Curtis Dahlgren
BACK TO SCHOOL: "Beware education deluxe" (Part 2)
By Curtis Dahlgren
August 31, 2014

"An attack on your ROOTS is an attack on you." – C. Dahlgren

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN said, "At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment." Teenagers are especially susceptible to believing that their parents and grandparents were "backward" while the "NEW" generation is progressive and more highly "evolved." Professors pound this into freshmen during their first week in college, and the higher the tuition they are paying, the students are told that they are the most highly evolved. After all, this is the post-Christian Era, they preach – directly or indirectly.

Well, the main purpose for which I write anything is to try to restore some balance to Higher Education. Therefore, this is the time of year I like to repost some of my favorite columns from this time of year. Here's one from August 2013:


"My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have the most diverse people from every planet on earth in this state."
– Grey Davis (as California governor)

PARADOXICALLY, when the over-educated start talking diversity, they're actually talking about conformity and uniformity, not freedom of thought. They're talking about parroting educated fools, not freedom of conscience or true academic freedom. [When the professor talks about "critical thinking," he's probably talking about the vicarious thinking you are about to get from his lectures – sometimes as useless as vicarious exercise (such as watching the football team).]

Prime Minister Harold MacMillan said, "It has been said that there is no fool like an old fool – except a young fool – but the young fool has to first grow up to be an old fool to realize what a damn fool he was when he was a young fool."

The education of our children is too serious a matter to leave to amateurs such as college professors. Do you know what's better than a college education? It's "knowledge never learned in schools," in the words of John Greenleaf Whittier. Horse sense. We're talking common ordinary horse sense (as opposed to horse manure). A barefoot boy out in the sticks learns some things before going to first grade that some professors fail to learn in their whole lives. No free lunch, for one thing.

The U. of Wisconsin used to tell the legislature, "Give us more money or our professors might move to California." Now we find out that California is bankrupt and the U.W. had a 600 million dollar slush fund even while raising tuition.

I happened to be in Sacramento on the day California started selling lottery tickets. Wonder how that's working out for them? You know, I don't think some voters will understand the fiscal crisis until the states start holding back lottery winnings! That would get their attention!

Well, this is the time of year the incoming freshmen are invited to so-called "college orientation," and they are often told that they are the smartest class of college frosh the world has ever seen (don't even think that; not even for a minute!). So, it's also time for my annual college orientation series – a few words more for those kids heading out for the University of H (Hookup U.):

"What I must do is all that concerns me, not what people think." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Years ago, a professor from the "Old School" used to tell his students on the first day of class that their goal should be to become really educated – and that they could not consider themselves really educated unless they could answer "yes" to the following questions:

- "Can you look an honest man or a pure woman straight in the eye?"

- "Will a lonely dog follow you down the street?"

- "Do you think farming is as compatible with high thinking as piano playing or golf?"

- "Can you look into the sky at night and see beyond the stars?"

[excerpted from "Leaves of Gold," 11th edition (subtitled "An Anthology of Prayers, Memorable Phrases, Inspirational Verse and Prose from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern")]

MAYBE if we had more good Prose in our lives, we wouldn't need so much Prozac or so many sleeping pills. Many tears have been shed since we stopped looking "beyond the stars." If tears were "telescopes," September 11, 2001 should have brought God into very sharp focus, but instead, our "popular culture" and Education have moved us totally in the opposite direction.

Higher education considers itself the very avant-garde, or vanguard, of "societal evolution," but radio host Michael Savage says that society has "sunk to a point lower than Rome or the Wiemar Republic in Germany." I agree, and so would the writers in "Leaves of Gold":

An anonymous author in "Leaves of Gold" gets down to the "nitty-gritty":

"Few things could be culturally more deplorable than that today the average college graduate, who fancies himself educated, should never have read the book of Job, should be unfamiliar with Isaiah, and should be hardly able to identify those mighty men of valor, Joshua, Gideon, [etc.] . . . For this is nothing less than a loss of racial memory, a forgetfulness of our cultural heritage that is as serious in the life of nations as is for the individual the loss of personality attendant upon neurotic disease."

Higher Education is a modern twist on the so-called Inquisition and "Crusades" – a jihad against anyone who refuses to sing PC doxologies such as "there are no differences between the sexes." A sheepskin from Harvard these days is no longer worth the paper it's printed on, given ex-president Larry Summers' capitulation to political correctness, with apologies for contemplating both sides of an issue. So, the word-for-the-day, boys and girls, is "heresy":

"Etymologically, a heresy is a 'choice' one makes . . Greek hairesis 'choice' [is] a derivative of hairein 'take or choose.' This was applied metaphorically to a 'course of action or thought which one chooses to take,' hence a school of thought,' and, ultimately, to a 'faction' or 'sect.' . . .

"Another derivative of hairein, incidentally, was diairein [meaning] 'divide' . . ." – John Ayto (Dictionary of Word Origins)

In the earlier history of the "university," there had almost always been "two schools of thought" – except under totalitarian governments or monolithic P.C. faculties. Today, although "choice" is a popular catch-word, real freedom of choice, the right to one's own thoughts, is now deemed "divisive" by the powers-that-be.


The word "division" does not equate with "evil." Normally it equated with "academic freedom" in fact – a long-forgotten concept from long, long ago.

I was once a barefoot boy,
I was rich in flowers and trees.
Laughed the brook for my delight

Ah that thou couldest know thy joy,
Ere it passes, Barefoot boy . . . .

Oh for boyhood's painless play,
Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
Health that mocks the doctor's rules,

Knowledge never learned of schools.

Blessings on thee, little man.

[If you know someone who's off to college, please pass it on! -cd]

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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