Institutional Education is Garbage

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We should no longer call people without college degrees “uneducated.” Instead, I propose we start calling people with student debt “institutionally educated debtors.” This is closer to the truth about them than calling people without degrees uneducated is.

Stuart Redman is my favorite character in Stephen King’s best book, The Stand. He’s a smart, regular guy who happens to be immune to the virus that wipes out humanity. Early in the novel, he is discovered to have immunity to the virus and is taken to a government facility for testing.

The government officials treat him like an idiot, the implication is that since he’s poor and from Texas, he must be a dullard. In the TV series based on the book the character is played memorably by Gary Senise. He has one of my favorite lines in the show: “country don’t mean dumb.”

Going to college doesn’t actually make you smarter. That takes a combination of natural brain horsepower and dedication to the practice of learning. This is something you don’t need institutions for. All you need is curiousity. The people who lend kids money would say otherwise, but unless you’re studying STEM, college is pretty much a scam.

I can’t think of any useful knowledge from my college program I wouldn’t have run across in my own reading. Sure, I might not have read Foucault, but I can’t say my life is much enriched by the experience. It was nice to have professors answer questions sometimes, but with online forums, casual conversation, and the general accessibility of authors on social media, you don’t really need professors anymore. Most of the class discussions I participated in were worthless because most of the other students never bothered to understand, or even read, the assignments.

The most interesting free thinkers I know personally are largely self educated. Sure, they have plenty of “holes” in their knowledge, but all that means is that they deviated from the Western liberal arts canon. They might not be able to articulate Marxism, but they know how to live well and think for themselves.

During the election I kept reading articles about how “uneducated” voters were Trump’s biggest base. Every single one of these stories were written with scorn. Most of these “journalists” are poor losers with crippling student loan debt. how they can cast judgement on people’s intelligence for not getting hoodwinked by Big School like them is hard for me to understand.

The media kept using the phrase “uneducated voter” like a slur. It was intended to make people in the middle of the country sound dumb, like they were too stupid to appreciate Hillary Clinton’s magnificence. Having a college education is no guarantee of intelligence. I know lawyers, presumably highly educated people,  who are dumb as fuck. They just managed to brute force grind their way past the bar with their parent’s money.

Speaking of attorneys, this morning I read a friend’s post about an interaction with a lawyer on a train. He struck up a conversation with the man and eventually the subject of college came up. This lawyer had several degrees from a good school, my friend is a few math credits away from having an undergraduate degree. In my friend’s post, he jokes about being an “uneducated peasant”, but if you read his blog, as I do, you will find an intelligent, thoughtful person who is well read, caring, and original.

There were two or three professors I adored, but the rest of my time was wasted in college. I read and write more on my own than I ever did in college. In fact, I think school actually set me further back as a writer. Instead of reading great books and writing my own stories, I slogged through dreary crap by shitty cultural Marxists and had to regurgitate their opinions.

Just to be clear, I’m not trying to say I’m a super genius or anything. What I am trying to say is that spending a fortune and wasting years in rooms full of people taking courses designed to educate the slowest person in the room is not the best use of your time if you’re actually worried about being smarter.

And we need to all stop putting college on a pedestal. There are now more alternative routes to great self education than ever before. The motivated autodidact can access pretty much any information they want and find a community of experts in it willing to discuss it at any time. This means that all college can really offer you now is a stamp of approval and if you’re a STEM major, some lab time.

You could make a strong case that a degree is necessary for a lot of white collar work, but let me solve that problem for you right now. Lie. If you don’t have a degree, just say you have a communications degree from a state school. If you’re not applying for a government job no one will ever check. Read a few marketing books and you’ll have more than enough material to fake your way in.

I can hear your objections now. Isn’t lying bad? Won’t lying about school devalue other people’s investment in their education? Normally I’m against lying, but in this case, I say fuck it. Colleges are lying to you about their value and the shittiness of the product they peddle is exactly what enables you to do this. If you can use a computer and a few MS Office programs, you’re more than qualified to get most entry level corporate gigs. Seriously.

No one will ever know, and if they find out, well, you wouldn’t have gotten the job anyway, so you really didn’t lose anything.

 

 

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