Academic Insanity

It’s that wonderful time of year again, when the air begins to chill and the leaves begin to change and all the young, idealistic little brats leave the nest and journey off to college. And filled with picturesque notions of tree lined autumn quads, outdoor study groups beneath the falling leaves of crimson and gold, and rousing games of Ultimate Frisbee on the intramural fields, these kids eagerly pack their bags and bid farewell to mom and pop and rush away to attend the universities they have always dreamed of. For they are college students now, and this is the beginning of the rest of their lives, and they are off to change the world.

The False Necessity Of College

Because nothing is more important than going to college, they have been told their entire lives by parents, teachers, and guidance counselors alike. You will never be able to get a good job or amount to anything in life if you don’t go to college; you absolutely must get your bachelor’s degree. I know that I was certainly inundated with this message back in my day, and it doesn’t appear that things have changed much over the years. If anything, it has only gotten worse, convincing kids of the necessity of college. So for at least the past 30 to 40 years, beginning from a rather early age on, the average American school kid has been programmed to believe that they absolutely must go to college if they are to have any chance of success in this world. The importance and imperative of college has been relentlessly beaten into them.

Furthermore, any post high school options or prospects other than college are usually downplayed or outright denigrated by parents and guidance counselors today. The military, trade schools, apprenticeships, agriculture, two year technical schools, self-employment—those things are for pathetic losers and the dirty, blue-collar dregs of society who will never achieve anything or grow up to become financially successful adults. Only college and a four year degree will lead to a life of accomplishment, financial success, and happiness. Only college will lead to upward mobility, the average school kid today is routinely told.

But therein lies the problem. Aside from convincing these kids that they must attend college and get their degree, rarely are they given any useful advice about what to actually major in. Thereby implying that pretty much “any” four year degree will automatically be the key to future job opportunities and financial success. So forget about studying or majoring in fields like STEM, which are actually sought after and will probably offer the best post-college job prospects and opportunities, because any four year degree will do. Such advice foolishly equates the cost-benefit analysis and quality of an engineering degree with that of a liberal arts degree.

If ever this “any degree will do” advice were true, it certainly is not true in today’s economy. But if that wasn’t bad enough advice, many kids today have also been given the even worse advice of “just follow your dreams”. Follow your dreams and the money will follow, they have been told by naïve self-esteem coddling parents and primary school teachers. Which I suppose is fine advice if your dreams involve studying math, science, computers, or engineering, but not so much if your dreams involve majoring in “19th century Guatemalan lesbian poetry”.

Yet the average American kid comes to believe all of this advice, and as a result college then becomes just another mandatory continuation or extension of their primary schooling.

The College Experience: Half-Assed Rite Of Passage Into Adulthood

But at the same time it’s also much more than that. Beyond all of the educational and academic aspects, college also begins to take on an almost extraordinary or mythical quality. For many, it becomes a larger than life experience and adventure beyond merely just the mundane and routine continuation of one’s education. The “college experience” has now become a rite of passage into adulthood for the average America kid. And as a result, attending college is not just some compulsory expectation, it is an eagerly anticipated experience. College is a chance to break the parental chains, leave the house, become an adult, and experience independence—all while still depending on mommy and daddy. Not surprisingly then, college usually becomes the “be all end all” of a young person’s life.

Therefore, to most wide-eyed college bound youngsters, just attending any old college is hardly good enough. To many kids, it has to be the college of their dreams—that big, prestigious state university or that quaint, little private liberal arts school. Often times the criteria for what defines the average kid’s choice of “dream college” is less about the academic opportunities offered at the institution, and more about the overall “total student experience” provided. And this overall “college experience” is often more important, and generally includes non-educational factors such as location, student amenities, clubs and organizations, student activism, varsity sports, and social atmosphere—i.e. partying, sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. The name recognition or prestige of the university itself, regardless of academics, can also be a factor.

Because again, college is a total experience and adventure, not just simply an education. And you can’t have an awesome experience and wacky adventure at just any old place—you can thank movies and pop-culture for that. So today, the average high school kid now stresses and obsesses about not only just getting into college, but also about attending whatever college they have spent their entire teenage lives dreaming of. Never mind the astronomical cost of tuition for said school, such things are trivial concerns and dreams are more important. Besides, someone else should pay for it—but more on that later.

Quite frankly, the fact that academic and educational opportunities are often secondary considerations to most kids when choosing a college is not that surprising, even when considering that education was the primary reason that many of these kids were convinced they had to go to college in the first place. But the reason for this is really quite simple. Although they were convinced that they must attend college in order to have a career and financial future, the “college experience” itself has also been built up and sold to them as being a critical step on the pathway towards adulthood. This combination then warps many kids into believing that college is the only answer, and that the life experience alone is just as important in becoming a well-rounded adult as any educational aspect of college.

College: The False Bill Of Goods

But let’s face it, kids today have been sold a false bill of goods when it comes to college. What a crock, to believe that both the college experience is necessary and critical to becoming a successful adult, and that colleges today are, in fact, even churning out well adjusted “adults”. Modern colleges—though I acknowledge there are still some exceptions—do not prepare kids for adulthood and the difficulties and challenges of real world. They actively shelter them from it. They provide many kids with the opportunity to live another four to eight years in fantasyland, usually on mommy and daddy’s or Uncle Sam’s dime, while delaying actual adulthood and real world experience well into their mid to late twenties. In the 1940’s young teenagers were lying about their ages in droves in order to go fight in the war, today kids need to experience college and grad school until they are 26 in order to “become adults”. Give me a break.

College in America today is largely a joke. In many ways, it is nothing more than a daycare center for the entitled, spoiled, emotionally immature, special-snowflake crybabies of the participation “everyone gets a trophy” generation. I recall a quote I once came across—and I apologize for not remembering who to cite or attribute it to—that “the only difference between college and kindergarten is the age of the children”. Truer words were never spoken on the matter. But Why?

College: The New Positive Right

Perhaps the most glaring and obvious consequence of the modern “necessity of college” narrative is that a college education has now been largely devalued to become just another positive right which many children now feel entitled to. Because college is now viewed as both a necessary and mandatory extension of a primary education, many kids today feel that it should automatically be provided to them. College is no longer viewed as being just for the academically elite or qualified anymore, and thus something which requires intelligence, hard work, and academic competition to achieve. Due to its perceived importance, college is now viewed by many as a public right that should be provided and accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. Which then diminishes the sense of personal pride and accomplishment once associated with college acceptance, as college becomes just another positive right for all. Because anything which becomes increasingly available or easy to obtain will also ultimately begin to lose its value—both figuratively and literally. And while a hierarchy of quality and prestige may still exist among universities, it does not change the fact of overall devaluation.

Consequently, because such changing attitudes now largely view college as just another right and entitlement, many kids today have also come to the expectation that it should be provided to them completely free of charge. That a college education is not even something they should be required to pay for themselves. At least in the past if one wanted to attend college it was still generally viewed as an expense or investment that one had to either pay for themselves or earn through scholarships or military service—teaching responsibility in the process. But not anymore. Now the expectation among many kids is that college should be totally free. Which of course, unbeknownst to them, means the tax payer will end up footing the bill. Furthermore, many kids today who have already paid for some or all of their college education, or who have taken out student loans to do so, are now also under the expectation that they too should be reimbursed or their student loan debts forgiven. Some are even outright refusing to pay their student loans and are voluntarily choosing to default.

Such entitled attitudes are made even worse by economically ignorant politicians, such as Bernie Sanders, who shamelessly pander to these children by preaching that college is a right and should be free of charge and that any outstanding student loan debt should be forgiven. Leftists such as Sanders are so economically incompetent that they don’t even understand why there is a difference between the interest rates of a student loan and the interest rates of a mortgage loan. Yet these leftists still stand before scores of equally ignorant children and fill their heads with the socialistic notion that college is a right and should be free of charge. Ironically, some of the leftists who preach this nonsense, while at the same time bemoaning the skyrocketing costs of education, are some of the same leftist hypocrites who comprise the faculties of academia and draw six figure salaries—Elizabeth Warren.

Still, one of the key consequences of college becoming falsely perceived as a necessity and an entitled positive right is that it rapidly undermines the value and quality of a college education and undergraduate degree, beyond simply that of a personal pride level. Obviously anything which is easily given and not earned through hard work and sacrifice has diminished value to the beholder. But the growing number of meaningless, low-quality college degrees flooding the market also creates an inflation of their societal value as well. Ultimately resulting in a college degree becoming what a high school diploma once was.

So the very same spoiled, entitled children who wanted college to be more easily accessible and free of challenges, exams, grades, and cost, are then left wondering why their degrees in “19th century Guatemalan lesbian poetry” are not immediately landing them the prestigious, high paying jobs they wanted. Because much like a modern public high school education, many colleges today are becoming nothing more than worthless degree factories, churning out mediocre graduates with inflated useless degrees. Some colleges even take pride in their near one hundred percent graduation rates, as if that were actually something to be proud of. And the growing trend of obtaining degrees from schools of questionable credibility online is certainly not helping either.

And even graduate degrees are beginning to become inflated today as well. For as more and more undergrads come to the realization that their devalued BAs are effectively worthless in the job market, they then begin to flock to grad school in order to try and stand out. And it seems that law school and MBA programs are the worst in this regard. But all of this is really just the end result of college becoming just another entitlement to children, with degrees being handed out like the participation trophies they are so used to.

Academic Pandering

Another major contributing factor to the declining value and quality of a college degree is that, academically speaking, the actual quality of a college “education” itself is declining at a very rapid rate. This is partly the result of more and more unqualified children entering college exceedingly ill prepared for advanced studies, and colleges therefore having to waste precious semesters and study hours playing catch-up just to get their children up to speed—to an academic level they should have already been at prior to entering college in the first place. One could of course blame this retardation on the simultaneous decline in the quality of a modern public high school education, as well as the lowering of college entrance standards due to entitlement and affirmative action. But there is also another major factor. For when it comes to academics, colleges today are coddling and pandering the feelings and sensitivities of their children like never before, at the direct expense of actual education.

Higher education, the point of which was once the pursuit of knowledge and objective truth no matter where it may lead, has now largely been degraded solely to protecting the precious self-esteem of its delicate children at all costs. Today, college kids are heavily sheltered from any new ideas, knowledge, or literature which may dare challenge or disprove their idiotic leftist assertions and worldview, and thereby hurt their “feelings”. Academic critical thinking and the provocative scrutinizing of ideas and conclusions has all but fallen by the wayside. What this essentially means is that children in college today do not wish to be educated or challenged, they only want their insane worldviews to be validated and reassured. A growing number of college children today are even calling for an end to final exams and grading in general, because they don’t like the stress of competition or hierarchical ordering—though what did you really expect from the participation “everyone gets a trophy” generation.

Worse still, beyond simply just safeguarding their children’s fragile emotions from the harsh realities and truths of the real world, many modern colleges are also actively encouraging, validating, and indoctrinating further the ever increasing insanity of their children’s beliefs. As a result, all manner of subversive, degenerate, or outright delusional leftist topics such as Marxism, relativism, multiculturalism, transgenderism, and feminism are now being taught, promoted, and accepted unconditionally and uncritically. At the same time, college children are also being fed a heavy dose of national and cultural self-loathing, being taught to despise and reject all things Western in the name of multicultural diversity and tolerance. Once proud areas of academic study, like Western civilization, history, art, language, and literature, are now routinely denigrated on many college campuses as being products of the oppressive white-male patriarchy. Though truth be told, this kind of ideological subversion is really nothing new and has actually been going on for quite some time—although it does appear to have gotten worse over the years. Which is not at all surprising considering that survey after survey repeatedly shows that the overwhelming majority of college professors and administrators identify as leftists. The only difference is that today many college children make no effort to actively reject or question this indoctrination, and in fact many actively demand it. In many cases, the children have become more radical than their leftist professors.

And while leftist narratives, agendas, bias, and indoctrination have already predominantly infested many classical and traditional areas of academic study, such as business, economics, history, political science, and law, this has proven to be only the beginning of such academic pandering and indoctrination. Today, it is not uncommon for colleges, largely at the behest of children’s demands, to have established relatively new departments and majors strictly devoted to the latest social justice cause de-jour: such as women’s studies, gender studies, multicultural studies, human sexuality studies, and various minority studies. All of which blatantly “study” these new areas with an extreme leftist bias and without critical thinking or scrutiny of any kind.

Because long gone are the days of passionate debate, unapologetic and controversial free speech, controversial literature, academic honesty and integrity, and the relentless pursuit of truth, knowledge, and wisdom on college campuses. Modern college is a far cry from the bastion of Socratic debate and critical thinking that it once was. Thanks to the success of the regressive radical left, cultural Marxism, and ideological subversion, as well as the overall “wussification” of American culture as a result, academia today is nothing more than another tool for leftist indoctrination. And many college kids, it seems, are perfectly okay with this. For most college kids today do not even want to be academically challenged, they only want their worldviews to be validated and confirmed—no matter how absurd or delusional they may be. So college campuses today have now largely become leftist echo chambers and havens for ridiculous social justice thought and activism and ground zero for new pseudo-intellectual, politically motivated false narratives. And while the STEM fields and majors may perhaps be a little more insulated from such leftist subversion—relatively speaking when compared to the liberal arts—the cultural tide of modern academia is such that even these once mathematical, scientific, and objective fields are now starting to feel the creep of leftist indoctrination and insane SJW activism as well.

The end result is an increasing number of college kids and graduates who leave college far from becoming educated or academically well-rounded, or even capable of critical thinking or detached analysis. Colleges are cranking out an entire generation of academic and intellectual weaklings. Children who are nothing more than brainwashed leftist drones incapable of independent thought and programmed only to regurgitate and obey whatever the current leftist narrative may be.

Emotional Pandering

Beyond just simply academically pandering to their children, a miscarriage of higher education bad enough on its own, many colleges today are also severely emotionally coddling and pandering to their children as well. Quite frankly, it is almost difficult to say which of the two is worse, but I personally tend to lean towards the latter. A man can function quite aptly in life without a strong academic foundation—especially given the state of modern academia—but to remain a pathetic emotional weakling is a true impediment to success. But I digress.

I think the root cause of a lot of this emotional pandering by modern universities—and it partly plays into the academic pandering side as well—is the result of a laughable preoccupation among many college children to feel “safe”. A brief amount of research into the matter will yield countless examples of college children today constantly crying and moaning about their “safety” and their need to “feel safe on campus”. And no, these children are not talking about the need for concealed carry rights on campus or the need for more campus police officers or blue light emergency call boxes. They are talking about their need to feel “safe” and “protected” from any form of expression or criticism—i.e. “hate speech” and “shaming”—which dares to dispute or disparage their leftist worldviews, ideologies, opinions, or bizarre lifestyles. Many of these children are so emotionally fragile that they often view even the slightest critical judgment or dissenting comment against them or their beliefs to be the utmost gravest threat to their very safety and well-being. As a result, they demand to be insulated and protected from such things on campus.

Yet this childish and laughably misunderstood obsession with “safety” goes far beyond perceived “hate speech” and “shaming”, and quite often extends into the realm of full on delusion and make-believe. So much so that many college children today are also demanding to be protected from all manner of fantastic “boogey men” which they believe to be haunting their campuses. Most of which have little to no basis in reality. Delusional college children are now conjuring up all kinds of social-injustice or politically-incorrect monsters, and then demanding that their universities take measures to protect them from the specters of their collective imagination. They are terrifying themselves with demons of oppression and injustice where there are really none to be found, demons like racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, “privilege”, “rape culture”, “toxic masculinity”, and cultural appropriations—to include Halloween costumes and cafeteria food. This obsession results in any non-politically-correct action or incident on campus, no matter how insignificant or benign, now being labeled as a “micro-aggression” or some kind of latent, everyday “ism’ or “phobia”. Because when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

But rather than just ignoring or standing up to these so-called dire threats to their “safety” themselves—like an adult—many college kids today are demanding that their respective schools crack down and take action to “protect” them instead. These demands for “safety” are indicative of the “your rights end where my feelings begin” mentality possessed by so many college children today. As a result, many college kids today are willingly allowing themselves to be subjected to harsh codes of conduct and administrative policies on campus, all in the name of protecting their “safety” and emotional sensitivities. Such draconian measures may include various forms of campus censorship, bans, segregation, “no tolerance” policies, student or peer court reviews, “right to be believed” or “guilty by accusation” policies, and various other administrative sanctions devoid of due process.

Perhaps the most notable measure that many modern colleges are taking to “protect” the “safety” and emotional well-being of their fragile little children is the Orwellian concept of “safe-spaces”. According to Tumblr, a “safe-space” is “a place where anyone can relax and be able to fully express, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, or physical or mental ability”. Sounds nice. However, what that leftist newspeak is actually saying is that the entire campus must be free from all personal or intellectual expressions or criticisms which could possibly make a leftist snowflake feel uncomfortable or “unsafe”. Any offending expression is then quickly labeled as “hate speech” and is forbidden from being further expressed on campus. And of course what is now defined as “hate speech” goes far beyond mere verbal comments and words, to include a much broader range of offenses such as art, literature, images, graffiti, posters, flags, historical building names, and campus organizations. Sometimes the “hate speech” may not even be intentional, like a person accidentally violating the insane, ever-changing leftist codes of conduct—like not calling someone by their preferred pronoun for example. But totalitarianism sounds so much kinder when you call it a “safe space”—kind of like the Ministry of Love.

Because this modern idea of “safe spaces” is really nothing more than the blatant suppression of free speech and expression on college campuses. It is leftist political correctness run completely amok and taken to its most illogical conclusion. The justification for such policies purports to be about creating a kinder, gentler, more tolerant and open-minded campus, but in reality such policies are nothing more than the institutionalized silencing of debate and dissent against the modern leftist ideology and narratives. Simply put, it is leftist totalitarianism on campus. Tolerance and free speech to these leftist children and complicit faculty is a one-way street. Those kids not thoroughly up to speed on the ever-changing PC culture found on modern college campuses must tread lightly or risk inadvertently “offending” or “victimizing” someone’s “safety”, which could result in severe campus penalties or sanctions.

In fact, a large reason as to why the Orwellian concept of “safe spaces” could even take hold on college campuses today in the first place has to do with the fact that so many college children now view themselves, and desperately want to be identified or treated as, the helpless victim of some neologistic or delusional oppression or injustice. Because in their twisted minds, victimization equates specialty, recognition, validation, and sympathy. Identity is everything to these millennial children, and being the helpless victim of some new, made up transgression only increases ones identity status. And sadly, many colleges are now going out of their way to accommodate and placate such narcissistic self-promoting behavior, with “safe spaces” being only the beginning.

Many colleges are now also issuing “trigger-warnings” for class materials and lectures, in order to warn their delicate little children in advance that the information contained therein may contain some unimaginably horrific and traumatic words and concepts not censored by the “safe space” codes. Lest they inadvertently “trigger” someone’s PTSD stemming from all manner of delusional victimizations and traumas. In fact, many schools are now even allowing their children to skip certain classes and lectures if a child feels they might be “triggered” by the material—god forbid they actually try and develop some fortitude by subjecting themselves to challenging new ideas or truths.

And to further highlight the kindergarten comparison I described above, some colleges today have even taken to providing their emotionally distraught children with coloring books, nap-time rooms, therapy puppies, play-doh, and bubbles in order to soothe them when they are distressed. Many colleges are also now encouraging their students to hold “hug-ins” and “cry-ins” as a legitimate form of support group therapy. Colleges are also increasing the amount of counseling and mental health services available on campus in order to allow for the growing number of spineless children who now feel “triggered” or traumatized in every conceivable way—like having to witness the horror of seeing “Trump” written on the sidewalk in chalk.

Such childish measures are not helping kids cope with stress and trauma, nor are they teaching or preparing them to properly deal with the harshness and brutality of the real world. In fact, they are actively doing the exact opposite, by further ensuring that these children remain emotionally coddled wimps. As I stated above, to actually believe that colleges today are churning out educated, well-adjusted “adults” adequately prepared to face the challenges and difficulties of life is laughable.

The SJW Mob

Although it is easy and accurate to label the average college kid today as an emotionally fragile wimp, I must point out that their extreme sense of self-righteousness and blind indoctrination to leftist groupthink does occasionally give them a surprising amount of undeserved courage. Yet it is only the courage to aggressively act as a “cry bully” towards anyone who dares to disagree with them. A “cry bully”, as defined by the Urban Dictionary, is “someone who uses the perceived righteousness of a social justice cause as a pretext to abuse others, and then plays the victim when confronted about that abuse”. And this description accurately describes the leftist kids on college campuses today. So where the official school administrative policies end, the humorless SJW “cry bullies” are more than happy to fill in the gaps by acting as the campus PC enforcers, bullying and harassing any of their fellow students who fail to fall in line. But it is also important to note that these children are only brave against those they view as too weak or too polite to fight back, or only when they have sufficient numbers on their side to create an SJW mob.

And it is from the hive-minded mob which the campus SJW “cry bullies” predominantly draw their power and are able to have any force or weight behind them. Individually, most of them are still frail emotional weaklings crying about their “safety”. But as a mob, they become obnoxiously bold. And from the mob and the use of mob tactics, they are then able to swarm and harass anyone on campus who disagrees with them, or protest and riot in order to disrupt or shut down any event or speaker with whom they disagree. The SJW mob effectively multiplies the power of a bunch of individual emotional lightweights into a totalitarian campus force able to punch well above its weight, strong-arming both student and faculty alike.

Those rare college administrators or professors who are not complicit with the ever increasing absurdity found on today’s campuses must now often walk on eggshells in the way they lecture, grade, and treat their students, lest they incur the wrath of a SJW mob. And even when great care is taken to placate them, non-complicit faculty members may still find themselves being intimidated into submission by the campus mobs, through various forms of protest, silencing, blackmail, lists of demands, calls for job termination, and other disruptive behavior. Simply put, non-complicit educators today generally must go out of their way to treat their “students” like the delicate, temperamental little children that they are, rather than the educated adults they claim to be.

The end result of all this campus insanity is a toxic combination of college administrators and professors either deliberately further indoctrinating their students, or pathetically kowtowing to them. The inmates are running the asylum.

Conclusion

It is apparent today that many children are being convinced of the necessity of college throughout their primary school educations. It is also apparent that many of these children have come to view college as a critical experience on the path toward adulthood. But what is becoming most apparent of all is the obvious decline in the value and quality of a college education, and the degree inflation which goes along with it.

Now clearly one can still benefit from a college education, with the right mindset and under the right circumstances. A college education and degree can still be beneficial towards success. This is especially true if one earns a degree in a worthwhile field or attends a college that still values objective education and is mostly free from the various issues described above. I did not write this essay to discount a college education entirely, only to highlight and discuss the growing insanity found on modern college campuses today.

I most also note that not all college kids today fit the descriptions listed above. Not all of them are thin-skinned emotional weaklings, and some are able to stand up against the hive-minded groupthink of their peers. Not all of them are academic weaklings either, some do not fall prey to the leftist indoctrination and are actually able to obtain an objective education in spite of it. Some kids, without even expecting or realizing it, have their eyes forced open from having to witness the campus insanity firsthand. And finally, some college kids are able to become strong adults, and leave college with a clearer understanding of the true nature of the world.

But the ultimate question then becomes: If you aren’t one of these childish snowflakes discussed above, and you don’t agree with the absurdity of modern college, then why would you want to subject yourself to the torture? And parents, why would you want your child to be subjected to this nonsense and indoctrination? Is obtaining an over-priced, inflated degree worth dealing with the insanity that has become the modern college experience? These are questions that every young person and parent must weigh and answer for themselves. What do I hope to gain from college, and is it worth it?

© 2016 By AB Frank, All Rights Reserved

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