Monday, August 12, 2019

America's Colleges As Indoctrination Mills

As you know, the autocrats in Beijing have been sending Muslims to re-education camps. It smells like something that Mao would have done, so naturally we are against it. The purpose seems to be to force the Muslim population to assimilate culturally. And to stop committing terrorist actions.

For reasons that escape me, the Chinese government believes that unassimilated Muslims pose a greater threat to national unity than does, for instance, white supremacy. One does not know how they came to such a conclusion… but they did. 

Anyway, we do not send anyone to re-education camps. We send young people, in the flower of their youth, to colleges and universities. As we can best ascertain these young people are then captured by the indoctrination mills that pass as institutions of higher learning. They are taught recycled Marxist claptrap and the virtues of overthrowing capitalism. Does that resemble what China's Uighurs might be learning in their reeducation camps?

America's college students are not taught how to think or to count or to read or to write. Then again, when they get to university they are so far behind in terms of basic intellectual skills, that teaching them anything seems hopeless. Credit for this state of affairs must go to their high schools and their parents.

Thus, they are allowed to believe that however stupid they are, they are really great. They are taught high self-esteem, in order not to feel badly about being ignorant. Keep in mind, the problem with having imbeciles like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Congress is that so many young people think that she is smart.

It makes you want to start studying Mandarin.

Anyway, three years ago Providence College professor Anthony Esolen explained what he was seeing in his students who take his classes in English literature. Since we missed his essay then, we are happy to revive it now, via Intellectual Takeout:

I now regularly meet students who have never heard the names of most English authors who lived before 1900. That includes Milton, Chaucer, Pope, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, Tennyson, and Yeats. Poetry has been largely abandoned. Their knowledge of English grammar is spotty at best and often nonexistent. That is because grammar, as its own subject worthy of systematic study, has been abandoned. Those of my students who know some grammar took Latin in high school or were taught at home. The writing of most students is irreparable in the way that aphasia is. You cannot point to a sentence and say, simply, ‘Your verb here does not agree with your subject.’ That is not only because they do not understand the terms of the comment. It is also because many of their sentences will have no clear subject or verb to begin with. The students make grammatical errors for which there are no names. Their experience of the written language has been formed by junk fiction in school, text messages, blog posts, blather on the airwaves, and the bureaucratic sludge that they are taught for ‘formal’ writing, and that George Orwell identified and skewered seventy years ago. The best of them are bad writers of English; the others write no language known to man.

This is what you get when you declare war on Western Civilization. It's what happens when you decide that the English language was produced by a vast right wing conspiracy. It’s what you get when you make education into indoctrination in politically correct thinking. Rather than raise up the less literate, our culture has decided that the best way to assure that the imbeciles feel less stupid is to dumb down the curriculum and to stupidify everyone else.

One suspects the brightest college students no longer bother with Humanities courses anyway. They major in STEM subjects and leave the Humanities to others.

Being as Esolen wrote his essay three years ago, we cannot reasonably blame it on Donald Trump. But then, who can we blame it on? Tis a puzzlement.

10 comments:

trigger warning said...

Until very recently, I employed a young woman to do light yard work. It's a gig I choose to provide to students to help with their expenses and pocket money. The young woman was an MFA student pursuing a degree in Voice (an aspiring mezzo-soprano, in fact).

We were chatting about my experiences living abroad, and for some reason I mentioned the statue of Robin Hood in Nottingham and the fact that the legendarily villainous Sheriff of Nottingham was and is a very real person and the office is occupied to this day (although today's version is largely ceremonial and the current Sheriff is a woman). Her response was, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

How does one earn a liberal arts degree and not recognize the name of one of England's most famous musical, literary, and film characters? I was afraid to ask whether she could read music.

Derek Ramsey said...

"One suspects the brightest college students no longer bother with Humanities courses anyway. They major in STEM subjects and leave the Humanities to others."

When I majored in Computer Science, I also had to take core liberal arts coursework. One such course was in literature. The "college level" course was way easier than anything I had done in high school. I probably could have taught the course. This college course culminated in a minuscule single-digit page count, 12-pt font, double-spaced research term paper. It was not very challenging.

We had to peer review other student's papers. One I received was from a (presumably) non-native student. The grammar was atrocious. My review of the paper stated that if you are going to take college level writing coursework, then you need to have the language prerequisites. I stated that if I were grading it, I would have given the paper failing marks. In today's college climate, I can only imagine the repercussions for me saying such hateful words now.

Sam L. said...

Well, if Robin Hood were an opera or operetta, she might have heard of it. Might. I suspect not. I've never heard of "Robin Hood: The Operetta". Or any other musical rendition.

Margaret Ball said...

In my day, even STEM students were absolutely required to take English Composition. (Minor exception: I argued with the Dean that I could already compose perfectly good English and should be allowed to substitute Anglo-Saxon until he signed the papers. I used to think he was persuaded by my arguments, but now I suspect he just wanted me to shut up and go away.)

On the other hand, students who wished to avoid Elementary Algebra were allowed to substitute first-year Greek. The University of Texas had some very strange requirements.

Sam L. said...

If we can't blame Trump, then it MUST be Obama we can blame, regardless of what the Democrats say.

David Foster said...

"On the other hand, students who wished to avoid Elementary Algebra were allowed to substitute first-year Greek. The University of Texas had some very strange requirements."

Strange, but not *totally* crazy. If you want to ensure that your graduates can do something that's actually *hard*, then either one would satisfy that requirement to some degree.

Sam L. said...


"For reasons that escape me, the Chinese government believes that unassimilated Muslims pose a greater threat to national unity than does, for instance, white supremacy."

Lack of whites in China, perhaps? Or, perhaps, the Chinese have heard of Muslim Supremacy.

UbuMaccabee said...

You all know the incantation by now, I’ve said it more times than Cato ever did. Ithaca delenda est. Ithaca delenda est. Ithaca delenda est.

Anonymous said...

"Not now, Cato!"

j/k... what's life without a little humor?


https://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DIA8QrOAghZ0&ved=2ahUKEwiCtaWDg4HkAhXEx1kKHRXJBggQyCkwAHoECAwQBA&usg=AOvVaw2bI2kg4cwkP8OoB75XryXh

- shoe

Anonymous said...

Former special ed teacher, married to one still teaching. Read this to him, and he reminded me, "That's a special ed thing," and he's right. So now college students are writing like middle and high school special ed students.