Are we (finally) seeing the end of the college bubble?

I’ve been having a very interesting email exchange with FP, a friend who sent me the Peter Schiff video that’s now making the rounds:

As you can see, Schiff makes logical points grounded in reality, and the protesters come back with mere protest tactics, rather than making any attempt whatsoever at argument.  Strangely enough, despite the dreariness of watching idiocy in action, both FP and I found cause for cheer in the video.

My optimistic take is twofold.  First, I have to believe that people like Schiff, and and like FP, and like those of us at the Bookworm Room, people who have knowledge, analytical abilities, and intelligence, will be the ones who eventually make intellectual contact with those who are not using tactics, but who are actually struggling to understand real issues.  Everything we write, and read, and think is another arrow in our quiver.  We are educating ourselves for real arguments, with people who actually want to listen.

Second, I’m optimistic about the fact that so much of this manifest idiocy emanates from those who have paid the most for their so-called educations.  (Here’s a great photoshop summing up that particular type of insanity.)  Perhaps these protests, which highlight higher education’s absurd costs and manifest failures, will break the stranglehold that the PC education establishment has over Americans.  Parents of teens and tweens may figure out that they are not getting their money’s worth when they ship their children off to pricey schools.  I think about this a lot, as Mr. Bookworm is invested in the Ivy Leagues, and thinks they’re worth $200,000.  My son, bless his heart, promises me that he’s going to Annapolis!

FP is also optimistic, and I’ll quote him directly, ’cause I think he’s right:

I’m going to sound a bit Hegelian here (not in the dialectical sense…for once…more in the ‘catapulted through history evolutionary’ sense) but I’m coming, more and more, to see the conservative worldview as the inevitable end to liberal ideology — once the individual has had some sort of practical interaction with the world and/or really stretches the liberal ideology to it’s inevitable conclusion. You and I (and my wife and mother) and most of the best, most vocal proponents of modern conservative thought (Mike Adams, Thomas Sowell, and even Andrew Klavan and yes, in my opinion, the very articulate and clever Sunny Berman) are all ‘converts’ to the church of conservatism. We’ve all been exposed to liberal ideology from a very early age but heard the voice on the road to Damascus and decided to stop kicking against the pricks. There are two paths that I’ve seen that lead to the road:

1. Pragmatic need — i.e: having to pay bills, working hard, and realizing that others are not but want to take what you have. This is an incredibly effective catalyst but more difficult to explain in the purely metaphysical realm of college coffee shops and poetry slams (and the like). A lot of my hardworking blue collar friends have reached conservatism through this path (I can’t help but believe that most of the blue collar union workers that voted Reagan into office the first time came to their political beliefs, at least during that election, through this path).

2. The ‘intellectual’ path — following liberal ideas to their natural conclusions

As I examine some of the basic tenets of liberalism — at least those things that the more effective sophists blather on and on about in the local coffee shops — I keep seeing places where the ideology collapses in on itself. It either leads to Marxism (which history has shown — again and again and again — does not work. Anyone with more than the most glancing view of history accepts this as axiomatic truth. The argument FOR Marxism — which usually whines that we just haven’t done it RIGHT yet — reminds me of Paul Krugman’s ‘Keynsianism-works-we-just-haven’t-put-enough-money-into-it’ b.s. It’s ridiculous. No one’s done it right because THERE’S NO WAY TO DO IT RIGHT) or folds in on itself (like a black hole). Here’s what I mean by that:

The liberal meme that calls for people to ‘coexist’ is silly — people already coexist. If they didn’t then you wouldn’t have anything to put on a bumper sticker because no one exists. The liberal meme that calls for us to ‘tolerate’ sounds great — but then you have to ‘tolerate’ the rich as well because, well, we wouldn’t want to JUDGE, now would we?The liberal meme that calls for ‘peace’ sounds great — until you experience 9/11 and realize that ‘peace’ would mean accepting that sort of treatment from those who disagree with you. The liberal meme that calls for a utopian ‘one world’ sounds great — until you realize how the rest of the world lives and what that would mean for us — the top 1% OF THE WORLD (imagine the rest of the world decided to ‘occupy America’ to go after us — after all — we ARE the 1% as far as quality of life!)

In other words, right about now, a whole lot of liberals are getting mugged by reality.

It’s in this same vein that the flyer I published in the previous post is relevant. Zombie told me that it’s been floating around in the internet since April 2010, but that fact is that it has real resonance now. In America, the difference between “us” and “them” isn’t inherited wealth or a class system, it’s that some work and some don’t.  Now that the fat of the land has vanished, it’s ants versus grasshoppers, or little red hens versus lazy animals.  In this world, with ants and hens on the one side and grasshoppers and slugs on the other side, the ants and hens, merely by virtue of energy and initiative, will prevail.

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  • bkivey

    The silence that greets Schiff’s statement on his status as an employer and then his question to the protesters is priceless.

    The silver lining to the OWS movement is that some percentage of participants and observers will gain first-hand knowledge of the shortcomings of leftist thought that they’ve been unable to learn from the historical record.

  • MacG

    Book if I may be so bold as to suggest the the broad brush of lazy may a bit too broad.  Sure there are lazies in every strata but I think these debt saddled students are realizing that they’ve been had and are discouraged at the height of the mountain of debt that they have to surmount to break even.  Had they gone to work in flyover country they could have a nice 200k house instead of a sheepskin that won’t cover them in the New York cold.  However no one forced them to amass this debt save for parental pride/embarrassment and now it’s time for the race of life handicapped by about 200k and 4+ years behind the start line.  Yes I have little sympathy for them but for the hard workers that cannot get work and maybe have dropped out due to too many no’s I do have sympathy.
    “I employ 150 people. How many do you employ?” “I wish I could employ that many” “Why don’t you? Get to work!”
    I am sure for that real estate broker it is not fair that a white male can succeed beyond herself. But then it is not fair to have many a professional sports geared to the athletically advantaged that I cannot get hired to become a 1%er either. :)

  • Oldflyer

    I have always been skeptical with regards to the educational bubble.  Personal observations have largely driven my attitude.  I was the first individual in my immediate family to attend college.  The point is that the men and women who shaped me, and whom I admired, were not college educated.  Many were very productive in their work lives, and content in their private ones.  Some were “blue collar”; some were management, and some were entrepreneurs.   I attended college for two reasons.  First, my parents were set on it.  Even more importantly, the Navy required two years to enter directly into the Aviation Cadet program.  I attended for two years.
    In the Navy, I was exposed to fellow officers whose education ranged from two years of community college, to those with degrees from the most prestigious schools in the country.  Without outside knowledge, I would rarely know the difference in the earlier years.  Later in our careers, those with “deficient” education either corrected the discrepancy, or were left behind.
    The U.S. taxpayers sent me back to school to get my bachelors and masters degrees.  These degrees may have helped me do a better job and become a better person; but, I really can’t say to what extent.  They did fill a necessary X in a box.
    We just sold our home.  In the process of getting it ready to sell, and obtaining the necessary inspections, (many imposed by benevolent government since we last went through the process), and correcting anticipated deficiencies, I was reminded of a key fact.  Some of the most important people in our support universe are the builders and general handymen, the plumbers, electricians, and the septic tank service people.  The good ones–who are always in demand– are also well compensated financially. 
    Our long time builder-handyman stood in our home and discussed the satisfaction he obtains from building things, and from working independently without an imposed schedule or direct supervision.  While visiting his home to borrow a piece of equipment he proudly took me on a tour of his automotive restoration shop.  The Mach 1 restoration that he did for his sister would be the envy of any connoisseur.   We also discussed that he is paying $30k per year in out of state tuition for his son to finish his Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering.  I wonder who will have the more satisfying life.  (As an aside, I with my masters degree, stand and watch with wonder how efficiently he organizes his work, how certain he is of the process,  and the superb quality result that he demands of himself.  So unlike me.)
    Most of the elements essential for a well rounded individual and citizen should, and could,  be introduced at the primary and secondary level if the public education system was properly focused.  Obviously, some professions require post-secondary education.  The money we spent for a Nursing BS (which followed a useless anthropology degree), and a post-graduate Physical Therapy education were necessary for our daughters to realize their ambitions; and the money was well spent.  Those are just two of a number of such professions. 
    There are individuals who are destined to be “Thinkers” and we need them.  Obviously, their education will be a little more amorphous.  They undoubtedly  need to be guided, and perhaps even prodded, in the study of the great historical Philosophies in order to establish their foundation.  But, on the whole I believe that the higher education establishment has really sold the country a bill of goods.  There are many pathways to a productive and contented life that do not involve “xxxx Studies” programs financed by huge student debt, or tax payer subsidy.

  • jj

    Well, with the President (or Provost, or Chairman, or El Exigente – or whatever the hell he’s called) of Annapolis recently announcing that the chief goal of that institution is diversity – silly me, I thought it was about insuring naval leadership second to none for the purpose of defeating enemies at sea – your son better apply for very early admission, and try to get there before that rots away, too.
    The Iron Butterfly and I are both festooned about with degrees, most of which we obtained for the sheer merry hell of picking up knowledge.  We were in the perfect place for that, as RCA/NBC valued the concept.  All you had to do was convince them that what you were interested in either related to your job in some discernible way, or – best of all – might relate to a future position.  If you got into school, NBC would, on that basis, pick it up.  (And I mean, this could be practically anything.  I’m a shrink, for God’s sake, and was licensed to practice in NY for years!  Never did, but coulda.)  This was obviously a license to steal and go explore your interests – but RCA/NBC believed firmly in education.  They were putting people through law school, engineering school – you name it.  (Mostly not medical school, they did expect you to show up at work a couple of days a week, and med school demands too much time.)
    All you had to be was already there, on the strength, working for a living.  If you were a good employee, they’d indulge you, (expecting, of course, to reap some benefit themselves) but the first requirement was you had to show up for work, and be good at the job.  Meet those criteria, they were happy to assist you in expanding your brain.
    Every year they’d troll the Ivies and try to hire a few of them, too, just for the cachet of having them there.  I know it’s a cliche, hell, it’s beyond a cliche – it’s a joke; but they were mostly gone within the year.  Dumb as doorknobs.  Highly polished, glow-in-the-dark, gilded solid brass doorknobs, of course; but still doorknobs.  (When you wash garbage, what do you get?  Garbage.  Shiny garbage, clean garbage maybe – but it’s still garbage.)  They were mostly hopeless.  The few who had a sense of humor, well, you had an outside shot at making something of them, they could flex a bit.  But that was few and far between, and I am not kidding in the least.  My God, most of them were stupid, and I swear, it was Harvard that produced the stupidest.
    I think the idea that everybody needs to go to college is crazy on its face.  Most of us don’t.  And it doesn’t mean those who don’t are in any sense inferior, either.  Ralph Kramden got more people home safely in any week than any lawyer ever spawned did in a lifetime.  Who’s of greater value to society?  (I decline to assert a definitive answer – but I lean toward Ralph.)  There’s always a lot to be done, and needs to be done well, that doesn’t require sitting on your ass in a classroom listening to a jerk like Howard Zinn – an experience I have had.  Bookworm got to listen to a jerk like Elizabeth Warren, and other than lightening her wallet and giving her a glimpse into a species of walking disease so she’d know what to avoid – was it worth paying for?  Probably not.
    College was fun.  Got stoned, drank a lot, got laid a lot, watched the hockey team win national championships – good stuff!  As related to real life?  It didn’t.  As a necessary prelude to real life?  It wasn’t.  I needed the piece of paper to get hired – they wouldn’t have hired me without it, though I could have done my initial job perfectly competently by the end of sophomore year in high school.  If they’d have just sold me the piece of paper, I could have had a career at least four years longer. 

  • Mike Devx

    jj, you’re on a great roll.  Keep it up!

    My favorite is from your most recent:
    > Bookworm got to listen to a jerk like Elizabeth Warren, and other than lightening her wallet and giving her a glimpse into a species of walking disease so she’d know what to avoid

  • Charles Martel

    Oldflyer and jj, great stuff.
    Speaking of Harvard idiots, not that I want to diss the brain-dead, I am reminded of a lower-case alphabet confection who pestered this site in early summer. He fit jj’s description of a Harvard grad to a tee. Seeing such vacuity up close and personal was enough to make me want to run off and burn down a library.

  • Caped Crusader

    Old Flyer and JJ wonderful observations and entries. I have long said that 12 years is a long time to go to school and should be plenty of time to learn all the essential information to live a productive and rewarding life. I had a WONDERFUL public high school education, having been well prepared in earlier years. I have also often said the real education starts the day you leave school regardless of the level. I say this as a person who went to “school” until age 33 to qualify for a very special field of surgery, excepting two years on active duty practicing my craft. Most schools have been “dumbed down” to a level such that a large portion of graduates are functionally illiterate and unemployable at any level where they are able to learn, once in a job. In the 1960’s I cold hire someone with a good high school education and they spoke and wrote good English, were competent in basic math, knew a reasonable amount of history, etc. NO MORE. In the late 1970’s I received a mail brochure that proclaimed “You need the Wonderlic Personnel Test”, that will let you know what a person is capable of doing at work. I had noticed that prospective employees were not up to previous standards, so I ordered it. It is a series of 50 multiple choice questions with choice of answers and with 12 minutes to answer and calculators are allowed.. It begins very simply and is progressively harder with such questions as—- BC means before Christ (T or F), November is the 1st, 4th, 7th, or 11th month of the year. It is jaw dropping to find how many cannot answer these. And a question no one, save two, has been able to answer in 20 years —-“You go to the store to buy lemons and have determined you need 1 1/2 dozen lemons. At the lemon bin is a sign stating ‘lemons 3 for 15 cents’, how much will they cost? They have not the slightest idea how to solve this problem, I am dumbfounded, and after explaining, they look at me as if my night job is rocket scientist. In the 1950’s the slowest kid in the class could work this in his head. Many today with a college “education” type out to be suited for yard work, etc. PITIFUL.
    People who have a passion for a certain field of work do not need to go to college unless it is necessary to gain specific skills to make them better at their chosen field. If you have the money and a hunger for knowledge then  go. Most students today have neither. If you need remedial reading in college you do not belong there. I agree that you never know what is lurking in a brain until you know the person, and many of the smartest people I know have never darkened the doors of a college campus. Education is education, smart is smart, and brilliant is brilliant and they are neither mutually inclusive or exclusive. The greatest joy for me in teaching is to show someone still learning a certain concept, and a few weeks later having them show you they have mastered the concept and improved upon it. One of the simple joys that makes life worthwhile and fun.

  • Charles Martel

    For years and years Barnes & Noble has sold cheap remainder books from almost every category you can think of. Books that originally sold for $25 or $30 remaindered down to 8 bucks, or 5 bucks, or even 3! Heaven! You could buy a year’s worth of casual reading material for maybe $200.
    The point is that getting the equivalent to a college education can cost about 1/50th or 1/100th of what young fools and their parents are paying for it now, provided you make friends with rasty, opinionated, informed souls like jj, SADIE, the Mikes, Danny, Oldflyer and the other savants here. You can trade opinions and polish each others’ minds, lapidary style, while having great fun talking about ideas. Whatta concept!
    I do not know a single young person who reads for pleasure, outside of fiction consumed for entertainment. The occasional pseudo-serious foray into Zinn or Chomsky is read slack-jawed and without a whit of discernment, as though watching Moses come down from Sinai. But the idea of relishing and engaging ideas outside the realm of the Received and Correct, is just too threatening. Thus the credentialed idiots at the OWS fecalfests.

  • Mike Devx

    Caped Crusader #7 poses the “unanswerable” question:

    > ”You go to the store to buy lemons and have determined you need 1 1/2 dozen lemons. At the lemon bin is a sign stating ‘lemons 3 for 15 cents’, how much will they cost?”

    You have got to be kidding me, they can’t answer it?  No WONDER our economic situation is so impenetrable to so many…

    Unless I’m having a brain freeze, the answer is rather easy…
    1 1/2 dozen lemons = 12 + 6 = 18 lemons.
    3 lemons for 15c
    Six of those groups of 3 lemons is 18 lemons.
    15c per group x 6 groups = 90c.

    3 lemons for 15c = 1 lemon for 5c.
    16 lemons x 5c per lemon = 90c

    Now, if the three lemons for 15c were Obama, Pelosi and Reid, things get more interesting.
    You could buy them, but by the time you got them home, your entire wallet would be empty.

  • Caped Crusader

    Mike, you score 100%, and I know dang well you were far from the dumbest kid in class. So help me God, this is the truth and I am floored by the young people who know absolutely next to nothing of any value. I frequently ask older patients this question and they can work it in their heads, This is true regardless of race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or the many other factors allowing us to celebrate our new god of diversity. Elderly black patients who went to school under adverse conditions have better educations than we are currently producing. Regardless all have the concept correctly in mind. This shows that the smartest person is not necessarily the most “educated”.
    We have friends who own one of the better upscale restaurants and they have told us the average waiter, who is often a student, has no idea how to calculate 10%, 20%, or 18%.

  • Mike Devx

    Thx, Caped, but my typo at the end (“16 lemons”) is worth points off.  But that would hurt my self-esteem!  i DESERVE 100%, dang it!

    18% tax is kind of tough for me to do in my head.  I guess I’d divide by 6 and say, close enough.
    Maybe I’d try 20% and 2% and subtract ’em to get 18%:
    Bill: $48.35
    20% is $9.67 (divide by 5, OR double the bill and move the decimal)
    So 2% is $.97 (move the decimal on the 20% and round)
    So, $9.67 – $.97, I’d subtract a buck and add the three cents back,  $9.67  -> 8.67 -> $8.70.
    Still hard to do in my head.  I’m getting old, my brain is ossifying.

    Is there an easy trick for 18%?

    (I had to check that on a calculator before I posted to make sure I got it right, so I wouldn’t embarrass myself.   :-)

  • David Foster

    Again and again, one hears from the OWS people: “I did what I was told,” or “I did what I was supposed to,” or “I followed the rules.”

    But a successful economy requires people who *think* and *act*, not just follow rules. This may be most obvious at the level of play represented by a Steve Jobs, but is true at all levels.

    It appears that much of the educational system has in reality been training people to have the souls of Civil Service clerks. 

  • Caped Crusader

    Mike, you still get 100% but you can do extra work for extra credit and even be proactive— both of which were yet to be thought of when we went to school. I knew that was a typo as we are all guilty of doing with our poor typing skills and hurried editing. Most of the places we frequent we know the employees and just go for the 20%. The easiest way for me to do 18% is to figure 10% and then 1% — add 20% to the bill, then Multiply 1% by 2 and subtract from the 20%. While doing this, I reach for the metallic change holder attached to my belt to get the correct change only to find I have been negligent in refilling– joking.

  • Libby

    All of the OWS’ers talk of “following the rules” and “doing what they were told” seems to indicate the misguided belief that a college degree=a job and success. As if they’ve already paid their dues by getting a degree (and by taking on the debt – an investment in their golden ticket diploma). Has no one ever told them that in the real world, the diploma only gets them in the door for an interview?
    Employers value experience, hard work, and results. Other than my first job out of college, I can’t recall any employer ever caring about my college degree – they were much more interested in what I could do, and what I’d done in my past jobs that could prove I would perform in the future. Same goes for when I’ve interviewed prospective employees.

  • Ymarsakar

    A college degree is sort of like a slave brand used to declare ownership of cattle and property. That’s how the Academia uses it. Charging the slaves for the cost of their own brand… ingenious capitalism if I may say.

  • Ymarsakar

      I got 90 cents too…

  • JKB

    David Foster – Like those trick pictures you have to defocus to see, if you listen but don’t concentrate on the words, what you hear is “Moo”

    The Lemon conundrum threw me, I got hung up on where you could get 3 for $0.15.   But forcing myself into the state of delusion, I to arrive at 90 cents.

  • David Foster

    Part of the problem here is that too many employees use degrees, including advanced degrees, as a cheap and easy screening device. More generally, the establishment of very long lists of criteria for hiring an employee (for an engineer, must have experience with a *specific version of* a CAD system, not just that CAD system or CAD in general….for a sales rep, must have experience with the XYZ lead tracking system, not just with related sales and with the use of lead tracking systems in general. This practice resembles that used by certain women who establish very long lists (one was said to be 400 items long) for potential spouses.

    See the five-pound butterfly revisited.


  • Ymarsakar

    I used to go into my school’s library and check out books on astronomy and stellar cycles. The pictures were interesting and the concept of the sun morphing into all these different states based upon mass and fusion colors, expanded the horizons of the mind. This was like back in before junior high.

     I ended up memorizing the names of planets and how many moons they had and other stuff like that.

  • Bookworm

    I got the lemon problem.  The 18% calculation is challenging.  I think what I would do in a real life situation is calculate 20% and then, exhausted from the effort, just subtract some coins or bills!

    Libby:  You’re absolutely right about the kids’ belief that, having gone to college, they’re now done.  They don’t understand that, having gone to college, the real work begins.

    David:  I remember when I was in law school in Texas hearing partners complain about the pressure to hire Ivy League grads, a pressure that arose because the big Texas firms didn’t think they could compete unless they had Ivy Leaguers on the roster.  The problem was that, by the mid-1980s, the Ivy League law school grads were a very poor investment.

    Ymarsakar:  The whole notion of being self-propelled, as you were with those books, is getting more rare nowadays.  With entertainment on hand 24/7 for most kids, their interests are limited to computer games and YouTube.  None of the kids I know (and I know lots of kids) has a hobby.  There are no autodidacts.

  • Ymarsakar

    Book’s using those complicated words (autodidacts) that I don’t understand again (chuckles).

     Whenever I didn’t understand something I read on the net, I just searched for it and researched. 99% of my early debates went something like this. Someone would bring up a subject I didn’t know about, and instead of opining about it or saying I was ignorant, I would go on research duty for a few hours or days, and come back with my own argument.

    So instead of using ignorance as an excuse, I would refuse to declare a statement or opinion or judgment, until I felt I was at least at an amateur level in understanding the subject matter. The internet’s 3-15 day wait period between comments was a great format for that.

    What Leftists like ABC, Helen L, or Z did was more like 1. come up with a conclusion and 2. go around the net looking for things that support that conclusion.

    My memory is hazy on this so distant past, but I seem to remember seeing nobody at the library other than the librarians. The school library that is. I also seem to remember getting funny looks as I read the books there (but didn’t check them out). I think they even asked me if I wanted to check them out, but it was far more convenient for me to visit the school library and read there than to check stuff out and carry it around. Hey, isn’t that a surprise, no other people were there… No wonder the librarians were looking at me.

  • David Foster

    Book…”the kids’ belief that, having gone to college, they’re now done”

    It’s even worse than that, I think…..the perception seems to be that you work REAL hard in high school so you can get into the best college, after which you can kick back and focus on drinking and drink-enabled sex for a few years….then there’s work, which is expected to be a fast-moving conveyor belt to the top. 

  • David Foster

    “None of the kids I know (and I know lots of kids) has a hobby”

    That’s one of the saddest things I’ve read. 

  • Ymarsakar

    18% of that is just (10%) 4.835 times two, equals 20%. 1% is then .4835 2% is then .9670
    9.670 minus .9670 is…. 8.000
    So…. 48 dollars and 35 cents with 18% comes to be about 8 dollars. Calculator Check….
    Improper subtraction, should have been 8.703
    Those two numbers look way too similar for mental addition. But it’s better to do addition and subtraction, even with large decimal numbers, then to try to divide/multiply multi digit numbers.

  • Libby

    I think the OWS generation also may have a misperception about their role once they’re hired, if this Washingtonian article is any indication:
    “Instead of a steady job, they want a meaningful one that serves a larger purpose or fulfills a personal passion. And instead of settling down with a spouse and mortgage, they want more years of freedom to chase career dreams and explore different paths before they have to make tradeoffs.”
    The article profiles three people who don’t want to do the jobs they’ve been hired for so much as they want self-fulfillment and rapid success, in the form of great influence over others and being seen as a thought-leader in their field after only a few years of experience. They don’t seem to appreciate that their employers have hired them to do a job, even if some of the assignments are unfulfilling and their work environment can be inefficient and not provide the latest technologies. And they have no familiarity with the concepts of the “satisfaction of a job well done”, and that one actually earns respect and opportunities through demonstrations of hard work and success in less-than-optimal situations. 

  • Ymarsakar

    Don’t feel too bad Foster. Book is mostly around Marin County kids, a semi community/village raising kids. Self ambition is something normally seen amongst less resource intensive socio-economic levels, where if you don’t do things for yourself, ain’t nobody around going to do it for you. The lives of those kids are mostly propelled by community standards, family expectations, and the lush resources of their socio-ecosphere. They literally don’t have time (or need) to come up with an idea of what they want to do, for themselves and by themselves. Book’s boy is unique in this fashion because Book is a conservative (living in the belly of some sleeping beast) and takes him to “new horizons” and the Navy docks and what not.

    This is in fact the normal and recommended childhood for developing humans. But it’s also a cauldron to make what is called “spoiled rich kids”. Those kids can easily grow up to hate America because they think America is wrong, and because they never lived in China, WWII Japan, or starving Africa, they think they know what’s what. But they don’t know what’s what, and thus ignorance and arrogance breeds retardedness eventually. Hey, if so called “adults” like Noonan can fall prey to it, why not impressionable kids lacking still the life experience to grow their own SPINES?

    People grow by facing and overcoming challenges. Either they overcome and become stronger, or they collapse from defeat and self-destruct. Or maybe collapse from defeat and get up stronger for it.


  • JKB

    Oh, it’s worse.  Not only don’t they have hobbies but colleges now have so many distractions, they don’t engage in the one thing a residence college has to offer.  Being co-located with many others learning the same/similar things you are with supposedly expert guidance.  There was someone (a teacher who’d gone back to college) who posted not long ago that students no longer engage in the late night intellectual discussions.  

    Ymarsakar, I would have cut a few more corners.

    10% of $48.35 is essentially 4.80.   20% would be twice that or 9.60.  18% would be 20%-2% or 9.60 minus .96 or a dollar so the tip is 8.60 which given the attitude about small change among servers would end up as either 8.50 or $9 if I wanted to default on the servers favor.  In a fancy place which sniffs at change, it would 8 or 9 depending on my personal feelings of the server.

  • Ymarsakar

    Libby just described a narcissist. Aren’t those people the exact same profile as Obama? As Danny said, birds of a feather flock… somewhere together it seems.

  • Libby

    Yep, a bunch of little narcissists.
    For example, a young gal joined my team in April, went on maternity leave in August, and has just requested that she be able to work from home when she returns to work (presumably believing that she she can both work and parent full-time). It never occurred to her that I was allowed to move to another state and telecommute because I had an 8yr track record of of success and promotion at the company, because it’s all about what’s best for her.

  • Mike Devx

    Ymar said: I ended up memorizing the names of planets and how many moons they had and other stuff like that.

    Reminds me of the time when I was a kid, and my parents bought us a World Atlas for the home.  The first half of the book contained a section on the solar system.  Huge, great pictures and loads of facts and tables.  I was engrossed and spent hours and hours on those pages.  I used to be able to name all the moons of each planet, the sizes of each planet, their revolutionary periods (meaning: time to traverse their orbits around the Sun; not their eras of political upheaval 😉

    >Those two numbers look way too similar for mental addition.
    That’s why, in mental math, I’d treat the latter number as 97 cents.  And I wouldn’t try subtracting 97 cents; I would subtract a buck and then add 3 cents back.  Much easier.

    Book said:  I think what I would do in a real life situation is calculate 20% and then, exhausted from the effort, just subtract some coins or bills!

    Yep, and that’s absolutely good enough for restaurant tips! But the mental math is very difficult at first, but gets easier with just a little practice.

    One  of my tricks with subtraction is to break it into two parts: The first part is to subtract down to the whole dollar amount, and then do the second part from that whole dollar amount.
    For example:  Subtract 57 cents from $73.34.
    Well, you take away the 34 cents first, to get down to $73.00
    Then how much more do you need to subtract? The difference of 57 and 34, or 23 more cents.
    Subtracting 23 cents from an even buck gives 77 cents, so the result is 72.77.

    So the idea is to break difficult subtractions into two much easier subtractions.  With just a little practice these kinds of tricks get a whole lot easier.  When you’re not used to mental arithmetic tricks they are very very hard at first.  It’s typically a totally unused “brain muscle”.
    OK, I’m done boring everyone on that topic.  (I was a “Number Sense” coach for several years here in Texas back in the day when I taught.  Number Sense was a category of junior-high and high-school academic competition focused on mental arithmetic…)   Apologies for me writing too much in the spirit of nostalgic remembrance…

  • shirleyelizabeth

    My dad is a very erudite man, though few would suspect as he is also a contract plumber and never had a chance at the education he wished to pursue, having to work for his father’s company from his early teens, which he later took over, and then provide for his fast-growing family. Because of this, he wanted each of his children to receive a full education. My dad also does not like debt. As long as I have lived he has not had a mortgage and has paid up front for every car.
    So his expectations: Go to college; no debt.
    Most of us have had to take at least one loan out from Bank of Dad, and he expects us to go to him first. Mine was $1,000 for an extra summer course I hadn’t planned on, that I was able to quickly pay back since, within a year after finishing my degree, I had worked up to a controller position and a $50,000 salary.
    The thing about my profession (accounting) is that I really have no need of a degree. College was where I met people that gave me an “in,” but it was actually working in the field that I learned EVERYTHING. It helped that I had some crazy amazing and admirable people as mentors, including the controller I worked under and the two bosses that weren’t accountants but taught me so much about business and everything else (two more surprising erudites in construction….always had something new to teach about).
    One thing I see about those of the OWS mindset is that they don’t really have anything tangible that they’re working toward, and that is a very sad and dangerous position. I don’t see how you get anywhere without first stepping out in pursuit of an identifiable goal. My dream is to open a flower shop. I made a plan for myself to achieve that, and it was in pursuit of that plan that I found a better way, or a different way, to do it. Someone quoted that students at OWS want meaningful jobs, but I haven’t had anything but meaningful jobs – even my first at less than $8 an hour. Every step gets me somewhere and has something for me to learn. That is the same for everyone. Plus, you have a whole life to pursue as many careers as you wish. You are only ever stuck if you give up on your goals.

  • shirleyelizabeth

    All this mental math stuff – I am horrible at it, yet my husband and mother, both without college degrees, can add and subtract, multiply and divide (am I being redundant?) large or funny sums. I guess I should just practice more, as Mike says.

  • Ymarsakar

    Mike, I remembered that trick but only after I had done the subtraction math by the exact decimal points. I had this annoying tendency to attempt to be perfect in mathematical calculations, which one time ended up in me erasing an entire page of homework calculations only to find out that I had to done it right the first time after all. Oh well.

     The brain gets faster at doing things the more they do it. So mathematical calculations are basically the same, when done the same way (meaning the same number of digits). Complex mathematical calculations in the head requires more memory than speed. So long as you can keep all those large numbers straight, you shouldn’t make a mistake. And the brain, once it works up the bulk work of carrying the conception boxes around, now does parallel computing. Which is to say, once you build the foundation, the brain starts working super efficiently. For experts or masters in a field, those with 5,000 to 10,000 hours of instruction/practice, they can make snap judgments in miliseconds that encompass thousands of calculations that other people would have had to do by hand. Thousands of individual calculations and tests, done in a gut decision. And done right.

     Because they had experience and they had seen this stuff before. So their experiences allowed their brain to “parallel compute” stuff like a quantum computer would. 

     The Japanese utilize the kyouhai and senpai system in business, jobs, society, and school. Basically, anyone with seniority to you either in a specific field or your older mentor, can be called your senpai, which is a position analogous to feudal patrons. The patron offers their patronage in return for obedience, loyalty, and works. In return, the patron provides the person they are patronizing with money, upkeep, career potentials, and help. In American terms, it is basically called being a leader based upon seniority. The wise old sergeant has survived many wars and battles, so the green horns better listen up because if they keep behaving as the FNG too many times, they might just blow themselves and their buddies up. It’s basically an informal hybrid formal system. You don’t have one boss. You listen to your senpai because he is older and supposedly more experienced, but there are many other senpais out there as well and the title is informal, used even when you don’t know the person. So there is an expectation of obedience to the formal authority, but also an informal expectation of mutual benefit. So people could obey because the senpai has authority over kyouhai or they could obey because they genuinely believe that the senpai will teach them great things.

    So the Japanese school system utilizes senpai and kyouhai in order to prepare students for Japanese society and work. They teach them social etiquette that applies regardless of what job they will have afterwards. And that social etiquette will allow them to be trained by their seniors in the real work they will be doing. This is especially true of jobs that don’t require university/college degrees, such as electric repairmen or other such blue collar work that still requires specialized knowledge and skills. (Nobody should think going up on power lines is safe and work for retards, if they actually know the dangers) This system is reinforced very heavily by cultural support. Imagine if every time you heard “Justin  Timbers Wardrobe Malfunction” you instead heard “Listen and obey your senpai in order to learn and grow in your field”. Not listen to your professors talk about abstract theory and how things should go in an ideal utopia, but listen to those who have more experience than you in your field. This is not a new idea. You will often see this in sub-cultures of America, like deviant Academia and Ivy Leagues. The thing is, those are compartmentalized social ideals. They respect a Chomsky’s “long academic experience” but they don’t respect a plumber’s long experience or a conservative’s experience with war and security. If you weren’t branded by the Right Degree from the right Ivy League, you are deemed inferior Stock: slave stock. Such is relegated solely to their socio-economic spheres. In Japan, however, one gets the idea that they don’t look at it like that. Anyone, with a huge amount of experience doing anything, is deemed a senpai (or expert or pro) in their field, one with status and authority that can be recognized across socio-economic levels. Although this system is used more for younger individuals fresh out of school than those older. The japanese even use the English word, adopted into their language, “pro” to describe anyone who has made it into the big leagues. Like mangaka that have been published in manga magazines and had an anime made from their manga. This is part of the reason why Japanese culture seems so uniform and orderly to Western eyes. It is not because the Japanese are monolithic and all think the same way. It is because of their extremely strong social rules and reinforcements that encompass a huge segment of their society, including their sub-cultures. They made themselves that way. And the West is falling into social and economic decadence because Westerners chose that fate. The difference between Germany and Japan is not their reliance on American security and funding, but the fact that the Germans no longer care to do anything else whereas the Japanese are still believers in patriotism or at least independent autonomy.

  • Ymarsakar

    Human beings can do amazing things when they apply dutiful effort to specific goals. The issue with the Left is that they promise that you will obtain great things… so long as you keep dreaming of “great goals”. But that’s not how it works in reality. Humans are humans. Humans cannot do great things if they lack motivation. Human beings can only do great things when they apply themselves to specific goals. Focus. Work. Whatever you call it. It is what it is, and not even the evil and demonic Left can change that part of the soul.


  • Michael Adams

    We ran out of money, so I had to drop out of University.  I got a nursing diploma, not a BSN, when the Bust hit Texas in the late eighties. I have thought for many years that, never having been told that my education was complete, I just never stopped learning. Maybe that was not so, maybe the learning would have continued, but it’s something I am unlikely to know.
    I had always assumed that the young lower case one thought so highly of degrees and such was that he did not yet have one. That, too, may be erroneous. The Hammer and I have occasionally hammered on that one, without clear conclusion.

  • Charles Martel

    Mike, Danny and I used to conjecture about abc, too. I thought he was older, simply because he seemed so ossified. But I realized that youngsters can be as reactionary as he came off, so my jury is out for good on the subject.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Abc had what I have found to be pretty common among Liberals – a desperate need to be admired and to be thought of as the smartest kid in the room. They couldn’t stand to be contradicted in their self-image. So, much of the tendentiousness of abc was girded by a desperate need to be right and for the rest of us lesser individuals to be wrong…a narcissistic streak, in other words…that made it very difficult to focus on the relative merits of thoughts and ideas.

  • Ymarsakar

    Those that lack an internal spine, seek the security of the slave collar from without.

  • Ymarsakar

    One of the things I forgot to mention was that the Japanese visual nove, Chaos;Head, actually filled me in on some quantum physics, notably the Dirac Sea. I looked it up when they introduced the concept, which was pivotal to the plot, since I got the sense that it was too complicated for a gaming company to just create out of thin air. Their use of the retina blind spot as a way to correlate directly to Dirac Sea negative particle holes, was also a great psychological thriller.

    In retrospect, I don’t think it matters who makes games or what is in them. Those that are independent in finding knowledge and wisdom will do so, irregardless of the means. Those that are forever children, won’t be matured no matter what new games you give them or books.

     Games like Starcraft 2 played seriously and in tournaments is just like a sport. And it teaches judgment, decision making, how to take victory and defeat in a mature setting, and so on. What motivates humans is beautiful and worthy goals, backed up by dutiful work and dedication. It doesn’t really matter what those goals are even. And that’s something most people cannot accept. They think what determines a person’s worth is the social significance and value of games, education, jobs, or what not. Those things… really don’t matter in the end.