Along with “do professors really believe their own bullshit,” the most common question I’m asked as a former education professional is “do students really believe this bullshit?” I’m much less qualified to answer that one, because I was never on the tenure track, so I didn’t teach more than a few classes, didn’t do any advising, and wasn’t required to do any of the “university service” baloney that such propagandizing usually falls under. That said…
… yes, and only partly because they’re kids, therefore easily led (and, it goes without saying, entitled, whiny, and horribly maleducated). The other part is more interesting, and it starts here.
That’s a City Journal article I saw at Ace of Spades, titled “Reeducation Campus.” It details the goings-on in what’s known as the “First Year Experience,” an indoctrination program that 90% of schools in the country subscribe to. It’s your usual “social justice” claptrap, but here’s the interesting part:
In 1970, after campus antiwar protesters ransacked and set fire to the administration building at the University of South Carolina, the school’s president appointed a task force to find a solution to student unrest. Many meetings, workshops, and encounter groups later, the university came up with an answer, and it was nothing so simple as expelling vandals and arsonists. No, the key was to teach students to “love their university,” starting with a new semester-long orientation course for freshmen.
The bold bits are the key, as Victorian era PUAs must have said. See, it’s not just generic leftwing agitprop. Everyone expects that, even the dullards who are only there to drink beer and grope ass. It’s leftwing agitprop combined with a Party rally. You learn to “love your university,” and in doing so, a subconscious but extremely powerful connection is made: Leftwing agitprop IS Education. Microaggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, 37 genders — all of that stuff IS education; being “an educated person” = knowing what “cisgender” and “heteronormativity” mean.
The key to all this stuff is having an emotional — as opposed to factual — touchstone. Education, after all, is measurable — I can wave my degree around all I want, but it doesn’t take more than a few minutes on the internet to make me feel pig-butt ignorant of a whole universe of things. Which is why people who wave their degrees around always name the university from which the degree was obtained. Here again, normal people are probably flummoxed — if I think your argument is bunk to begin with, I’m going to be even less impressed if you made it through a supposedly rigorous education at a name-brand place and still come off like a blabbering jackalope. But the degree-waver doesn’t see it that way, for he has Been To College and you, sir — you have not.
And, naturally, the importance of Going To College varies inversely with the rigor of one’s major. Calc III is Calc III pretty much everywhere; they don’t teach a super secret method of factoring quadratics at MIT; you can either do the math or you can’t, whether it’s Harvard or Flyover State. I’ve met lots of engineers, and I’ve met lots of Harvard men. I’ve even met some engineers that went to Harvard, but none of them told me in the first five minutes that he’s “a Harvard man.”
Every single one of the English majors did, though.
If Our Thing is ever going to get anywhere, we have to break this association between “being educated” and Going To College. So far our efforts have been completely ineffective, because we’ve been barking up the wrong tree. It does no good to point out to the Harvard grad that “gender studies” is a made-up field filled with imaginary bullshit. It is, of course, but the gender studies major doesn’t care, because gender studies isn’t the point. The point is: Xir is “a Harvard man” (“persyn of Harvardity,” whatever), and you are not. You can’t understand, because you’re not of our class, dear.
What we’ve got to do is mock the entire notion of college. Oh, you mean you spent your entire first year– which you went $40,000 in debt for — listening to Ta-neshi Coates (or however the fuck you spell it) and walking around in high heels, to better understand the nature of “privilege”? Ha! I was out working, making better than $40,000 and actually having sex with attractive women, not begging some blue-haired, nose-ringed fatty for a pity handie after an Intersectionality lecture.Loading Likes...