high school graduates up for loads of debt knowing full well that they do not understand any of the above unfortunate truths and then shrug when they crash and burn become totally disillusioned and wind up in their parents' basements again. What if we just let these kids get jobs doing high quality landscaping and work at them? At least they wouldn't have student loans. What if we encouraged them to get married and have a couple of kids instead of majoring in Afro-Caribbean Studies? Learning is important, the passing on of knowledge is important. How much of this is truly being done at today's universities? Probably just about as much as was going on in 1950 plus some significant scientific research. Everything else is bloat. Very, very expensive, morally toxic bloat.
We need a better system. For the average joe, college is a scam.