It has been a good couple of weeks for parents of young children worrying about expensive college educations looming in their future. Unfortunately it’s too late for those already accruing hundreds of thousands of dollars in college costs but parents of younger children can rest easy. Recent events have exposed the collapsing value of today’s college education. Parents like me see that our high school friends who got civil service jobs rather than college degrees are now retired and supplementing their guaranteed pensions with new careers or spending more time at their vacation homes in Florida. Our degrees offer little opportunity if we haven’t made it into the senior ranks of banking or some other industry sloshing around in government support. Now that middle management is gone do consultants really need expensive degrees?
Parents who have already sacrificed their credit and assets so their kids can get nice white collar jobs like they had are increasingly supporting their adult children whose Starbucks wages are insufficient to support an independent life. They may have vibrant intellectual capabilities and know all about Shakespeare, Galileo and Plato but as Macro Rubio said, welders make more than philosophers.
Does anyone really know why the president and chancellor of the University of Missouri were forced to resign? Black students felt “stranded, forced to face an increase in tension and inequality with no systemic support” after the administration’s weak response to the troubles in Ferguson more than 100 miles away 14 months ago. The disgruntled students rallied around their colleague Jonathan Butler who went on a hunger strike until his group’s demands were met; one being that the president of the university apologize for his white privilege. Mr. Butler is the son of a Union Pacific Railroad executive who earned at least $8.4 million last year so what additional systemic support he needed is unclear. Nobody took the demands seriously until a group of the school’s football players refused to play, putting at least $1 million in weekly TV revenue at risk, their 1-5 conference record notwithstanding. It’s all an example of the lunatics running the asylum that would make Randle McMurphy blush.
You might say it’s just a state school in the middle of nowhere but take a look at Yale University, matriculator of presidents and others among our nation’s elite. Attempting to ensure a safe campus for students whose worst fear is of being offended, Yale officials issued a memo discouraging Halloween costumes that could be seen as offensive. After one official suggested students look away from that which offends them he was accosted on campus by a mob led by a female student screaming obscenities at him, you can watch it here. What most would see as an expellable offense was instead met with calm consideration by the official who probably feared for his physical safety more than his emotional safety. The campus has seemingly rallied around the aggrieved student with mass protests on the streets of New Haven.
Similar protests against free speech are springing up at other colleges too. Institutions of higher education that still allow students to question authority commonly relegate it to some far off corner designated as a free speech zone. Interaction among the student body must be in full observance of up-to-the-minute political correctness. Professors teaching about those heretofore unobjectionable subjects like Shakespeare, Galileo and Plato must issue trigger warnings that students might find certain material objectionable. With all the triggers lying around it was only a matter of time before students started pulling them and the barrels are pointed at the administrators who enable them to live out their suspended adolescence as long as the tuition checks clear.
So if you want your kids to learn how America’s founders were all racists or western intellectual thought is oppressive, or all the companies you hope might employ your child are really just ravaging the earth and their employees, then go ahead and take out that second mortgage but make sure you have enough left over to support your adult children after they graduate and can’t find jobs. Otherwise, encourage them to develop their intellect through work. Ideally in a field where the supply of labor is insufficient to meet demand, like welders and plumbers. Then you can use the money to buy them a home so they can move out of yours.