Robert Tracinski of the Federalist suggests the vital progressive center is no more.

Take higher education.  Please.
The “liberal arts” did not originally refer to a political leaning. The phrase referred to the kind of education in the humanities that was considered appropriate for a free man. But the mid-20th-century political liberals embraced a liberal education and regarded the liberal arts departments of the universities as their natural home. Young people were encouraged to get a liberal arts education to open their minds and broaden their horizons, requiring them to understand the great historical debates and confront unfamiliar ideas.

It all seems so hopelessly antique. There is a debate currently going on about whether a liberal education is worthwhile, and whether anyone should bother to get one any more. But the wider context for this debate is that the liberals are the ones killing liberal education.

They’re killing it economically by means of the Paradox of Subsidies — the decades of subsidized student loans that have made a college education so outrageously expensive, and leaves young people with such enormous piles of debt, that most students can’t afford to dabble in any field that doesn’t promise an immediate economic payoff.

But they’ve also killed it off by stamping out all of the challenging and unfamiliar ideas. This started in the 1990s when students protested for the elimination of courses in Western Civilization, on the grounds that being asked to think about great ideas produced by “dead white European males” is racist. Today, this closed-mindedness has become a full-blown system, with “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” designed to quarantine students from contact with uncomfortable ideas. As one student explained to a reporter, she needed to seek the isolation of a safe space because, “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs.” Way back when, liberals told us that this was the whole purpose of college. Then they built a system that was intended to prevent precisely such encounters. It’s almost as if they never really meant it—as if they meant that you were only supposed to encounter ideas that challenge the beliefs of the right, not ideas that challenge the dearly held beliefs of the left.
That's how "liberating tolerance" (properly, progressive intolerance) works.

The evidence on student loans skewing students' choices of major isn't as persuasive, particularly with the borrowing for graduate and professional degrees.  Still plenty of opportunity to indoctrinate in the first two or four years.

The hothouses for the freakazoid spawn of the 1% are still only a small part of higher education: perhaps the more likely explanation for the student debt is that the graduate schools now do what the baccalaureate programs used to do, and the baccalaureate programs do what the high schools once did, and the high schools are doing what junior high used to do.  There's an easy fix.

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