There Is No Such Thing As a Free Education

Over at The Huffington Post, Bob Samuels has a novel justification for universally free college education: it will be cheaper for everyone. Unfortunately, the magic formula of getting more for nothing doesn't work any better in higher education than it does anywhere else in reality.

First of all, the government is currently spending billions of dollars on for-profit schools and other colleges and universities that have very low graduation rates. In fact, what is going on in the state of California is that as students get priced out of the University of California, they either drop out or go to community colleges.

The argument is that if we paid for every student to go to more expensive standard bearers like UC, we wouldn't have to spend so much money sending some students to cheaper alternatives. In addition to this obvious contradiction, it also assumes that government will spend money more wisely than individuals could do on their own. It doesn't.

Not only is higher education seen as a key to economic advancement, but if all 18-24 year olds were in college, we would reduce the unemployment rate by 2 million people, and fewer people would be in need of governmental assistance.

Translation: Giving more people more expansive governmental assistance will reduce the number of people on governmental assistance. This will save money. Somehow.

Furthermore, by removing the need for students to go into debt, the government would allow graduates to be more productive, and they would have more money to spend, which in turn would act as a stimulus for the economy.

The money taxpayers would have spent instead doesn't count (because the government knows how to spend it better).

You can hardly blame Samuels for trying though, since otherwise his argument boils down to the notion that it doesn't matter how much it costs taxpayers, higher education is worth it. Celebrating universal college education as infinitely worthwhile--there is no point at which it costs too much (so long as someone else is paying for it)--is a difficult position to defend. 

Of course, even that aspiration is misguided, as we already produce far more graduates than we need.

One final thought:

While few people would now reject the idea of compulsory K-12 education, it is now time to make college universal and free.

In other words, hurry up and make this happen before people realize K-12 isn't such a great role model after all.

Reason on education here.

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  • ||

    The stupidity is so thick you can cut it with a knife. The truth is exactly the opposite of what Samuels thinks it is.

  • ||

    Haven't had a good philosopy discussion with the guy behind the counter at a Hardee's since my college days.

  • ||

    Not only is higher education seen as a key to economic advancement, but if all 18-24 year olds were in college, we would reduce the unemployment rate by 2 million people, and fewer people would be in need of governmental assistance.

    Everyone will be above average! Wobegoneian Utopia at last!

  • Beloved Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Then in 20 years, when everyone has a college degree by mandate, we will have to invent another school past the doctorate-level in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Wonderful.

  • ||

    no, liberal arts degrees already do that. *zing* We're not overloaded with engineers currently and most other professions require graduate degrees anyway (law, medicine, accounting, etc).

  • ||

    forgot business as an obvious one

  • yonemoto||

    uh, sorry, there are way too many JDs and MBAs out there. We could use MDs, but the system seems to be taking care of itself with PAs and RNPs.

  • ||

    JD's seem to be able to find positions though (once they pass the bar). An argument could be made for the number of MBA's, but its more of a secondary degree combined with other experience necessary.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    JD's seem to be able to find positions though (once they pass the bar).

    Unfortunately, it may not be enough to make payments on the debt they accrued at the third tier trash law school they got the degree from.

  • Bingo||

    There was recently an article that showed Science/Tech/Engineering/Math degrees have continued to decline, even though most of those fields are hiring like crazy and 6-figures is easily obtainable in 5 years.

    I'll try to find a link.

  • Britt||

    Math is fucking hard dude. My brother is in engineering school, and I don't even recognize his course titles.

    People who can do math see through the bullshit the left feeds them at a higher rate then people who can't do math. Thus, math instruction has been steadily dumbed down.

  • DK||

    Weird. Because my days as a physics PhD student were filled with many math-capable people who completely ate up the bullshit. Though this may have been a function of where I did my studies (Berkeley).

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Mathematical capabilities do not indicate intelligence, nor enable people to think logically.

    Engineering and science are not immune to groupthink, in fact engineering studies attract the suckup type of person.

  • Juice||

    Engineering also seems to attract the very religious, for some reason. Completely the opposite of the sciences.

  • ||

    People who can do math see through the bullshit the left feeds them at a higher rate

    Not in my experience. I have some very esteemed colleagues who can catch subtle logical errors in 30-page mathematical proofs within an hour (I know because I have used their services in the past) but they parrot the stupidest, most fallacious liberal arguments whenever politics come up in conversation.

    Smart people are very good at compartmentalizing their intelligence. Look at some of the utter foolishness that great philosophers and scientists in history have subscribed to -- Kant's inveterate racism comes immediately to mind.

  • Whappan?||

    Also Newton's alchemy.

  • Juice||

    I wouldn't deride alchemy as being unscientific, at least not in those days, since people didn't know enough back then to know it was wrong. Alchemists experimented largely using the scientific method, albeit with crappy experimental design and crappy measurements. It wasn't all that loony. Well, some people tried to make it some kind of mystical phenomenon or something.

    Newton was, however, interested (or obsessed) with ghosts and spirits and crap like that, so you can go after him for that.

  • jtuf||

    A medical writer with a few years of experience earns $125k to $200K per year. A film school graduate with 15 years of experience in film still needs his mom to pay his rent.

  • ||

    You need not worry as only those who are a few fries short of a happy meal would ever consider you to be the chaff. Of course, this would include all of the people who think that Lincoln critics are neo-confederates.

  • ||

    Last post directed at the Rev.

  • chaff||

    STFU, Johnny Reb.

  • L'Enfer, C'est les Autres||

    "we would reduce the unemployment rate by 2 million people, and fewer people would be in need of governmental assistance"

    How is government paying for their education NOT government assistance?

  • ||

    Because if they are "students" they are not "unemployed".

    I see that stunt in Canada quite a bit. The people who run the "employment insurance" office encourage people to get student loans and go to school so that they can claim credit for reducing the unemployment rate.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Yeah, they aren't unemployed per se, but they are living off "society" to the tune of $30-40K per year. At least.

    Sometimes I think about getting a 200K loan and then just living of it for ten years and then declaring bankruptcy. That would kick ass.

  • sevo||

    "While few people would now reject the idea of compulsory K-12 education, it is now time to make college universal and free."

    Um, well, that proves it, I guess.

  • Confession||

    Once, when I was a kid, I was given a chance to donate one of my Christmas presents to needy children. I didn't, and I always had plenty of presents. It was shameful, and I feel bad about it to this day.

    I contracted genital warts from a girl I slept with in college, and didn't tell my (at the time girlfriend) about it. Now my wife has HPV.

    I hate most of the regular commentators on here, and hope they die in fiery automobile collisions.

    Confession is good for the soul.

  • Atlas Slugged||

    so you're saying that donating excess xmas gifts wards off HPV? sweet....

  • JoJo Zeke||

    I contracted genital warts from a girl I slept with in college, and didn't tell my (at the time girlfriend) about it. Now my wife has HPV.

    "... and, ladies and gentlemen: that 'girlfriend' was my MOTHER -- !!!"

  • sevo||

    Folks,
    Vermin shit may go to Mens' Warehouse for a new suit, but believe me, it's still vermin shit.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    Sorry, sevo; couldn't resist that one. I'll be good, now. ;)

  • sevo||

    And it was FUNNY.

  • Old Mexican||

    Bob Samuels has a novel justification for universally free college education: it will be cheaper for everyone.


    Thus spake the economics ignoramus.

    Not only is higher education seen as a key to economic advancement, but if all 18-24 year olds were in college, we would reduce the unemployment rate by 2 million people, and fewer people would be in need of governmental assistance.


    Isn't doling out money to go to college a form of government assistance? How can receiving government assitance be construed as not being assisted by the government?

    The guy is not only economics-challenged, he's logic-challenged as well. Or a leftist moron, to be more succinct.

  • Jerry||

    He probably thinks there is some multiplier effect, that if people study gender studies for four years they will become more responsible adults, or something like that.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Jerry,

    He probably thinks there is some multiplier effect, that if people study gender studies for four years they will become more responsible adults, or something like that.


    He bought in the idea that a college degree makes a person ipso facto more
    productive... Or at least he thinks a college graduate will get paid more by virtue of finishing 4 years of free beer guzzling and sex.

    Because a college graduate is certainly not more productive (the essencial prerequisite to be paid MORE than a less productive person) just because he or she has a degree. And as more HR managers realize the decreasing level of competence and quality of colege grads, the more they will ask for MBAs or even doctorates.

    The running joke in Mexico is that college graduates get paid less than plumbers because college graduates are a dime a dozen whereas good plumbers are hard to find, the universities down there being nothing more than degree mills (with a very few notable exceptions). If government starts paying for everybody's college education, that will be the future of America's youth: To become highly-educated servers, while licensed technicians make the big bucks.

  • Old Mexican||

    Sorry, "essential".

  • ||

    OM-

    Threadjack: I know that you read Gary North. Would you be so kind as to tell me what you think of his November 19, 2011 post on LewRockwell.com?

    He criticizes a few individuals who wrote letters to him critical of his position regarding the firing of Joe Paterno by the Board of Trustees at Penn State. He resorts to name calling and even mockery in denigrating the letter writers.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Libertymike,

    You must mean this:

    Why would anyone take as much time as these letters took to write in order to try to persuade me that I was wrong? They should have taken my earlier advice. They should not have sent me their outraged emails. They should have posted them on their individual blogs. But that would have made them look like bananaheads within days. Worse; their names would have been attached. Here, they remain anonymous bananaheads.

    http://lewrockwell.com/north/north1063.html

    Indeed Gary resorts to calling the two letter writters 'bananaheads'. Certainly this can be read as "name-calling." It could also be read as an assessment of their numbskullery. If what Gary believes is that Paterno almost aided and abetted a child molester, then any sort of defense for Paterno would be understood as either callous disregard for the act or gross numbskullery. Hence it gets to either calling them amoral assholes or 'bananaheads.'

  • ||

    Thanks for your input.

    Even if he believes Paterno aided and abetted Sandusky, don't you think he needs to separate that which he believes from that which is established fact before he resorts to the ad hominem?

  • I love pointing out an error||

    "Or at least he thinks a college graduate will get paid more by virtue of finishing 4 years of free beer guzzling and sex."

    They will. If a college grad and a person who did not finish apply for the same job, and have the same qualifications otherwise, they will in fact, by virtue of said 4 years, earn more.

    Acting like a giant asshole about it like you did doesn't change it.

  • sevo||

    "*IF* a college grad and a person who did not finish apply for the same job, and have the same qualifications otherwise, they will in fact, by virtue of said 4 years, earn more."

    See that "IF" up there? Your presumption is not included in the statement you presume to debunk.
    Fail.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    It also presupposes that the difference in earnings for the same job will deflect the debt/cost of getting said college degree.

    My wife who has a college degree makes $.75 per hour more as a bank teller than the others who don't have a degree. It would take a whole shit load of working hours to earn back what she paid out getting a college degree, while those without a degree start that job in the black by virtue of not having had to pay tens of thousands of dollars on a college degree.

  • sevo||

    "It also presupposes that the difference in earnings for the same job will deflect the debt/cost of getting said college degree."

    Yep, and the mistakenly-handled "I love pointing out an error" also assumes that those who gained experience on a job won't be more advanced in their career.
    Suffice to say "I love pointing out an error" is a pedantic (and wrong) asshole.

  • ||

    Maybe for the first couple of years as an entry level employee. Later on ... in the guy without the degree is more productive that situation can easily reverse itself.

    Don't kid yourself. The degree gets you in the door, but it doesn't earn you promotions.

  • I love pointing out an error||

    "(the essencial prerequisite to be paid MORE than a less productive person)"

    Um, nope.

    You're really fucking dumb aren't you.

  • sevo||

    "Um, nope."

    That's nice. Now, care to address the point beyond a denial?

  • ||

    The running joke in Mexico is that college graduates get paid less than plumbers because college graduates are a dime a dozen whereas good plumbers are hard to find, the universities down there being nothing more than degree mills (with a very few notable exceptions). If government starts paying for everybody's college education, that will be the future of America's youth: To become highly-educated servers, while licensed technicians make the big bucks.

    Excellent point. Makign college education universal and free will result in more students getting worthless degrees and more universities cranking out mickey mouse courses to process them all through.

    How do you incentivize studying difficult STEM subjects if you offer equal subsidies to both?

  • sevo||

    "How do you incentivize studying difficult STEM subjects if you offer equal subsidies to both?"

    Rhetoric?
    Make 'em pay for it.

  • Partisan||

    Over at The Huffington Post...

    Those people are stupid!

  • Non Partisan||

    Yes, they are!

  • ||

    +2 me

  • Kip||

    Dude! It's like you spend your whole day here!

  • Kip||

    +1 Non Partisan

  • Non Partisan||

    Kindly leave me out of this adolescent horseshit. Thanks.

  • ||

    +3 me

  • ||

    -1 Kip

  • ||

    +10 me!

  • Joe M||

    -10 Episiarch

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: False Non Partisan,

    Kindly leave me out of this adolescent horseshit. Thanks.


    Hey, don't steal my alter-nick!

  • Partisan||

    I know!

  • Kip||

    Dude!

  • ||

    +1 Kip

  • Kip||

    -2 Episiarch

  • Partisan||

    What the

  • ||

    +1 me

  • ||

    +15 partisan

  • ||

    +10 me

  • ||

    -10 me

  • ||

    No, wait: +100 me

  • ||

    Now -73 me

  • ||

    Now +14 me

  • ||

    Ok shit, I've lost track of the math. What am I at now?

  • ||

    +1 me

  • Joe M||

    I really really really love the alt-text. Nothing else needs to be said.

  • Kip||

    Nothing else needs to be said

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • ||

    +1 Joe

  • Joe M||

    Jeez, just shut the fuck up, Episiarch.

  • ||

    Blow me, Joe.

  • Joe M||

    Really, just leave. You've fucked up this place worse than any troll.

  • ||

    Really, blow me, Joe. You have to be the stupidest fuck I've ever seen if you blame me for someone else's actions.

  • JoeM||

    So is someone spoofing all the "+1 me" posts you make? If so, then I apologize.

    If not, then you can indulge your faggotry on some other website where they welcome pole-smokers. I suggest HuffPo. You'll feel at home there with the other swishers.

  • ||

    It's good to know that besides being a moron and an asshole, you're also a homophobe. Why don't you fuck off now, scumbag, and go live on Free Republic or wherever else floats your boat.

    Oh, also? +1 me, fuckbag.

  • JoeM||

    Ooh, little butthurt (haha I wonder why) liberal can't stand it when people have freedom of speech. ANARCHY FAIL.

  • ||

    Oh looky, you're just another rectal sockpuppet. How unbelievably tiresome.

    +1 me

  • ||

    Look, while JoeM is tiresome, he's right, Epi. You need to STFU because you only encourage them. Take a vacation. Rub one out. Do something besides post tiresome bullshit replies to obvious trolls. You're just as bad as rectal is, honestly.

  • ||

    More rectal spoofing of regulars. You fucked up, rectal; John never posts without misspellings, ever. Fuck, you're stupid.

    I guess that's +1 me.

  • Gojira||

    Actually I have to take the blame; the John spoof was me. I thought your exchange with JoeM was funny, so I tried to add some spice, but I fucked it up : (

    -1 me

  • ||

    You need to spoof better, Jim.

  • Gojira||

    I know, I'm no good at it. Pretty much every time I've tried it's been called out. Maybe rectal can host online courses.

    I hadn't seen John around all day, so I thought it'd be a good chance to throw his name out there, and then he shows up in the next thread!

  • ||

    THIS IS A JIM SPOOF... DON"T TALK AT IT...

  • Gojira||

    THIS IS WHAT CAPITOL L ACTUALLY BELIEVES

  • anon||

    I am now dumber for having read this conversation.

  • ||

    Unfortunately, the magic formula of getting more for nothing doesn't work any better in than it does anywhere else in reality.

    Waiter, may I have that freshly baked batch of "No Shit!" with the ObamneyCare and CMS flavoured sprinkles please? To go.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Don't forget your appetizer: TSA irradiated anal fisting.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Not only is higher education seen as a key to economic advancement, but if all 18-24 year olds were in college, we would reduce the unemployment rate by 2 million people, and fewer people would be in need of governmental assistance.

    Yeah, 'cause everyone is college material. In fact, since you want to keep people there to age 24, everyone is presumably graduate-school material as well.

    While the US has a free K-12 public education, its failure to fund higher education means that America's economy is unable to compete with other developed nations that have free universities.

    America will never be able to compete with those countries that have the spinoff economic development from the universities like Stanford and MIT, right? Right?

  • jtuf||

    I admire America very much, but I started to worry this year. A Chinese inventor created the e-cigarette and American bureaucratic want to ban it. The best way to advance the STEM fields in America is to eliminate all funding for non-STEM majors. Once those professors have to get a real job, they'll be out of the way, and innovators can get to work again.

  • SpongePaul||

    Universties are a racket. Being 34 and going to university for the first time, I see how bad it is. Even if you have experince (myself 5 years in a lab and 5 years as a property manager) you can not even get an interview if you do not have a degree. So in order to get the same job i had, or better, now after being laid off requires a degree to even get an interview. University does not equal smarts, or skill. it just means you attened class and did some work, which is mostly useless in the "real world" Other than some basic formulas, you will never ever use all the math you are required to take, unless you are in a highly scientific or mathmatic field. And do not get me stated about art, english lit and humanities,. Yeah, those required courses really help you out in a lab, or in buisness. Its all about the goverment being able to say, look, our people are educated. Even though we forced them into an outmoded and obsolete form of learning. Univesitys should train people for thier jobs, not to be well rounded, we all had parents to help us with that when we were small. Now we can pick up a book or whatever own our own if we wish to learn about it.

  • Doctor Whom||

    And do not get me stated about art, english lit and humanities,. Yeah, those required courses really help you out in a lab, or in buisness.

    Are you saying that postmodernism isn't vitally important to the real world? Heretic!

  • ||

    god, postmodernism almost made me fail art. Pre-1900, art is memorizable. Post 1900, it all looks the goddamn same until you get to Andy Warhol.

  • L'Enfer, C'est les Autres||

    University degrees are how business are able to weed out minorities when hiring.

  • L'Enfer, C'est les Autres||

    And what I mean by that is that minorities' graduatiopn rates are lower so by requiring a degree, you can keep them out legally.

  • L'Enfer, C'est les Autres||

    And what I mean by that is that minorities' graduatiopn rates are lower so by requiring a degree, you can keep them out legally.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I don't know about everyone else, but when I graduated, I saw 5-6 minority students receiving PhDs for every one white person. Whitey has spent too long living under the stultifying watch of their soccer moms to have the wherewithal to get doctorates. So fucking be it.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: L'Enfer, C'est les Autres,

    University degrees are how business are able to weed out minorities when hiring[...] by requiring a degree, you can keep them out legally.


    And that is a bad thing because . . . . .

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    University degrees are how business are able to weed out minorities when hiring.

    Well, more to the point, it's how lazy HR directors weed out interview candidates.

  • sevo||

    "Well, more to the point, it's how lazy HR directors weed out interview candidates."

    This is a result of 'check the box' management. Pretty sure there's a critical number of Vice Presidents above which a company's management begins to check boxes rather than thinking.
    The number that gets me out the door seems to be lower than most.

  • ||

    Ugh, SpongePaul, I don't envy you. Being in school sucks. All of your points here are spot on, and make me think what really needs to happen is "we" as a group need to get over the idea that university should be a job qualification for the many, many types of work where it really doesn't.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Either that, or if it IS supposed to be a job qualification/job training/certification program, then about half of the credits needed for a degree shouldn't even be necessary.

    A history major, for instance, shouldn't be required to take chemistry or biology. A chemical engineer shouldn't have to take sociology or philosophy. That kind of "well-rounded" approach was fine when college was primarily a finishing school for the wealthy and exceptionally talented, but it doesn't work when you're trying to cram in a bunch of average IQ strivers who are just looking for the credential.

  • GILMORE||

    And do not get me stated about art, english lit and humanities,. Yeah, those required courses really help you out in a lab, or in buisness.[SIC]

    At least they make people sometimes care about spelling :)

    While I have no problem shitting all over the quality of university education these days, and its failure to provide people basic skills needed in the workforce, I'd like to at least offer a slight defense of a Liberal Arts degree.

    I've worked in business for about 16 yrs, in finance about 6, and have a particular focus on quantitative analysis. I worked on wall st briefly as a research analyst. I'm currently pursuing a CFA. When I went to work for the investment bank, the main concern of my boss and peers that I was going to be working with was: a) Can You Write, and b) Can you Read Between the Lines... i.e. are you perceptive of detail and context, and able to tease out a unique 'story' from day to day news and trends. The math & shit? Learning to deconstruct a balance sheet? Building models? That shit you learn on the job. If you're an idiot to begin with, its a waste of time.

    The skills that have made me at least semi-capable in business are ones developed as a liberal arts student. Granted, I actually went out of my way to pursue a major in *writing* (as opposed to 'English') because I specifically wanted to have a skill rather than some disparate bundle of 'information' with no ready application. I was already a decent writer and I wanted to be a better one. I knew what I wanted to get out of my degree, and I got it, more or less.

    I will agree that in general, kids who study, say, Psychology of Gender Politics in Modern Dance, or whatever, are pretty much wasting their time and money (even if they intend to pursue an academic career in some related field).

    But I think hissing at history, philosophy, english majors writ-large as 'skill-less' people is pretty ignorant. A quant who can't write?=an overgrown calculator. I think the deplorable state of many liberal arts grads is not indicative of the valueless-ness of those disciplines themselves, but rather the horribly low standards of universities these days.

    The people I started interviewing for analyst jobs about 5yrs after graduating myself often had economics/finance degrees, as well as MBAs. But they couldn't put an original argument together even if you presented it to them like fucking Mad-Libs, where all they had to do was plug in requisite nouns and adjectives. They were quite often useless.

    By contrast, the guy who ran the US office of our company (it was a British firm) had a masters in Medieval Philosophy. *that guy* could fuckin' argue!

    I think the hate that liberal arts courses tend to get from the libertoid types (let me guess, computer programmers?) comes from the fact that they hated being forced to read shit like Samuel Johnson or Spinoza and demonstrate they actually understood it. It smells to me of punk-ass syndrome, where you tend to hate on shit you were never particularly good at anyway.

    Me personally, I have no similar disregard for people who studied molecular chemistry, or mechanical engineering... but when they're working alongside me in, say, a equities-analysis capacity, WTF does it matter what they studied? If you can do the work, you can do the work. If not, hit the road jack.

    In my simplistic view, the important details are: a) are you already an idiot? Then it doesn't matter what you study. You're just going to be a dangerous idiot, because you are under the false impression that your degree cured you of idiocy. And b) did you actually make some effort to pursue something that you have a deep passion and interest in? IF so, you'll have gotten 10X more out of it than the monkeys sleeping through classes alongside you, regardless of grades.

    Education is less about Teachers Teaching, and far more about students *actively* going out and getting themselves smarted up. In the end it largely doesn't matter what you study for undergraduate school, as long as you developed/refined your work ethic, and developed a lifelong capacity to learn higher-level info/skills.

    But yeah... anyway, to be fair, there's definitely a *whole* lotta stupid in Liberal Arts programs. I struggled mightily to avoid it. I nevertheless couldn't wiggle out of either Modern Literary Criticism (DAMN YOU HELENE CIXOUS!!), or 16th Centrury English Literature (DAMN YOU EDMUND SPENCER!!)....and I gladly would have taken at least a year of Auto-Repair courses to replace them. I mean fuck. Anything. How to skin small-game. Hand to hand combat. Juggling. At least juggling is amusing at a party. Helene Cixous is never amusing, and has never, ever, ever, got anyone laid....unless they were a militant french lesbian, in which case... no, I think even they hate that shit.

  • ||

    In my undergraduate days as an engineer, I was required to take liberal arts courses for breadth.

    For some reason, however, liberal arts majors aren't required to learn calculus or statistics. Much less take a science course.

    It used to be that the point of taking liberal arts was to become "well rounded". What I don't understand is why a decent education in science and math isn't considered part of that.

    There seems to be a perception, amoung liberal arts majors, that knowing math and understanding science and technology is just not important to living a full rich human life. It's something for those obbsessive geeks to care about ... not for normal people.

    And yet, what *real* understanding of the iniverse, and what *real* mechanisms are there to improve people's lives *except* science and technology?

    The left spins in circles building gender theories and hoping that by restructuring the language and the legal system they will create a new world. But the people *actually* changing the world are the ones who understand math and science.

    I don't really see how, in today's world, you can actually have any intellectual access to what really is making the world tick without having any scientific background. A liberal art's major can talk himself in circles about gender theory and it will have less imnpact on the lives of gay people than Second Life.

  • GILMORE||

    For some reason, however, liberal arts majors aren't required to learn calculus or statistics. Much less take a science course

    Actually, as an English major, I was required to take both stats and calc in order to graduate, as well as at least 3 'hard science' courses over 4 yrs (2 levels of physics in my case, +.... geology. Yeah, I pussed out a little)

    I don't know if that's common anymore, but in *my day*, it was de rigeur. Just sayin'.

    And yet, what *real* understanding of the iniverse, and what *real* mechanisms are there to improve people's lives *except* science and technology?

    Philosophers; who needs them? :)

    http://fare.tunes.org/liberty/library/pwni.html

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I think the hate that liberal arts courses tend to get from the libertoid types (let me guess, computer programmers?) comes from the fact that they hated being forced to read shit like Samuel Johnson or Spinoza and demonstrate they actually understood it. It smells to me of punk-ass syndrome, where you tend to hate on shit you were never particularly good at anyway.

    Well, maybe, on the whole. On an individual level, I have a history degree at both the undergrad and graduate levels, and I recognized right off the bat that I was never going to be on a career path that made me a bunch of money--unless that job took me to a city where I happened to win on Powerball. But I was fine with that, because I also knew that I wasn't mechanically or scientifically inclined, and my electronics skills were limited so I couldn't jump on the dotcom express back in the 90s.

    I think most of the hate that libertoids have for libarts majors is that they have a sense of self-regard that's WAY out of proportion to what they actually offer towards a productive society. In the past, libarts were simply considered one piece of an overall intellectual training in the classics. By separating these disciplines and specializing them, they gave libarts majors the illusion of knowledge without any real grounding in wisdom or understanding, especially once the post-WW2 French theorists came to dominate the various disciplines, and deconstructed whatever intellectual value the western canon possessed right into the trash heap.

    What's left is a gaggle of sophists who have essentially become nothing more than a hallmark of western decadence. Take history for example--as field, it's become extraordinarily tedious and ossified, as it can't get past the Marxist holy trinity of class/gender/ethnicity that first took hold in academia in the early 20th century and became the status quo around 1975-80 as all the radical hippies completed their Long March Through The Institutions and got professorships of their own. I don't even bother going to professional history conferences anymore, as it's the same damn thing repeated in slightly different ways. They're actually making history boring, because they can't extricate themselves from the Marxist philosophy that's ingrained in the entire libarts field.

    So when these same people whinge that they should get paid the same as a banker or plumber, they sound completely ridiculous and as unself-aware as can be.

  • anon||

    tl;dr

    Liberal Arts degrees are absolutely useless. Unless you like working in a coffee shop as a barista.

  • Old Mexican||

    Furthermore, by removing the need for students to go into debt, the government would allow graduates to be more productive, and they would have more money to spend, which in turn would act as a stimulus for the economy.


    This guy's like a bad case of gangrene - it hurts to read him and stinks all over.

    First, people that received something for nothing hardly become productive - the fossilized students that populate the many "free" government universities in my country (yes, UNIVERSITIES, not "community colleges") are evidence to that.

    Second, the mere act of spending does not stimulate an economy. What stimulates the economy is production and profit-seeking.

  • Rachel Maddow||

    What stimulates the economy is production and profit-seeking.

    You filthy fucking racist spic.

  • ||

    If most universities actually educated people and taught them useable skills, the author MIGHT have a point. However, other than the medical and engineering faculties, universities do not do so.

    An ignoramus with a diploma is still an ignoramus, whatever airs he may put on.

  • ChrisO||

    If there's anything this country needs, it's more out-of-work humanities graduates. We supply meet this need, at any cost!

  • L'Enfer, C'est les Autres||

    BUT I HAVE A MASTERS OF PUPPETRY!!!

  • Lars Ulrich||

    BUT I HAVE A MASTERS OF PUPPETRY!!!

    "Hey! Me, too!"

  • mad libertarian guy||

  • mad libertarian guy||

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Jim Henson tried to create his own puppetry major at the University of Maryland back in the 60s (I think?). The stuffed-shirts in the school bureaucracy told him to stuff it so he went off on his own, worked a fuck-load, made millions of dollars, and even has a movie tied to his creations coming out in theaters tomorrow. For the truly innovative, a degree is just some worthless piece of paper than will sap time, money, and effort better spent getting shit done. For everyone else (myself included), it's more or less a shield against parental criticism. The elder Draxes used to give me all kinds of shit for not making anything of myself while wondering how much pot I must be smoking. $70K and 5 years later(wasted?) they have shut the fuck up and think I am a happy accomplished young adult. In reality I'm a depressed piece of shit. Fuck College. I'd be better off selling smack to preschoolers

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Just for clarification, no one should have to pay for my mistakes but me. If these OWS wastrels get off Scot free(assuming it's not through bankruptcy after certain laws are erased), I'm going to shit enough bricks to rebuild the Taj Mahal.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Will deconstruct texts for food.

  • sevo||

    Starve.

  • ChrisO||

    My proofreading skills have been on vacation today. Wow.

  • Al Sharpton||

    "Supply meet need, we must!"

  • Spoonman.||

    So would you be able to fail out of universal college?

  • 0 tolerance||

    You will not fail. We will make sure of that by not tolerating it.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Of course. It's not as though they'd dumb down the curriculum to prevent it. That never happens.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I love the question-begging in the HuffPo piece which assumes that if everyone had a college degree, the unemployment rate would never be poor. It's yet another justification to cram more medium-IQ Phaggot Striver Poors into the managerial class rather than blue collar work, where they might actually have to get their soft, pink hands dirty.

  • ||

    what blue collar work? Government and unions have colluded to rid us of those.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    what blue collar work?

    Exactly--our society has been brainwashed for the last 40-50 years into thinking that blue collar work was for losers. Just pull up the "Julian" ad by the Hispanic ad council, or any movie out of Hollywood showing some mill worker telling his snot-nosed kid, "I worked like a dog so you would could be a doctor, not another mill worker!!" We've lost our capacity for doing any kind of work that makes up the basic functions of society.

  • ||

    "Blue collar" work will not disappear for some time to come, if you consider plumbers, electricians and carpenters "blue collar". Note, however, that these are skilled trades. (And very much in demand.)

    What has been disappearing is the sort of job that an unskilled person could do for high pay. Due to automation, mills and factories simply do not require huge numbers of unskilled laborers any more. Such jobs will never come back at any rate of pay: Robots are cheaper, faster, more accurate, and more reliable.

    And, as such jobs were tedious, dangerous and unhealthy, I say good riddance to them.

  • Fluffy Got Demoted||

    Along with funding higher education, the federal government could also rein in costs by setting realistic caps on tuition increases. Moreover, by improving access and affordability, the government could improve the quality of instruction by forcing schools to concentrate their spending on research and instruction.

    You have to RTFA to discover that he follows up his demand for "free" college educations for all with a demand that the federal government both control the price of higher education and decree the purpose of every last dollar spent on it.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You'd think that progressives would be rather leery of centralizing education even further, given all the criticism the teacher's unions have produced over NCLB.

  • Rob||

    Why don't our favorite tenured Marxists professors from back in college just take a paycut to help bring down tuition costs? Problem solved.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    It's not just them, Rob, as much as it is the legion of administrators and bureaucrats to take care of stuff like "Oppressed Minority Life Support," as well as turning college campuses into mini Club Meds with state of the art gyms, broadband access, contracted food vendors, etc.

    And while your point is well-taken, unless you've reached tenure, college profs honestly don't get paid a hell of a lot, relatively speaking.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    According to this chart, the cost to send every child in the U.S. to a university would be $127,610,000,000.

  • ||

    Someone on my Facebook posted that chart today. That was a good 20 minute timesuck. Lots of interesting info there.

    People can probably figure this out, but the original link is actually http://xkcd.com/980/ Just wanted people to see it because it is pretty neat.

  • GILMORE||

    That is indeed chart-tastic. I am/have been a professional data-monkey most of my life, and nothing pleases more than little details like, "Cost to buy the world a coke / Cost to teach the world to sing"

  • GILMORE||

    Also intriguing: the 5 wealthiest rappers in the world combined are still just cracking $1bn.

    I note this because the entire rap industry is in fact worth just about $1bn a year. Or, about 1/50th of the US Beer industry.

    I made this point to someone, then pointed out that global annual sales of Doritos is actually quite a bit more than that.

    Doritos: Bigger Than Rap.

  • sevo||

    "Doritos: Bigger Than Rap."

    Doritos: Way bigger than the supposedly 'over-funded' election process.
    Darn those KORPORASHUNS!

  • ||

    In his book The Price of Civilization, Jeffrey Sachs argues that the cost of making all public higher education free in America would be between fifteen and thirty billion dollars. While this may sound like a large sum, it could actually save money. First of all, the government is currently spending billions of dollars on for-profit schools and other colleges and universities that have very low graduation rates.

    So, using that logic, buying a Mercedes could actually SAVE me money because I'm already paying for a Subaru.

  • ||

    The Price of Civilization, Jeffrey Sachs

    Oh fuck, is Jeffery Sachs White Indian?

  • SFC B||

    I don't know what sort of cheapo knock-off they got, but my Civilization was by Sid Meier.

  • GILMORE||

    If one needs evidence that 'free' education is no such thing, and serves to both decouple education from its actual economic utility, as well as *increase* income disparity, look no further than Egypt or Tunisia:

    http://thenewamerican.com/worl.....-and-egypt

    Like Tunisia, Egypt also has a mass youth unemployment problem. Unsurprisingly, it also has a system of "free" college education.

    In Egypt, enrollment in tertiary education increased from 14 percent in 1990 to approximately 35 percent in 2005. Yet this has not helped the unemployment rate among recent grads. The national Egyptian unemployment rate is 9.4 percent, comparable to the United States, but the unemployment rate for people between the ages of 15 and 29 is 87.2 percent. College graduates, largely because of their age, have a 10 times higher unemployment rate than for those who did not attend college.

    The Egyptian government also rigidly controls the educational system, just like in Tunisia. A centralized governmental committee controls decisions regarding curriculum, program development, and deployment of faculty and staff for institutions of higher learning across the entire country. Private universities were only legalized in 1992, and enrollment is very small.

    In Egypt, educational expenditures were 3.7 percent of GDP in 2007. By most accounts the Egyptian education system is underfunded, and its educational standards were called "abysmal" by The Economist. Fewer than half of all students graduate, and many universities are viewed as diploma mills.

    Although the Egyptian government may have avoided some of the economic costs with "free" higher education that the Tunisian government has incurred, it has not avoided the social costs....

    Contrast the evidence presented above with Egypts' own patting-itself on the back, presenting its many 'achievements' with statistics such as 'how much is spent' and 'how many people are enrolled', and other meaningless data simply describing a bloated state-run monopoly:

    (warning: the bullshit level in the below document may cause nausea, spontaneous bowel evacuation, screaming fits, etc)

    http://www.unesco.org/educatio.....port_1.htm

    Nowhere in the document do they bother to mention the actual economic impact of their efforts.

    The only thing that one could be encouraged by in reading the above nonsense is that the Mubarak-dick-sucking author was likely dragged through the street and shot by the unemployed young adults he 'celebrated' putting through their State-Run educational system.

    I also recommend the Economist article, 'Slow Learning Curve' for an analysis of the high social costs of 'free' education. (would link, but 2 is the limit)...

    e.g. Before the revolution Egypt’s schools and universities were few but their standard was excellent. The push to boost numbers came at the cost of a drastic fall in quality. Instead of following tested Western models, school textbooks were rewritten to emphasise “nationalist values”, scientific formulas and lists of facts rather than critical thinking. By the 1980s class sizes in government schools averaged more than 60. With student numbers in several big state universities up to six-digit figures, hundreds, even thousands of students were packed into lecture halls. Some of the better staff emigrated to Gulf countries, where salaries were many times higher.

    Those left behind began to exploit an obvious market opportunity, offering private lessons on the side. This practice became so pervasive that by 2005 some 64% of urban students and 54% of rural ones resorted to private crammers in addition to regular schooling, according to Egypt’s Human Development Report. A 2002 World Bank study found that private tuition accounted for fully 1.6% of GDP, and other studies suggest it devours a whopping 20% of household spending in families with school-age children....

    I find it hard to believe we have people in America insisting we become *more* like countries like Greece or Egypt, with massive public spending with effectively zero real public benefit. People keep making the argument that "other developed nations have wonderful centralized healthcare and education....why can't we?", when in fact most of the systems they refer to are demonstrably ineffective, enormously costly, and many are in the process of inevitably being 'reformed' because there's no one left to pay for the massive entitlements handed out to the previous generations.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: GILMORE,

    Nice post!

  • sevo||

    And:
    "People keep making the argument that "other developed nations have wonderful *TRAINS*....why can't we?""

  • Bingo||

    Because a college education is intrinsically good therefore everyone should have a college education. Who cares about consequences and results when you have good intentions?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I find it hard to believe we have people in America insisting we become *more* like countries like Greece or Egypt, with massive public spending with effectively zero real public benefit.

    More like them? Shit, we're already there.

    The article describes massive class sizes, an attempt to shove as many people through the credentialist ringer as possible, and the dumbing down of the curriculum in response to the increasing number of average-to-low IQ peons that normally would have been toast in a traditional college.

    It's been like that in the US for at LEAST 20 years--one thing I remember about my college experience was thinking, about halfway through, "Damn, I thought it was going to be a lot tougher than this!"

  • ||

    Oh fuck, is Jeffery Sachs White Indian?

    The hypocrisy congruence is a staggering level of gambol.

    It would certainly explain volumes of current financial events.

  • ||

    In fact, what is going on in the state of California is that as students get priced out of the University of California, they either drop out or go to community colleges.

    Ow.

    Stop that.

  • sevo||

    "...students get priced out of the University of California..."

    It ain't chicken feed, but it really shouldn't put anyone in the poor-house: Resident tuition is $12,686/annum.
    http://www.admissions.ucla.edu/prospect/budget.htm

  • ||

    Good lord. This is what passes for lefty intellectual thought. My god.

  • A Nonny Mouse||

    First of all, the government is currently spending billions of dollars on for-profit schools and other colleges and universities that have very low graduation rates.

    If you think graduation rates are low NOW, just wait until a university education is free. People who have no investment in their own schooling (or anything else, for that matter) don't, as a rule, take it seriously.

  • ||

    If you think graduation rates are low NOW, just wait until a university education is free.

    'Free' university education will also result is professional students. Why not take six, seven, or eight years to get a bachelors?

  • sevo||

    "'Free' university education will also result is professional students. Why not take six, seven, or eight years to get a bachelors?"

    "On July 31, 2009, three Americans, Sarah Shourd (32), Shane Bauer (28) and Joshua Fattal (28),"
    "Bauer, an Arabic speaker from Minnesota who graduated from Berkeley in 2007"
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ory_1.html
    Can't find 'graduation' dates for the others, but every story lists them as 'graduates' suggesting the pinnacle of their accomplishments is 'graduating' from UCB at ages when most people have actually done something.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Storing people in the playground for six extra years is good and all, but what we really need is to centralize more credentialism, authority, and power in the publicly funded higher education system.

  • ||

    Will we have truant officers chasing down adults in their twenties to interrogate them as to why they aren't in class?

  • sevo||

    "First of all, the government is currently spending billions of dollars on for-profit schools and other colleges and universities that have very low graduation rates."

    BTW, this is a lie.
    The government is spending that money on people who go to those places. The problem is the people involved and the government not exercising discretion in those expenditures.

  • ||

    The distinction between "for-profit" and "real" colleges is absurd. Explain to me the distinction between Harvard's business model and the University of Phoenix.

    (1)Enroll students

    (2)Collect money

  • sevo||

    (3) Football team
    Did it get it right?

  • rts||

    It puts the lotion in the basket or else it gets the hose again...

  • Colonel_Angus||

    People outside of Harvard actually give a shit about Harvard sports?

  • sevo||

    I don't. The suggestion is that a football team was the criteria.

  • ||

    Phoenix doesn't pester its alumni for donations, probably.

  • Xenocles||

    Harvard collects its surplus billions in an endowment that does... something, I'm sure.

  • Brandon||

    Accrues interest?

  • jtuf||

    P Brooks, the Harvard business plan is more like:

    1) Publish papers praising the government

    2) Get government grants

  • sevo||

    3) Work for the government.

  • ||

    Explain to me the distinction between Harvard's business model and the University of Phoenix.

    It is the same distinction between that of a prostitute and and a gold digger. In that, a prostitute is honest about who they are.

  • ||

    The elimination of threaded comments is the only hope for the continued existence of Hit and Run comments. Today has been a particularly bad day, probably because we've all realized we're doomed.

  • Warty||

    Today was not a bad day, but it's worse than it's been in a while. Rectal's manic stage is ramping up, though, which means the place will be unbearable until it subsides. Look for another 2000 post abortion of a thread soon.

  • protefeed||

    Why would eliminating threaded comments cause trolls and whatnot to stop posting?

    Not following how that would work.

  • Warty||

    Go look at some threads from 2008 or 2009 (threading happened in late 2009, right?). We had just as many trolls back then, and they were just as stupid, but they were unable to take over threads like they do now. Threading is the logical culprit.

  • sevo||

    "Threading is the logical culprit."

    Correlation /= causation.

  • Warty||

    Whatever you say.

  • ||

    Zmiana, Warty (NSFW)

    No idea what that means in Bulgarian or whatever.

  • invisible furry hand||

    it means "the changing of the guard" in Polish, I believe

  • ||

    It is easier to troll with threads, less effective without. Observe.

  • ||

    ^Fucking cunt

  • ||

    I'm a fucking cunt

  • BakedPenguin||

    Wow. I have no idea how to score this...

  • ||

    I feel weird and dirty. I trolled and spoofed myself at the same time in public.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    It's pretty troll-ie how you managed to be LONGER in your "Shorter Banjos" handle than with your regular Banjos handle.

  • ||

    I don't know about free, but a great deal of the expense could be eliminated by getting rid of the fucking student activity funds, the massage tables, the fucking workout rooms, and most of all all the useless vice presidents of whatnot.

  • ||

    True dat.

    I've heard that the paintball club at my uni gets $7g's a year or something outrageous like that.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    When I ran the SCUBA club where I did my undergrad, we got up to $2K per year, but every penny was contingent on performing community service projects.

    Reef and beach clean-ups were what we engaged in most to fulfill the requirements. But I should say, THANKS SUCKERS!! for making most of our dives either free or super cheap!

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Dump the "judicial" assholes, too.

  • protefeed||

    While few people would now reject the idea of compulsory K-12 education

    I guess I'm one of the few ...

  • ||

    Yeah, that's a pretty irritating claim -- I know many people who think that they should be deciding when their kids start school, at least, and some that believe it's just not the government's business.

    I guess we're all part of the few

  • ||

    Technically it's 8-16 compulsory education, not K-12.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    In my state, kindergarten is not mandatory. But the kid "must begin schooling by age six" or something like that. Maybe its eight.

  • ||

    Here's a better solution: Keynesians, shut the fuck up.

  • Flex Nasty B.I.G.||

    Who the fuck is Seth McKelvey?

  • ||

    Why would eliminating threaded comments cause trolls and whatnot to stop posting?

    It won't eliminate them; but with threaded comments, some troll (LoneDorko was the pioneer, as I recall) can come swooping in and prop up his tar baby right at the top of the page. Unsuspecting (and undisciplined) commenters come along and immediately become entangled in the clusterfuck of idiocy. Lately, there seems to be an explicit effort to completely shut down any meaningful communication on the site. It's personal, I'd say.

  • sevo||

    "Unsuspecting (and undisciplined) commenters come along and immediately become entangled in the clusterfuck of idiocy."

    And regardless of threaded or other forms, *that* is the problem.
    Do not feed vermin; you get vermin shit.

  • ||

    The problem with single-thread comments was that when a group of posters got into an off-topic chatroom-type discussion it would pretty much shut down any conversation on the original topic. The archives are littered with the ruins of linear threads destroyed when Epi, SF, and Warty spent an hour discussing the previous night's episode of BSG or something similarly atopical for 100 comments in the middle of a thread.

  • sevo||

    "The problem with single-thread comments was that when a group of posters got into an off-topic chatroom-type discussion it would pretty much shut down any conversation on the original topic."

    Have to agree.
    Wanna 'chat'? Well, you have a phone, don't you?
    Maybe I care about your fave sports team, movie, music act or TV program, but this ain't the place to discuss it.

  • ||

    iirc the beginning of their hostility toward me was when I started ripping into them for turning the thread into a chatroom.

  • sevo||

    "JD's seem to be able to find positions though (once they pass the bar). An argument could be made for the number of MBA's, but its more of a secondary degree combined with other experience necessary."

    In a discussion with someone pretty far up in Foster Farms hierarchy a while back (when there was an e-coli scare about poultry), he mentioned that *every* chicken that went though their plant was inspected, unlike, say, ocean-caught fish.
    I asked who was qualified to do such inspections; he said 'where do you think all those UC-Davis DVM graduates go to work?'

  • ||

    JD's seem to be able to find positions though (once they pass the bar).

    Actually, many of them not as lawyers (if at all). Can't track it down, but I saw something recently pointing out that we've added only about 1/5th(?) (maybe 1/3rd?) as many new lawyer jobs as we have new lawyers in the past decade.

  • jtuf||

    Not only is higher education seen as a key to economic advancement, but if all 18-24 year olds were in college breaking rocks in chain gangs, we would reduce the unemployment rate by 2 million people, and fewer people would be in need of governmental assistance.

  • Amerifuntimes||

    Effective picture accompanying the article.

  • ||

    I'm sure that making everyone's college education free, instead of merely having their loans subsidized, will encourage studnets to study useful productive subject that will lead to productive career.

    Why would anyone want to spend four years pursuing a psychology degree when they could be having all the fun in engineering and science?

    Letting nayone study whatever they want is just the thing to close America's gap in science and technology.

  • ||

    My keyboard sucks.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Yeah. Blame it on the "keyboard".

  • Old Mexican||

    I put the blame on Mame.

  • ||

    How about Rita Hayworth?

  • ||

    The archives are littered with the ruins of linear threads destroyed when Epi, SF, and Warty spent an hour discussing the previous night's episode of BSG or something similarly atopical for 100 comments in the middle of a thread.

    Your petulant foot-stamping aside, at least those threads actually involved active communication and exchange of ideas.

    If you want a "conversation" which stays inside the lines at all times, get out of the sandbox and set up shop in the faculty lounge. Or have they banned you?

  • luis||

    Online Self-learning is becoming fast the perfect choice of learning, especially with so many great educational videos available for free.

    The only problem is to sort the good ones from the rest and present them in an organized manner.

    This effort is being done by: http://Utubersity.com which presents the best educational videos available on YouTube in an organized, easy to find way to watch and learn.

    They are classified and tagged in a way that enables people to find these materials more easily and efficiently and not waste time browsing through pages of irrelevant search results.

    The website also enhances the experience using other means such as recommending related videos, Wikipedia content and so on. There's also a Spanish version called http://utubersidad.com

    This is a project that YouTube should embrace itself, with curated content from academics and maybe using a different URL (Youtubersity?) so it won’t be blocked by schools.

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