Lewis Morris ·
Jun. 7, 2017
The nation has just emerged from graduation season. Many of us know young people who are either leaving high school and moving on to college or graduating from college and heading off into the world. But college and the promise of better career opportunities aren’t what they used to be.
The job market for college graduates in America in 2017 is tighter than it’s ever been, and it gets more competitive every year. No matter the degree earned, the average college graduate is becoming less likely to find a job in their chosen profession within five years, in some cases even 10 years, after graduation. Given the fact that a four-year college education can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $150,000, this is a troubling fact that is crippling an entire generation of young people looking to enter the workforce.
It’s a frightening and demoralizing situation to be saddled with a debt large enough to buy a small home before the age of 25 with nothing to show for it but an 8 ½ x 11-size piece of onion skin paper with fancy lettering. There was a time when these degrees led straight to high-paying jobs. But that time is quickly waning.
Change is happening on a social level on college campuses, too. A recent article in the Denver Post notes that women now outnumber men nearly two to one in college attendance. Women hold nearly 60% of all bachelor degrees, and they account for almost half of all students in law, medical and graduate business programs.
It’s a great thing and a long time coming that women have reached this level of academic excellence. But it comes amidst a wave of militant feminism that has a high price. By comparison, over the past decade, as the Denver Post notes, close to 30% of male college students have quit during their freshman year. This is a nationwide phenomenon. What gives?
There is something ugly beyond the increasingly limited economic value of a college education in modern America. And that’s the fact that college isn’t about education anymore. It’s about indoctrination. Colleges in this country are not a place for learning, but are rather factories for cranking out sycophants of leftist ideology. They are surely not the haven for free speech they pretend to be. Look at the walkouts, protests and riots that are now taking place on college campuses sparked by nothing more than diverse opinions that run counter to statist groupthink.
Relationally, college has gotten bad too. James Shelley, director of the Men’s Resource Center at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio, gives voice to one of the real reasons young men don’t want to be on college campuses. These institutions, says Shelley, “welcome young men to college by essentially telling them that they are potential rapists.”
Indeed, incessant repetition of the phony one-in-five-women-are-raped statistic isn’t helping. Why would young men subject themselves to such legal jeopardy?
The hostile social environment combined with the extremely limited return on investment of spending money and time in an institution of higher “learning” that no longer offers better employment after graduation makes college a bad idea for a lot of young men. It should come as no surprise that they are dropping out of — or not even bothering to enroll in — these institutions.
The problem this growing segment of emasculated men are experiencing is that there isn’t really a viable alternative outside of college. Society has effectively shamed the idea of vocational training and learning a trade as some backwards mindset that no longer suits our young people. Working with your hands has become scorned in a nation that was built by people who once practiced the very trades that we now need most.
The fact is there are not enough tradesmen, or tradeswomen for that matter. The high-end professions that college is supposed to train people for these days are drowning in applicants. There are more people trained for these jobs than the market can bear.
While colleges teach classes on the evils of Western civilization and offer degrees in understanding “Star Wars” and “The Simpsons,” America’s infrastructure is thirsting for people with tangible skills. That’s where opportunity truly is, and where viable income and steady work can be found.
Mike Rowe, TV personality and one of America’s foremost practical thinkers, offers countercultural advice that should be considered by America’s young people: Don’t follow your passion. Passion doesn’t pay the bills; opportunity does. Don’t be inspired by the one-percenters who followed their passion and became Oscar- and Grammy-winning performers. Follow opportunity. Find where no one else is meeting a need and fill that need.
Higher education is not a sham. Wanting to learn more about the world is a noble pursuit and young Americans have an opportunity rare in most countries. But education is not a value in its own right. It should lead somewhere. And that place is not a leftist reeducation camp that teaches people to hate each other based on belief or gender. That place should be where you learn a skill or a trade that allows you to make a living and build a future for yourself and for your future family. This country was built by people not afraid to get their hands dirty. That is what truly makes America great.
For a humorous take, here’s JP Sears: