The best way to get America back on track is to elect a strong conservative federal government in 2020 and withdraw all federal money from higher education.
Would any conservative quarrel with me about the fact that the worst ideas at work in America today were first incubated in academia before integrating themselves into the population at large? Just the other day I noted the straight line between the ethical framework for infanticide as developed in academia and Gov. Ralph Northam’s advocacy for infanticide. (And if you want an insight into the moral inversion that is 21st century American Leftism, think about the fact that, when Leftists realized that ordinary Americans were appalled by Northam’s honesty, the only way they could get their own party to drive him out of office was to accuse him of racism back in 1984.)
Infanticide is only the most recent academic idea to infect the public sphere. The most globally dangerous, of course, is the love affair with socialism. Leftists do not care that socialism, when put into practice, was responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million people in the 20th century, as well as decades of poverty and terror for billions in that same benighted century. They’re in love with the idea (“It’s so morally pure!”) and to hell with the reality (“It’s always been done wrong, you know.”).
As I remarked in an older post, the socialist infection was placed in academia as early as WWII and has festered there ever since. Since WWII, this ideological plague has given birth to, or incubated, the following pernicious ideas (and this is an incomplete list, off the top of my head):
- social justice,
- political correctness,
- trigger warnings,
- virtue signaling,
- queer studies,
- womyn’s studies,
- gender studies,
- rampant antisemitism,
- cultural appropriation,
- moral relativism,
- gender fluidity,
- victim status,
- rape culture,
- toxic masculinity,
- toxic whiteness,
- anthropogenic climate change,
- allegedly violent Islamophobia,
- aggressive atheism (usually anti-Christian)
That, as I said, is an incomplete list. I know you all can come up with other examples of Leftist academic madness.
The common thread in all of the above ideas is that they are intended to divide Americans by race and sex, to destroy their bodily integrity and sense of self, to make them hate their country, to turn them away from the traditional morality that creates a stable society, and to advance a totalitarian redistributive socialism that will destroy the free market system responsible for lifting more people out of poverty worldwide than any other political or economic system ever.
Once upon a time — indeed, in my time, more than three decades ago, at the already-crazy University of California, Berkeley — academia still downplayed its radicalism by providing students with some actual education. In the liberal arts — rather than today’s omnipresent social justice, complete with triggering, political correctness, race and gender madness, etc. — we long-ago students still had to learn “Western Civilization” and “Western Literature.” The professors who taught these classes, while Marxists in their private lives (Marxists, that is, living in expensive houses complete with Hispanic maids and gardeners), nevertheless managed to teach a mostly traditional Western canon in a mostly traditional way. That pretense of normalcy is gone now. It’s all Marxism, all the time.
Whether you prefer the incubator or the petri dish analogy, the reality is that America’s bad ideas always start in academia. For decades, students infected with these ideas have graduated and gone on to occupy the cultural institutions that effect the greatest force on our intellectual and political landscapes: (1) the internet/communication titans, (2) the news media, (3) grades K-12, (4) the upper echelons of corporate America, (5) and America’s entertainment complex. And, of course, like the disease vectors they are, a significant subset of these infected graduates go right back into academia to keep the intellectual infection spreading.
Academia’s role in perpetuating the poison of Leftist ideology is most vividly illustrated with Jews and Asians. Both of these groups are deeply committed to higher education and have been for generations. This means that, even as the Democrat Left is more open in its hatred for both groups (with antisemitism now a fixture amongst the new crop of Democrat leaders, and academic quotas against Asians normalized), Jews and Asians embrace the Democrat Party with increasing fervor. Within academia, they’ve been so brainwashed into believing Leftism’s shibboleths — everything from antisemitism to quotas — that they cannot envision ever breaking away. They will continue voting for an increasingly hard Left Democrat Party even as that party speeds its push for policies intended to destroy them.
Kurt Schlichter vividly, amusingly, and compellingly explains in Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy how America’s educated class, even as it grows, is breaking its compact with Americans. Once upon a time, back when only a small percentage of Americans graduated with four-year degrees (see discussion below), these graduates had both the historic literacy and the technical education (math, engineering, science, etc.) to give legitimacy to their belief that they were a leadership elite.
This meant that, back in the day, even though these graduates viewed the proletariat as lesser beings, they nevertheless had a sense of noblesse oblige that saw them feeling responsible for that same hoi polloi. That’s why early Progressivism, which was as steeped in Christianity as it was in a sort of high-brow socialism, advanced such laudatory causes as the eight-hour work day, child-labor laws, and workplace safety rules.
In the past two decades or so, as pure Leftism, unalloyed by even a nod to traditional values, has taken hold in colleges and universities, this sense of noblesse oblige has vanished. The same old institutions are still churning out people who take leadership positions in American society, but these new leaders despise the people over whom they exercise disproportionate control. To dis-empower the masses the self-styled elite hates, and to force them to align with the Leftism taught in academic, these Leftists power brokers are doing everything in their power to undermine our constitutionally free system dedicated to individual liberty.
Hillary was only speaking the self-styled elites’ truth when she characterized as “deplorables” the ordinary people who refuse to get with her hard Left academic program. Or as she explained at greater length:
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that.
The new Left no longer wants to lead Americans; it wants to destroy them.
Given the toxic way in which academic Leftism has entangled itself deep into American society, and given its disproportionate power in American politics and over American social issues, many of you may be surprised to learn that academia still serves only a minority of American people. According to the Census Bureau, by 2017, only 30.9% of Americans over 25 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Still, that’s significantly higher than was the case at the end of WWII, when America embarked upon the most spectacular destruction of poverty in world history.
This fascinating chart shows that, in 1947, only 4.7% of women and 6.2% of men had completed college. Twenty years later, when the Baby Boomers were really starting to change American culture, 7.6% of women and 12.8% of men had four-year college degrees. In 1987, when I started work as a lawyer, 16.5% of women and 23.6% of men boasted those degrees. Thirty years after that, not only had that number risen significantly, but the number of men getting degrees was visibly declining. So it was that, in 2017, 34.6% of women and 33.7% of men had college degrees. (And yes, I know those numbers are higher than the Census Bureau’s 30.9%, and no, I can’t explain the disparity, but they’re still in the same neighborhood.)
As the percentage of college graduates grows, America’s Leftism grows too. I’m sure someone is now thinking “Correlation and causation are not the same thing,” to which I saw “Pshaw!” The changes in our culture that I summarized at the start of this post strongly indicate that yes, in this case correlation and causation are the same thing. Certainly Democrats think so too, because they are desperate to get more Americans into college. One of their favorite platforms is “free” college for everyone. Even as college degrees become more expensive and less useful, given that the “liberal arts” neither create rational thinkers nor useful workers, Democrats know that they must find other ways to perpetuate the indoctrination.
Although only 30% or so of Americans are products of our academic system, vast sums of federal taxpayer money go to this system. We already know that student loan debt is an economic bomb waiting to explode:
Before delving into the nitty-gritty details, it is best to give an overall snapshot of the current student loan debt situation. Here are a few statistics that will give you a better idea of where the nation stands with its second leading form of debt:
· National Student Loan Debt – $1,520,000,000,000 ($1.52 trillion)
· Overall Number of Student Loan Borrowers – 45,000,000 (~70%of college students)
· Student Loan Default Rate – 11.5%
· Student Loan Delinquency Rate – 5.41%
· Average Debt Per Student Borrower – $27,975
(Resource: Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax, Federal Student Loan Portfolio)
A lot of Americans who never got an expensive “Gender Studies” degree — a degree that enabled them to work as baristas at Starbucks and plot Howard Schultz’s political demise because he’s insufficiently woke, in addition to being white, male, and Jewish — are funding that 11.5% default and 5.41% delinquency rate.
And what about all the “no strings attached” money that Americans — more than 60% of whom have no connection to four-year colleges and universities — pour into academia? Frankly, it’s extremely difficult to track down all the grants that the federal government hands out because the funds go through myriad unlinked administrative programs. If I spent a lot of time looking, I’m sure I could find that data, but I don’t have that time. Blogging is a hobby, not a job.
Even for those who deal in the business of this data find it hard to calculate how much federal money is in education. Back in 2013, a writer for the hard-Left New America Foundation gave it a try when Obama wanted to spend yet more federal monies on education — and he was just looking at K-12. Regarding that, he said,
most tallies, even official government figures, are incomplete or inaccurate because of the way they treat student loans, refundable tax credits and education programs run by agencies other than the United States Department of Education. Other tallies go too far, lumping veterans’ education benefits and other programs into the mix.
Still, there are a few things we know about how American taxpayers fund that 30% who hate them. For example,
In 2010 federal funding overtook state funding as the main source of public support for universities and colleges throughout the country, according to a report released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
That same year funding for Pell Grants — grants awarded to college students from low-income families — hit an all time high of about $36 billion. In fact, during the five-year period leading up to 2013, Pell funding increased by 72 percent, and funding of college benefits for veterans tripled.
In 2013 the federal government spent nearly $76 billion on higher education, while states spent about $3 billion less, according to the “Federal and State Funding of Higher Education” study. Federal support include nearly $25 billion in research funding obligations, which are paid over a series of years depending on the length of a research project.
Last year, the Foundation for Economic Education also noted that more no-strings attached federal taxpayer money than ever is flowing into academia:
Support takes different forms with federal money mainly going toward assisting students and specific research projects while state dollars usually fund general operations. But after the Great Recession began in 2007, as states were struggling to keep spending in line with decreased tax revenue, the federal share increased to the point where it exceeded what states were contributing.
Per the Pew analysis,
In 2013, federal spending on major higher education programs totaled $75.6 billion, state spending amounted to $72.7 billion, and local spending was considerably lower at $9.2 billion. These figures exclude student loans and higher education-related tax expenditures.
While the Post directs attention to state reductions totaling $5.7 billion from 2008 to 2016, it fails to reveal the other side of the coin relayed by Pew: Federal “Pell Grant program and veterans’ educational benefits … surged by $13.2 billion (72 percent) and $8.4 billion (225 percent), respectively, in real terms from 2008 to 2013.” In short, increases in federal spending were much greater than decreases in state spending.
Examining the full picture, data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Department of Education shows that inflation-adjusted government spending on higher education increased by 23 percent from 2008 to 2016, hitting a record high of $183 billion in 2016. On a per-student basis in the same period, this spending increased by 16 percent and also reached an all-time high of more than $9,000 per student:
The same Washington Post article states that “educators fear the drop in government spending is making schools harder to afford for low- and middle-income students.” Yet, such funding has actually increased by substantial amounts.
Given that only 37 percent of higher education spending is used for functions that directly contribute to the education of students and the general public, government funding now amounts to 84 percent of higher education spending on these functions. This includes all such spending by public, private nonprofit, and private for-profit institutions.
One of the things to keep in mind regarding federal grant money is that we are no longer living in a Cold War time when the Defense Department needed research from academia to bolster America’s defenses. The Cold War’s end hasn’t stopped the spending spree, though. Following in Sen. Tom Coburn’s esteemed footsteps, Sen. James Lankford has been doing his best to keep track of federal waste both within and outside of academia. In 2018 alone, you, the American taxpayer, helped fund the following:
- The feds added $1,836,132 to stickleback fish studies, bringing the grand total over 15 years to $2.6 million to study that fish.
- The NEH gave $74,851 to create a university for utilizing 3-D technology to create electronic versions of puppets that viewers can manipulate themselves. (It’s entirely unclear why the vastly rich virtual reality community couldn’t have done this without government help.)
- The DOE funded a free law degree to one of its employees, who promptly quit government and went into private practice.
- The NSF funded a $475,142 grant to create “an extensive digital database of recordings of native experts discussing traditional nomenclature and classification of local flora,” with an emphasis on Mexico.
- Beginning in 2015 and continuing through 2018, the federal government gave more than $1.1 million in taxpayer dollars to study languages spoken in Pakistan, African, New Guinea, and Nepal.
I suggest you read the whole document to which I linked, because it shows that our federal administrative state, which is staffed by college graduates, has been handing out hundreds of millions of dollars over the past many years to organizations staffed and run by college graduates that engage in research and other programs that could only come from the Leftist minds of college graduates.
If I’ve done this post correctly, I’ve established that
- Higher education is Ground Zero for the worst ideas infecting America, whether politically, economically, or socially;
- We federal taxpayers spend billions annually on these institutions and hold debt worth over $1 trillion thanks to higher education (and that Leftists desperately wants to increase these amounts); and
- Only 30% of Americans experience higher education. In other words, almost 70% of American taxpayers are funding institutions that graduate people who despise the 70% and are doing everything in their power to destroy them.
America’s got a sickness and the diagnosis is higher education. But is there a treatment for this loathsome disease?
Yes! Yes there is!
In 2020, we need to turn out in vast numbers (especially you conservative men, who are not voting in numbers as great as insane Leftist women) so that we can elect strong conservative majorities in Congress and re-elect President Trump. We must then demand legislation that cuts all federal funding, whether in the form of grants or loans, from higher education. I’m willing to make a small exception for core scientific areas, such as research into defense spending and health (cancer treatments, vaccinations, preventing epidemics, etc.), but those exceptions had better be narrowly drawn and tightly supervised.
My prediction is that, if we have the political will to de-fund entirely the academic rot that lies at the heart of most of America’s woes, we can turn America around in five years. Colleges and universities will start firing the overpaid social justice drones in both administrative and faculty positions because, without government funding, no one will pay for them. Those same institutions will also get rid of these pernicious ideologies that are now infecting STEM departments because, again, the free market won’t fund them.
Without this Leftist academic dead weight, tuition will drop and quality academic output of the type that’s useful for society will grow. Meanwhile, to keep these institutions further in line, internet competition will continue to put pressure on traditional academia, forcing it to teach, rather than indoctrinate.
[And a Super Bowl moment: Tom Brady likes Trump. Brady’s team won. Just sayin’.]