Despair is in the air. Three-quarters of Americans believe their own country is in decline.
It’s hard to dispute that when you see things like junkies destroying U.S. infrastructure while governors who liberally micromanage law-abiding people throw up their hands.
I do think there are major problems in our country that are not likely to get seriously addressed in the near future. I do think they matter, and that because of rampant terrible American leadership (and acquiescence to such leadership by the people), millions will continue to suffer.
Yet I also think there are lots of amazing opportunities happening right now that people need to awake to and seize. To seize these opportunities, Americans must break out of societal conventions, ways of thinking, and life scripts that clearly don’t work any more but feel comfortable and without viable alternatives. The people who are willing to take such risks to make fresh choices that fit our new reality will overall be handsomely rewarded.
That brings us to college. The “everyone should go to college” mantra is brittle, false, failing, and harmful. Deep down, we all know it, and we’ve known it for a long time. Those promised returns to income from starting life in deep debt are simply not materializing like they used to. That Boomer windfall is long gone, if it ever existed in the first place.
But lots of young people and their parents don’t know their other options, or they know about them but are scared of the social pressure to live by failed narratives. Other great options are in fact plentiful, and partly because of our societal decline. Pertinent to the college discussion is the desperation of employers to find talent and their motivation to train that talent. It has never been higher in my lifetime (I’m “in the middle of our life’s journey” as an older millennial) and in the lifetimes of most working-age people today.
If you haven’t heard, employers are starved for employees thanks to stupid lockdowns and stupid attempts at medical coercion. A friend in the trades recently told me he knows hiring managers in construction who are combing active build sites to try to find people to hire and train for skilled labor jobs that are lifelong career opportunities.
He sent a recruiting flyer boasting jobs in plumbing, welding, HVAC, and the like starting at $30,000 plus benefits worth some $20,000 more per year, and by the fifth year of employment — or when a comparable peer would be finishing college — a salary of $60,000 plus benefits. That’s making more than the U.S. median household income in five years of work, with no college debt or timewasting. It’s well above the typical white-collar job trajectory, and can lead to salaries of six figures annually after a decade or so, as well as the possibility of starting one’s own business.
Not to mention, the work has excellent prospects. Plumbing and welding can’t be outsourced to China or India, and the average age of trades workers is well above the U.S. median. This is just one illustration of what’s happening in hundreds of thousands of companies and industries, and it’s an amazing shift in the job market.
When I was looking for my first job during the Great Recession, employers generally didn’t want to train people. They wanted people to walk onto the job ready to go. They would train, but not extensively. Employers wanted employees to ideally spend years of free labor and training in college and unpaid internships just to get an entry-level professional job. Employers wanted other people to pay the price of training potential hires.
But now, many employers will take almost any warm body that moves. They will train it, dress it, pay it, and smooch it good morning every day if it just shows up to work. This is an amazing opportunity for everyone who needs a better or more substantive job, or whose school or employer is abusing him with political ideology and none-of-their-business surveys about what injections he’s recently put into his body and what’s up at the tippy top of his nasal cavity.
This is also an opportunity to rip apart the damaging “go to college, everyone” paradigm. A college education can be useful for some people, but let’s be real: Most colleges do not provide an education, they just provide a very expensive and largely socially wasteful sorting function for big corporate. This is very well established with good data, and has been true for decades.
On the flip side of the “go to college, get set in your career for life” false claim are the real costs that the college-for-all mentality imposes on young people right as they are the most vulnerable and inexperienced in their adult lives. Most notably is the debt college puts young people in, which damages their lifetime happiness by retarding and even completely aborting their family formation.
There are also other less-remarked and just as significant costs to pushing young people into not just four-year but also now graduate degrees. One is soaking up young people’s wonderful energy into make-work for four, five, six, seven, eight of the most energetic and potentially productive years of their lives.
College-for-all converts young people from potentially creative producers, doers, and entrepreneurs into passive consumers, not just while they are stashed in dorm rooms but also for the decade or more after college it takes to pay the debt they accumulated for a degree that will not put millions of young people ahead in their lives or careers.
This is a massive waste of time and talent. Significant research has shown that the majority of young people exit college having learned nothing or actually losing intellectual ground.
Instead of treading water intellectually, professionally, and personally until their mid-30s, young people can instead use these amazing first two decades of their adulthood to develop real skills, professional relationships, and authority. They just have to get a job and use it to learn skills instead of wasting their lives in college. Or they could lean into a skill or useful hobby and see if they can develop it as a side hustle and ultimately their own business.
Today there is even more weight to this situation because, amid the Covid panic, colleges have turned into internment camps. Truly, some college Covid policies are or have been on par with the literal Covid internment camps in Australia and China. Some send security to grab young adults and lock them away alone for two weeks based on being a “close contact” who in almost all cases will never develop Covid during this insanely abusive and utterly unprecedented “quarantine” of the healthy.
College-age Americans are at a near-zero risk of disastrous outcomes from a bout with Covid. According to world-famous epidemiologists, it would have been far better if the young, healthy, and low-risk had been set free to create natural societal immunity to protect the vulnerable sick and elderly instead of restricted with lockdowns. So not only have the colleges treating them this way put the young people in their care at risk from the ill effects of quarantining the healthy, they have increased the Covid risks to the vulnerable.
As with K-12 school shutdowns, quarantines, and masking, the mass higher education abuse of young adults negates whatever intellectual and moral credibility they had left after decades of defrauding students of a genuine education while charging their futures for this injustice. It’s high time for young people and their families to stop allowing this disgustingly corrupt credentialing industry to hold their entire life cycle hostage to lies.
The corruption is real, but so is the opportunity to make something good of your life. You don’t need these disgusting educrats to certify your worth. In fact, you are better off having nothing to do with them.