May 3, 2012
Last week America’s outstanding debt for student loans reached $1 trillion. In response to the news, college students threw public tantrums—called “demonstrations” and “protests” by a predictably sympathetic media—while assorted political panderers spoke lightly of writing off the debt, as if they could make $1 trillion in the red just disappear.
Some went farther than that. Forgiving the debt—that is, sticking the taxpayers with another trillion dollars in deficit spending—is not enough, they said. What the country really needs is “free universal college education,” paid for by the government—that is, sucked out of the American people’s paychecks.
Free, eh? Do you think the professors will take pay cuts? And on top of it, we’d have to create yet another mammoth, money-burning bureaucracy to administrate our folly.
At the same time, I heard on my local radio station a public service announcement from some entity called the County Transportation Authority, exhorting us all to “ride our bicycles to work” instead of driving cars.
Our glorious leaders wish to consign us to perpetual childhood.
I call your attention to a scientific paper by a British researcher, Bruce Charlton. Charlton observed in 2007 that “adults in modernizing liberal democracies increasingly retain many of the attitudes and behaviors traditionally associated with youth.” In other words, they don’t grow up. He theorized “that the major cause of PN [Psychological Neoteny—a slowing of maturity] in modernizing societies is the prolonged duration of formal education.”
Charlton thought this might not be so terrible, “because people need to be somewhat child-like in their psychology in order to keep learning, developing and adapting to the rapid and accelerating pace of change.” Meanwhile, they don’t work, marry, or raise children.
As we cannot help seeing from the escapades of the Occupy This-or-That movement, prolonged formal education also lumbers its recipients with some other “youthful” traits that are not so desirable—petulance, wishful thinking, excessive credulity, self-absorption, an inability to distinguish wisdom from sophomoric jaw-flapping, creative thought from pretentious twaddle, or coherent ideas from neo-marxist drivel; and, above all, a monumental sense of entitlement.
But what do you call someone who sits in school all day and rides a bicycle instead of a car?
Our freedom-eating ruling class has good reasons for wanting everyone to go to college.
It keeps them out of the job market.
Ignorant, child-like people who can only travel as far as they can pedal a bicycle are much easier to control than adults who own cars.
College students are the easiest people in the world to manipulate. All you have to do is tell them how smart you think they are, and you can make them do or believe anything you want. Sock puppets put up more resistance than college students.
Because they are so easy to manipulate, and because they have not acquired a grown-up understanding of the world and how it works, college students are the ideal voting base. Stroke their immature egos, serve them up a smorgasbord of empty promises that anyone but a college kid could see through, and they’ll fawn on you and wag their tails and bark enthusiastically as you take away their freedom and destroy prosperity.
Remember when college used to be where scholars went? Not anymore! Because so few individuals have the desire or the ability to be scholars, herding vast throngs of them into college will require the creation of many degree programs that are totally meaningless. Already we have multitudes of students wasting four, five, or six years of their lives to get degrees in women’s studies, queer studies, urban folklore studies, environmental justice, the erotic literature of the Hittite Empire, and what-not. Our illustrious Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has even suggested that the schools—all the schools, in fact: not just the colleges—teach “techniques of protest.” How eager will employers be to hire immature individuals with degrees in protesting?
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When, if ever, these hordes of students graduate, the only possible employment for them will be as professors and teachers of their inane and futile subjects. Or they can always embark on careers as day laborers or convenience-store clerks—if those jobs are still around by the time they finish getting educated.
They will also be superbly qualified to be helpless pawns in our ruling class’s lunatic schemes to save the planet by “developing down.” That’s weasel-speak for plunging the Western nations into Third World poverty.
But what do we care? Once you have universal “free” college, universal “free” grad school won’t be far behind. And if we’re still writing term papers and listening to lectures when we’re old and grey, and it’s getting harder and harder to pedal off to college every day, we probably won’t even notice we’ve been played for suckers all our lives.
� 2012 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com