Archive for the ‘Younger Generation’ Category

Is Arthur C. Clarke’s Babylon our destiny?

August 1, 2018

Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote a story, published in 1960, about how a Communist dropped by his home in Ceylon to thank him for us idea of television broadcasting from earth satellites positioned over fixed points of the earth’s surface.

He said the Chinese planned to use this idea to saturate the United States with pornography and turn Americans into a nation of brainwashed pornography addicts.

They would start with broadcasts of images of erotic art on Hindu temples, but then produced specialized programming aimed at every sexual taste identified in the Kinsey Report.  They would also have a sideline of sadistic violence, starting with bullfights and working up to every torture and atrocity documented in the Nazi archives.

All this was fiction, of course.

My old friend Steve, who called my attention to this story, said that we Americans are now doing to ourselves what Clarke envisioned our enemies doing to us.  As conservative Christian journalist Rod Dreher writes:

We are conducting a radical experiment that has never before in history been tried, because it has never been possible. What happens to individuals and societies when images — moving images — of the most bizarre and violent sex acts imaginable can be instantly accessed by anyone, anywhere, at any time? What does that do to our brains, our minds, and our hearts? What does it to do us as a people?

Source: The American Conservative

The American Psychological Association is undecided whether to call excessive porn watching an addiction, a compulsion or just a bad habit, but, in layman’s terms and for all practical purposes, it is an addiction.

Of course, some people enjoy pornography with no obvious ill effects.  I have a friend who has read every issue of Playboy since it began its publication in 1953, and he scoffs at my concern.

But compared to what’s out there today, looking at Playboy’s centerfolds is more like looking at the lingerie ads in the old Sears Roebuck catalogs than it is like looking at the porn of today.

And he started at age 18, not age 13.  The effect of pornography on young children is different.

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Teenage cellist plays at royal wedding

May 22, 2018

 

Nineteen-year-old Sheku Kenneh-Mason played the cello for guests at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.   He is one of seven remarkable brothers and sisters who play a wide range of musical instruments..  Theirs is quite a story.

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Jordan Peterson’s antidote to chaos

January 22, 2018

Click on this for a full review of Jordon Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life

Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist and a professor at the University of Toronto whom I never heard of until last week, but who evidently has millions of followers on YouTube.

Below are his 12 Rules for Living, the title of a book that will be published later this year.  Based on the video above and on a couple of articles I’ve read about him, he is a free spirit who says things that are important and true, things that are important if true and some other things that I can’t make head nor tail of.

  1.  Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
  2.  Treat yourself like you would treat someone you are responsible for helping.
  3.  Make friends with people who want the best for you.
  4.  Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who somebody else is today.
  5.  Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
  6.  Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
  7.  Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
  8.  Tell the truth—or at least don’t lie.
  9.  Assume the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.
  10.  Be precise in your speech.
  11.  Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.
  12.  Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.

The 12 rules are true and important.  I remember, when I was a small boy, my mother telling me to stand with my shoulders back and my neck straight.   I think of this when I’m feeling down, and adopting good posture does change my attitude.  It makes me wiling to meet the challenges of the day.

He is right to object to silly rules about gendered pronouns, which regulate how you can refer to people who consider themselves neither men nor women.  I do believe in good manners—referring to people (within reason) as they would wish to be called.   But I wouldn’t try to enforce my idea of good manners through the criminal law.

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The truth about Santa Claus

December 21, 2017

I’ll be gone, you’ll still be here

December 14, 2017

I’m 81 years old today.  I don’t come from a long-lived family, and I have what they call a pre-existing medical condition, so I don’t expects decades more of life ahead of me.

I sometimes regret I won’t see what the future holds in store.  But the more I think about the future, the more I’m relieved that I won’t.

The odds are good that I will win what Ian Welsh calls the death bet – the bet that I will have enjoyed the good things the world has to offer and die before I have to pay the price.  If you are 60 years old are younger, the odds are that you will lose.

THE FINAL CRASH

Right before the financial crash of 2008, there was a saying among Wall Street speculators about when the financial bubble would burst.  “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.”

In fact none of them suffered any bad consequences from their actions, up to and including financial fraud.  President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner arranged to have the big banks and investment firms bailed out of the consequences of their mistakes, and Attorney-General Eric Holder declined to prosecute financial fraud by heads of companies deemed “too big to fail.”

The Federal Reserve Board and Treasury Department prioritized reviving the stock market, to the great benefit of owners of stocks and bonds, including investors in mutual funds such as myself.   But then, even under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the financial markets recovered before the job markets did.

Now the U.S. economy is in another bubble, just like the last one—overhangs of debt that can’t be paid, increasing concentration of wealth at the top, the decline of the mass consumer market and the failure of either corporations or the government to invest for the future.

It’s probable, but not certain, that the government will succeed in bailing out the big players, just like the last time.  What is certain is that this can’t go on forever.   Without big changes in the financial system, there will be a final crash in which the institutions are not too big to fail, but are too big to rescue.

NUCLEAR ROULETTE

For more than 60 years, the United States government’s policy toward nuclear war was deterrence.  The theory is that the best way to be safe from war is to have nuclear weapons and be willing to use them if necessary.  In other words, if you want peace, be prepared to go to war.

So far this policy has worked.  We’ve gone to the brink of war a couple of times, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly, but we’ve always pulled back in time.   There have long been factions in the U.S. government that wanted to pre-emptively use nuclear weapons, but they’ve always been sidelined or disregarded.

I think it is likely to work—right up until the time it doesn’t work, and it only has to fail once.  If you play a game of Russian roulette, you’re likely—although not certain—to win.  If you continually play Russian roulette, you’re certain to someday lose.

I don’t expect nuclear war with North Korea, although the chances are more than zero.  I don’t expect nuclear war with Russia, although the chances are greater than war with North Korea.   But unless our policy changes, both concerning armaments and our foreign policy in general, there will be a war in which we and everybody else will be the loser.

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Jobless youth and oldsters who can’t retire

July 26, 2016

Thomas Geoghegan, a labor lawyer in Chicago, wrote a good article for The Baffler about the connection between low wages, high youth unemployment and older people (such as himself) being unwilling to retire.

Thomas Geoghegan

Thomas Geoghegan

A reporter asked Pope Francis to name the single biggest evil in the world.  Secularism?  No.  Abortion?  Not even.  Here’s what he said: “Youth unemployment—and the abandonment of the elderly.”

OK, that’s two evils.  But aren’t they really one thing?  Unable to get a start, boomerang kids move back home—while their grandparents hang on to their jobs.

Why hang on?  They fear being abandoned.  They didn’t save.  The young have always had to wait for the old to retire in order to move up a notch, but in the twenty-first century, that wait is getting longer, increasing the competition for scarce jobs.

For the state to shrink, the old must work more.  It’s a neoliberal axiom.  Call it the New Old Deal.

As a labor lawyer, let me defend my clients.  The working-class people I represent are dying sooner, not mucking up the labor market by living too long.  Alcohol and heroin are partially to blame, and trending stories on epidemics afflicting the white working class make easy fodder for TV newsmagazines.

But let me tell you what I more often see happening to non-college whites: those who do hard physical labor for an hourly wage go lame.  By age fifty-five, or certainly sixty, many are just done.

And when they go lame, they have no options.  They have no union-bargained pensions anymore.   They certainly have no 401(k) retirement accounts.

Maybe the country should be grateful; to the extent that they die prematurely, they help shore up Social Security.  And hey, should the GOP make it harder for them to receive workers’ comp or disability, these high school grads may die even younger.

The whole article is worth reading.  Click on Exit Planning to read it.

Another reason I’m glad I’m not a Millennial

July 5, 2016

median-rent-and-income

Sharp increases in rents along with stagnant incomes over the past five years have helped create a dire situation for many of the country’s renters.  A new report shows how those trends have actually been playing out for more than five decades.

Inflation-adjusted rents have risen by 64% since 1960, but real household incomes only increased by 18% during that same time period, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released by Apartment List, a rental listing website.

Renters fared the worst during the decade between 2000 and 2010, when inflation-adjusted household incomes fell by 9%, while rents rose by 18%, according to Apartment List.  That is likely because there were two recessions during that time and a housing bust in 2008 that drove millions of homeowners into renting.

The takeaway: The United States has grown much less affordable for renters for half a century and, barring a major change, is likely to continue doing so.

Source: Wall Street Journal.

These figures are national averages.   I shudder to think what it would be like to try to rent in places like San Francisco.

Sanders, Millennials and the future

June 7, 2016

Millennials for Sanders

If Donald Trump is the candidate of angry white men and Hillary Clinton is the candidate of women, Bernie Sanders is the candidate of the young.

Across demographic groups, public opinion polls show a majority of voters under 30 support Sanders.

This is partly because younger Americans live in a more unforgiving world than I did when I was their age, and they have a stronger desire for change.

I think there is another reason.  Someone who is 19 or 29 should have a longer time horizon than I do at age 79.

My circle of friends consists mostly of liberal Democrats in my age group.  For them, the big question is: What would happen if Donald Trump is elected?

A younger person might ask: What would happen if we have eight more years of war and economic decline?  What if things go on as they are now for decades?

I think of global climate change as a problem for a future I probably won’t live to see.  Millennials can expect to see California run out of water and Miami sink beneath the waves in their lifetimes.

A Millennial voter would be more concerned than somebody in my generation—I feel silly calling myself a member of the Greatest Generation—about building the long-range future than about winning the next election.

Clinton is a defender of the status quo.  Trump is a voice for anger and frustration.  Of the three, only Sanders represents hope for the future.

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Anti-racism: thought reform vs. social change

May 23, 2016

Minor revisions 5/24/2016

Aviva Chomsky wrote a good article for TomDispatch about the anti-racism movement on college campuses.   She discussed how it has come to focus on individual change rather than societal change, and is thereby less threatening to the powers that be.

In some of their most dramatic actions, students of color, inspired in part by the Black Lives Matter movement, have challenged the racial climate at their schools.

In the process, they have launched a wave of campus activism, including sit-ins, hunger strikes, demonstrations, and petitions, as well as emotional, in-your-face demands of various sorts.

Aviva Chomsky

Aviva Chomsky

One national coalition of student organizations, the Black Liberation Collective, has called for the percentage of black students and faculty on campus to approximate that of blacks in the society.

It has also called for free tuition for black and Native American students, and demanded that schools divest from private prison corporations.

Other student demands for racial justice have included promoting a living wage for college employees, reducing administrative salaries, lowering tuitions and fees, increasing financial aid, and reforming the practices of campus police.

These are not, however, the issues that have generally attracted the attention either of media commentators or the colleges themselves.

Instead, the spotlight has been on student demands for cultural changes at their institutions that focus on deep-seated assumptions about whiteness, sexuality, and ability.

At some universities, students have personalized these demands, insisting on the removal of specific faculty members and administrators.

Emphasizing a politics of what they call “recognition,” they have also demanded that significant on-campus figures issue public apologies or acknowledge that “black lives matter.”

Some want universities to implement in-class “trigger warnings” when difficult material is being presented and to create “safe spaces” for marginalized students as a sanctuary from the daily struggle with the mainstream culture.

By seizing upon and responding to these (and only these) student demands, university administrators around the country are attempting to domesticate and appropriate this new wave of activism.

Source: Aviva Chomsky | TomDispatch

(Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

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Bernie Sanders’ share of the youth vote

March 17, 2016

Bernie SandersCdwo4iCWoAAPqVcVia The Fix | The Washington Post.

The good news for Bernie Sanders is that he gets a larger share than any other candidate of votes of people under age 30.  The bad news is that younger voters do not turn out in large numbers, compared to older voters, and that Sanders’ advantage with voters under 30 is shrinking as the primary season goes on.

Douglas Adams’ rules of technology

March 15, 2016

1.  Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2.  Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3.  Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Source: Stumbling and Mumbling

Can Bernie Sanders bring out the Millennials?

January 28, 2016

SDT-next-america-03-07-2014-0-09
Youth_vote_turnout

Young voters vote for Democrats by large majorities—when they vote.  The question for the Democrats is whether any candidate will generate enough enthusiasm among Millennials to make a difference.

As Chuck Bodd pointed out on Daily Kos, voters under 30 gave Barack Obama his margin of victory in both 2008 and 2012.  My own opinion, like Bodd’s, is that Bernie Sanders is the only Democratic candidate with a chance of doing that.

The difference between Sanders and Obama was that Obama was the candidate supported by idealistic young people, but he also was the candidate of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.  When forced to choose, he went with Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

Maybe there are a couple of millionaires who support Sanders, but he has burned his bridges with Wall Street.  His only sources of support are the middle class, working people and liberal idealists, and he knows it.

LINKS

The Millennial perspective: Why Bernie gets it and why it matters by Chuck Bodd for Daily Kos.

Millennials are the key to Democratic success and overwhelmingly, they want Bernie by Chuck Bodd for Daily Kos.

Bernie Sanders’ Millennial backers help close the gap versus Hillary Clinton by Jeff Zeleny for CNN.

College students who can’t write correct English

November 18, 2015

Alex Small, a physics professor, is frustrated with white, middle-class college students who can’t write grammatically correct English.

I’m in a dark mood from grading.  If I have to constantly correct errors of subject-verb agreement in papers written by native English speakers from the majority ethnic/racial group, then higher education is pretty much doomed. I’m emphasizing their ethnic majority status because we can’t blame this on some sort of disadvantage.  [snip]

Alex Small

Alex Small

The dominant group will periodically allow some sort of largess by which “those people” get their “special program” and if they still don’t succeed then the dominant group can write them off with a clear conscience.  And if they do succeed, the dominant group can put an asterisk on their success, because they obviously only got there thanks to the “special program” (an asterisk that will make some seethe with resentment while others pat themselves on the back).

However, the dominant group will never tolerate their own kids being treated with benevolent condescension.  Good middle-class kids from the dominant group can’t possibly be failing, because their kids are (by definition) the measure of success for the mainstream.  Their kids will get degrees.  Period.

Source: Physicist at Large

I usually dislike the term “white privilege” because it implies people getting something they shouldn’t have.  Not being scared when you’re stopped by police isn’t a privilege.  It’s how everybody should be able to feel.

But the term does apply here, although maybe “upper middle-class suburban privilege” might be more exact.

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Do kids nowadays need to be taught how to play?

October 14, 2015

When I was a child, I learned how to play games from other children.

No adult taught me how to play tag or dodge ball or Quaker meeting [1] or hide and go seek or even baseball.  I learned them all from other children.

I learned the rules of fair play from other children.  All games have rules.  If you didn’t play by the rules, other kids wouldn’t want to play with you.

Playworks supervised play

Playworks supervised play

Now I learn there is a company called Playworks that offers services as a “recess consultant.”   It organizes school recess to create “more inclusive and structured playtime” to create a “quality playtime experience” that will enable children to be more successful adults.   I am not making this up.

I see two possible ways to look at this—one bad and one worse.

The merely bad possibility is that this is a typical bureaucratic scheme to take all the spontaneity out of life.

The worse possibility is that companies such as Playworks actually are needed—that adults organize children’s time so thoroughly that they literally don’t know how to play, only how to take part in organized activities.

That’s why so many kids nowadays are devoted to their Smartphones.  The Internet is the only realm where they can be free of adult supervision.

Now I don’t see any evidence of this on my street.  I see hopscotch chalk marks on the sidewalks, the same as when I was a child.  I see kids playing ball and doing other normal kid things.

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The generation gap

September 29, 2015

CPzZcoaVEAAdArVSource: Wayne Dahlberg on Twitter.

Hat tip to Mike the Mad Biologist.

Three reasons for hopefulness

August 31, 2015

1.  The rate of killings of black people by police is going down.

blackwhite

I was surprised at the information in the graph, which I found on the Avedon’s Sideshow web site.   Of course the black death rate due to “legal intervention” is still double the white death rate.  I hope the trend continues.

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Have teenagers lost interest in summer jobs?

August 12, 2015

 d7dfdc782bc4d1a6970a09e3ffc40e73Source: Vox.

ft_15_0618_summerjobs_420px.png.CROP.promovar-mediumlargeSource: Pew Research.

Somewhat fewer teenagers from affluent families are interested in working summer jobs than in the past.  And more teenagers than in the past are attending school during the summer.

But another reason fewer teenagers are working summer jobs is that they can’t compete with the growing numbers of adults who want those same jobs.

LINKS

Why American Teens Aren’t Working Summer Jobs Anymore by Peter Gosselin for Bloomberg News.

The fading of the teen summer job by Drew DeSilver for Pew Research.

Why millennials don’t save money

July 8, 2015

Duncan Black, a blogger in Philadelphia, explains:

How do you expect people to start their careers with a hundred thousand dollars in debt, and then save for a down payment, and then save for retirement?  This is un-possible even with high paying jobs, which most people don’t have.

It’s true that the magic of compound interest works really well if you start saving at age 21 and continue until retirement, but it’s also true that it’s stupid to save if investment returns are lower than the interest rates on the absurd amount of debt that you were supposed to rack up to enter civilized life.

Really no one should go into this much debt to go to college, but The Kids Today don’t even have the option of cheap public universities like The Kids In My Day did.

via Eschaton.

This is also the reason why the Millennial generation doesn’t spend money in the consumer economy the way previous generations did.

An American Imam fights ISIS propaganda

June 20, 2015

ThinkProgress had a good article about how a sensible American Imam explained to Muslim teenagers that the Islamic State’s propaganda is contrary to the authoritative teachings and the historic practice of Islam.

When people are ignorant of their own religion, they are vulnerable to those who try to sell them a twisted version of it.   The best cure for ignorance is accurate knowledge.

The disturbing thing to me about the article is that Imam Mohamid Magid’s effort is necessary in the first place.  It is disturbing that ISIS has such a big presence on American social media.  The New York Times reported that ISIS sends out an estimated 500 million messages a day via 46,000 Twitter accounts.

It also is disturbing that ISIS propaganda has an impact.  I can understand radical Muslim movements with grievances against the United States, Israel and other Western countries.  I do not volunteer to become a victim of such movements, nor advocate that others do so, but they are understandable in a way that ISIS is not.

The primary targets of ISIS are other Muslims and harmless religious minorities who have been living in peace in majority-Muslim countries, and the images that ISIS broadcasts of be-headings and burnings are manifestations of sadistic cruelty.  This is very hard to understand.

U.S. government officials estimate that 150 young Americans have gone or tried to go to Syria to join ISIS, the New York Times reported.  Imam Magid said some of them were no doubt mentally ill, and I’m sure that is true.

Eric Hoffer pointed out years ago in his book, The True Believer, that people who join extremist mass movements are not those who are rooted in a traditional religion, but people who are uprooted from their culture and desperately need something to give them sense of meaning and belonging.

LINKS

How This Imam Has Kept Americans From Joining the Islamic State by Igor Volsky and Victoria Fleischer for ThinkProgress.

U.S. Muslims Take On ISIS’ Recruiting Machine by Laurie Goodstein for the New York Times.

Americans are becoming better-behaved

April 2, 2015

Americans—that is, average Americans, not necessarily Hollywood stars, sports stars and the financial and governmental elite—are becoming better-behaved.

  • Homicide rates are down.
  • Domestic violence is down.
  • Child abuse is down
  • Cocaine use is down (although marijuana use is up)
  • Alcoholism is down
  • Drunk driving is down.
  • Cigarette smoking is down.
  • Illicit drug use by teenagers is down.
  • Alcohol use by teenagers is down.
  • Cigarette smoking by teenagers is down.
  • Teenage pregnancy is down.

The main exception to these trends is that Americans are slower to get married than in the past and quicker to become divorced.  But maybe it is better to be unmarried or divorced than in a bad or abusive marriage.

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Young children can be victims of identity theft

February 20, 2015

I’m getting on in years, and, like my friend Daniel Brandt, hadn’t realized that young children and even infants these days have Social Security numbers.

Infants are assigned Social Security numbers at birth so parents can claim them as dependents on their income tax forms.

Like Daniel, I didn’t have a Social Security number until I got a summer job as a teenager and had to pay withholding tax.

It’s an example of the new normal.  On the one hand, information kept in electronic data banks affects our whole lives.  On the other hand, that information is not secure.

LINK

Millions of Children Exposed to ID Theft Through Anthem Breach by Herb Weisbaum for NBC News.  (Hat tip to Daniel Brandt)

 

More black men in prison than college? Not so!

February 12, 2015

black_men_in_college_and_jails-01_720.0

I admit I always accepted the statement that there are more young black men in prisons and jails without ever checking the source.  Evidently a lot of other people did, too.

Source: The myth that there are more black men in prison than in college, debunked in one chart by Jenee Desmond-Harris for Vox.  (Hat tip to Bill Elwell).

What makes teachers cry (and laugh)

November 29, 2014

[Update 11/30/14.  Well, evidently these answers weren’t in a GED (see comment below) and, since they’re Internet memes, they may not be from last year.  I hope they’re at least genuine answers from 16-year-olds.]

The following questions were set in last year’s GED examination.

These are genuine answers (from 16 year olds)

Q. Name the four seasons.
A. Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q. How is dew formed?
A. The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q. What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?
A. If you are buying a house they will insist that you are well endowed

Q. In a democratic society, how important are elections?
A. Very important.  Sex can only happen when a male gets an election.

Q. What are steroids?
A. Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q. What happens to your body as you age?
A. When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

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The dangerous new ‘precariat’ class

October 28, 2014

Millions of people in the USA and other industrial countries are living paycheck to paycheck.  There are millions more for whom being able to live paycheck to paycheck would be a considerable improvement.

The people in this second group, “the precariat,” don’t know from week to week whether they’ll be able to work or how much they’ll earn.   From the perspective of the elite, that means a “flexible” labor force, which from their perspective is a good thing.  But the flexibility is all on the part of workers, not of managers or holders of financial assets.

Prof. Guy Standing of the University of London said the precariat class is growing in all industrial countries.  This class consists of three categories of people—sons and daughters of blue collar workers who had secure jobs, migrants and minorities who live on the fringe of society, and college graduates who find themselves unable to work in their fields.

Few of them participate in politics because they’re too busy just scrambling to make a living.  They’re divided among themselves, with the children of the middle class sometimes blaming minorities and migrants for their plight.

But they’re discontented, and while their discontent mostly takes the form of violent protest, Standing thinks that, under the leadership of the educated part of the precariat, they could become a powerful force.

The militarization of the police, the spread of universal surveillance and the criminalization of dissent indicate that a lot of people in authority think the same thing.

  LINK

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing for Working Class Perspectives  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

 

‘Don’t send your kid to the Ivy League’

July 25, 2014

A century ago, the Ivy League universities—Harvard, Yale and Princeton—provided an education suitable for those who were born rich.  Now they provide an education suitable for those who hope to get rich.  This is not an improvement.

The old thinking was that those born into the upper ranks of society should receive an education suitable for future leaders.   The universities taught them history and the classics to give a broad understanding of the world.  They also sought to teach mental and physical discipline to build character.  College athletics were part of the character-building process, not a producer of revenue.

ivyleague.jpg_largeThe great 20th century democratic dream was that this type of education should be made available not just to the children of the elite, but to everyone who wanted it and was capable of it.   I was fortunate enough to attend college in the 1950s, when this dream was at its zenith, and I received a broad liberal education (with some gaps, due to bad choices on my part).  I can’t prove it was of economic benefit, but it enriched my life.

Now higher education has become part of the process of sorting people into winners and losers.

President Obama says everybody should have a chance to go to college in order to advance themselves economically.  But of course if everybody goes to college, then a college degree will be worth no more in economic terms than a high school diploma today.  An Ivy League degree is what economists called “positional good”—something that is valuable only because not everybody has it.

My e-mail pen pal Bill Harvey sent me a link to an article in the New Republic by William Deresiewicz about how elite education has been corrupted by the quest for success.  Here are some highlights.

Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it. [snip]

I taught many wonderful young people during my years in the Ivy League—bright, thoughtful, creative kids whom it was a pleasure to talk with and learn from.  But most of them seemed content to color within the lines that their education had marked out for them.

Very few were passionate about ideas.  Very few saw college as part of a larger project of intellectual discovery and development.  Everyone dressed as if they were ready to be interviewed at a moment’s notice.  [snip]

Once, a student at Pomona told me that she’d love to have a chance to think about the things she’s studying, only she doesn’t have the time.  I asked her if she had ever considered not trying to get an A in every class.  She looked at me as if I had made an indecent suggestion. [snip]

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