It has become an undeniable fact of American life that our education system is heavily biased left. This is true about all levels, but it is currently most apparent — and most provoking to conservatives, to judge from the cottage industry of related books and articles — in higher education.
Despite railing about this for 70 years, conservatives have done almost nothing effective to address it. Indeed, Republican politicians have typically worked hand in hand with Democrats to expand, centralize, subsidize, and entrench the very institutions that convert away their children and voters and send publicly subsidized kickbacks to their political opponents in the form of massive campaign donations and ground troops.
This self-immolating, one-way bipartisanship has fattened the left. One more recent proof of that is in the latest midterm results.
9)The education gap has grown wider. In 2006 (last time Ds won the House) college grads were +7 for the Ds. Yesterday they were +30 for the Ds. In 2006, non-college grads were +8 for the Ds. Yesterday, they were evenly split.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) November 7, 2018
I find this point the most fascinating: Dems no longer represent "the working class" but the liberal elite educated to be SJW in college. https://t.co/luDvskOWKc
— Margot Cleveland (@ProfMJCleveland) November 7, 2018
The smug leftist response, of course, that their team is just more intellectually superior to ours. It’s more evidence that we bigoted country rubes just need to submit to our betters — for our own good, of course.
That’s preposterous. All the left’s current major policy proposals, such as they are, have been soundly debunked both by research and experience. That’s why they’ve switched to the culture war rather than debating serious issues that are the proper domain of government in a representative republic (taxes, national defense, immigration, trade, roads, patents). They have truly no governing platform to offer. That leaves only virtue signaling, which is another word for identity politics.
Comply With Politicized Demands for Rich Rewards
In the left’s image, U.S. education has become a virtue-signal-generation machine. The bulk of our credentials have turned into shiny gold stars meant to signify not achievement but compliance.
What other conclusion can one honestly come to after seeing that U.S. public schools graduate 84 percent of their students, although 63 percent of 12th graders scored basic or below basic on the latest national reading test? There’s much more. Let’s review a little.
Sixty percent of hiring managers (in a survey of more than 60,000) say recent college grads can’t think or solve problems well. College students spend more time in leisure activities than they do on studies, and “full-time” students only spend part-time hours on academics. Half of college students show no academic growth after two years of college, and a third show no growth after all four years.
Professional certifications largely feed special interests while reducing the quality and increasing the cost of services. A group of academics can get hoax papers published academic journals in an effort to reveal the academy’s ideological corruption. Scientists have discovered they cannot replicate the majority of recent research findings in the world’s top journals, including heavily cited findings from life-altering domains. There’s more, but you get the idea: The academy is corrupt. And their corruption is infecting our body politic.
Virtue-signal. Credential. Different words with far too often identical meanings.
Credentialed Ignorance Breeds Resentment
U.S. education institutions are overwhelmingly well-documented to be utterly ineffective at helping children lift themselves above their circumstances, and have been since at least the 1960s. On average, they simply don’t add anything to any person that nature and circumstance didn’t already bestow. Yet they are very good at one thing: political indoctrination.
It is indisputable that U.S. colleges and universities are deeply biased. J. Martin Rochester samples the proof in this essay:
One study by Daniel Klein and colleagues, which examined faculty voter registration at forty leading universities, found Democrats outnumbering Republicans by a ratio of 12 to 1.3 Another report found ‘Democrats and Marxists outnumber Republicans and libertarians by 3 to 1 in economics, more than 5 to l in political science, 10 to 1 or more in history and English, and well over 20 to 1 in anthropology and sociology.’4 Jonathan Zimmerman of NYU, a self-described ‘devout Democrat’… adds that at the 8 Ivy League colleges, 96 percent of the faculty who made campaign donations in the 2012 presidential election gave to President Obama. At Brown, for example, 129 faculty gave to Obama and just one donated to Mitt Romney.5 It is not just an Ivy League thing – at my own university [the University of Missouri], based on Federal Election Commission filings, it was determined that from 1997 to 2015 more than 75 percent of faculty and staff political donations went to Democrats.
Nearly all American higher education institutions, and of course all K-12 public schools, should be duty-bound to instill in the next generation of voting citizens an understanding of their own country and the habits of mind and character befitting our historically unparalleled constitutional republic. Instead, they do the opposite. Not only are taxpayers forced to fund many professors who are outright Marxists — which is as anti-American as one can get! — we know that their ideology affects their students.
Surveys of high school and college students have revealed for decades a growing ignorance about and antipathy towards basic American precepts, parallel with growing leftism. “In 1981, about 20 percent of freshmen described themselves as ‘liberal’ or ‘far-left’ (as opposed to ‘middle of the road’ or ‘conservative’),”writes Robby Soave at Reason. “[T]oday, more than a third do.”
“[T]here is a 21 percentage point difference between very liberal and very conservative students in the number of students that feel comfortable expressing opinions outside of the classroom while on campus,” says a 2017 poll of college students. A plurality of 48 percent thought the First Amendment shouldn’t protect hate speech.
Equal Knowledge, Yet Divergent Political Leanings
One in five millennials say they’ve never heard of the Holocaust, and two-thirds have never heard of Auschwitz. More millennials would rather live in a socialist country than in a capitalist one, even though they hardly know what either thing is. One in four Americans has never learned anything about communism. One in three millennials believe more people were killed under President George W. Bush than under Communist dictator Joseph Stalin.
In one of the few serious inquiries conducted on this question, several years of studies from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute used questions largely drawn from U.S. naturalization and national public school civics exams. They found attending college barely affected students’ lack of basic American government and history knowledge. We’re talking half of college graduates could not name the three branches of government. That’s an early elementary school question. What a college degree did do, however, was dramatically increase graduates’ agreement with leftist politics.
“If two people otherwise share the same background characteristics, as well as equal civic knowledge,” the study found, “the one who graduates from college will be more likely than the one who does not to: Favor same same-sex marriage; and Favor abortion on demand. Similarly, a college graduate will be less likely than a non-college graduate to: Believe anyone can succeed in America with hard work and perseverance; Favor teacher-led prayer in public schools; and Believe the Bible is the Word of God.”
People who had a greater civic knowledge were less likely than ignorant respondents to agree that America corrupts good people, that America’s founding documents are obsolete, and that capitalism creates more losers and fewer winners.
All of this is indicates that myriad certifications of elite status are junk bonds. They inflate the egos and credentials of their bearers. This results in a large group of people who believe themselves educated merely because a sticker says so, yet who look down their noses at people who didn’t wish to waste tens of thousands of dollars to become professionally incompetent and politically dangerous.
With a Heaping Dose of Arrogance
The ranks of American elites include the preponderance of people who earn very good livings from needlessly meddling in other people’s affairs. They make money by making things so complicated other people have to hire them to sort it all out. That, not at all incidentally, is why they support complicated government. It allows for more virtue signaling: Only we, the brilliant ones, can navigate this Rube Goldberg contraption we’ve created for the mindless peons to wander inside.
In other words, American society has turned into a cartel. A mafia. You either have protection in the form of the money and connections necessary to shovel the piles of legal and financial paperwork you have to fill out to lift a finger in this country, or you don’t. And it’s awful to be without protection. One little mistake could ruin your whole life. It could send swarms of government inspectors to ruin you. So, even though the protection may stretch your family finances to the limits, you buy it.
This is why so many people send their kids to college when most would be better off starting off at an entry-level job (immediate income and job skills gained, plus no financial drain for tuition). Pursuing an achievement-empty college degree is an attempt to financially insulate their kids. Even if the kids don’t learn anything in college, they get more money by virtue signaling their compliance with the overlords who have made conforming to their way of life the entry ticket to earn one’s daily bread.
While they are in college spending their own and taxpayers’ money to not learn much, these students are socialized into the college culture. It’s not a classic American culture of work ethic, assuming responsibility for one’s life, thrift, and paying your parents’ generosity forward, but a culture of laziness, entitlement, self-indulgence, whinging, and extravagance. That also describes the general culture of the new American ruling class.
“By making economic rules dependent on discretion, our bipartisan ruling class teaches that prosperity is to be bought with the coin of political support,” wrote Angela Codevilla in a 2010 essay defining the emergence of this ruling class. Nice little job ya got there. It’d be a shame if you lost it by saying the wrong thing in public, or belonging to the wrong political party. How about you come over to the side where anybody can do just about anything, even lead shouts of “Death to America,” sexually assault women, and sell uranium to American enemies, and be completely safe from any just consequences for your actions forever?
Look at them. All they’ve got on their side is that disgusting little orange man. You hate him, right? And everybody out there behind him in the part of America that shouldn’t even be represented in Congress anyway. Vive la resistance! Get out there and vote like your life depends on it.