Just a reminder: outside the political bubble, 2000 wasn’t all that. (Also: Egypt!)

OK, wait, hold on: this is not an accurate description of the situation, back then.

Watching Egypt self-immolate, I am taken back to the time when the United States was alight with bitter conflict—to December 2000 and the unresolved presidential election. Admittedly, no one was killing political opponents, and but for a “bourgeois riot” in Tallahassee, Florida, there was nothing more violent than the trading of abuse across the party-political divide. But in a country unaccustomed to electoral ambiguity, there was fear in the air: it was palpable. America was in uncharted territory. The voting was over, the count was maddeningly inconclusive, and the country was on edge, electrified and shaken, awaiting resolution. Most disconcerting of all was the sense that this perilous post-election limbo was so very un-American. This sort of thing happened in Italy, in Argentina, in India, places less serene in their political culture, more turbulent in their ways. Not in America!

Continue reading Just a reminder: outside the political bubble, 2000 wasn’t all that. (Also: Egypt!)

QotD, It’s The End Of The School As We Know It… edition.


(H/T: Instapundit) Two quotes, actually, with commentary after the second. First:

The most important part of the college bubble story—the one we will soon be hearing much more about—concerns the impending financial collapse of numerous private colleges and universities and the likely shrinkage of many public ones. And when that bubble bursts, it will end a system of higher education that, for all of its history, has been steeped in a culture of exclusivity.

…OK. Works for me.

Here’s the second quote, same source:

Through its “Open Yale” initiative, Yale has been recording its lecture courses for several years now, making them available to the public free of charge. Anyone with an internet connection can go online and watch some of the same lectures I attended as a Yale undergrad. But that person won’t get the social life, the long chats in the dinning hall, the feeling of collegiality, the trips around Long Island sound with the sailing team, the concerts, the iron-sharpens-iron debates around the seminar table, the rare book library, or the famous guest lecturers (although some of those events are streamed online, too).

…on the other hand, that person also won’t get the side-effects from four or more years constant, corrosive personal exposure to a variety of substitute authority figures who generally feel that the United States of America would be just perfect if they could only do to it what Paul Verhoeven did to Starship Troopers (safe link).  So I’m going to score that one as a wash.

Moe Lane

#rsrh Higher Education Bubble Watch, 12/13/2011 edition.

(Via Instapundit) So, educators are worried about the higher education bubble.  OK, that’s not true.  What they’re worried about is that that the higher education bubble has reached the point where it’s beginning to affect the schools themselves: the available money supply is starting to dry up.  Still, that situation is making some schools so worried, in fact, that they’re talking about it amongst themselves and looking for answers.

Well.  Some answers.  Read the whole thing and what strikes you is what is not being discussed as possible solutions:

  • There was no discussion – possibly not even an acknowledgement – that our current student loan system is currently designed to reward bad loans for both the universities and the lending agencies.  Or that said system is a major contributor to both higher education prices and onerous, immediate debt burdens on the young.
  • There was also no analysis of what the universities are teaching; specifically, what they want to teach – and how that compares to what our society needs them to teach.  Put bluntly: right now we’re overstocked on liberal arts majors, could use more engineers – and really, really, really need more welders, electricians, and mechanics.  It is, however, considered at best impolite (and at worst, prejudiced/racist) to suggest that we place more people into “working class” career tracks.  But, heck, there’s nothing actually stopping a university letting a student major in English lit and minor in, say, auto repair – which is to say, having them get the equivalent of an AA or a certificate degree in the latter.
  • Needless to say, there was even more of a lack of an analysis on how the universities are teaching. Specifically, whether they’re teaching the latest fashionable liberal shibboleth instead of, say, how to write a coherent sentence in English.  Which leads nicely to the last point…
  • There was a lot of complaining about how state legislatures are turning off the fiscal spigots.  What was carefully not brought up was the hint of a whisper of a suggestion of a intimation that at least some of this may have been due to largely conservative/Republican legislatures deciding that it was impractical to continue to subsidize largely liberal/Democratic local universities.

So what are they thinking of doing?  Well, some possible solutions offered were to: try to yank more money out of alumni and other donors; automate everything that they can (translation: fire as many people who aren’t tenured professors as possible); raise tuition; and create a two-tier system where the more money your dad has, the more you pay in tuition.

Interestingly, that last sentence could actually be summed up in one word, but unfortunately said word is too coarse for public use.