A Dose of Reality

Gregory Cochran writes about “safe spaces”:

The more I think about it, the more I suspect that a lot of our present and future ‘elites’ would develop some valuable perspective from having someone beat the living crap out of them. Certainly worth a try.

Collegians’ demands for “safe spaces” and their refusals to brook alternative points of view are symptoms of a deeper problem. Some have called it the capitalist paradox. It is capitalism — really a regime of (relatively) free markets — not government, that has liberated most Americans (and most Westerners) from the Hobbesian fate of a poor, nasty, brutish, and short life. The most “liberated” are those who are the furthest removed from the realities of everyday life (such as being kicked in the ribs by yobs): collegians, ex-collegian academicians who propagandize collegians, ex-collegian teachers who propagandize public-school students, ex-collegian pundits and so-called journalists who have absorbed enough academic theorizing to have developed a distorted view of reality, and ex-collegian politicians and high-ranking bureaucrats who eagerly adopt pseudo-intellectual justifications for the various collectivist schemes that serve their power-lust.

This is a roundabout way of agreeing with Cochran. The functional equivalent of having someone beat the living crap out of cosseted elites, would be to slash appropriations for tax-funded universities, and especially for the so-called liberal arts. The possessors of soft minds and bodies would soon learn about real life, and be forced to live it alongside the proles whom they profess to love but actually disdain.

The currently fashionable notion of “free” college for everyone — well, fashionable on the anti-capitalist left — is exactly 180 degrees wrong. There are already far too many numbskulls (students and professors) on college campuses, as there were when I was a collegian almost 60 years ago. College isn’t for everyone; it’s for the brightest, or it should be.

3 comments

  1. Brings to mind the final event in my 5.5 years living in a Brooklyn slum (1946-1951). Our family of four was finally going to escape back to our origins and extended family in San Francisco. Dad had garnered enough to drive us and our meager possession back, cross-country, in a 1941 Oldsmobile panel truck. I was 14.5 and my sister was just turning 9. I was, for the last time, walking down the three flights from our top floor in the tenement of railroad flats, alone, toward the car awaiting on the curbside. There was a guy I’d seen before, a real sour-looking, thin guy of around 30 lounging against the wall in the entry way, smoking. Maybe I said ‘hi’, defensively (I was short, skinny as a rail and wore glasses) as i was about to walk past him. His response was to give me a swift right jab with his fist to my solar plexus. I fell down, spasming for a few minutes, then got up and left. Goodbye Brooklyn and mean streets.

    You can understand how I agree with your position here.

    Eventually I managed also to escape the prison of high school and some minor mean streets of Berkeley (yes, they were there is the early 1950s), joined the Navy, then went to community college on the G.I. Bill, then to Cal Berkeley–all the while working part-time and summer jobs. I was married, too. You can possibly imagine how much older I felt than my contemporaries on campus. They did then, and still do, live in a bubble, protected and effete for the most part. I am not optimistic. There simply isn’t enough real work for young men to do any more. The robots have taken over, and the Universities and colleges are warehouses for useless youths and geeky fodder for the corporate machine. I was most like one of the latter, until my final escape to ‘retirement.’ My revenge is to live a long time and write long letters…

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