As Kunstler correctly observed, "college has become, most of all, a money-grubbing racket tuned to the flow of exorbitant student loans for exorbitant college costs." In other words, as he has said before, higher education in the United States basically operates from a "criminal ethic" where costs have "developed an inverse relationship to the value of a college education."
Kunstler's essay also includes a withering assessment of college leadership: "The presidents, deans, and faculty of colleges around the country have turned into the most obdurate enemies of free thought since the Spanish Inquisition, a gang of cowards and villains who disgrace the meaning and purpose of higher ed[ucation]."
In fact, Kunstler's indictment of the people who run American colleges is too gentle. If these clowns lived in another age, they would be the people who staffed the French Vichy regime during Word War II--the bureaucrats who dutifully rounded up French Jews for the Nazis and shipped them from Paris to the German death camps. No courage, no intellect, no sense of decency whatsoever. They babble ceaselessly about trigger words, safe spaces and "white male heterosexual privilege" while they pick their students' pockets.
The federal student loan program is quietly and inexorably destroying the lives of millions of Americans; has anyone in higher education spoken up? Have the presidents of Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago, Brown, Johns Hopkins, or the University of Michigan uttered a single word of criticism about it? Has any university leader endorsed bankruptcy relief for overburdened student debtors? Has any college president or dean criticized the government policy of garnishing Social Security checks of elderly student-loan defaulters? Has any higher-education leader of national standing called for the closure of the for-profit college industry?
No, our elite colleges and universities are almost as addicted to federal student-aid money as the sleaziest for-profit schools. In terms of dependency on federal money, there is not a dime's worth of difference between Harvard and Bob's Beauty Academy.
Kunstler predicts that "a shocking number of small four-year colleges will go out of business this year," and I share his view. Harvard professor Clayton Christensen said recently that half of American colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years.
In fact, the small liberal arts college is dead, although the leaders of some small colleges stubbornly keep their institutions on life support. Parents need to warn their children to stay away from these decaying institutions. It would be a grave mistake to borrow $100,000 to get a degree from a college that will close before its graduates pay off their student loans.
|French officials registering French Jews.|
Abigail Hess. Harvard Business School professor: Half of American colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years. CNBC.com, November 15, 2017.
James Howard Kunstler. Forecast 2018--What Could Go Wrong? Clusterfuck Nation, January 1, 2018.
James Howard Kunstler. Made for Each Other. Clusterfuck Nation, February 13, 2017.