Have universities gone the way of the spittoon? Does anyone still need them? Why do students go into mountains of debt to keep these institutions in business? What do they offer that is worth so much investment?
There are countless explanations and discussions seeking to demarcate the nature of higher education in our time. The vast majority of them can be boiled down to two arguments.
First, there’s the call for more or better funding because universities aren’t doing enough, aren’t inclusive enough. More cash might put “education” right. Of course, no one explains what “enough” really means.
The second argument seeks to align higher education with supposed market needs, where degrees become “jobful.”
“Jobful” being that seamless fusion of education and guaranteed future employment – you go to college so you can get a job.
Both of these arguments, however, labor under an unquestioned assumption – that society still actually needs what colleges and universities continue to supply.
But it’s precisely this given, this uncritically accepted supposition that must be thoroughly questioned. Has higher education gone off the rails?
First, what do students pay for when they go to get higher education?
The most popular courses are the Humanities, which do everything but worry about humanity, let alone employment. Their focus is political training of the youth, which they do by offering:
- A Marxist-postmodernist mindset. Literature, history, philosophy, and all of the many distortions of these once noble disciplines (such as, sociology, anthropology, gender studies, political science, cultural studies, communications, media studies, psychology, and so on) – are all taught by way of a deep anti-west prejudice.
- A professoriate that is radically left-wing, which holds up socialism as the great tool by and through which utopia is to be built. Little do they realize that if they actually succeed in bringing such a utopia about, they would be the first ones lynched from the nearest lamppost, since they all belong to the highly privileged 1 percent.
- A plethora of so-called “applied courses,” which supposedly “prepare” graduates for immediate employment. The reality is far harsher. Most graduates with such degrees end up as retreads (those forever taking yet more courses to get a job). How many journalists does society need? How many lawyers? How many social workers? How many MBAs?
- A vicious cycle of poverty, as graduates struggle to manage huge student debts. Is training in Marxist ideology worth it?
This is truly soul-murder.
Humanities remain the bread-and-butter of higher education, since that is where the majority of the students end up. This “education” strips the graduate of all independence of thought, rendering him/her an atomized creature.
The universities know these humanities degrees are worthless, which mold individuals to live in perpetual conflict with society, since said society will always fail to live up to the socialist ideals of the collective, the all-powerful political machine, high taxes, and the expansion of the working poor,
Isn’t it about time that people saw through this scam? Do parents really want their children becoming some version of the Social Justice Warrior?
On the other hand, there are also the sciences, which are often divided into two types:
- Theoretical science (mathematics, physics, astronomy), which seeks to add to scientific knowledge, and which often has no immediate practical application.
- Practical or empirical science (health, chemistry, biology), which investigates cause-and-effect in nature in order to devise solutions for various problems.
The sciences have retained their traditional role, because they cannot do without discipline, merit, and talent. There is no postmodernist leveling of the playing field here.
Thus, the sciences have not abandoned truth (though this does not mean that attempts have not been made).
That said, “jobfulness” has infected the sciences also, so that theoretical science now takes a backseat to empirical science. Students would rather be doctors or pharmaceutical researchers than mathematicians or astronomers.
Theoretical knowledge has been made subordinate to instrumentalism, so that ideas are only important if they have direct, practical application. Utility is greater than wisdom, and thinking has declined.
Although science has remained true to its root, it is ultimately inadequate to care for the complexities of life, because it cannot answer any questions concerning the soul.
Thus, “jobfulness” creates soullessness in higher education.
Is there not a deep hunger for the good in life? To live a good life is to possess that soul-wisdom which gives you happiness, even in an empty room.
There is this story told of Stilpo the philosopher. When his city of Megara was captured by the Macedonians, their king, out of respect for the philosopher, offered him compensation for the loss of property. But Stilpo refused, saying that no one had carried off his learning, no one had taken away that which made him a man.
Education is not about acquiring physical things – it is about possessing a treasure that cannot rust, that cannot be looted, that cannot be lost. Education is a treasure of the soul.
Human beings need good ideas, because life is inherently about the practice of goodness. If you do not know how to practice your individual goodness within the larger goodness of society, you will be lost, you will be disgruntled, you will be unfulfilled, because without goodness, you cannot be human.
Goodness alone defines us, because it gives us value in this world.
Understanding and developing your goodness into maturity is the true purpose of education, either in the Humanities or the sciences. This is what once made education invaluable to life.
But the education of today has nothing to do with goodness, and therefore it has become profoundly anti-human. All it can offer is nihilism.
The professors have prostituted themselves to falsehoods and lies – that is why they can only speak about “social justice” (which is nothing other than that old Marxist fable about the “redistribution of wealth”).
These professors have no wisdom to offer their students, since they have no goodness to call their own. They only know the grisly tussle of politics, and what they preach they themselves do not want – otherwise, they would have long rushed to the few Marxist “paradises” that still remain on the earth. They proclaim Marxist austerity for all, while being paid by the prosperity of capitalism.
Of course, tenured faculty remain the most privileged group in society.
Universities are also severe socialist enclaves, maintained within a free society, paid for by the free market, which are given free license to murder the souls of the youth with nihilism. Why?
Why do we continue to maintain these Moloch-institutions?
Where is the outrage from parents, especially, given the high cost in actual dollars that every student has to incur in order to offer up their souls for slaughter?
We need to begin judging universities harshly. We must reject their appeal to expertise, because they have none. The Humanities, as taught today, have nothing to do with expertise. They have everything to do with brainwashing.
This tyranny of the education-industrial-complex needs to be broken, because nothing can reform it, given its strength and its backers (who have their own agendas).
Should it not be the concern of every parent to keep the minds and souls of their children safe from the wounding and destruction that the universities offer?
Here are some ways to move forward:
- Seek out only those institutions that conform to the moral values of your family. They certainly exist. Here are some of them: New Saint Andrews College, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Our Lady Seat Of Wisdom College, Wyoming Catholic College, and there are a few others.
- Do not automatically send your children off to university, as if that is an ultimate good which will benefit your child. There are other options.
- Pool resources and start creating your own institutions of higher learning. This is not impossible to do. It only requires persistence and determination. There are enough disgruntled professors out there who are always looking for ways to escape the tyranny of their universities. Take the next step after home-schooling.
- Remember, all colleges and universities exist because of the goodwill of the people. Remove this goodwill and these oppressive institutions will fall. Every sensible parent should work to bring about the fall of these modern-day Babylons.
- Withhold your tax contribution earmarked for public education. Give this money to those institutions which conform to your values. This requires courage, but it’s important to dry up the money flowing into these institutions.
The higher education-industry-complex exists in opposition to your society, and to your civilization. Isn’t it time to dismantle it?
A few words on education itself, since it’s important to have a proper understanding of it in this age of mass confusion.
Walter Lippmann made this crucial observation many years ago: “We have established a system of education in which we insist that while everyone must be educated, yet there is nothing in particular that an educated man should know.”
This is the dilemma of the entire modern educational system – the insistence on education for all, without any explanation of what education should be. It is truly the blind leading the blind.
Before the fog of postmodernism, education was about building the good human being. Yes, good. Not the efficient human being, not the compliant human being, not the robotic, party-member human being – but the good human being.
This meant that education was about the care of the soul, which is the practice of self-discipline and integrity, which is the nurturing of restraint within freedom, which is using wisdom to fashion understanding, which is living within the bounds of obligation and responsibility.
How many times do we hear, “I am proud to…, I am proud of….” How little (perhaps never) do we hear the phrase, “I am humbled to…, I am humbled by….” This readiness to display pride, this inability to declare humility is the greatest failing of higher education dished out by the education-industry-complex.
Only through the efforts of parents will education again be aligned to its true root, which is morality, as found in the wisdom of Greece and Rome and Judea. This is the root that nourished western civilization, a civilization which has become the desire of all the world.
In other words, western civilization cannot be anything other than Christian. If we move towards a post-Christian mind-set, then our societies will be cut off from the root and will become everything but civilized and everything but western.
Is it right that we should let this civilization be destroyed by the tyranny of the university elite, who care nothing for the souls of their students?
Let us finally start afresh and return education to its true purpose.
The English philosopher, A.N. Whitehead observed: “The essence of education is that it be religious ….A religious education is an education which inculcates duty and reverence ….The foundation of reverence is this perception, that the present holds within itself the complete sum of existence, backwards and forwards, that whole amplitude of time, which is eternity.”
Higher education needs to return to its true root, which is the care of the soul. Once we understand how to care for the soul, only then can we know how to educate our children, who can then walk into life and build the good world.