Frost’s Note: This week features a series of guest posts. This one is by a fine young man who goes by the pseudonym “Zdeno.” Apparently he underwent a short, but whimsical and critically-acclaimed stint as a guest blogger at some now-retired granddaddy blog that he claims, “started all this alt-right shit, man! Without them, you’d all be jerkoffs with Tumblr accounts! You hear me? You’d all be NOTHING!” Seems legit. This post appears to be about the modern college education system.
For almost half a decade, my life was a Johnny Cash song. I would drink to the point of blacking out four nights a week, sleep past noon every day, and devote most of my waking hours to chasing loose women and an altered state of mind. I exaggerate only slightly when I say that I accomplished, learned and produced nothing of value throughout this entire dark age of my life.
Was I a bum? A liquor-soaked storefront panhandler? A toothless vagrant, shuffling up and down the streets of Baltimore, peddling handjobs for crack-cocaine?
Hardly. I was a student at one of our continent’s better Universities. And my experience was hardly unique. If I learned one thing over those years, it’s that the modern University is anything but an institution of higher learning, and trust me: Unless you are still inside the beast, or so fresh from the rear of her digestive system that the smell still lingers, you do not fully understand how completely and utterly ridiculous the contemporary higher-education system has become.
Let’s think about this from the perspective of a historian from the distant future, parsing through the delicate, yellowing, primary sources of 2009: What will he make of the present situation? How will he explain North American Universities to his colleagues and students?
He’ll start with the positive, I’m sure, as a matter of courtesy. So what positive traits do our Universities exhibit?
First, Universities are filled with the best and the brightest in our society. Exceptions exist, but the general principle is: If an eighteen year old in 2009 is smart and ambitious, he goes to University. If he is really smart and ambitious, he stays there for a second and maybe even a third degree. As a result of this pattern, Universities are overflowing with intelligent and driven people.
Also, Going to University is generally a good idea. The vast majority of good jobs that are not called “starting a successful business” require some sort of accreditation. In addition to the direct benefits to students’ careers, Universities also serve as an ideal opportunity for the future leaders of society to form exclusive social and professional networks, and perhaps track down a high-status, high-earning spouse. As a friend of mine puts it, half the girls in her Med program are just there for their M.R.S. degree.
Perhaps most importantly, going to University is fun. The vast majority of University alumni look back on their University days fondly, and an entire sub-genre of films aimed at young adults is based on idealization of the college years. I certainly had a blast, and my impression is that I wasn’t unique in this regard.
As a result of these qualities, everyone in 2009 agrees with the vague notion that University is a good thing. What parent doesn’t dream of sending their child to University? Only a select few, and they probably live on heavily armed militia compounds in rural Montana. Our imaginary historian however, considers them harmful.
The first oddity he notices is the abysmal course content. While pockets of practical, truth-seeking scholarship still remain – engineering, the hard sciences, perhaps a few nooks and crannies in business and economics – the majority of students are studying the 21st century equivalents of utterly banal scientific fact, provided it happens to contradict the system’s theology, we know these people are not going to relinquish power voluntarily. Our only option is discontinuous change: Destruction, redesign, and rebirth. Liquidate the Universities. Eliminate all public funding of post-secondary education institutions. Pass an amendment (or your local equivalent) prohibiting the government from making attainment of an accredited degree a condition of employment.
The result: Complete chaos, plummeting IQs and your meth-addicted uncle Tyrell opening an Oil Change/triple-bypass Heart Surgery/Hot Dog stand. Then again, maybe not. Tune in next week for Part 2: Imagining a world without government-certified education.