Educate Yourself, Volume III

Consequent to the uber-leftist administration of the past three-plus years, the American people have been jolted awake. The vast majority of them have begun to read, research, and re-introduce themselves to first principles. As a result, the political Left is now precipitously close to finding itself on the ropes. Besides finding themselves in full-spin mode, Liberals also find themselves in the position of having to desperately address the cracking foundation at the base of some of their ideological infrastructure, a large part of which has to do with the feeder system they’ve set up, a system that begins in the public schools and continues into and through higher education.

The game is now about to change, however, and in a big way. It goes without saying that this is quite likely going to be the nastiest and most hotly-contested election in American history, as this is the one that will define our country (or what’ll be left of it) for the foreseeable future – either a free, capitalist society, or one that is traveling down the same road as Greece and now France, which has now elected a firm socialist to lead their country. My guess is that France is doomed.

As I mentioned, an asset that the American Left will have to protect at all costs is the college students and campuses, because it is there that the idealistic,”take care of everyone” mentality holds sway, as collegiate student bodies are largely comprised of young people who’ve never known a day of adult responsibility in their lives and what all of it truly entails. To them, money and the sentiment to see to the needs of all human beings grow on trees. Is it any wonder that Barack Obama kicked off his campaign at Ohio State University, the state college in one of the most important swing states in the country?

Further, is it any wonder that the Democrats are now politicizing in a big way the extension of the interest rate on college loans? As things currently stand, the roughly 3.5% rate on all college loans is set to expire in mid-July; if action is not taken by the Congress by that time, the rate will roughly double. The Obama administration and all Democrats have forwarded their wish to extend the lower rate for a year – which makes them look truly magnanimous to the kids – betting, no doubt, that the Republicans would vote “no” on such a measure, simply because they’d want a way to fund the difference.

Lo and behold, however, the Republicans have come out in support of the Democrats’ initial plan, along with the idea to fund it by taking a percentage of the monies allocated for Medicare from the Healthcare legislation. Of course, this provides the Obama White House with another manner by which to target those “really mean” Republicans, because now the GOP is apparently all for helping students to attend college – it’s just that they’re “willing to kill Granny to do it”.

What complete and utter nonsense. People who fall for this stuff don’t deserve to be educated. Or, perhaps, desperately need to be.

This White House’s seeming fixation with college students goes all the way back to the stimulus package in 2009, as part of that legislation provided full control of the college loan process to the federal government. Personally, I find this all rather creepy. A person being honest with himself is forced to ask – why all the attention and concern paid to the college process, from initial applications right through graduation and into the job market?

I’ll tell you why – we’re witnessing a massive attempt at what I call “intellectual sharecropping”. The big-government, aristocracy types in Washington would like nothing better than to see two classes in this country: the government class (the elites) and the plantation class – those who work to provide tax dollars, with no possibility of escape or upward mobility. In order to ensure that the readers understand the metaphor, however, a very brief explanation of sharecropping might provide some useful context.

Once the Civil War and slavery ended in 1865, the white plantation owners and the freed slaves had a mutual problem of sorts. The plantation owners were now in a position in which they had no cheap labor to work their large tracts of land, and the slaves essentially had nowhere to go, when one considers that working the fields in the Southern culture was the only way of life that they’d ever known. The answer was a rather simple and obvious one: sharecropping contracts between the plantation owners and the freed slaves were struck, by which the plantations were divided up into roughly 40-acre tracts that the newly freed African-Americans would work. The essence of the contract was that in exchange for a certain percentage of the crops (or rent paid directly to the owner for the parcel), the newly freed men would continue to work the land.

The problem for the former slaves came in the form of the economic possibility and realities that if they didn’t produce enough crops and therefore didn’t make enough money, they would more often than not find themselves continually in arrears to the land owners. Some of the workers even owed the owners for tools and other materials that were provided at a price, a price that they could not afford at the outset of the agreement. As with today, an entire group of people ended up deeply in debt and “tied to the land”, with no possibility of escape. This became slavery in a different form and eventually led to Jim Crow laws, which were codified in Plessy vs. Ferguson.

Now, riddle me this: how is what I’ve presented there much different conceptually from what’s happening with the monopoly that the liberal Democrats and the federal government are attempting to impose on all processes regarding higher education? Let’s take a look at the system as it’s currently constituted.

Of the many relatively aimless things about which the Occupiers seem to be complaining, one is the fact that they no longer want to be held responsible to the student loan contracts that they signed prior to entering college, I guess because they ostensibly felt that it was “free money”. I’m not quite sure. In any event, they apparently want their massive debt forgiven so they can get on with their lives, which of course, would entail something other than eating Funyons and listening to their Ipods, a lifestyle that they probably learned was “acceptable” while studying very hard for their exams.

This leads me back to a point that I made earlier regarding a piece of the 2009 stimulus legislation, in which the federal government took control of the college loan process. If, in fact, the federal government is allowed to continue to assert more control over the college processes, it’s really not all that much of a stretch to imagine a situation by which the government will be in a position to “forgive such debt” – much like they were so magnanimous in handing out the money to begin with – in exchange for a certain number of years’ service to the federal government, and at a “fair wage”, no doubt.

The power to give, and the power to take away.

Tied to the land.

If, however, parents are able to manage paying their childrens’ tuition mostly on their own – no easy task today, as the cost of a college education has outstripped the cost of living by roughly 300 percent over the past 40 years – what are the available options for the young person entering the job market? Let’s take them one by one.

In a never-ending “crisis” economy – which is something, I guarantee each and every person reading this column, that Barack Obama will work to perpetuate should he be re-elected – there will be fewer and fewer available jobs in the private sector, as the federal government will continue to grow. There will be little reason for any young people to be self-starters and to try to get a business off the ground, because to do so would incur nearly infinite government regulations and taxes – all for the betterment of humanity, of course – that would hang like the proverbial albatross around the Ancient Mariner’s neck. So, a college graduate, if not hired by some type of a private firm, will more than likely note the seemingly ever-expanding employment opportunities working at some level of either state or federal government. The funny thing about those government jobs nowadays is that the salary and benefit packages are far and away more lucrative and attractive than their private sector counterparts, and in most cases, there’s even union protection. Paying off any college debt would probably be therefore reasonably easy to manage.

And, of course, if you want that good life to continue, you vote Democrat.

Tied to the land.

Should the newly-minted college graduate find him or herself in a situation in which there are no real opportunities in the private sector, he or she does not want to work for the government, say, for personal reasons, or if there are at a given time no real openings with state government, then there’s always falling back on government assistance, entitlements that flow freely. Of course, if a person wants those assistance dollars to continue to come in, he or she must vote Democrat.

Tied to the land.

The larger point here is that in some way, shape, or form, the college process is more and more coming under the command and control of the federal government, even reaching into the employment choices available to a graduating senior. I ask again, therefore, to what real degree is this different from the sharecropping process of the mid-to-late 19th century, a process by which landowners wanted two classes – the white landowners and the slaves who produced for them and were unable to make any truly free choices for themselves? I’d venture to say that the period in which we’re now living is very, very similar to the Civil War period that our country endured, one side intolerant of the ideas of individual freedom, the other seeking to assert their natural humanity.

The strange thing is that those landowners were Democrats, a party that never changed its philosophy or outlook. Oh, sure, there’s the nice little myth about the parties ”switching sides” (wasn’t that convenient?) during the days leading up to the 1964 election, but anyone who actually knows history knows that the Democrats who jumped to the Republican Party were those who who were interested in protecting states’ rights. The elitists – the racists – remained exactly where they were all along, in the Democratic Party.

As the present situation stands in America, the Left still wields a considerable amount of power, mostly in the form of organizational infrastructure and nearly limitless funding. What they do not control are ideas, which is a fight that they’ll never win, and they know it. With over a century’s worth of struggling against the Constitution in an effort to bring their agenda to fruition hanging in the balance, one of the things that they will not let go of willingly is their ideological control of the campuses, and I’ve continually pointed out the obvious concern that they have in that regard throughout this series. My attention was truly piqued back in January, however, when a hint of something for which I’d been waiting finally reared its ugly head.

Back at the beginning of this year, DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown introduced legislation that would require all graduating high school seniors to apply to college. Surprising? Not at all. The Left must have students in college, which is the source of their indoctrination and the platform by which they can reasonably expect to keep young people “tied to the land” and politically controlled.

If this were ever implemented, do you honestly believe, even for a second, that any of these students will not be accepted to the school of their choice, or something very close to that for which they were aiming?

I guarantee you this, and remember, you read it here first: if Barack Obama is re-elected, not only will there be some type of push for this legislation or something similar, but there will also be an attempt by the Left to make college attendance mandatory. I’m playing Joe Willie Namath here – I guarantee it. Further, it will all look so “benevolent and magnanimous” on the part of our liberal politicians – after all, they’ll want all our young people to be “properly educated” so that they can “compete in a new, global economy”.

Gosh, I just get goosebumps. Democrats are so nice.

Throughout history, it has always been the political Left that resorts to force: the French Revolution, the Communists, The Nazis, Castro and Che Guevera in Cuba, and the brutal oppression of the South Vietnamese by the North. What we’re seeing from this administration is just par for the course. Let’s also think back to then-Senator Obama on the campaign trail in 2008 claiming that we need an “internal security force”, and former White House Chief-of-Staff Rham Emmanuel’s saying that it makes sense to “require two or three years of government service” for all young people, so as to learn “proper citizenship and discipline”.

No, wait….frightening. “Frightening” is the word I wanted, not “nice”.

What better place to learn all this than in the militantly-Leftist atmosphere of higher education?

Excluding the possibility of abject denial, what is it about this larger picture, and the manner in which it applies specifically to the world into which our children are venturing, that people don’t get?

For the past forty years or more, the political Left in this country has sold the popular culture a bill of goods, that the “new wealth” is “fashionable intellect”. The more refined your degree of contrarianism is, the more “valid” you are as a person, whether you’ve earned anything in life or not. The young people who’ve taken this hook, line, and sinker end up living vicariously through the wealth of others, most notably the wealth of the very politicians and Liberal leaders (if there is such a thing) whom they adore. In the end, it’s all about impressing their chic friends with the degree to which they’re “noble”.

There’s another thing about the perverseness of this mindset: a person of this ilk doesn’t really need to have accomplished anything or have any marketable skills in order to appear to have succeeded in life. Sounds like someone else I know.

So, if I were asked by prospective parents, “Should I send my son/daughter to college?,” my answer would simply be this:

Think very carefully. Quite a few of these colleges are dens for wolves. Sit down with your family and think about other realistic choices in life and place them up against the pros and cons of what a specific school has to offer. Don’t treat college visits as just “going through the motions”.  Ask questions. Visit classes.  Believe me, with my son about to enter his Freshman year at my school in September, and with college only four years over the horizon, I’m beginning to do just that. Do I want to take out a second mortgage on life – both literally and figuratively – in order to pay more than a few alleged adults to attempt to poison my son’s mind? I realize, of course, when I say this that there’s a good deal of subjectivity, but right now, my son is a really, really good kid. I intend to keep it that way.

You know, it’s funny – Jeff asked me to put together a piece on “school choice”.   I’m guessing that both he and I had no idea that the real choice is not about choosing the high school to which parents want to send their children. It’s much more importantly about whether or not we should be blindly sending our children into the arms of the enemy.

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Comments

  1. Whats_up says:

    @ Mr. Feeny.

    “blindly sending our children into the arms of the enemy.” I wasnt aware that fellow Americans were the “enemy” Mr. Feeny. This article has some good points but mostly its just more nonsense from you. Again with the comparisons to the most vile evil that the world has faced, forgetting of course that Dems and liberals fought against Communism and Nazism. However in your fictional world only the Conservatives can save the universe, how clever.

    My favorite part is how the govt is growing. You do realize (actually you dont) that Federal, State and local governments as employers has dropped under Obama, oh wait that doesnt fit your narrative. Perhaps you should actually deal in facts and not fiction.

  2. John Feeny says:

    I’ll take a page from one of your books….freezing and polarizing one line:

    “What complete and utter nonsense. People who fall for this stuff don’t deserve to be educated. Or, perhaps, desperately need to be.”

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