This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Archive for the tag “college”

Why The Academia Is Mean To Conservatives: A Listicle

Vedran Smailović playing cello in the ruins of the Sarajevo library; photo by Mikhail Evstafiev

Library of Sarajevo, 1992. Muscular and ethnic identitarian ideas well-represented.

Why are American colleges and universities so liberal? That’s one college-related question you hear right-wingers ask often.  “Why are there so few conservative professors?” is another.  Why are conservative viewpoints not being taught?  Why are college students so “intolerant” of free speech, specifically speech that advocates white “identitarianism” and “political incorrectness”? Why are the academia such snowflakes?

Now, I could go into great detail about how conservatives actually do have a sizable (and loud) presence on college campuses, and how extreme allegations about colleges “indoctrinating” students or “teaching communism” come from people who have never set foot in the academia. But, while this is true, I want to acknowledge that at the end of the day, the academia does lean markedly left. The purpose of this entry isn’t to dispute the degree of the lean; it’s to explain why it leans left at all.  So if you are a conservative and you are wondering why college students and teachers are generally hostile to conservatism,  here is your multipart answer.

Read more…

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On Academic Navel-Gazing

When I was a senior in college, I received an assignment from one of my professors to write an open-ended essay on the topic of “Who Am I?” I don’t know why the professor did it. The “Who Am I?” nonsense had nothing to do with the subject of the class. But he was a young fella and liked to do things unconventionally; perhaps this was his way of thinking outside the box. Whatever the reason, the assignment irritated me a great deal.

In the course of my academic career up to that point, there had been a number of occasions when I had to write a wistful essay (or alternatively, a humorous one) on the subject of Who I Am. I had always hated that topic for the self-congratulatory fakery it invites. And on that particular occasion, in my senior year, I decided to write the professor a letter protesting the topic, and submit it in lieu of the required essay.

This weekend, while clearing out some old papers, I came across a draft of that letter. Here is what I wrote (first couple of paragraphs omitted): Read more…

More Silliness In the Battle Between Street Smarts and Book Smarts

Forbes continues the tradition among conservative, business-oriented publications, of questioning the value of college education with a feel-good piece by David DiSalvo entitled 10 Smart Things I’ve Learned From People Who Never Went to College. What follows the introduction is a list of ten platitudes, my favorite of which is that you shouldn’t allow bullies to intimidate you. (Pro tip: Don’t allow murderers to murder you, either.) What’s puzzling here is that for the life of me, I can’t understand what any of this stuff has to do with having or not having a college education. Colleges teach academic subjects, not matters of common knowledge about one’s daily living; and I doubt the implied strawman, who believes that anything about anything is only to be learned in college or from the college-educated, actually exists. DiSalvo might as well have mentioned how someone without a college education taught him to look both ways before crossing the street. Or opined on how knowing how to make spaghetti is no less important than trigonometry. Read more…

“Is It Worth It To Go to College?” Part Y: Some Misconceptions That Need Clearing Up

I want to say at the outset that the whole raging discussion about whether or not it “pays” to go to college is bogus. It pays to go to college if what you ultimately want to do for a living either requires a college education or makes it substantially easier to get ahead. If you want to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or an airspace engineer, the whole question is moot: you HAVE to go to college, or those fields will be closed to you. By contrast, if you are kind of just floundering about, not sure what you are good at or what you want to do with your life, it’s important to realize that as a time-killing endeavor, college is both really expensive and, in many instances, too damned hard.

I suspect, however, that the “controversy” is really meant for people who aren’t particularly good at anything, and aren’t particularly interested in anything, so the only issue for them is whether college represents the easiest way towards the most amount of money. Short answer: it doesn’t, but then, nothing does. Yet for what it’s worth, I feel that these people get bombarded with a lot of misinformation, and so there are a few misconceptions that should be — but aren’t, usually — addressed: Read more…

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