The big question, bigger even than the sweat-inducing question about money: What do many, maybe most, students get from that four years of life-postponement laughably known as a “liberal arts education”? One thing, perhaps the chief concrete thing, many of them get is a mountain of debt — often it is more than $100,000 for the little piece of faux vellum embellished with the letters “B.A.” and some Latin words that four years of expensive holiday have left the poor graduate, who majored in “women’s studies” or some such voodoo inanity, unable to read.
Granted that’s not all you get from a typical college education. You also get four years of left-wing, anti-American indoctrination, guaranteed to root out all small-town “guns and religion” sentiment among your delicately brought up progeny or your money back.
Actually, no: you don’t get your money back: just kidding about that. But you can count on the higher education establishment to give it the old college try when it comes to indoctrinating your children in the entire “progressive” menu of attitudes and beliefs. You can count on them having graduated knowing more about “safe sex” than Seneca, more about the inequities of American society than its achievements, more about pop novels than Aristotle, Adam Smith, or Immanuel Kant, convinced of the relativism of all values except the value of relativism, about which they are doctrinaire absolutists.
I said that the American higher education establishment was a house of cards. It is precariously balanced and vulnerable like a house of cards. But a better image for the whole tumid mess is a bubble. The higher education system in this country is a grotesquely inflated bubble, a gaseous bladder filled by decades of preening, self-infatuated liberals who have battened on a diet of entitlement and fiscal irresponsibility washed down with frothy flagons of leftist attitudinizing. Already you can see that patient straining painfully under the load. What just happened in Virginia is a little preliminary toot of the unpleasant crepitation to come. It will not, when it bursts, be a pretty spectacle. Prepare yourself now with this apotropaic exercise: Glenn Reynolds’s The Higher Education Bubble. It begins by quoting the economist Herbert Stein: “Something that can’t go on forever, won’t.” The bloated, noxiously gas-filled, fiscally incontinent higher education bubble can’t go on forever. In a brisk 50-odd pages (or quick download), this hygienic analysis shows how we filled the bladder and outlines some of the ways it might deflate. What can’t go on won’t go on. Help prick this obscene bubble now. The Higher Education Bubble: lose it or rue it.