Sleeping Dogs Are Waking
The university will either change soon or simply implode; its present course is unsustainable and rests on the premise that schizophrenic deans and presidents can still manage to write and say things to student cry bullies that they hope their donors and alumni never read or hear.
Colleges overcharge insolvent students through tuition increases far beyond the annual rate of inflation—the Ponzi scheme predicated on guaranteed federal loans that cannot be repaid by poorly educated graduates and drop-outs, many with little skills or demonstrable education. Obama has already promised relief to the disabled student debtor: expect that more amnesties will follow, probably predicated on the basis of race, class, and gender. In the meantime, the number of disabled indebted students will mysteriously soar.
In response, the university freely imposes speech codes, allows racial segregation, and winks at censorship of texts. It has suspended due process in cases of allegations of sexual assault, and allows 1930s-like violence (reminiscent of the Brownshirts) to disrupt public lectures and assemblies—if the agendas of the protestors profess social awareness. Only the hard sciences and professional schools in engineering, mathematics, and medicine have for the moment partially escaped the ruin.
Online colleges are far cheaper and more concerned with offering skill sets for cash. Their spread has so far been checked by the lack of general education enrichment, by the mythical college experience of physically living in or walking about a beautiful campus, and by the lack of prestige accorded a for-profit, online diploma. But if the traditional American college has largely given up on liberal education (due to its deductive and politicized mandatory –studies courses), if being on a campus can equate to an unpleasant ordeal of thought policing and mob rule, and if a diploma from a major university does not suggest that one knows anything about history, literature, science, or basic facts concerning our civilization, why would the university need to continue? Cui bono?
It runs now partly on past momentum, and partly because taxpayers and alumni donors still subsidize it. If a majority were to feel that their money only empowers fascism among faculty and administration, and if they were to conclude that students are not sympathetic in their indebtedness, but rather increasingly arrogant and ignorant in their passive aggressions, then they might well simply pull the plug on what is becoming their Frankenstein monster.
A multiracial, single-cultural U.S. was an historical fluke. No other society has ever quite pulled that feat off—not Austria-Hungary, not Rwanda, not Iraq, not Yugoslavia. To ensure multiracial harmony, cultural unity (or what is now dismissively written off as the "melting pot") was essential.
Yet the Obama era has reawakened ethnic chauvinism and multiculturalism in a way we have never quite seen before in recent American history. Who would have thought that in 2009, the racist firebrand, tax-delinquent, anti-Semite, former FBI informant, and conspiracist Al Sharpton would become the chief presidential advisor on race, or that the attorney general would refer to blacks as “my people” and the rest of the country as “cowards,” or that the president would urge Latinos to “punish our enemies,” or that something chauvinistic called “Black Lives Matter” would consider a corollary ecumenical “All Lives Matter” as racist, or that “white privilege” would be a slur hurled against the largely working white classes by mostly minority and white elites in academia, politics, journalism and the arts?
Coupled with years of open borders, a failure to enforce immigration laws, hostility to integration and assimilation, and racial preferences in hiring and admissions, the Obama administration in just over seven years has nearly achieved its aims of racializing the American experience to such a degree that everyone must now belong to his particular tribe first, and begrudgingly remain an American a distant second.
An example of our future is found in Rome around the early 5th century AD onward, when parochialism and localism reasserted themselves, as Civis Romanus sum was rendered irrelevant. I fear that self-segregation is already institutionalized, as people migrate to live with like kind in red and blue states. And states such as California have divided into two antithetical societies, in which an interior Fresno is about as akin to coastal Newport or Palo Alto as Somalia is to Switzerland.
This is not going to end well, largely because the remedy—melting-pot assimilation, integration, and intermarriage—simply would threaten far too many lucrative careers ranging from those of an Al Sharpton and Black Lives Matter to La Raza and Jorge Ramos. When a person pledges his career and future to the color of his skin or tribe, he will fight tooth and nail for that crutch, given that his greatest fear is to be judged on the content of his character. Tribal identification is historically the last refuge for scoundrels.
No military can remain a military if hostile powers routinely launch missiles at its $7 billion aircraft carriers, ship-jack its vessels and humiliate the crew, or buzz destroyers to interrupt naval exercises. Yet this is now the new normal of the U.S. military and Navy in particular. These provocations at sea and in the air will increase, as Iran, Russia, and perhaps soon China grasp that there are no consequences to symbolically humiliating the U.S, but some utility thereby in limiting its range and outreach to allies. Perhaps to avoid the harassment, we can rename destroyers “outreach vessels,” carriers can become “safe spaces,” and jet-fighters can be “contingency operators.”
But should the Navy seek to stop the harassment, it would now be dubbed “provocative,” given that the world has come to accept as standard the aggressive conditions that its enemies have established over us. And the more the provocations, the more we and the world accept that the American military deserves the harassment (e.g., what exactly has the U.S. done in the past to earn these cry-of-the-heart symbolic acts of resistance against its hurtful icons of empire?). Obama, to the degree that he is uneasy with the bullying, apparently assumes in the last nine months of his term that these aggressive incidents will not escalate to the point of his own embarrassment, and especially that his politicized Pentagon has ensured that there is not some ossified sea-dog John Paul Jones or Bull Halsey still barking on the bridge of a ship, who might just hit back.
Another sleeping dog is the serial half-trillion-dollar annual deficit, and not just because it has led to record-high national debt. Instead, Obama has so discredited the prior, tried means of addressing deficits, that there will be few choices left other than radical and rapid restructuring of the entire entitlement industry.
In the 1990s, the Republican Congress and Democratic Clinton administration worked out a system to achieve budget surpluses—spending restraint and cuts in defense, some increases in taxes, and expectations of a growing economy at about 4%.
Obama rejected all that. Even with near-record zero interest rates on the vast debt (in the 1990s we were paying about 5% on it), and with an unforeseen windfall of cheap fossil fuels and near self-sufficiency in energy production, the Obama administration continues to run nearly half-trillion-dollar annual deficits. Obama has already raised taxes, including upping marginal income tax rates on the top brackets, and imposed Obamacare charges. He has slashed defense spending to near-record postwar low percentages of GDP.
Huge revenues stream in, but far greater sums flow out in entitlements and domestic spending, as the national debt grows and we pray for continued zero interest rates. If raising taxes and cutting defense did not work this time around, even when the costs of servicing debt dollars and energy prices are at record lows, what will happen when this fragile matrix implodes?
The tensions of 2016 are mounting. The center is not holding, as the foundations of our society—education, social cohesion, defense, and finance—erode. Trump and Sanders are mere symptoms of the collective fear about what is being lost. Far, far worse is on the horizon.
(Artwork created using a modified Shutterstock.com image.)