Last month I quoted from Victor Davis Hanson’s article on “The Origins of Our Second Civil War.” One of his explanations focused on our college campuses. His insightful analysis is worth more than the few sentences I devoted to it a month ago.
He argues that higher education helped split the country in two. For example, college campuses “competed for scarcer students by styling themselves as Club Med-type resorts.” This included upscale dorms with phenomenal buffets and lavish gyms. In fact, everything a student might want was right there on campus. This not only increased the cost of college but also shielded them from the realities of the outside world. They graduated with massive student loan debt and headed out into the world as snowflakes.
At the same time, universities were becoming more left-wing. Of course, liberal ideas have always had a home on college campuses. But they weren’t just liberal but leftist. As I have tried to document in previous commentaries, there is a striking difference between the two. A liberal would allow different points of view on campus. A leftist would prevent certain views from being expressed and shout down speakers they did not like and believed were not politically correct. Doesn’t that sound like what is happening on campus today?
Finally, the curriculum on many colleges became therapeutic. No longer were challenging courses placed before students. Instead, many courses merely attempted to provide reading and study skills that should have been developed in middle school and high school. Hanson writes that so many students left college “mostly ignorant of the skills necessary to read, write, and argue effectively, lacking a general body of shared knowledge.” He therefore concludes that, “A generation ignorant, arrogant, and poor is a prescription for social volatility.” This is one major reason why we have so much division in America today.