The Biggest Con Game in America

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Ask
any freedom-minded person about the most crooked deal in American
history, and it’s likely that Social(ist) Security or the Federal
Reserve System will be chosen.

Even
though both of those monumental scams are definitely worthy of mention,
one other government-controlled shell game may be the biggest ripoff
of all. I’m referring to America’s college education system and
its undeserved veneer of respectability.

Countless
millions of parents have been brainwashed into believing that their
offspring will be forced to endure a lifetime of misery and poverty
if they don’t pick up at least a four-year degree. Since this is
a widely accepted doctrine, then it needs to be held to some serious
scrutiny.

Just
what do students receive for (in many cases) going tens of thousands
of dollars into debt for a college diploma? Forget the hype and
look at what actually takes place on campus.

The
vast majority of college students endure the grind to improve their
career prospects and earning potential. That’s a perfectly logical
reason to attend school, but it’s no secret that college classes
are long on irrelevant theory and short on practical knowledge.

Look
at the typical university business department. How many of the professors
have real world experience in a free enterprise position? Have they
ever run their own business – even a hot dog pushcart? Do they know
what it’s like to be a mid-level functionary in the corporate world?

It’s
safe to say that the average small shop owner or office worker has
a far better grasp of how business really functions than Dr. Stuckup
with his Ph.D. So why are these clueless statists anointed as “experts”
in a subject when they lack practical knowledge of even the basic
facts of life?

The
same analogy also applies to marketing, journalism, broadcasting,
the sciences, and other career-oriented courses. Why should those
whose only “experience” comes from classroom lectures by fellow
know-nothing blowhards be given cushy, tenured positions to perpetuate
their ignorance? As the saying goes, those who can, do – and those
who can’t, teach.

When asked about their most memorable and interesting classes, students
often point to the course taught by the part-time instructor with
decades of practical experience or the professor who first learned
his trade in the real world before going into teaching. Anyone who
has endured some of the droning monologues of smug “educators” surely
understands the difference between true learning and killing time.

This bit of consumer fraud is just part of the ripoff, as there’s
much more to the scheme mislabeled as education. The typical college
curriculum is larded with time-wasting (but revenue producing) mandatory
classes and electives.

Why
should students and parents pay full retail for required core classes
of several hundred freshmen taught by graduate assistants? Does
anyone really believe that one-on-one learning takes place in this
cattle car environment, especially when the alleged professor is
even less experienced in practical life skills (if such a thing
is possible) than the average classroom pontificator?

What
is especially irritating to freedom lovers is how supposedly “vital”
classes are nothing more than mandatory brainwashing sessions. How
does gay and lesbian studies, dreary, narcissistic feminist poetry,
monologues on the glories of socialism, globalism and gun control
and evolution-only science courses increase a student’s career skills
and ability to think logically?

When
the educrats are asked to justify their leech-like existence and
to verify their real world credentials, the answers tend to be the
same.

“I
have a Ph.D.!” Translation: I sat in class for years, quite often
to avoid the competitive atmosphere of free enterprise. People who
think just like me eventually gave me a piece of paper just like
theirs.

“I
have 17 years of experience!” Translation: Where else am I going
to get a guaranteed paycheck, summers off, and impose my opinions
on students whom I could flunk if they disagree too vehemently with
my brilliant ideas?

“I
have been published in academic journals!” Translation: I wrote
a turgid, long-winded piece of indecipherable jargon for my fellow
statists. None of us reads these obscure, often taxpayer-subsidized
fishwraps, but we all use them to enhance our rsums. Check out
the Journal of the Songbirds of Southern Rhode Island for my latest
paper.

“My
colleagues speak highly of me!”: Translation: We’ve got a good thing
going, so you cover my butt, and I’ll cover yours. This is the academic
world’s equivalent of Al Capone getting a character reference from
Lucky Luciano.

Here’s
the most diabolical part of the deal: Taxpayers lavishly subsidize
higher education even while students go into debt slavery for their
own reprogramming! Maybe those eggheads aren’t as stupid as they
act, as they have built a giant, lucrative make-work program for
themselves.

As
with any other aspect of life, government interference in the market
exacerbates the problem. When students walk into the financial aid
office and say they are dropping out because of the cost of college,
the “financial aid officer” often sings a one-note tune.

“You
can apply for student loans!”, is the reflexive solution offered
to potential dropouts. The basic concept of running a leaner, more
efficient (and more affordable) campus is completely foreign to
these addicts to state funding.

Here’s
some advice to students: NEVER ask anyone associated with a college
financial aid office if taking a loan is a good idea. Find advisors
with at least an ounce of objectivity if you are considering a debt
obligation that could take decades to pay off.

So what is the solution to flushing the sewer of American academia?
Pay professors what they are truly worth. Since that would violate
minimum wage laws in many cases, I may have created a whole ‘nother
problem.

May
31, 2005

Al
Doyle [send him mail]
has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine staff writer and freelancer
since 1983. He won’t allow his children to attend government schools.

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