Wednesday, November 02, 2011


"That's what they've been sold on. That's what they've been told. Ergo, that's what they expect. A college degree equals success, riches, whatever. Not work."

Crying Occupier
On the same day, possibly without any reference to each other or knowing it, yesterday Rush Limbaugh and Kenneth Anderson wrote about the same thing. Both of them took a look at the Occupy Wall Street movement and came to the same conclusion. Here's how Rush puts it:
Now, do you think somebody going to college, borrowing whatever it is in this case, $20,000 a year to get a degree in Classical Studies ought to be told by somebody at a school that it's a worthless degree? ...why is it that no one in her life told her that getting a degree in Classical Studies would not lead to employment? In fact, how many college students do you think believe that just getting a degree equals a high-paying job? Probably a lot of them. Not that you can blame 'em.
So here you have Miss Brain-dead freshly out of college with her Classical Studies degree who thinks that she wants to go classically study and that people also want to study classics studiously and classically, and she's going to be very hirable, very marketable and so forth. Gets out in the real world and finds her only chance is Occupy Wall Street and to write a note for a TV camera about how worthless her degree is.

Now he goes off on a hilarious riff about classical studies and how someone should have told her she was being ripped off, so you should read the whole thing.

Here's what Kenneth Anderson at the Volokh Conspiracy says (courtesy Ace of Spades HQ):
In social theory, OWS is best understood not as a populist movement against the bankers, but instead as the breakdown of the New Class into its two increasingly disconnected parts. The upper tier, the bankers-government bankers-super credentialed elites. But also the lower tier, those who saw themselves entitled to a white collar job in the Virtue Industries of government and non-profits — the helping professions, the culture industry, the virtueocracies, the industries of therapeutic social control, as Christopher Lasch pointed out in his final book, The Revolt of the Elites.
Now, since Anderson is a law professor he's a bit more obscure and difficult to read than Limbaugh, but they both make the same point: these students went to college expecting a great job and life for the expense and time spent studying. They figured they'd get a degree, come out, and get the good life. And instead they're unemployed or working at Shoney's. This isn't the downtrodden poor revolting against the super rich, its the disgruntled student and graduate angry that life didn't work out like they'd planned.

This isn't people rising up against evil bankers who abuse power and rob from the poor. Its people facing crushing student loan debts with apparently nothing to show for it.

And as I and Cavalier X have written in the past here, this generation of young people was raised by people who were more concerned with their self esteem, with protecting them from any possible negative outcome, and with awarding mediocrity and failure is utterly unprepared for the real world's cruel hardships. They've been raised to expect everyone to protect, coddle, and assist them. They've never been allowed to fail, they've never faced real hardship. So now when things get tough and they didn't get what they want... they throw a tantrum.

To a certain degree, I can sympathise. They went into debt $100,000 or more for an education and got crap in a bowl. They were allowed - even encouraged - to get degrees in Sanskrit, Asian Studies, and Tibetan Pottery, and there's absolutely no real world use for these efforts. They were sold on the idea of college being a sort of super trade school where you get out and find a sweet job that you don't have to work hard at and enjoy yourself every day doing what you were educated to do.

Putting aside the fact that colleges, particularly liberal arts educations, were never about getting a job and never should be, these people were sold a bill of goods. And, as it turns out, the education they got wasn't all that great, either. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial highlights the problem with college graduates:
In a recent work called “Academically Adrift,” these authors tracked the progress of more than 2,300 undergraduates at two dozen U.S. universities. They found that more than a third of seniors leave campus having shown no improvement in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, or written communications over four years. Worse, the majors and programs often thought most practical—education, business and communications—prove to be the least productive.
They get into debt by enormous sums, get crap degrees of no conceivable value, and graduate without any quality education. Yeah, I'd be angry too. Yet the anger of these young people is pointed at the wrong people. Wall Street didn't overcharge you for a crappy education. Rich people didn't give you a degree in a worthless, frivolous degree. Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers didn't tell you that you'd get a sweet job when you left college.

Colleges and Universities did. And so did a left leaning popular culture that's sold the myth that education is the secret to wealth and success. These guys are frustrated and upset, but they've been so misled and so poorly educated and coddled their whole lives they haven't the slimmest clue what the solution is.

And that makes them prime dupes for leftist academics and activists who point them at the wrong targets, feed them the wrong solutions and leave them to the wolves.

1 comment:

Philip said...

The degrees, like Classical Studies, are 'pipeline degrees', used to get oneself immediately into graduate or law school, or, if one is willing to endure the humiliation, a low-level job or an internship at any number of non-governmental or government groups and the odd non-traditional business. From there one parleys the experience into both an advanced degree and access to influential people.

It's a squire-ship of sorts; a way to get into the court of lords and ladies if one doesn't have parents with influence or the metaphorical title of nobility.

The problem is that the economy has tightened things for all. There aren't the funds to go on to the next school. Those that would hire have had to cut back. The real elite are digging in to preserve their status, shutting out the aspiring to-be-elite in the process.

Y'know, if they'd waited until 2012, it'd have been 800 years since the last Children's Crusades.