Steve Sailer notes with some puzzlement that the New York Times is upset that young people in Montana and North Dakota are choosing high-paying oil field jobs over college. The NYT is puzzled that the kids don’t want to go to college, and Sailer is puzzled that the NYT is puzzled. That’s a lot of puzzlement. The NYT also notes the story of a Hispanic girl (h/t Return of Kings) who went to an expensive private college and flunked out with nothing to show for it but a huge debt.
If the New York Times thinks something, it is obviously the correct thing to think. The supposed upside of college is well-known and heavily promoted. The student learns to think deep thoughts and to become a contributing member of society. Less officially, kids get to experiment with things away from the supervision of their parents-sex, drugs and alcohol. What could possibly be wrong with four years of partying followed by getting a cool, high-paying job?
The practicalities are different. College is expensive, both in that you have to pay to go and can’t earn much income while you are going. The financial benefits are unclear. We all hear that college graduates make more money, but if you factor out post-graduate professionals and science and engineering majors- leaving four-year liberal arts graduates, the bulk of college students- that is much less true. A skilled tradesman- a person with an IQ of maybe 110 to 120, the kind of person who would be considered a candidate for a state college- makes more money and has a better lifestyle than such a person. The kind of things liberal arts majors “study” are mostly insipid and shallow, and frankly boring after a brief introduction. For a great many people, the majority of even those who actually do graduate, it’s likely a waste of time.
You can imagine a crabby blue-collar father telling a kid that, which is exactly the image educational utilitarianism gets. College is cool. Anybody who tells you it’s to make more money is a philistine! Go anyway, even if you get a worthless anthropology degree and have the same minimum wage job you had before you went!
I’ve written about the social purpose of college, the real purpose above the acquisition of knowledge. But still, why is this important?
There are basically two answers, one for whites and one for minorities.
To be white is to be a suspicious person in America. You will say only blue-collar whites are regarded with suspicion, and that is exactly my point. College is the place where whites can more or less be guaranteed to be socialized- “brainwashed” is a little harsh- to be reliably cooperative with the system. But aren’t there conservative colleges, and conservative intellectuals? There are, but what these people believe in is not conservatism, but economic liberalism. They want free trade and open immigration, pretty much what rich liberals want anyway. They give the appearance of being an opposition without meaningfully opposing anything. So a college-educated white person can be counted on to be a liberal or a National Review style conservative or libertarian. He certainly won’t believe in anything like ethnic nationalism.
For a minority, loyalty and cooperation with the system can be assumed. But a non-college-educated minority can only be a passive participant or consumer of system services, never really even a foot soldier. The system needs college-educated minorities to act as commissars or political police in government and large businesses. This type of position may be totally explicit- “diversity”, or almost totally explicit- human resources, or sub rosa, such as marketing or any place else. But the system needs minorities everywhere, because white people without a minority present may express politically incorrect attitudes and ideas. Return of Kings thinks the idea of this Hispanic girl, whose single mother works at Wal-Mart, would benefit significantly from getting an expensive private college degree is foolish. However, had things been a little different- had she gotten a little more financial aid, been a little smarter, gone to a somewhat easier school- she could have graduated with a bachelors in psychology with a 2.5 GPA and gone straight to a job in diversity or human resources, keeping people in line for the system.
College is important for everybody because it is important to making the system work- indoctrinating whites and training minorities to work for it as enforcers. As Mindweapon has noted, college is what “corrects” high school students. No college, no respectable suburbanite afraid of losing his suburban respectability.