Category Archives: College Education

The Citizen Thinker: A Celebration of Unqualified Discourse

college (640x427)It is a fact that most people do not possess doctorates. This is probably a good thing for America, because today there appears to be a corollary between high levels of academic education and disastrously poor thinking. A degree from a well-known university still may be a fast way to get into certain professions; but the possession of a degree no longer means what it once did, that its possessor is truly educated. Many people, including employers, no longer trust university degrees as they once did, equating the diploma with useful knowledge. This depends of course on what major is taken. But the degree itself no longer guarantees that the holder is truly educated.

Tradition over a thousand or more years holds that the purpose of a university education is to develop the discipline of learning itself. This was the model for the Liberal Arts, having nothing to do with Liberal ideology. In the classical model of the university education, one was trained to think critically by analyzing the meaning of events and great ideas through careful study. This was guided by teachers who possessed wisdom and experience, who were respected not for their allegiance to a set of dogma, but for their ability to invite debate and discussion, once considered vital to discourse on a university campus. Freedom of thought and the challenge provided by disagreement and honest argument were the fertile ground in which generations of wise human beings developed, thrashing out the pros and cons of contrasting ideas and world views. Each subsequent generation was expected to contribute to the spread of ideas with their own innovative and original contributions.

But that no longer proves to be the case. Nowadays, free thought is locked out and conformity is locked in. No longer the bastion of Liberal Arts, many of today’s once great universities have traded Liberal Arts for Leftist dogma, Liberal Indoctrination instead of Liberal Arts. Common sense is evaporating at an alarming rate from the campuses of US universities, where Political Correctness has replaced justice and doctrinaire lies have replaced truth. Cries of “Check your privilege!” replace learning based in actual historical context.

Even the subject matter being taught has descended in value.

Is “gender studies” a legitimate discipline with a large body of scholarly work to be added to by way of dissertations based on serious research?

What about feminism and gay studies? Is there a thousand-year history from which to draw conclusions about the field and to contribute to it materially?

The daughter of a friend of mine majored in environmental art at Harvard. When I asked what that was exactly, he shrugged. “Who knows?” he said. “It’s from Harvard, so who cares?”

Are these even disciplines or merely very small—dare I say insignificant— parts of the study of history or criticism? Can in depth study of gender even be worth $30,000 or $40,000 tuition per year? I may be wrong, but to me these seem like little more than exercises in egotistical laziness, and the only profession in which it can be considered of any value is that of academe. So can we look at this as a kind of intellectual incest, in which one generation of professors propagate nonsense in their successor, all of whom will be locked in the confines of a university ivory tower? What is the study of feminism compared, say, to philosophy or history, art or music, literature or drama?

We appear to be living in a time when, to become truly educated, one has to rely on educating oneself by reading and analyzing, and learning through discussion with others for whom enlightenment is equally important, but ad hoc, not on a controlled college campus. There are opportunities outside the university campus for debate, with questions and answers carefully ruminated and understood without the need for sitting in the stifling bubble among the captive audience of an expensive university cauldron. Maybe there will even be a time when a university degree is completely disregarded in favor of a demonstration of real knowledge, perhaps some kind of a test, an interview in which one is put upon to discuss in detail what one knows about the subject matter on which he will work.

For myself, I have always favored the intelligent amateur, the intellectual whose learning has been the result of a hunger to know, rather than the rigid requirements of some syllabus that includes as much useless pap as it does useful data. Our Founding Fathers were largely self-educated men, which is to say that their love of learning was what they learned and learned early.

A university education is supposed to teach one how to go on learning. But how can one nurture a love of learning when there is so much indoctrination on college and university campuses these days, and so much Political Correctness to stifle open thought and dialog, that the love of learning is lost through fear and pressure. The value of a degree comes with dubious distinction that it is not the result of a love of learning, but of a procession of educational rituals one is put through by doctrinaire eggheads with no more to give than dusty paradigms long proven unworkable!

Citizen journalism is rapidly replacing the collective chant of an atrophied mainstream media. Perhaps it is time for people to think for themselves, to weigh the pros and cons, the worth and disvalue of certain ideas being thrust at us by an academic class whose value is nearing an end because its ideas are dead and their preaching scolds no longer respected by people of common sense. Especially with the power of the internet, self-education is eminently possible and in this regard self-educated Citizen Intellectuals may be the future. An educated common man may very well restore sanity and common sense to our culture.

Leave a Comment

Filed under College Education

Book Review: SMART MONEY, SMART KIDS by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

smartmoneyRating: 5/5

Suggested Audience: Every parent in America with a kid living at home

I have been a huge fan of Dave Ramsey for years. I actually think he may be one of the most important Americans alive today. In some ways, I consider Ramsey quite possibly the greatest economics “teacher” in America. The fact that he is an unabashed conservative is a nice bonus.

When you consider our wealth and success as a nation, there should be no excuse for the financial situation many Americans find themselves in.

“A recent survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 64% of Americans couldn’t even cover a $1,000 emergency with cash. In real-life terms, that means they couldn’t pull together enough money for a single mortgage payment, or maybe even a month’s worth of groceries for their family, without borrowing money. Another study from found that one in four Americans does not have a single penny saved.” p. 60

Ramsey has been waging a one-man war for the better part of the last 25 years to combat this. Asking people to live on a budget, cut-up credit cards, and live their salary, he has impacted close to 10 million people (according to his companies estimates) through his books, classes, live events, and radio show.

Building on his previous books and teachings, Ramsey and daughter Cruze, take the message of personal finance to parents. The message in this book is simple. Teach kids to handle money, so they can grow up and do the same with their families.

“Now you are that dad or mom. You don’t have to be perfect in your handling or understanding of money to teach these concepts to your children. There are no perfect parents. We all know that, so give yourself some grace. But be in the game. Be in the fight to win your child’s heart to money-smart principles.” p.246

For those that follow Ramsey, some of this book will be a review of his financial plan. Even if you are an avid follower of Ramsey, I think you will be able to get something new out of the book. Ramsey and Cruze adapt the principles well to children.

I really liked how the book was written. Ramsey and Cruze take turns giving their generational perspective on the various topics in the book. (This book reminded me a lot of Dan Miller’s Wisdom Meets Passion which I have failed to review here, but is very much worth the read! Miller and son Jared Angaza both trade off on the topic of career.)

Much of the early part of the book is Ramsey’s general philosophy as applied to children. Chapters two through six give parents a general framework for teaching kids about money from the age of three till they first enter into adulthood. Chapter eight focuses on college. Overall, I thought this chapter did a good job to dispel some of the cultural foolishness that is connected to college. College is not a right, and if you are planning on sending your child to college, you better be ready to combat the problem. And, no, you don’t have to take out loans to go to college! (I just wish I had found Ramsey before I made that financial mistake.)

As Ramsey often says, change your family tree. I’m proud to say that my wife and I have done this for our  family. Over the last three years we have paid off $75,000 in consumer and student loan debt. We look forward to teaching our child the principles in this book, so that he may continue building a legacy for successive generations.

As conservatives, one of our core principles is fiscal discipline. It’s my belief that if you self-identify as a conservative and don’t practice these principles in your own life you are a WALKING, TALKING CONTRADICTION. I greatly admire all that Mr. Ramsey has accomplished in his personal and professional life. As conservatives, and especially as teachers, we all should be aware of Mr. Ramsey’s products and mission. If you haven’t yet, buy this book!


Comments Off on Book Review: SMART MONEY, SMART KIDS by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

Filed under Book Reviews, College Education, Economics


file0002135280483This is a guest post by FJ Rocca.

We all know what incest is. It is the mating of people within the same family, i.e., of inbreeding. Incest and inbreeding are a readily recognized cause of imbecility. It is not the only cause, but it is a proven one.

This is true of academic incest, as well as with genetics. If you search the web for a definition of academic inbreeding, you will find it describes people whose educations all come from one place of learning, one university or from one set of professors. But I suggest a wider definition: The process of studying only the same ideology or pseudo-philosophy as though no other exists.

Universities are supposed to be places where genuine learning occurs, where the atmosphere of academic freedom abounds for intellectual stimulation, experimentation, inquiry, debate and speculation. In other words, universities are supposed to be portals to the universe of truth, knowledge and wisdom. We are not speaking here of the professional training one may get in, say, law, medicine, or one of the hard sciences. We are speaking here of what is called liberal arts education.

Let’s clarify something very important. A liberal arts education is not the same as an education in which one is taught liberal ideology. A liberal arts education ponders the central problems of philosophy and ethics, and provides the seminal lessons of history, literature, mathematics, the social and physical sciences. The central theme of a liberal arts education is objective inquiry, to hear and reason the arguments and ideas presented from as many sides as possible. Without academic diversity there is no objective inquiry

A university education is supposed to provide the tools for an intellectual life, an ongoing process of thought, of the development and expansion of ideas and of ongoing self-learning, with relentless and fearless inquiry and expansion of experience and knowledge. One’s participation in the process contributes to a vast, available repository of knowledge and wisdom that can be passed on to future generations and is which then will be added to by them. Thus, a university education should be a fertile ground for eternal perpetuation of knowledge and wisdom. Without diversity there is no objectivity and without objectivity, no argument can be reasonable. Without reason there is no intelligence and an unintelligent person must be deemed an imbecile.

Nowadays, too many college campuses are dominated by inbred academics who promote the tired, worn-out and utterly failed notions of leftist liberal ideology despite socialism’s century-long proven record of failure, repression and ultimate rejection by entire societies. These inbred academics are the white coated “mad scientists” keeping its defunct cells alive like a brain floating in a jar of murky fluid. They suppress free thought and intellectual inquiry and even punish those who oppose their closed minded views with the weapon of political correctness. Thus they engage in academic incest inbreeding leading to intellectual imbecility. Why? Because they themselves have been infected with the disease of social-liberalism and in the degenerate structure of their minds, the ghost still haunts, like the fumes of a corpse that will not lie down and die properly.

This situation is unlikely to persist, because the very decay of their absurd ideas will eventually collapse from its own weight. Like socialism itself, its ideologues will flee the ship once they realize it is sinking. Even now, that is beginning to happen. Alternative avenues for obtaining an education, private and online schools calling themselves universities and many technical schools are proliferating and, for many people who want a real education, they are replacing university campuses. For one thing, they do not include the restrictive and expensive requirement of living on campus. And they are free of the doctrinaire academics and intimidating specter of political correctness that provide little incentive to pay enormous sums for the privilege of being indoctrinated.

Universities will have to find a way out of the present situation, because, if they don’t replace intellectual imbecility with true academic and intellectual freedom, a new Dark Ages will descend.

FJ Rocca is an independent, conservative writer/blogger of fiction and non-fiction, most interested in the philosophy of American conservatism. Clarity is more important than eloquence, but truth is vital to human discourse.


Filed under College Education, College Related, Guest Post