Tag Archives: Education

The Outdated Business Model of Diversity, Inc.

In today’s divided society, universities would be wise to stress unity and academic rigor.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

Diversity has become corporatized on American campuses, with scores of bureaucrats and administrators accentuating different pedigrees and

Americophile via wikicommons

Americophile via wikicommons

ancestries. That’s odd, because diversity  no longer means “variety” or “points of difference,” in the way it used to be defined.

Instead, diversity has become an industry synonymous with orthodoxy and intolerance, especially in its homogeneity of political thought.

When campuses sloganeer “celebrate diversity,” that does not mean they encourage all sorts of political views. If it did, faculties and student groups would better reflect the U.S.’s political realities and might fall roughly into two equal groups: liberal and conservative.

Do colleges routinely invite graduation speakers who are skeptical of man-made global warming, and have reservations about present abortion laws, gay marriage, or illegal immigration — if only for the sake of ensuring diverse views?

Nor does diversity mean consistently ensuring that institutions should reflect “what America looks like.”

If it did, all sorts of problems could follow. As we see in the NBA and NFL, for example, many of our institutions do not always reflect the proportional racial and ethnic makeup of America. Do we really want all institutions to weigh diversity rather than merit so that coveted spots reflect the race and gender percentages of American society?

Does anyone care that for decades the diverse state of California’s three most powerful elected officials have been most undiverse? Representative Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Senator Dianne Feinstein are all mature women, quite liberal, very wealthy, married to rich professionals or entrepreneurs, and all once lived within commuting distance of each other in the Bay Area. Read more →

The Death of the Humanities

A liberal arts education was once a gateway to wisdom; now it can breed ignorance and arrogance.

by Victor Davis Hanson // Defining Ideas 

The humanities are in their latest periodic crisis. Though the causes of the

Moyan_Brenn via Flickr

Moyan_Brenn via Flickr

ongoing decline may be debated, everyone accepts the dismal news about eroding university enrollments, ever fewer new faculty positions, the decline in majors, and the lack of jobs for humanities graduates. Less than 8% of current BA degrees are awarded to humanities majors. The New York Times recently reported that while 45% of the undergraduate faculty at Stanford teach in the humanities, only 15% of the students major in them.

Of course, the numbers of humanities majors have been in decline since the 1970s. But what seems different today is that the humanities are less sacrosanct in the university. Literature, philosophy, and art are no longer immune from budget cuts by virtue of their traditional intrinsic value to the university. Either Read more →

Eating Our Young

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

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Photo Credit: Reini68 via Flickr

It is popular now to talk of race, class, and gender oppression. But left out of this focus on supposed victim groups is the one truly targeted cohort — the young. Despite the Obama-era hype, we are not suffering new outbreaks of racism. Wendy Davis is not the poster girl for a resurgent misogyny. There is no epidemic of homophobia. Instead, if this administration’s policies are any guide, we are witnessing a pandemic of ephebiphobia — an utter disregard for young people.

The war against those under 30 — and the unborn — is multifaceted. No one believes that the present payroll deductions leveled on working youth will result in the same levels of support upon their retirements that is now extended to the retiring baby-boom Read more →

The Idol of Equality

To put equality ahead of liberty is to war against human nature.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

447px-Alexis_de_tocqueville“There is, in fact, a manly and lawful passion for equality which excites men to wish all to be powerful and honored. This passion tends to elevate the humble to the rank of the great; but there exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom.”

—Alexis de Tocqueville

In his famous admonition about the tyranny of the majority, Tocqueville went on to warn that “Liberty is not the chief and constant object of their desires; equality is their idol: they make rapid and sudden efforts to obtain liberty, and if they miss their aim resign themselves to their disappointment; but nothing can satisfy them except equality, and rather than lose it they resolve to perish.” Read more →

The Outlaw Campus

The university has become a rogue institution in need of root-and-branch reform.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

Two factors have so far shielded the American university from the sort of criticism that it so freely levels against almost every other institution in American life. (1) For decades a college education has been considered the key to an ascendant middle-class existence. (2) Until recently a college degree was not tantamount

SalFalko via Flickr

SalFalko via Flickr

to lifelong debt. In other words, American society put up with a lot of arcane things from academia, given that it offered something — a BA or BS degree — that almost everyone agreed was a ticket to personal security and an educated populace.

Not now. Colleges have gone rogue and become virtual outlaw institutions. Graduates owe an aggregate of $1 trillion in student debt, borrowed at interest rates far above home-mortgage rates — all on the principle that universities could charge as much as they liked, given that students could borrow as much as they needed in federally guaranteed loans.

Few graduates have the ability to pay back the principal; they are simply paying the compounded interest. More importantly, a college degree is not any more a sure pathway to a good job, nor does it guarantee that its holder is better educated than those without it. If the best sinecure in America is a tenured full professorship, the worst fate may be that of a recent graduate in anthropology with a $100,000 loan. That the two are co-dependent is a national scandal.

In short, the university has abjectly defaulted on its side of the social contract by no longer providing an affordable and valuable degree. Accordingly, society can no longer grant it an exemption from scrutiny. Read more →

The Obamacare Generation

The ACA depends on Millennials picking up the tab — as they already are for other entitlements — in the midst of a bad economy.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

There are all sorts of time bombs embedded within Obamacare.

Will we force doctors to treat the millions of new Medicaid patients who are signing up for services that can be only partially reimbursed? How exactly will the IRS collect penalties from millions of off-the-books youth who choose not to buy coverage? Read more →

America’s Coastal Royalty

The real national divide isn’t between red and blue states.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

The densely populated coastal corridors from Boston to Washington and from San Diego to Berkeley are where most of America’s big decisions are made.

They remind us of two quite different Americas: one country along these coasts and everything else in between. Those in Boston, New York, and Washington determine how our government works; what sort of news, books, art, and fashion we should consume; and whether our money and investments are worth anything. Read more →

The Launch of the Freedom Academy

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

Today launches the Freedom Academy®, a project some 18 months in the making. In the FA-homepage-9_23_13_01present age, we need a meeting place where people can rediscover what freedom entails and appreciate the origins and role of liberty. The majority of Americans yearn for a rebirth of these values that have sustained Western civilization, and birthed the American experiment. Such reverence for our heritage and origins is why we at PJ Media will offer a variety of ways to understand our present dilemmas through an appreciation of past ideas and events.

Despite all the contemporary upheavals in Washington—whether over the government shutdown, debt-ceiling increase, or Obamacare—we can be certain that history remains both our gateway to the future and our window to the past. The political strife we are witnessing is not new, but a continuance of the age-old struggle between the tragic and therapeutic views of the human condition, over the collision of history and humanities with the social sciences, and the liberty of the individual pitted against the coercive power of the collective. Read more →

Rich, Arrogant, and Stupid

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

The modern West demonstrates a phenomenon unknown in history––750px-Bicentennial_Lunch_Boxunprecedented wealth, technology, and access to information combined with abject stupidity. Wisdom once known by every village explainer and cracker-barrel crank has been discarded and replaced with phony “sciences” making claims about human nature and behavior that are based on nothing other than false assumptions, political ideology, and wishful thinking. Whether it’s foreign policy, managing the economy, or teaching the young, our leaders institute policies that violate the traditional wisdom accumulated by generations of human experience. Read more →

The Decline of College

by Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Media Services 

For the last 70 years, American higher education was assumed to be the pathway to upper-mobility and a rich shared-learning experience.

Young Americans for four years took a common core of classes, learned to look at the world dispassionately, and gained the concrete knowledge to make informed arguments logically.

The result was a more skilled workforce and a competent democratic citizenry. That ideal may still be true at our flagship universities, with their enormous endowments and stellar world rankings.

Yet most elsewhere, something went terribly wrong with that model. Almost all the old campus protocols are now tragically outdated or antithetical to their original mission.

Tenure — virtual lifelong job security for full-time faculty after six years — was supposed to protect free speech on campus. How, then, did campus ideology become more monotonous than diverse, more intolerant of politically unpopular views than open-minded?

Read more →