Category Archives: Education

Rule Five Higher Education Friday

This is an interesting take:  What Are College Students Paying For?  Well, they should be paying for an institution that will make them into young adults with marketable skills, but all too often, they are failing miserably.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

But deep discussions and dialogue in college classes can be rare. So what else are college students paying for? Some colleges have tried to make the campus experience itself the attraction. For example, in College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education, Ryan Craig illustrates how, in addition to climbing walls and gourmet dining facilities, many campuses have developed water parks: “The New York Times [in 2014] reported [that] Auburn has developed a $52 million water park, including a 45-student paw-print-shaped hot tub and a 20-foot wet climbing wall … Auburn raised its student activity fee from $7.50 to $200 to fund its water park.” The University of Missouri “has a lazy river, waterfall, indoor beach club, and a grotto modeled after the one at the Playboy Mansion. Not to be outdone, Missouri State has put in a waterpark complete with zipline and lazy river, but insists on calling the lazy river a ‘current river’ because ‘Missouri State students are not lazy.’” So, the answer to “What else are students paying for?” includes college campuses as vacation destinations.

What the actual fuck?  Why the hell do college kids need indoor beach clubs and climbing walls?  People are constantly nattering on about the costs of higher education, and then the universities are paying for this horseshit?

In the 1960s and 1970s, proliferating colleges, with their swelling enrollments, needed more teachers. And it so happened that this era of college expansion coincided with the civil rights era, an era of protest. Many radical leftists, socialists, progressives, and Marxists saw an opportunity to use teaching to preach and promote their causes. Thus it was that during this time, the idea of using—or, rather, abusing—education as a platform to promote ideologies and activism began to spread. The fruits of this phenomenon still poison classrooms today.

Yeah, and then some – while simultaneously doing nothing at all to instill marketable skills in these young skulls full of mush.

And this begs the question of what the purpose of college is, anyway. Is it to be like Plato’s Academy, a safe haven from the constraints of public opinion where students can engage in dialogue exploring Goodness, Truth, and Beauty? Or should college essentially be about social mobility, giving students marketable job skills? Indeed, when one sees some students balancing accounting equations and others wrestling with existential philosophical questions, it is logical to ask if these subjects belong on the same grounds or are better kept separate.

I’m in favor of the latter option, especially if we are to continue the current lunacy of government-subsidized education.  Universities should – nay, must – be like any other business; they should produce a product, that product being young people with marketable skills.

Perhaps we are on the cusp of a backlash that will pare away more of the useless majors, ideologies, gimmicks, and excesses and re-center the college experience around real dialogue and learning. The Stephen Curry Effect will continue to expose the meaninglessness of college rankings, contrived diversity, and hollow exclusivity. And the Internet will continue to undermine the monopoly on rare books and expertise that colleges once held.

I’m skeptical about that backlash.  I just don’t see much sign that the current trend of horseshit Ethnic Underwater Dog-Polishing degrees abating any time soon, at least not as long as the Imperial City keeps subsidizing this crap and pols keep pandering to young morons with zero marketable skills who keep shrieking that the taxpayers should assume their six figures of college debt.

I have, for some years now, proposed a solution.  Remove any government subsidy for higher education.  All of it.  If a young would-be student needs to borrow money for their education, let them approach a private financial institution and make their case.  Student A, with a 3.9 grade point average from a school specializing in prepping STEM students, who intends to pursue a degree in Software Engineering, would be a pretty good risk.  Student B, with a 2.6 grade point average from the MoonBattery Squish Academy for the Politically Correct, who intends to pursue a degree in Eastern European Queer History, would certainly be sent packing.

Eliminate the problems of horseshit, useless degrees, overwhelming student debt, and crap like climbing walls on campus at a stroke, and move education to what it ought to be.  It’s a good idea, which is reason enough alone that the Imperial City won’t touch it.

We could also start some kind of re-discovery of the trades.  The country needs carpenters, plumbers, welders and electricians, too.  Those are honest, respectable trades with the potential for really good income.  But that’s probably a topic for another day.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Boy howdy, has mosquito season ever started up here in the Great Land.

The picture is in Alaska. These may or may not be real Alaska mosquitoes, though.

Honestly, I’ve been places where the mosquitoes were worse (I’m looking at you, Ft. Benning) than they are here in our Susitna Valley home.  And the buggy season isn’t all that long, either, running from the first week in June until mid-late July.  Add to that the fact that it’s been a dry spring this year, and, well, it could be a lot worse.  But we still have good numbers of the little bloodsuckers.  Some measures can help, though.  Planting marigolds, lavender and mint around the house can help repel them.  So can citronella.

But the best thing we’ve done to help us sleep at night without whining, bloodsucking pests (I mean mosquitoes, not Congressmen) buzzing around was to get all the old windows replaced with new, tight-fitting units with good screens.  It cost a fair bit, but it’s worth it, and the new windows are also better-installed and better-insulated than the old, which will help in winter, too.

Keeping up a place never stops; there’s always something that needs fixed or replaced.  And a country place, even more so.

Also:  I’ve been and remain a little salty this week, language-wise.  Sorry, but there’s been a lot of crap that irritates me this week, and unusually, not all of it came out of the Imperial City.  And so…

On To the Links!

Haw haw haw!

When Americans vote with their feet, the real winner is freedom.

Molon labe, asshole.

Time can fuck right off.

The different kinds of bullshit.

I love a happy ending.

Johnny Depp is now the poster child for Guy Rule #1:  “Never Stick Your Dick in Crazy.”

No shit, Sherlock.

Good.

Hopefully not the last.

(H/T to the Glibertarian’s Sloopyinca)There will be food. Food. People will eat the food. Food. Some may give speeches. Speeches with words. Words the people will hear. And food. The dinner will be about food. And people. But food.

Shocker:  Japan and America aren’t very much alike.

RIP Dan Seals, of Seals & Crofts.  Damn, he was eighty?

This Week’s Idiots:

The LA Times‘ Robin Abcarian is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

Idiots appointing idiots.

Kookoo for Cocoa Puffs.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Eleanor Clift can fuck right off.

USAToday’s Rex Huppke is an idiot.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Shit-for-Brains, RI) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Laura Flanders is an idiot, and so is the subject of her interview and Repeat Offender Ibram Kendi.

Yes.  And don’t let the screen door hit your ass on the way out.

Idiots in their own words.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

When I was a young fellow mooching around northeast Iowa, all of us had a few tunes we referred to as “make-out music.”  This sorta-genre was as widely varied as tastes in music in general, and throughout those heady days of rock & roll in the late Seventies we still had a fair amount of smooth smoochin’ tunes to rely on.

One popular singer when one was “closing the deal” was Rod Stewart, and one of the best of his song to have loaded in your car’s eight-track player or on your turntable was his 1976 tune Tonight’s the Night.  Here is the official video for that great make-out tune.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily College Debt News

Before we start, check out my latest over at Glibertarians – and thanks to our pals at The Daley Gator for the hat tip!

Now then:  Get a load of this nitwit, decrying her six figures of student debt.  Excerpt:

If it weren’t for compounding interest, Cheryl — who requested her last name be withheld for privacy concerns — thinks President Joe Biden’s plans to forgive $10,000 in student debt for federal borrowers might have made a difference for her.

But with $303,000 in federal student debt — and an additional $20,000 in private student loans — the president’s plan just isn’t enough.

“It is not even a drop in the bucket,” Cheryl, 53, told Insider. “If you wanted to make a real difference, you could do away with half the interest we’ve accrued, but for now I’ll never be able to cover the payments.”

As a teacher in Massachusetts, Cheryl had to take out student loans for her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in education. While she said she has no problem paying back the debt she borrowed, the problem is the interest that accrued while she was in school and her loans were in forbearance. At her current modest income level, it’s been nearly impossible for her to make a dent in her principal balance, which has swelled to more than $300,000 thanks to all the interest.

To “Cheryl” I can only say this:  “Did you read the loan agreements?  Did you sign them?  Yes?  Then shut the fuck up.”

Cheryl is asking the Imperial government to commit theft on her behalf.  She is asking for taxpayer dollars, taken by force (yes, by force; try not paying your taxes for a while and see how long it takes for the government to send men with guns out after you) from productive people to pay off her student loans.

She’s not the only one asking for this, of course.  And every damn one of them is asking the Imperial government to commit theft on their behalf.  They signed loan agreements – contracts – with the loan terms spelled out in detail.  And now they are asking for the Imperial government to cancel those agreements and meet the obligations these assholes agreed to, with taxpayer dollars.

The only proper response to people like this is “shut up and pay your own debts.”  The answer to this sort of thing, policy-wise, is to get government completely out of the business of education, and especially out of the business of financing education.

Rule Five Eighth Annual Commencement Speech Friday

It’s that time of year again, when high school and college graduates all over the country are trying on caps and gowns and making post-graduation plans. Today, for the eighth year, I will present here my own carefully prepared commencement speech to those grads – presented here because there’s damn little chance of my being asked to deliver it in person to a group of impressionable yutes.

So, here it is. Enjoy.

“Graduates of the Class of 2021, let me be the first to extend to you my congratulations on this, your day of entry into reality.

For the last four years you have been working towards this goal, towards this day. That’s a good thing. One of the most important skills you will ever need, one of the most important ways to achieve success in the world into which you are about to enter, is the ability to formulate goals, to plan how to achieve those goals, and to see things through until you reach those goals. Today you’ve shown you can do that. Congratulations and good job.

Now, before you go out to enjoy the rest of this day, before you go out to celebrate this goal you have achieved, let me tell you a few harsh truths about the world you’re entering. I’m not going to give you any trigger warnings; if you can’t handle what I’m about to say, there’s damn little future for you out there in the real world, so cowboy up. Moments ago I congratulated you on your day of entry into reality, so to get you started off right, here is a hefty dose of reality for you.

In spite of what you may have been told during all your years of education, nobody owes you anything, and you aren’t special. Any perceived ‘need’ you may have does not entitle you to anything – most especially, not to one red cent of the product of anyone else’s effort. If any of your professors have told you that, then they are economic illiterates, moral frauds or outright charlatans.

Our wonderful Constitution, which has stood for well over two hundred years as the founding document of our Republic, guarantees you the opportunity to your pursuit of happiness. It does not require anyone to provide you the means to your happiness at their expense. You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You have no moral claim on anyone else’s productivity. Accept that fact and you are already one step ahead of most of your peers.

You are entitled to what you have earned through your own efforts, and not:

One.

Damn.

Thing.

More.

If you are accepting a degree today in LGBT Studies, or Women’s Studies, or any of the other assorted bullshit Underwater Dog Polishing degrees our universities crank out today, then you have my sympathies. You are the victim of a fraud perpetrated by our university system, a vicious and cynical fraud that has resulted in you spending a lot of money for no gain. But more importantly, you are the victim of your own poor judgement. You decided to pursue a useless degree, and now you’re stuck. Here is another harsh reality: You are responsible for your own situation. It’s not anybody else’s fault. Nobody else is responsible. You are.

Your university experience had one goal – producing a young adult with marketable skills, someone who can provide value to an employer and to the economy. In this your university has failed, and in choosing this degree, so did you. You have relegated yourself to uselessness in the workplace, and when a few years from now you are working as a barista or checkout clerk and crying over your six figures of student debt, remember what I said a few moments ago: You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You made a decision; now you get to deal with the consequences of that decision. Pull yourself up, look around at the other opportunities around you, and figure a way out of this mess your youthful indiscretion has landed you in.

But you still have one thing going for you. You have shown that you can set yourself a goal and achieve it. Do so now.

So, where do you go from here?

Because nobody owes you anything, including a living, one of the tasks ahead of you now is finding gainful employment. If you’re going to find employment, it will only be because you can demonstrate to the employer that you can provide value to him or her in excess of your costs of employment. Employment is an economic transaction. In any free market transaction, both parties have to realize a perceived gain in value or the transaction won’t happen. If a prospective employer doesn’t think you’re able to provide value to his/her business in excess of your cost of employment, which includes not only your salary but all the extra taxes, fees and other various government extortion that you never see in your pay stub – then they won’t hire you. So be able to present yourself as someone who can provide value, in whatever field you have been studying these last few years.

Once you have gained that employment, once you are in the workplace, remember these three rules for success:

Show up a little earlier than the other guy,
Work a little harder than the other guy,
Never pass up a chance to learn something new.

Words that should never pass your lips include such things as “that’s not my job,” and “I don’t have time for that.” Your reputation in the workplace should be, to put it bluntly, the one who can get shit done. Results matter. Be the one that the boss can count on. Be the one who brings things in on time. Be the one who finishes the job. Be the one that produces value and you will never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

Bear in mind also that you are entering the workforce as a tablua rasa as far as potential employers are concerned. You’re not going to leave these halls and be CEO of General Motors. You will be working in an entry level job, probably not making a lot of money, probably doing work your longer-term co-workers don’t want to do. Suck it up. There are no lousy jobs, only lousy people. Any work that produces value is worth doing. How do you know if your work is producing value? The answer to that is trivially easy: If someone is willing to pay you to do the work, then you are producing value. Bear in mind also that the job belongs to the employer, not to you, and if you don’t meet the employer’s expectations, someone else will.

How do you meet those expectations? Better yet, how do you exceed them? When you are doing that job, keep these things in mind:

Be known for your integrity. Don’t say anything you don’t believe and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who means what you say and who delivers on your promises.

Be known for your reliability. Show up on time, every day, for every event. Show up on time for meetings. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who will always be there when you’re needed.

Be known for your responsibility. If you take on a task, finish it. If you commit to a timeline, meet it. If you accept responsibility for something, own it. It’s yours. Don’t expect anyone else to take care of it for you. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who, when put in charge, takes charge.

Be known for your dependability. Plan your tasks to bring them in on schedule. If that means long hours, work them. If that means working a Saturday, work it. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who can get the job done.

Success isn’t a mysterious thing. It’s not that elusive and it’s not even all that hard. I did it, and you can too, but it does involve one four-letter word:

Work.

Thomas Edison once said “people often fail to recognize opportunity when it knocks, because it usually shows up in overalls and looks like work.” At these commencement events it’s common to be told to follow your dreams, and that’s nice, flowery stuff, but in most cases nobody is going to pay you to follow your dreams. They will pay you to produce value, and that means work. Follow your dreams on your own time.

Finally, I will leave you all with some unsolicited advice:

All through your life, people will promise you things. Most of them won’t deliver. Many of those people will be people seeking political office, and many more of them will be people pushing some sort of supposed business opportunity. Some years ago the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein observed a fundamental law of the universe, which law is represented by the acronym TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Remember that; if someone offers you something for nothing, they are lying. If someone is offering you something at someone else’s expense, they are offering to commit theft on your behalf. The only moral answer to such offers is outright refusal.

There are only three types of economic transactions and only one of those – a free, unfettered, voluntary exchange of value – is morally acceptable. If a transaction is done by force, that is theft. If a transaction is done by deceit, that is fraud. Have no interaction with anyone who advocates either.

Accept responsibility for your own successes. Accept responsibility for your own failures. Learn from both. Rely on yourself. Rely on your own skills, your own abilities. Many other people will let you down, but you can always rely on yourself.

In her epic novel Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand presents the protagonist, John Galt, describing his decision to solve society’s troubles by an epic act of creative destruction. He describes the ultimate moment of his decision process with two sentences, two sentences which I have found more inspiring than any long-winded ethical or political monologue ever delivered since the times of Plato and Aristotle. These words are the very essence of the self-directed man of achievement:

‘I saw what had to be done. I went out to do it.’

Those are good words to live by. Now, today, you graduates see what has to be done.

Go out and do it.

Thank you and good luck.”

If anyone was offended by anything contained in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

As I’ve noted (only yesterday in fact), spring comes late to the Great Land.  But we share a  harbinger of spring with most of the upper tier of the Forty-Eight, that being the return of our robins (Turdus migratorius).

Our robins have only been back for a week or so, and they’ll depart in mid-September, if last year was any gauge.  They’re mostly ground-feeders and depart about the time snow starts to fall.  We had them in our old digs in Colorado, too, but there they were year-round residents.

Here, they are again the sign of spring that they were in the northeast Iowa hills of my youth.  There’s one singing in the top of one of our big birch trees as I write this, and it’s nice to hear him; they have a cheery, pleasant song, and it’s a promise of warm, sunny days ahead.

Now then…

On To the Links!

I live in a free speech zone.  It’s called the United States of America.  Still, good for Georgia.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  The GOP hasn’t exactly been on fire about pursuing corruption.

WH Tacitly Endorses Intimidation of Supreme Court Justices.  I can’t add anything to that.

Biden speaks, a nation groans.  Yeah, with embarrassment.

Well, this wouldn’t be good.

This wouldn’t be good either.

Get woke, go broke.

Oh, rats!

Eleven corrupt speed-trap towns.  What assholes!

Dammit, Bill Maher, stop  making me agree with you!

Human brains were bigger 3,000 years ago.  No television, I’m guessing.

On de-extinction.  Good, I want to go mammoth hunting!

Phrases you never heard before:  “Mouse sperm hook.”

Mob secrets coming to light.

Groomer breakfast cereal?

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Sasha Abramsky is an idiot. 

The Nation’s Joan Walsh (I’m sensing a pattern here) is an idiot.

Vox’s Ian Millhiser is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert)  remains a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

New York Magazine’s David Klion is an idiot.

USA Today’s Richard Wolf is an idiot.

Vox’s Rebecca Leber (I’m sensing another pattern here) is an idiot.

USA Today’s Jill Lawrence is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Ja’han Jones (I’m sensing yet another pattern here) is an idiot.

Salon’s Chris Hedges is an idiot.

OK, that’s all I can take this week.  I actually do read these, you know.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

In his eponymous 1980 album, Peter Gabriel had a number of good tunes, but one I’ve always found interesting is the song Games Without Frontiers. 

While this song is often described as an ‘anti-war’ song, and it is that, it seems to me to spend more verses poking fun at the whole world of international relations, not only war but also our attempts at diplomacy.

It’s an interesting listen, and the video – well, the video is very Eighties.  Here, check it out:

Animal’s Daily Student Loan News

The Biden(‘s handlers) Administration is like the Energizer Bunny on crack; they just keep getting dumber, and dumber, and dumber.  Now they’re looking for ways to erase student loans – you know, loans defined by loan agreements, contracts, that these students signed knowing the terms and repayment conditions.  Excerpt:

After taking heat from those on the left flank of his party for not embracing their calls for the federal government to “forgive” student debt — that is, reward mostly upper-class Americans who made poor financial decisions while saddling all Americans with more debt — President Biden is dropping hints that he may be looking to begin the process of wiping away at least some student debt.

In a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this week, Biden suggested that he would again extend the pause on student loan repayment beyond it’s current August end-date in addition to using executive powers to “cancel” the debt of some borrowers.

As CBS News explains:

President Biden is looking at different options to forgive an unspecified but substantial amount of federal student loan debt — a move that would thrill some of his most loyal supporters and financially strapped students nationwide, but is a departure from campaign pledges to provide limited relief.

The president shared his plans during a 90-minute White House meeting Monday with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, participants in the exchange tell CBS News. The move could affect more than 43 million borrowers who hold more than $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt, the second-largest debt held by Americans, behind mortgages.

And in Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Jen Psaki confirmed that President Biden was looking at “other executive authority options” to cancel debt — due to the proposal being unable to make it through the House or Senate where Biden’s party does technically have majorities, albeit small ones.

So, this “workaround” is something that the Executive Branch has no Constitutional authority to do – that is, toss aside centuries of fundamental contract law to appease some whiny brats who borrowed money to obtain useless degrees.  The proper response to these brats is, of course, this:  “No.  You signed the loan agreements.  You pay back the loans.  That’s it.  Why are you still here?”

Here’s the deal:  Even if President Biden(‘s handlers) find a way to do this, one can’t just “cancel” this debt.  It can only be transferred, to the taxpayers.  So now, the money borrowed by upper-middle-class kids to get degrees in Ethnic Underwater Dog-Polishing Studies will be transferred to the nation’s carpenters, electricians, used-car salesmen and everyone else who actually contributes in some meaningful way to our society.

Still, I kind of hope this goes through, somehow.  I can’t think of a better club for the GOP to beat the Dems over the head with this fall, in a mid-term election season that is increasingly looking like a crimson tide.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Normally I would stick this in the “This Week’s Idiots” section, but the recent action of the Washington state legislature and government were so egregiously stupid that I felt the need to comment a little more.  What did they do?  They banned the word “marijuana.”  Why?  Because it’s racist, of course.  Excerpt:

“The term ‘marijuana’ itself is pejorative and racist,” Washington state Rep. Melanie Morgan claimed last year during testimony on the legislation she sponsored. “As recreational marijuana use became more popular, it was negatively associated with Mexican immigrants.”

Uh huh.  Because no white people have ever smoked marijuana.  Honestly, this is Richter-scale stupid, right here.  You just can’t make this shit up.

And so…

On To the Links!

DeSantis punches Mickey in the face. 

Teflon Don.

Nothing will come of this.  Something should – we know it should – but it won’t.

Nothing will come of this, either.

How about “just do your damn job and be proud on your own time”?

Gosh, I wonder why?

Better chocolate through technology!

Who is pulling Joe Biden’s strings?  That’s something plenty of folks would like to know, because someone sure as hell is.

Super Gonorrhea!  Fortunately I’m in the lowest of low-risk groups.

Wait, swearing makes us stronger?  Fuck!

So, work camps?  Know who else set up work camps?

Open season.

French President Macron snubs President Biden(‘s handlers).  Is anyone still taking this guy’s calls?

This Week’s Idiots:

This Milwaukee school district is run by idiots.

USAToday’s Carli Pierson is an idiot.

The Guardian’s David Smith is an idiot.

Fang Fang’s boy-toy Eric Swalwell is a liar, and an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a sawed-off little runt, and an idiot.

Slate’s Jim Newell is an idiot.

Miami Herald’s Leonard Pitts is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi is an idiot.

The Philly Inquirer’s Will Bunch is an idiot.

CNN’s Dean Obeidallah (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

One of the most liberty-minded songs in rock & roll history is Charlie Daniel’s 1974 tune Long Haired Country Boy.  Consider the refrain:

‘Cause I ain’t askin’ nobody for nothin’,
If I can’t get it on my own.
If you don’t like the way I’m livin’,
You just leave this long haired country boy alone.

 Charlie Daniels had a long and distinguished career, bending away from rock and over to country as he aged.  He’s probably better known for The Devil Went Down to Georgia and Simple Man, as well as for his amazing work with a fiddle.  But Long Haired Country Boy is still my favorite bit of his long discography.  Here, then, is that fine old libertarian tune.  Enjoy.

Rule Five Education Bubble Friday

I’ve been harping on the calamity that is higher education for some time now.  A recent article by Issues & Insights guest contributor Armando Simón posits that this issue is in fact a bubble, and one that is soon to pop.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow:

In the field of economics, a “bubble” refers to something that is being absurdly increased in value, much more than its true worth. The classic examples are the tulip mania bubble and the South Seas bubble. One could even make the case the 1929 U.S. stock market was a bubble. The results of such bubbles are invariably disastrous.

College degrees are a bubble. Many, if not most, degrees being granted are geared to be circular, that is, they are required for an academic setting. There, college graduates can happily regurgitate what their former professors told them, who in turn, repeated what their professors told them, each academic at each level in the process feeling very intellectual and very original. The problem is that there is a limited number of institutions that employ people to work in those fields or teach in them. Some politicians are proposing to exacerbate the quandary by offering free tuition, with the slogan, “Everybody deserves [?] a college education.”

And this is where the stupidity begins, with the idea that “everybody deserves a college education.”  Not only are plenty of folks not suited for higher education, either for reasons of temperament, intelligence, ambition or a host of other reasons, but there are many, many vital roles in society that are filled by non-college types.  Tradesmen, for example.  You don’t need a college education to be a carpenter, plumber or electrician, and those are stable, solid, respectable jobs that require skill and brains – and pay pretty damn well.  And just look at what wages accomplished welders are bringing down right now!  But of late American education has downplayed or downright ignored the trades in too many places.

Here’s the onion:

The undeniable, harsh, fact of the matter is that there is almost no demand outside of academia for someone who has graduated with a degree in anthropology, literature, philosophy, sociology, history, gender studies, queer studies, art history, black studies, etc., to work specifically in those fields. Each year, thousands of college students graduate in fields for which there is no demand, i.e., no jobs, and are still living in their parents’ homes. In the United States, many of them are saddled with a gargantuan college debt that goes towards paying the universities, which ruthlessly exploit them with high tuitions, hidden fees, and ridiculously priced textbooks. Many such graduates, not having learned their lesson (ironic), stick around to get an advanced degree in those same arid fields, thereby prolonging childhood even longer and avoiding adult responsibilities.

Insert my standard rant about bullshit degrees here.  Too many of these “studies” degrees are pure corral litter, suitable only for enriching lawns, and yet stupid kids keep signing up for them.  It’s fraud, a particularly egregious and cynical fraud, foisted on these stupid kids by the education establishment.

The article concludes:

Because the majority of universities and community colleges have been primarily subsidized by the governments (local state governments spend about $86 billion on higher education every year, and this does not take into account the federal subsidies, totaling $200 billion), there has been for decades a proliferation of those institutions. Even so, some colleges may be closing their doors for financial reasons, a portent of things to come, and on top of that, some conservatives are arguing that, since universities have become indoctrinating centers for totalitarian ideology, they should be defunded altogether by the government (indeed, some departments exist solely for the purpose of indoctrination, Gender Studies being the most obvious).

Get government out of education!  That will pop the bubble right damn now.

Regardless of the reason, it seems that the university bubble will inevitably collapse and some have already even predicted the “crash.” The writing is on the wall. There will be many within academia who will howl about how essential colleges are and how relevant are their particular fields, but the bubble will inevitably collapse.

All bubbles do.

Stein’s Law applies here too:  Something that can’t continue, won’t continue.  I hadn’t thought of the current higher education nonsense as a bubble before.  I find it difficult now to think of it as anything else.

We don’t see here any speculation as to when the education bubble might pop, other than “soon.”  It can’t come soon enough to suit me.  My kids are all educated and working, but I have one grandchild in college (in a pre-med program, so at least learning something useful) and another reaching college age in a year.  I’d like their education to be worth something.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

We’ve had a few new visitors around the bird feeders lately.

First up, a while back some new chickadees started showing up along with our usual chickadees, the black-capped variety.  The newcomers, slightly smaller and with brown caps instead of black, are Boreal Chickadees, a type found only in the north.  I’d never seen one before moving here, so their late-winter presence has been fun.

The second was a Bohemian Waxwing, another bird of the north, and another I’d never seen before.  Back in the Iowa of my youth as well as the Colorado I lived in for so many years, we had Cedar Waxwings as frequent visitors, but this is my first look at the Bohemian Waxwing.  I hope they stick around; waxwings are so beautiful that they don’t look quite real.

As I’ve said so often, I like having our birds around.  They punctuate our days with song and color, and life is better for their presence.  Now then…

On To the Links!

Don’t mess with Texas!

While we’re at it, don’t mess with Florida!

This is cool – a fossil of a dinosaur actually killed in the asteroid strike.

Heels-Up Harris’s vice presidency is like a train wreck ran into a shitshow and pushed it into a dumpster fire.

2 acquitted, jury hung on 2 more in Whitmer kidnap plot.  The FBI stepped on a rake on this one.

How can you tell Barack Obama is lying?  His lips are moving.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is real.  For evidence, just look at Congress.

I love a happy ending.

1981 called, they want their inflation back.

Gas prices get worse.

Mortgage rates are going up, too.

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon’s Thom Hartmann is an idiot.

Vox’s Emily Stewart is an idiot.

Brian Stelter continues to prepare for his second career as an actual potato.

Five times Brian Stelter (still preparing for his career as an actual potato) and CNN shamelessly promoted lies.

Salon’s Kathryn Joyce is an idiot.

American Prospect’s Robert Pollin is an idiot.

Slate’s Oliver Milman is an idiot.

AG Merrick Garland beclowns himself on “ghost guns.”

Watch Peppermint Patty Psaki spew an enormous, steaming pile of horseshit.

The Nation’s Kyle Paoletta is an idiot.

Rolling Stone’s Andy Kroll is an idiot.

American Prospect’s Ramenda Cyrus is an idiot.

OK, that’s enough for this week.  I actually do read these, you know.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Glen Campbell was a man of rare talent, which I have showcased before in these virtual pages.  While he’s best known as a country balladeer, with songs like Wichita Lineman and Southern Nights under his belt, what I find fewer people know about him is his excellent technical guitar work and occasional forays into other genres – like classical music.

Here, from a performance of unknown year but obviously later in his career, is Glen Campbell backed up with a full symphony orchestra, and his take on The William Tell Overture – complete with a bit of commentary on Glen’s youth and the Lone Ranger.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Educational News

RealClearEducation’s Lynn Pasquerella recently did an interesting bit on why higher education should have a career focus.  Excerpt:

Employees and employers alike worry that the traditional college experience is no longer meeting the needs of the labor market. These concerns are legitimate. Broadly speaking, higher education is not doing enough to teach people the kind of 21st-century skills demanded by our rapidly transforming economy. While some schools are doing better in this regard, students at all institutions need access to educational experiences that link curriculum to career. If there is any hope of restoring public trust in our colleges and universities, this challenge must be confronted.  

Career services should be a central component of the college journey, helping students understand how the fullness of their college experience prepares them for long-term success. This solution does not require reducing higher learning to mere job training. Despite their apprehensions about graduates’ lack of preparedness, employers recognize the value of a liberal education, which, with its emphasis on applied learning and engagement with real-world problems, remains vital to our evolving workforce. At the same time, however, both employees and employers are increasingly viewing higher education from a cost-benefit perspective. The investment, they worry, is not paying off quickly or dramatically enough.

What’s really interesting about this article is that nowhere does the author mention or advocate for any role for government.  And that’s good – maybe unintentional, but good – because to my minarchist thinking, government should not have any role in education.  As in, none, beyond local school boards.  The Imperial City certainly should have no role, and the Imperial Department of Education should be defunded and disbanded as it is not authorized by the Constitution.

It’s possible, though, that an emphasis on career planning would have another effect on something I’ve been harping on for quite a few years now, and that is the plethora of bullshit Underwater Gender-Ethnic Dog Polishing degrees that the university systems are cranking out.  Those need to go, since none of these bullshit degrees have any possible career possibilities that don’t include asking “do you want that on your Starbucks card?”  A career-focused curricula would, by definition, preclude those piles of corral litter.  As would – as I’ve also repeatedly stated – getting government out of the role of financing education.

Higher education has one and only one purpose:  To provide young adults with marketable skills and enable them to be productive citizens.  Anything that helps with that is good.  Anything that does not contribute to that should be canned.