|Students take over Dartmouth President's Officve|
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But the Dartmouth president's office takeover illustrates why smart, decent young people should avoid attending elitist higher education institutions--especially if attending a nuthouse like Dartmouth requires borrowing money. Here are three reasons to skip the elitist college experience:
1. The inmates are running the asylum. First, as the Dartmouth president's office takeover shows, the inmates are running the asylum. It is the students at our nation's elitist colleges that get to lecture to the professors--not the other way around. I understand one of the participants in the Dartmouth takeover was a freshman who had only attended Dartmouth for a few months. Yet he felt himself entitled to condemn Dartmouth for its allegedly racist culture and practices. And the professors cower in their offices--afraid to express any opinion that would attract the ire of the student thought police.
2. You won't learn anything useful at an elitist college. A college education is supposed to teach people to think rationally, to learn how to solve problems and to gain a broad understanding of our civilization's history, art, literature and culture. But as the recent Dartmouth incident illustrates, students aren't learning much of anything at our elitist colleges.
I would admire today's college students if they took personal risks to advance social justice in this country. But these Dartmouth students went to the barricades (so to speak) to demand gender-neutral bathrooms!
3. The elitist institutions are deceptive. You would think that our finest colleges and universities would be driven by the search for truth, that they would encourage a free flow of ideas and debate. After all, Harvard's motto--Veritas--is the Latin word for truth.
But in fact, our elitist higher education institutions operate in a web of deception and intellectual dishonesty. Our colleges and universities pretend to be open to controversial ideas, but in fact they close their ears to anyone who voices an opinion that contradicts the elitists' postmodern worldview.
Ross Douthat made this point in a recent New York Times op ed essay. Our nation's elitist institutions make a pretense of universality, Douthat observed, when in fact they will not tolerate points of view that are contrary to their own. "I can live with the progressivism," Douthat wrote. "It's the lying that gets toxic."
Of course our nation has experienced irrational social movements before, and most of them faded away after being subjected to the light of public scrutiny. The Know Nothing Party of the 1850s, the second rising of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, the McCarthyism hysteria of the 1950s--all disappeared within two or three years of their first emergence.
But bizarre campus behavior like the recent bedlam at Dartmouth has become embedded in the culture of our elitist colleges. We've seen campus building takeovers, irrational student demands, and anti-intellectual bullying on America's most prestigious universities for more than 40 years. What happened at Dartmouth is not an aberration--it is an example of how our elitist college communities think and behave.
So my advice is this--skip the elitist college experience. Get your degree from a respected public university. You might not learn much there either, but at least it will be cheaper. No sensible person should invest a quarter of a million dollars to hang out for four years at a goofball institution like Dartmouth.
Ross Douthat. Diversity and Dishonest. New York Times, April 13, 2014, Sunday Review section, page 12.
Oppressed by the Ivy League: What Dartmouth's president should have told bullying students. Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2014. Available at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303987004579479501134392562