Insanity on Campus

When was the last time a student flunked out of college? I’m not talking about someone who hit the bong so often they just stopped going and dropped out. I want to know when was the last time someone attended class faithfully, attempted to do the course work and was found so lacking in ability that they were forced to leave college due to poor grades. I’ll bet it has been a long time – and if it does happen at all these days, I’ll further bet that such events are very few and very far between.

All of the lunacy we’ve seen on campus of late I trace back to the fact that you don’t need to be hard working or intelligent to get into college: all you need is money; and Uncle Sam will back a loan for you, if you don’t have any of your own. This has flooded colleges with vast numbers of people who don’t know much but who believe they do know quite a bit (after all, they’re in college, right? College people are smart, aren’t they? The current crop, however, is living off the intellectual reputation of those who went to college 50 or more years ago) – and college administrations quake in fear of them. Partially because the administrators are liberal and thus share a great deal of both the ignorance and the certainty of the students, but also because if you try to bring a bit of discipline to campus, you risk the revenue stream (a kid expelled is one less tuition check next semester – and if that happens often enough, there won’t be as much money to pay high salaries to professors and administrators).

It is a toxic stew – can’t risk the money; professors who are aged liberals; students who know next to nothing…and all stirred up by people who either just want a fracas, or who want to game the system to their own advantage (after all, if you’re set to graduate with a worthless “studies” degree next year, it is in your interest to demand that the college hire more people just like you).

There are colleges out there which don’t accept federal money and are thus free from all this – you never hear the kids at Christendom College or Hillsdale College demanding a “safe space”. This is the model we should take as our conservative alternative to the current higher education system. Either that, or make the federal money no-strings-attached – essentially say that as long as it is being used to educate kids, we don’t care what particular sort of education goes on (this has risks, of course – you could get a lot of Kook Universities springing up out there). But one thing is certain is that as long as we keep the current system, the lunacy will only get worse.

UPDATE: One of the events triggering the Missouri dust up was the alleged scrawling of a swastika made of feces. One small problem: no one has any actual evidence that such a thing occurred. We’ll have to see if any does come up. I doubt that it will: we’ve seen plenty of these alleged racist incidents turn out false, or at least entirely uncorroborated.

UPDATE II: Robert Tracinski writes up his own reform proposal – burn the universities to the ground. This is way too extreme, of course: such fires might spread to nearby property, some of which may be owned by sane people. So, I think my proposal still works better.

7 thoughts on “Insanity on Campus

  1. bardolf2 November 10, 2015 / 10:23 am

    The premise of the thread is slippery. Go to any engineering school and there will be plenty of students who work hard to pass their math/physics/chem classes and simply aren’t capable of handling the workload. They then switch to something they can accomplish. Almost any person admitted to any university can be a sociology or political science or cognitive science major at that college.

    That’s not saying a person who barely got into Occidental College could major in political science at Columbia, but anyone getting into Columbia can major in political science at Columbia. Look at all the protestors in the news and then check their majors.

    OTOH, I have known a number of young men who dropped out of college because they weren’t willing to transfer to a less challenging degree after they failed in the STEM disciplines.

    • M. Noonan November 10, 2015 / 12:01 pm

      Dropped out is not flunking out. And I think switching from a difficult major to a less difficult major would be an indication of an inability to handle college, at all. My dad was bad at math – had to really bear down to figure it out. He did bear down…and became a mathematician; helped design, among other things, the F-117A Stealth Fighter. College is not all about IQ points – it is about the willingness to subordinate one’s desires to the needs of the work. And those in college should only be those willing to engage in difficult, demanding work. After all, 100 years ago, no one needed to learn Latin and Greek in order to become an engineer…but engineers had to learn Latin and Greek while in college…because it was good for them to discipline themselves and their minds. It made them better engineers.

      These days, they’ve made it so easy to be in college that intellectual zeroes can wind up with advanced degrees – not in STEM, of course; in the end, if you want to be a doctor, you really do have to bear down. But part of the problem with our STEM people is that they are not well-rounded in their education, and so we’re getting more and more people with STEM degrees who hold perfectly idiotic opinions, including in STEM fields. And all of this is the ultimate result of making it easy to get into college.

  2. Retired Spook November 10, 2015 / 10:27 am

    College campuses today are the live realization of the old adage, “the inmates are running the asylum”. The Daily Caller’s D.C. Morning today is devoted to this topic. On his radio show yesterday, Glen Beck read an open letter from University of North Carolina tenured, conservative (I know – WTF?) professor, Mike Adams, to his students about the right to not be offended. I was hoping it would be posted on The Blaze or this morning, but I couldn’t find it. Here’s a letter from the same professor a couple years ago as a sample of how this guy thinks.

    Colleges and universities have no one to blame for this phenomenon but themselves, and I, for one, am going to enjoy watching them reap what they’ve sowed. The sad thing, though, is they’re producing a generation or two of people, many of whom are never going to be able to deal with the realities of life.

  3. Retired Spook November 10, 2015 / 11:11 am

    Another great article about freedom of expression on college campuses.

    • M. Noonan November 10, 2015 / 5:52 pm

      It is a good point – it was the young who turned out to be the most ardent Leninists, Hitlerites and Maoists. Youth is vigorous – and youth is also uninhibited…but that is mostly because youth doesn’t know.

  4. Amazona November 14, 2015 / 10:26 am

    “One possible explanation for perpetual campus outrage is that college campuses really are the most dangerous places in America, filled with the worst kind of people imaginable. As tempting as this sounds, there is a better explanation
    Most colleges are steeped in an intellectually corrupt, censorious left-wing culture that encourages students to assume the worst about their neighbors as a matter of ideological dogma. This accounts not only for the disproportionate number of hate-crime hoaxes that are perpetrated on campuses each year, but also for the fact that campus communities are so credulous about the far-fetched idea that hate groups and hate ideologies secretly thrive in their ultra-politically-correct midst. (Consider the false rumors this week that the KKK made a surprise appearance at Mizzou.)”

  5. Amazona November 14, 2015 / 11:12 am

    “There has been a cultural revolution going on on American college campuses. Like China’s Cultural Revolution, what’s going on on American college campuses is in fact a cultural destruction: a wholesale destruction of Western intellectual heritage, a complete rejection of the founding principles of this nation, of human freedom, personal responsibility and reason. “Right to pursue happiness” has now become the right to guaranteed happiness and comfort.

    John Fletcher Moulton, a British Jurist, once said “the index of civilization was a society’s commitment to practice obedience to the unenforceable”. By that measure, our nation’s higher education system is a failure. I have a hard time showing empathy to liberal college professors and administers who are under siege. They have been enforcers of this cultural destruction for many years and they treated their colleagues who have different ideas the same way. These liberal college professors and administers helped create today’s Red Guards. It’s as if they have been riding a tiger in order to get to where they wanted to be. Now when they arrived, they suddenly realized that they had put themselves in perilous circumstances.

    Just like what happened in China merely four decades ago, the cultural destruction won’t limit itself to college campuses either. These 21st century Red Guards will get involved in every aspect of our civil society and fundamentally change the nation’s political and cultural landscape. A warning to politicians from both parties who take populists approaches – they are so eager to tap into voters’ anger and dissatisfaction that they forget they are riding a tiger too. Maybe Karl Marx was right after all, Capitalism would produce its own grave diggers when people who benefit most from it, are bent on destroying it.

    For those of us who still have the conviction of the founding principles of this nation, of the power of Capitalism, of law and order, we can’t remain silent, because silence is consent. It’s time for each one of us, in Ludwig von Mises’s words, “Trust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result.”

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