11.7.17

HIGHER EDUCATION BREAKS THE SOCIAL CONTRACT.

Jason Willick for The American Interest documents the payback.
Over the past few years, leftwing activism on college campuses has reached a level of intensity not seen since at least the “canon wars” of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and possibly not since the countercultural movements of the 1960s. Meanwhile, campus PC blowups—over trigger warnings, safe spaces, sexual harassment, and offensive speakers—dovetailed with the 2016 presidential campaign, as Hillary Clinton touted “intersectionality” on her Twitter feed and Donald Trump reveled in raising a middle finger to the ever-proliferating codes of academic liberalism.

Conservative media has also played an important role. Privileged students ensconced in $60,000-per-year institutions shouting down speakers for incorrect opinions on gender pronouns makes the perfect foil for the new anti-PC right. So right-wing journalists have followed the excesses of the campus left closely, spreading news of the latest insanity far and wide, often with a touch of hyperbole thrown in.

Most campus lefties will probably look at these numbers as evidence that Republicans are even more anti-intellectual than they thought, and that the #resistance against them needs to be taken up a few notches. This would be a big mistake. The homogenization of leftwing views on college campuses, and the obvious hostility to conservative ones was bound to produce a backlash from conservative voters. That backlash has been wrapped up in class conflict between a highly-credentialed professional class and a working class that finds higher education and the well-paying jobs it provides to the elite increasingly out of reach.
That the credential isn't what it used to be, and an increasing proportion of graduates, even from the hundred or so institutions claiming to head the U.S. News rankings, are finding themselves unemployed or underemployed isn't helping.

But for the guardians of business as usual, this time at Vox, it's another day of denial.  "Wait, you mean there’s not a bunch of jobs out there for people who major in underwater basket-weaving?!"

It's likely that defenders of public higher education will see censorship in efforts by Republicans, in the state-houses and at Washington City, to defund the left.
America’s higher education system, as currently structured, depends on consensus support from both parties. If universities continue to torch their reputation with the right, they may find that some of the privileges and resources and social prestige they have become accustomed to will go up in flames as well.
Dear reader, the use of public funds to support any sort of content delivery is censorship per se, and it has been the obligation of the faculty and the trustees to exercise their powers properly.  How many times must I remind you.  "Set up no machinery of repression you would not entrust your most severe critic to operate."   Even the most perceptive among you will benefit by a modicum of repetition.  "Professional protesters misuse academic respectability for non-academic ends."  Put another way, higher education's Republican problem, or Trump problem, or whatever it is, is self-made.

No comments: