More so than I should have. I have 6.5 years of college, which counts for nil to little without accreditation. Sept. 1992 to Dec. 1995 (I think) at the University of Michigan and Jan. 1997 to Dec. 1999 at the University of Indiana at South Bend (IUSB). If anyone reading this happens to remember my essay entitled “The Day I Stole My Friend’s Bicycle”, that occurred at the University of Michigan.
I’m so familiar with the propaganda and indoctrination of “higher education” from personal experience. The 1990s were one of the worst decades in American history (probably the worst), and that was purely reflected in the center of indoctrination called the “educational system”.
America has progressed enough that I might be able to now handle a fight against the system en route to getting a degree, but I don’t have the money for it. It’s also against my principles to pay money for accreditation when that process would add little if anything to my education.
It’s so sad that the primary point of “education” for students is not education, but rather to get a slip of paper that tells employers to hire that person. Students don’t go to college to learn, but rather to enable them to get a “good job”, which means a job that pays a lot of money. Education is not about learning, but about a favorable economic calculation. People go to college for money, not for knowledge. College is essentially an investment with a rate of return – put money in, get that money plus the return out. It’s pure capitalism.
It’s curious that people so often talk about the “liberal university”. Here are some of my experiences with these “liberal” institutions:
I was offended by the textbook being used in the speech class. It taught that one should try to manipulate the audience – to engage them not based on the quality of the material but on “tricks” and techniques. The quality of the material given in the speech was *never* mentioned in the entire book. The message was that the quality of the material doesn’t matter as long as one’s technique is effective. George W. Bush must have read just that kind of textbook in school.
I of course objected to the teacher, who informed me that there were no alternative textbooks to be used. He also acted as if he didn’t agree with my criticism or just didn’t care. Needless to say this experience had a negative effect on my outlook on the “liberal university”.
In an accounting class there was a chapter in the textbook about minimizing taxes. I was offended, since it’s rather ridiculous to minimize taxes – everyone should pay their fair share of taxes. I again objected to the teacher, and this time the teacher looked at me as if I was insane – it was clearly the first time he had ever heard this kind of statement. He didn’t even respond to what to him was possibly either a crazy or communist student. This had a further negative effect on my perception of the “liberal educational system”.
Then I went to a place that I thought surely would agree with me – an Atheist newsgroup on Usenet. And there I was called a kook and an assortment of other names. At this point I was deeply depressed, as it seemed I was fighting the entire world with zero allies on my side. I still thought the world was liberals and conservatives, and since I hated the conservatives and based on my college experiences the liberals were monsters, what exactly did that make me? I was starting to think that maybe they were right, and I really was crazy.
I was glad in a way that 9/11 happened, because Bin Laden’s argument would be responded to after mine had been ignored – America’s culture needed to change. My first response when seeing the planes hit the towers was to laugh, although in my defense I was only familiar with Hollywood versions of that degree of destruction up to that point and the real tragedy took a few hours to sink in.
I wonder what kind of textbooks the schools are using today? Probably the same ones. Those fucking Americans take a long, long time to learn.
I’m sure the textbooks are the same. But sometimes they change versions just so you can’t sell your old book back because now they’re using Version 15 instead of Version 14 and you’re screwed out of $150.
My classes now don’t use textbooks. I can’t decide which is better. It’s nice to have a reference that’s more reliable than Wikipedia, but it sucks to spend a lot of money on a book that has no useful real-life information.
I’ve stopped writing but started cello lessons and need another hair cut.
In South Bend it’s finally warming up – we’ve had a long winter.
Being a social critic kind of sucks when the entire institutional structure is messed up. It’s like being a landscaper and having to bulldoze the buildings instead. It’s not the job I signed up to do.
It’s also nullifying. I have no power to change the institutional structure of the United States yet that’s precisely the thing that needs to change. I guess that’s why they call it “struggle” and “resist” instead of “succeed”.