Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Pernicious Role of Government in Higher Ed

Higher Education is less and less about education these days and more and more about social protest.  This, in the wealthiest society in the world.  Poor people in America live by a standard that the vast majority of the people of the world have no hope to ever achieve.  But, it isn't the poor that are protesting.

The protests are coming from the wealthiest strata of society.   The wealthy and privileged, apparently, are the new victims of oppression, or, at the very least, the newly self-appointed spokesmen for the oppressed.  Colleges and universities all over America have turned into hotbeds of unhappiness.  Many college students seem unable to weather the slings and arrows of events both near and far away.  They are suffering, they say, leaving little time to pursue an education.

Instead, the demand is to convert the university itself, more and more, into an institution devoted to political agitation.  Those who might question such a move are no longer considered worthy of the right of free speech.  They need to move on or be run over.

This is the natural result of deep federal government involvement in education, mostly driven by using taxpayer money to fund political activities and politically-motivated research at America's universities.  The usual response when one questions why university administrators tolerate illegal, sometimes violent, activities by 19 and 20 year olds, is that government funding might be threatened if they took any action other than surrender.

Thus, universities are more and more devoted to "centers" that separate students into various categories, categories which are multiplying every year.  Integration has given way to enforced and institutionally encouraged separation, one race from another, one gender from another, one ethnic group from another, one nationality from another -- unending and confusing multiplicities of identities, most of whom feel victimized, they say,  by the universities and colleges they attend.

How to divide the university financial pie among all of these competing victim groups?  That is the modern question facing the modern university.  Education has become an after thought, no longer relevant to the modern higher ed establishment.  It's all about identity, not about building strength or character through education.

The folks that lead these institutions now make whopping salaries (seven figure salaries are rampant at the elite schools), typically with accompanying entourages that would make the ghost of Louis the XIV blush.  Faculty parking lots are full of mercedes, bmws and the occasional ferrari.  Times have changed.

The real victim is the education process itself, no longer of much concern to folks out raising money to perpetuate these institutions.  Taxpayers, either through direct government grants or tax deductions provided to wealthy donors, provide the funding for institutions that have long since lost their moorings and are constantly casting about for a new champion or cause that might stir up students, many of whom no longer see education of much value anyway.

Ultimately, there will be no financing to support all of this, since no real product is created or even envisioned by the increasingly politicized modern education model.  Tuitions are continuing to escalate skyward and that process will not abate.  Eventually, however, the tide will turn and many, if not most of these no-longer-functional monstrosities will collapse of their own weight.

Education, as such, is, after all, pretty cheap and not in any way political.  That simple and obvious fact will spell doom for the higher education system that big government has spawned.

No comments: