This post wasn’t on top of my to do list, but strike while the iron is hot!
The neoreactionary critique of modern society centers around a cluster of self-reinforcing biases, prejudices, and concepts which have proven in recent history to be nearly impossible to resist. Whether you describe them technically as memes or through analogy as cancer, the basic idea is that fighting it directly is like fighting the Hydra; for each head cut off, two more counterattack.
A lot of ink is spilled in our circles about whether any of this is relevant; perhaps it is best to let our society continue what it’s doing. After all, being delusional is ok if no one gets hurt, right? The problem is that people do get hurt. In real, tangible ways.
One of these tangible issues is the 1-2 combination of The College Cult and SWPL Snobbery.
In basic form, this is the belief that “thou shalt go to college,” (The Cult), because “any job worth doing requires a college degree” (The Snobbery). Let’s analyze:
The Cult: “Thou shalt go to college” is a directive with no conditions. It isn’t “Consider college if you can afford it,” or, “Go to college if you desire a career requiring a college education,” or, “Go to college and study something that yields a positive return on your investment.” The order is simply, “Go.” Return on investment, risk assessment, opportunity cost…all these are ignored.
The Snobbery: “Any job worth doing requires a college degree.” The college crowd, being qualified to do little, creates things to do, such as “raise awareness.” Overseas volunteerism of dubious value to the beneficiaries is popular as well. Such activities help young people in a college town differentiate into the high-class students and the low-class townies. The self-importance is palpable; belief in abstract causes is absolute. But who do the students depend on to ensure the lights stay on, on campus and at home? Who repairs their roads? Who fixes their bikes and cars? Who collects their garbage? Who provides police and fire coverage? The amount of routine work required simply to fight entropy and enable day-to-day life, which in turn allows the University to continue its charge of adding to the ever-growing, non-entropic body of knowledge.
Cost…Entropy…we’ve seen these themes before. They are the formal causes of progressive post-modernism!
For society to both continue and continue to improve, both the townies and the University must function. They are interdependent. The townie who knows his job is fueled by the university tends to know this. The student’s respect for the importance of the townies tends to be eclipsed by his “higher” calling. Instead of seeing his role in the bigger picture, he comes to believe he is the entirety of the picture. Thus we end up with articles like this:
The gist of the article is that “anyone” can get married and have children, but accomplishment in the workplace is not so easily obtained, and therefore it should be celebrated, rather than major family milestones. Needless to say, this round in the “Mommy Wars” is bloody.
If one manages to set her condescending tone aside, this article is nothing more than the student taking the townie for granted. True, there is only one Einstein, one Joyce, etc, and there are untold countless professional and DIY plumbers out there, the plumbers contribute both more, and more directly, to the quality of life for many people than the student and his idols do. And even though technological breakthroughs do improve lives, they are meaningless without the laborers and technicians who implement them.
Sure, it is probable that most professors could become plumbers and the opposite is not true, but that doesn’t mean the work the plumbers do is unimportant. Similarly, while the Marissa Mayers of the world could more easily slip into being stay-at-home-moms than the typical stay-at-home-mom could slide into being CEO of Yahoo, the world doesn’t *need* as many CEOs as it needs mothers. Humans die (entropy) and we must replace ourselves; this is done by parents, not by executives. Mothers understand this, the Amy Glass’s of the world seem to overlook it.
This is, of course, just one arena in which the College Cult plays out. From my introduction on cost it should be obvious how it leads to student debt and students choosing to earn worthless degrees. From my introduction on entropy it should be obvious how this leads to high-schools geared increasingly toward college prep and a neglect of vocational schooling. The consequences of these have been expanded upon ad nauseum, so I will only re-iterate what I said at the beginning: modern society centers around a cluster of self-reinforcing biases, prejudices, and concepts which have proven in recent history to be nearly impossible to resist. Amy Glass will not be the last Amy Glass.