Category Archives: Education

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.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

We spent a good part of last week, from Tuesday to Saturday, snowed in.  As in, honest to gosh, snowed in – the driveway was snowed shut, we couldn’t get in or out.  Our snowplow guy, aided by a new pair of tire chains, had a good job of work to do before we could get the truck out to the road.  And then, Monday night and Tuesday morning, we got dumped on again.  This time it wasn’t the usual light, powdery snow, it was that heavy wet stuff, perfect for snowballs but nasty for shoveling.

But then, it’s Alaska.  We expect this kind of thing.

While we keep well-stocked at this time of year (prudent, when you live in rural Alaska) I don’t like depending on other people when something like this happens.  So, in the spring, I think I’ll start looking around for a small utility tractor with a loader, so I can keep my own drive clear in winter.  A small tractor is always useful around a country place, anyway.  The Old Man had a great one, a 1950-something Ford Powermaster, and it served him reliably for over thirty years.  I’ll need something along those lines.

Rural living, eh?  Still wouldn’t go back to living in town, not for all the tea in China.

And so…

On To the Links!

Personally I wish she’d do us all a favor and just wear a bag over her head.

More on that:  Hypocrites gonna hypocrite.

Illinois Governor Pritzker the Hutt is fighting like hell to keep face diapers on kids.

Another “Arkancide?”

I love a happy ending.

Now that is how you shitlord.

I’d buy this guy a beer any time.

Can the Dems dodge doomsday?  Probably not, it’s too late and they’re too clueless.

Canadian Conservatives up ten points in recent poll.  A reaction to the trucker convoy?  Very likely.

The Black Lives Matter scam.

AntiProfa assholes pick fight with biker gang, are surprised when it doesn’t go well for them.

Heels-Up Harris just keeps going from bad to worse.  No wonder her approval ratings are lower than pubic lice.

Elon Musk takes another shot at Fauxcohantas Warren, and places it in the ten-ring.

Lying liars gonna lie.

This Week’s Idiots:

CNN’s Nicole Hemmer is an idiot.

Salon’s Jon Skolnik is an idiot.

Slate’s Abdullah Shihipar is an idiot.

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

TNR’s Michael Tomasky is an idiot.

U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes is an idiot.

The Atlantic’s Rachel Gutman is an idiot.

Politico’s John Harris is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Tom Petty was another rocker taken from us too soon.  While his career and top songs are well-known, what isn’t as well-known is the friendships he maintained among his fellow musicians, sometimes for decades.  And while his friendship and off-and-on musical collaboration with Stevie Nicks is no news to anyone who was following rock in the Seventies and Eighties, what is not as well known is that Petty’s hit Don’t Come Around Here No More was based on an argument Petty overheard between Nicks and her former lover Joe Walsh (yes, of The James Gang and the Eagles, that Joe Walsh.)

Now the video of Petty’s Don’t Come Around Here No More is not only entertaining in its use of Alice in Wonderland imagery, it also establishes that Tom Petty was a better Mad Hatter than Johnny Depp ever dreamed of being.  See for yourself:

Rule Five University Sheep News

I found this, from UnHerd’s Arif Ahmed, interesting:  How our universities became sheep factories.  But the author misses a major point.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

My own university, Cambridge, wants academic staff to undergo “race awareness” training. This advises you to “assume racism is everywhere”. Attendees are also reminded that “this is not a space for intellectualising the topic”. You might have thought “intellectualising” — ie thinking about — it is the kind of thing Cambridge academics should do. But don’t feel bad about getting that wrong; or at least, don’t feel bad about feeling bad: we are also told that these sessions aim at “working through” the feelings of shame and guilt that you might have on your journey in “developing an antiracist identity”.

It isn’t just Cambridge and St Andrews. There is anti-racism or “unconscious bias” training being offered to, or more likely thrust upon, staff and/or students at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Goldsmiths, KCL, Liverpool, Oxford Medical School, Sheffield, Solent, Sussex and doubtless hundreds of other universities and departments across the country.

Here’s what’s unsaid:  How many members of the academic staff pushed back on this requirement?  How many simply said “No, I will not comply?”  Tenured professors are, sadly, almost impossible to get rid of, but this is a case where that near-invulnerability might be properly exercised.  “No,” is the correct answer.  “This is horseshit, and I will not attend, not now or ever.  I will not comply.”

Now imagine being a clever, white 18-year old, not at all racist and not at all privileged either, away from home for the first time, in a lecture or class in (say) sociology, or politics, or philosophy, where a lecturer asserts, perhaps quite aggressively, that white people are inherently racist. Your own experience screams that this is wrong. But do you challenge it? Of course not – after all, it may have, and could certainly be presented as having, the effect of “marginalising minority groups”; and your own institution has told you, through formal training and via its website, that this is racism and we must all stand up to it.

So you keep quiet. So does everyone else; and the lie spreads. Repeat for white privilege, or immigration, or religion; perhaps also, given similar training and encouragement, for abortion, or the trans debate, or… Repeat for a thousand students a day, every day, for the whole term.

It’s been a long time since I was eighteen – that would have been in 1979 – but I remember myself as being a stubborn, willful, pig-headed little shit.  Sort of like I am now, but with less gray hair.  I was a little older when I attended university, had some military experience under my belt, and would probably have been even more obstreperous had I been pushed to attend such a bullshit class.  Granted, hindsight is always 20-20, but I’ve always known myself pretty damn well.  I think my answer would have been “No.  This is horseshit, and I will not attend, now or ever.  I will not comply.”

But bringing in diversity training because racism still exists is like prescribing leeches because people still get headaches. As hundreds of studies attest, it just doesn’t work. It may even exacerbate existing prejudice. Making this training compulsory is especially likely to be counterproductive. A 2016 study of more than 800 US firms finds that:

five years after instituting required training for managers, companies saw no improvement in the proportion of white women, black men, and Hispanics in management, and the share of black women actually decreased by 9%, on average, while the ranks of Asian-American men and women shrank by 4% to 5%. Trainers tell us that people often respond to compulsory courses with anger and resistance-and many participants actually report more animosity toward other groups afterward.

Paying for something with no proven benefits is bad enough. Compulsory training may actively be making things worse.

Not the point.  The “diversity” and “anti-racism” industry isn’t about education, or tolerance, or opportunity, or anything else of the sort.  It’s about graft.  These people, these purveyors of “anti-racist” twaddle, make big bucks promoting and delivering this “training.”  They not only don’t care if it makes things worse; they want to make things worse.  Making things better would cut off the gravy train.  Mr. Ahmed doesn’t mention that.  But that doesn’t make it any less true.

Follow the incentives, True Believers.  Follow the money.  It works every time.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Like a lot of folks, I’m a bit bemused by all the flap-doodle about “pronouns.”  I’ve only once been asked for my “pronouns.”  The ask was at the beginning of a project planning meeting, where everyone in a Zoom call was asked to give a brief introduction and to “present their pronouns.”

When my turn came, I gave my brief introduction and stopped.  The host asked “would you like to give your preferred pronouns?”

“No.”

There was a brief, somewhat awkward silence, and the meeting went on.

In my experience that’s the best way to handle things like this.  Simply refuse to engage in the virtue-signal.  Nine times out of ten, that ends it.  People move on.  A couple of the people in the Zoom may have thought I was an asshole, but I’ve long since stopped worrying about crap like that.

And so…

On To the Links!

Inflation in 2020 highest since 1982.  Some of us remember 1982.  Things weren’t so hot.

Rick Perry tweaks Stacey Abram’s nose.

This is just embarrassing.

Speaking of embarrassing:  Heels-Up Harris spits out a content-free word salad.

Things inflation-wise may be worse than you think.

Incoming VA Governor Glenn Youngkin has hit the ground running.

No shit, Sherlock.

These critters may be humanity’s first intentional hybrid livestock.  Cool!

Baaaaa.

Welcome to the Hotel California.

I am a big fan of Winsome Sears.  I”m pretty sure she won’t stop at Lieutenant Governor of Virginia..

Speaking of Virginia:  Let them melt down.

This Week’s Idiots:

What a self-absorbed, whiny idiot.  But then, it’s Slate, so…

Barack Obama beclowns himself.

MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a partisan hack, and an idiot.

The Hill’s Brad Bannon is an idiot.

The New Republic’s Thomas Geoghegan is an idiot.

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Kevin Kruse is an idiot.

The LA Times’ Jackie Calmes is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem is an idiot.

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

The LA Times’ Sonja Diaz is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Thanks to commenter Andrew Robson for the tip to this week’s video.

In the late Seventies and early Eighties, Pat Benatar was kind of a big deal in rock & roll.  Her videos were regulars on MTV back when MTV actually played music.  One of her better-known tunes was 1979’s Heartbreaker, from the album In The Heat Of The Night – and, yeah, Pat was pretty hot.

But on one episode of Country Music Television’s show Crossroads, Pat appeared, still looking pretty damn good.  She shared vocals on Heartbreaker with country songbird Martina McBride.  In addition to the singing, watch the interaction between the two; especially how Pat looks at Martina for the first minute or so.

Here’s that tune, with live video; enjoy.

Animal’s Daily Parent’s Choice News

Yr. obdt. 1991

Before I start, happy and reflective Veteran’s Day to all my brothers and sisters who, like Mrs. Animal and myself, wore Uncle Sam’s colors.

Now then:  John Stossel has another piece on education, and like most of his work, it’s worth reading.  Excerpt:

As Virginia’s gubernatorial election drew to a close last week, Democrat Terry McAuliffe brought in teachers union president Randi Weingarten.

He thought that would help?

I suppose he, like many progressives, believes everyone thinks the way he does.

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and … make their own decisions,” he’d said. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

That’s the political attitude: Government runs things. We, the experts, know what’s best. Parents as “customers” who make choices? Nonsense.

I hope his defeat means Americans are figuring out that such politicians are enemies of progress.

Years ago, I was surprised to discover that NYC’s failing public schools spent $20,000 per student. Teachers had been holding protests where they shouted: “Fund schools! We don’t have enough money!”

But they spent $20,000 (now nearly $30,000) per student! At 25 students per class, that’s $500,000 per classroom! Think what you could do with that money: hire five good teachers?

Where did the money go? No one in the bureaucracy had a good answer. Governments make money … disappear.

But these guys were hot for teacher.

My preferred answer would be, of course, to get government out of education altogether, but I can’t have that.  So Governor-elect Youngkin’s preference may not be the best of all imaginable solutions, but it may be the best of all possible solutions:  Choice.  Vouchers, or a robust charter school system.  Let a thousand flowers bloom, and yes, let parents have the final say in what their children are and aren’t learning.

Here’s the bit John Stossel misses:

Of course, some parents will make bad choices, and doom their kids to a bad education.  OK.  Explain to my how that’s my problem.  Explain to me why I should shield these people, with my tax dollars, from the consequences of their own bad decisions.

That’s the part I’d like to see John Stossel address.  I love ya, John, but you keep leaving that part out.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Last Tuesday was sure an… interesting day.  Over the last couple of days I’ve been reviewing all that happened while I was away in pursuit of hoofed ungulates, and boy howdy is there some entertaining stuff there.  See the “This Week’s Idiots” section for some examples.

I had two primary takeaways from all this:  First, the VA elections in particular were all about education.  Parents (rightly) feel they should have some say on how their kids are educated.  Second, the Democrats have taken all the wrong messages from this, and the primary reaction seems to be “…we need to prog harder.”  Yeah, let us all know how that works out for you.

It’s going to be an interesting year coming up, True Believers.

And so…

On To the Links!

Remarkable:  A NJ truck driver, spending less than $200 on his campaign, unseats the long-standing NJ state Senate President.

He really has no idea what’s going on, does he?

I will watch this lady’s career with great interest.  Shes the kind of person that makes one proud to be an American.

This makes sense, so it will never happen.

Let’s Go Brandon!

Let’s go, Brandon!

Let’s go, Brandon!

Joe Manchin angers leftists – again.

Build Back Better is (hopefully) dead.

The best meltdowns from last Tuesday.

Dems fear 2022 will be a wipeout.  I’m guessing they are right.

When your enemy is committing suicide – let him!

Trump is spoiling for a rematch.

Fucking savages.

Ya think?

Remington, the country’s oldest gun manufacturer and in fact the country’s oldest corporation that is still in the primary business for which if was incorporated, is moving from Ilion, NY to Georgia.  Way overdue.

Why is the FBI investigating the theft of a girl’s diary?

This Week’s Idiots:

NY Magazine‘s Zak Cheney-Rice is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Ja’han Jones is an idiot.

Jonathan Chait is an idiot.

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Marc Ambinder is an idiot.

The Guardian‘s Andrew Gawthorpe is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Rebecca Solnit is also an idiot.

The Philly Inquirer’s Will Bunch is an idiot.

Brian Stelter, aside from being a potato, is also an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

In 2011 we lost a performer whose career spanned a wide variety of musical styles, including country, soul, pop and theater.  I’m speaking of Dobie Gray, and he was a remarkable musician.  Born into a family of Texas sharecroppers in 1940, Gray quickly moved into music and saw great success.  His 1973 hit Drift Away is still a staple of classic-rock radio.

Here, then, is that song.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Winter comes early to the Great Land, but not all at once.  Last Saturday we woke to snow, and then later that day the accumulation melted in 50-degree temperatures.  Now, last night, it started a mixture of snow and rain here, and farther up the Valley north of Talkeetna they are projected to get 6-12 inches of white stuff today and tonight.  It’s October, and when snow comes now it’s here to stay.

First snow in the Great Land.

Winters are long and cold here, something we knew going in, of course.  But there’s a really neat feeling of being proof against the cold and snow.  We have a well-insulated house, a big fuel oil tank, plenty of firewood, and lots of heavy comforters on the bed.

Humans are a pretty amazing species.  Biologically we’re still pretty much a tropical savannah ape, adapted to hot, dry climates.  But, because of our brains, we can and do live in every climate on the planet, and not just with our modern technology – any member of the Inuit tribes up here can tell you that.  Humans are a pretty capable bunch, for the most part.

Well.  Most of us are.

And so…

On To the Links!

Best wishes to Governor DeSantis and his wife Casey.  I was glad to see the gracious statement by the Miami-Dade Democrats; this kind of thing should transcend politics, and the Miami-Dade folks showed a little class.

President Biden(‘s handlers) nominate a no-shit Communist as Comptroller of the Currency.

“The missing guy?  Well, he’s about your size, about your weight, wearing…  Haaaang on!”

Have we ever had a less competent President?  I have to say no.  Somewhere the ghost of Andrew Johnson is breathing a sigh of relief.

We can’t tax and spend our way to recovery.  And yet pols keep trying it.

Fuck you, cut spending.

How can you tell Joe Biden is lying?  His lips are moving.

This is how you do it, Part 1.

This is how you do it, Part 2.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Atlantic‘s David Litt is an idiot.

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont continues to beclown himself.

Rep. Al Green (D-TX) is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a partisan hack, and an idiot.

Vox‘s Ian Millhiser is an idiot.

Alyssa Milano is an idiot.

Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern (Repeat Offenders Alert) are both idiots.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Gabrielle Giffords is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

One of the great rock & roll events history was the swan song of The Band, immortalized by Martin Scorsese in the 1978 film The Last Waltz.  The Band was an amazing assemblage of talent, and the film mentioned had a lot of guest talent playing along with Band members Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm.

Here is one of my favorite clips from that show:  This is Levon Helm on vocals with the song Up On Cripple Creek.  Enjoy.

Rule Five Matter of Perspective Friday

When she was thirteen, Yeonmi Park fled North Korea with her mother.  The two escaped into China, where they were sold into slavery by human traffickers, then managed to escape again into Mongolia and then to South Korea.  Now she’s a student at Columbia University and has a dire warning for all of us.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow:

A woman who fled North Korea when she was a teenager and is now attending Columbia University said she is seeing a lot of similarities between the totalitarian regime she grew up in and the education she is now receiving in the United States.

Yeonmi Park and her mother fled North Korea to China over the frozen Yalu River in 2007, when she was just 13, and the two were sold into slavery by human traffickers. 

They were ultimately able to flee to Mongolia with the help of Christian missionaries and trekked across the Gobi Desert to eventually find refuge in South Korea, where Park, now 27, attended college before transferring to Columbia in 2016.

‘I literally crossed the Gobi Desert to be free and I realized I’m not free, America’s not free,’ she said. 

Certainly not on the campus of Columbia, you’re not.  The modern U.S. college campus is one of the most restrictive places in the Western world – so far.  “Free speech zones,” for example.  What horseshit.  My reaction to that kind of thing is simply, “I live in a free speech zone, assholes; it’s called the United States of America.”

She explained that when she started school at Columbia, she was excited to learn more about history, a subject she said was discouraged in her homeland. 

But when her teacher, discussing Western Civilization, asked if students had an issue with the name of the class topic, most did, saying there was a ‘colonial’ slant.

‘Every problem, they explained us, is because of white men,’ she said, reminding her of her home country where people were categorized based on their ancestors, according to the Post.

During her orientation, a professor asked who the class who liked classical books, like Jane Austen.

‘I said, ‘I love those books,’ Park said in an interview with FOX News. ‘I thought it was a good thing.’ 

‘Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’

Oh, the irony!  A professor makes a blatantly, inexcusably racist comment about Jane Austen’s books, then accuses Jane Austen of racism?  That’s rich.

‘Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like,’ Park said, adding that she saw people dying of starvation by the time she was 13.

‘These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced,’ Park said of her fellow students. ‘They don’t know how hard it is to be free.’

‘I literally crossed through the middle of the Gobi Desert to be free,’ she continued, ‘but what I did was nothing – so many people fought harder than me and didn’t make it.’ 

But, she said, here in America people ‘are just dying to give their rights and power to the government.

‘That is what scares me the most,’ she said, adding: ‘Power can corrupt, that’s just the nature of power.’

Read the whole article.  This is a young woman who has seen real, no-shit oppression.  She lived her early years in a brutally repressive Stalinist shithole where much of the population is literally eating grass to stay alive while their “Dear Leader,” a stunted little gargoyle with bad hair from a line of stunted little gargoyles with bad hair, enjoys the finest cuisine money can buy.

And now she’s surrounded by malcontents, ne’er-do-wells, mendicants and nincompoops who think ‘oppression’ is not being given things for free, or hearing someone say something that they dislike, or (heaven forbid) having a President who sends mean tweets.

More people should be listening to Miss Park.  She has a perspective that most folks here could benefit from trying to understand.  However, unfortunately, like so many other folks with similar perspectives, the people who could profit most from her message will ignore her.

Rule Five Seventh 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 seventh 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.  And this year, this speech is dedicated to our granddaughter, who is graduating high school and entering a pre-med program this fall – on a full academic scholarship.

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:

  1. Show up a little earlier than the other guy,
  2. Work a little harder than the other guy,
  3. 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 Daily Tradesman News

Libertarian scribe John Stossel describes the possibility of success without college.  Excerpt:

Americans took out $1.7 trillion in government loans for college tuition.

Now, some don’t want to pay it back.

President Joe Biden says they shouldn’t have to. He wants to cancel at least $10,000 and maybe $50,000 of every student’s debt.

“They’re in real trouble,” says Biden in my latest video, “having to make choices between paying their student loan and paying the rent.”

Poor students!

But wait: Shouldn’t they have given some thought to debt payments when they signed up for overpriced colleges? When they majored in subjects like photography or women’s studies, unlikely to lead to good jobs? When they took six years to graduate (a third don’t graduate even after six years).

Shouldn’t politicians also acknowledge that it’s taxpayer loans that let bloated colleges keep increasing tuition at twice the rate of inflation?

Yes.

But they don’t.

“Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe points out that students’ demand for loan forgiveness is “kind of self-involved.”

“I know guys who worked hard to get a construction operation running. Some had to take out a loan on a big old diesel truck. Why would we forgive the cost of a degree but not the cost of a lease payment?”

It’s a good question.

“For some reason,” continues Rowe, “we think a tool that looks like a diploma is somehow more important than that big piece of metal in the driveway that allows the guy to build homes that you … are in.”

Once again, the solution seems obvious.  Get government out of the business of education.  If a young person wants a student loan, let them go to a lending institution and make their case.  Student loans, like any other loan, should be based first and foremost on an estimation of the borrower’s ability to repay the loan.  That would mean a problem, certainly, for the kid that shows up at the bank with a college application and announces their intent to pursue a degree in Underwater Gender Dog-Polishing, but it’s high time the university system stopped offering bullshit degrees anyway, and this would take care of that at a stroke.

Want to level the playing field?  That’s the term the Left uses, right?  Fine, let’s level the damn playing field, and stop this horseshit idea that every kid needs to go to college.  Many shouldn’t, and many would be better off if they didn’t.  And the various trades offer stable and lucrative opportunities.