VDH diagnoses the structural problems that have killed American higher education

UC-Berkeley_CampusWithout exception, all of the structural flaws VDH identifies in America’s higher education were already problems when I was at Berkeley, and they explain why I hated my experience at Berkeley so much.  The only difference is that, back in the day, when I attended lectures given by bored tenured professors reading off of their yellowed notes, and had my actual classes taught by underpaid teaching assistants, some of whom had only a glancing relationship with spoken English, I wasn’t burdening myself with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.  I left Cal with $4,600 in debt.  It was a large sum, but still proportional to what I could expect to earn with a generic liberal arts degree from a major university.

By the way, I said “killed” for a reason.  Those institutions are still standing, and hundreds of thousands of kids are applying to them, but the fact is that they’re rotting corpses that no longer educate, they indoctrinate.

Berkeley — the un-America

I found Berkeley a desperately unpleasant place when I attended University there in the late 70s/early 80s.  It shocks me to realize that, unaware of it though I was, those were the good years.  In a report filled with photos and text, Zombie walks us through the depths to which Berkeley has sunk.  And I’m not going to excuse the City from this kind of thing on the ground that the protesters were just a small percentage of the whole population.  Keep in mind that it was the general population that elected the City Council that started this whole thing in the first place.

I also want to add here that it’s too facile just to say, “Well, that’s Berkeley.  It’s always been a nutty place.”  While it’s true that Berkeley’s always been nutty, there is a unique quality to this nuttiness and others should take note.  This is not just a collection of eccentrics.  This is the stripped down mask of the left — take the vague anti-Capitalist, anti-American, anti-military, anti-democracy, anti-Israel, racist (er, identity politics) rhetoric that permeates the soft Left, distill it to its essence, and this is what remains.   Without Obama’s warm fuzzies, and Hillary’s soccer Mom platitudes, these are the underlying faces of their core beliefs.  And you should definitely not forget these pictures come November.

One more thing about Berkeley:  it was not always so.  Growing up, my next door neighbor was an absolutely lovely maiden lady (when that idea still existed) who came from an old San Francisco family.  She had been born and raised in San Francisco, and used to entertain me with harrowing tales of the ’06 quake, when you could go into the yard of their home (miraculously preserved but for a collapsed chimney) and read a newspaper at night by the flames destroying the City.  She also told me about attending Berkeley around 1913 or 1914.

When I commuted to Berkeley decades later, I battled my way through City traffic, battled my way through freeway traffic, battled my way to Berkeley traffic, and parked in neighborhoods so scary the campus cops were barred from escorting students there because of safety concerns.

When my neighbor commuted to Berkeley, she took a streetcar to the ferry.  Once on the ferry, she and her friends (no doubt in lovely flowered hats), always treated themselves to tea and fresh pastries.  After they docked at Berkeley, a horse drawn carriage would be waiting to drive them to the center of campus.  She always looked back on those years as a remarkably civilized time and bemoaned what the hippies had done to her once lovely alma mater.