Millennials’ “Education”

The hard lifting of undoing it:

One of the falsehoods that has been stuffed into your brain and pounded into place is that moral knowledge progresses inevitably, such that later generations are morally and intellectually superior to earlier generations, and that the older the source the more morally suspect that source is. There is a term for that. It is called chronological snobbery. Or, to use a term that you might understand more easily, “ageism.”

Second, you have been taught to resort to two moral values above all others, diversity and equality. These are important values if properly understood. But the way most of you have been taught to understand them makes you irrational, unreasoning. For you have been taught that we must have as much diversity as possible and that equality means that everyone must be made equal. But equal simply means the same. To say that 2+2 equals 4 is to say that 2+2 is numerically the same as four. And diversity simply means difference. So when you say that we should have diversity and equality you are saying we should have difference and sameness. That is incoherent, by itself. Two things cannot be different and the same at the same time in the same way.

Furthermore, diversity and equality are not the most important values. In fact, neither diversity nor equality is valuable at all in its own right. Some diversity is bad. For example, if slavery is inherently wrong, as I suspect we all think it is, then a diversity of views about the morality of slavery is worse than complete agreement that slavery is wrong.

Similarly, equality is not to be desired for its own sake. Nobody is equal in all respects. We are all different, which is to say that we are all not the same, which is to say that we are unequal in many ways. And that is generally a good thing. But it is not always a good thing (see the previous remarks about diversity).

Related to this: You do you not know what the word “fair” means. It does not just mean equality. Nor does it mean something you do not like. For now, you will have to take my word for this. But we will examine fairness from time to time throughout this semester.

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48 thoughts on “Millennials’ “Education””

  1. Furthermore, diversity and equality are not the most important values. In fact, neither diversity nor equality is valuable at all in its own right. Some diversity is bad. For example, if slavery is inherently wrong, as I suspect we all think it is, then a diversity of views about the morality of slavery is worse than complete agreement that slavery is wrong.

    This is exactly how the Marxists think of diversity in regard to non-Marxist ideologies and opinions. Diversity is only about skill color and only about skin color because the Socialist Democrats think that all of their opponents are white and that people who are not white are genetically incapable of holding the views that people on the right do in regard to free markets, the constitution, and freedom in general.

  2. Nobody is equal in all respects.
    I absolutely agree. I wonder what the authors of the Declaration of Independence were thinking when they said that all men are created equal. I realize that sounds snarky/trollish, but I’m generally curious.

    1. Language is not math. Communication requires both the sender and receiver to cooperate. When the receiver refuses to understand it doesn’t matter what the sender meant. Equal has a lot of meanings (ask a computer programmer who can give you several not generally thought of but all legitimate.)

  3. “3. If you ever begin a statement with the words “I feel,” before continuing you must cluck like a chicken or make some other suitable animal sound.”

    “I feel” is in my mind equivalent to “In my opinion” or “I believe”.

    I applaud people who state their opinions as opinions rather than as facts, of course, this guy is a law lecturer and it is the legal profession that is arguably most guilty of stating opinions (and false opinions at that) as fact (“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client is a fine and upstanding member of the community”).

    My opinion of the legal profession is not a hell of a lot different to Robert Heinlein’s.

    1. I used to believe an opinion should be based on facts and thought. No wait — I still do.

      I cannot take seriously anyone who prefaces a statement of opinion with “I feel…” — he betrays by his slovenly use of language equally slovenly habits of cogitation, and whatever follows those two words might as well be “…that I have nothing of value to contribute, but I am incapable of remaining silent. Rather than merely think me a fool, you must be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, and here is the absolute proof.”

      1. I personally wouldn’t use the word “feel” in that context, but I recognize that languages evolve, and the term”I feel” is a modern form of “I think”, other examples of changing language are the words “gay” and “gender” both of which have definitions today that differ from their definitions of 100 years ago. So while “feel” in this context isn’t my choice, I grok their meaning when the younger generation use it.

        1. It doesn’t matter what a person meant when they said, “I feel…” The fact remains it’s usually followed by mush.

        2. Troll much Andrew?
          Really, what response are you looking for here?
          People say “I Feel…” now where they used to say “I Think…” for the same reason the word “Gay” doesn’t mean the same as it used to. And… “Gender fluidity” applies too. I grok it!
          Let me guess, the completely sensible Item 3 you quoted above set you off because you have a pet chicken?

          1. “In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion,[3] often for the troll’s amusement.”

            Fits you better than me.

        3. ” So while “feel” in this context isn’t my choice, I grok their meaning when the younger generation use it.”

          No you don’t grok their meaning. You have no idea whether it’s what they feel or what they think. They haven’t told you.

          You are making an assumption.

          It’s sloppy language like this that makes Marxism possible and clear thinking impossible.

          Especially when you, the receiver, think you know what they are saying.

        4. I am suspicious of the people who are constantly changing language based on ulterior motives.

          For example, human and all of its offshoots are now considered sexist. Man and Woman are no longer Humans and everything must be done to separate the two from common heritage.

          Its really an endless list though. By controlling language, you control society. Hands off my English!

    2. I kind of agree with you here. I feel can be appropriate but the author was making a point aside from the word, that people are basing things on emotion rather than objective truth or rational thought. That is the meat of the matter.

    1. He should have also included the notion that people today are smarter than those in the past. Very little to support that despite the accumulation of shared knowledge we have today.

      1. Indeed, people today have vastly more knowledge to draw upon. But I see no evidence they are better able to make use of the available knowledge.

  4. This needs to be read in the narrative style of the late John Houseman.
    A paraphrase from that great film “The Paper Chase”:

    You come to me with brains full of MUSH, and if you survive, you will leave my class thinking like a lawyer.

      1. Words I totally feared to hear in my school days (again Houseman voice):

        Mr. Spain, please stand. Sir, you have FAILED my class. Kindly leave the hall.

        Excerpt’s from Paper Chase the movie: (via Wikipedia) truth from back in the day….

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paper_Chase_(film)

        Hart divides the class into three groups: those who have given up; those who are trying, but fear being called upon in class to respond to Kingsfield’s questions; and the “upper echelon”. As time goes on, he moves from the second classification to the third. Late one night, Hart and another student break into a secured room of the library and read personal notes Kingsfield had taken when he was a law student.

        The mounting pressure, as the course nears its end, gets to everyone. When Hart gives Kingsfield a flippant answer, the professor gives him a dime and tells him, “Call your mother. Tell her there is serious doubt about your becoming a lawyer.” Hart calls Kingsfield a “son of a bitch” and starts to walk out. Surprisingly, Kingsfield agrees with his assessment and invites him to sit back down, which he does. Brooks makes an unsuccessful suicide attempt and drops out of school. The study group is torn apart by personal bickering. With final exams looming, Hart and Ford prepare feverishly in a hotel room for three days.

        This dime for a phone call biz is an excerpt supposed from a real quote from Harvard don Professor Edward “Bull” Warren:

        http://izquotes.com/quote/390840

  5. Can’t say I’ve never used it (it’s easy to fall into the vernacular); but “I feel” reminds me of Phil Donahue, the Male Oprah of his day. He seemed to think “I feel” was an actual argument. No wonder women liked him.

  6. OK, the damage from moral relativism, post modernism, and critical theory will be hard to overcome but online learning will have two major impacts.

    One, it allows people to augment their education before/during/after.

    Two, it democratizes education by removing power from the educrats and marxists, by being widely available without limiting by seats, and most importantly, by allowing for competition that causes excellent teachers to rise to the top.

    A lot of colleges are heavily invested in inculcating identity politics and churn out studies majors who can only get jobs as activists or teachers. What happens when online learning replaces the need for all of those teachers? There will be less of them and if there are no mandates, the studies classes will eventually fall out of favor and their influence will shrink over the rest of academia.

    Since these classes are not in any way difficult, look for colleges allowing an online course to substitute for the in-class experience as the first step. Maybe there should be some nudging?

    1. I’m a meta-ethical moral relativist but recognize that we do have human instinctive moral codes imposed on us by evolution.
      The reason moral codes have changed so rapidly in Western societies over recent decades is because wealth and technology has changed rapidly in recent decades. Premarital sex not the huge immorality that it once was because (a) the pill and (b) greater societal wealth means a “fatherless” child needn’t go hungry or be a huge burden on the family. Child labor is not morally acceptable today but was acceptable in the past when that labor could keep a family (whose bread-winner had died) fed.

      1. “The reason moral codes have changed so rapidly in Western societies over recent decades is because wealth and technology has changed rapidly in recent decades.”

        Only a moral relativist could think this…..

        Wealth is not a band aid or excuse for immorality.

          1. I never knew my great grandfather. He married a squaw which to many of his day was unethical. I attended my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary then years later my parents 50th.
            I’ve frequently heard millennials say “don’t judge me” which sounds like “I don’t live the moral code I feel is right.”
            Nothing in either the inner cities or Hollywood convinces me that living outside the “old” moral code is a good idea.

          2. In the US it was morally acceptable for women not to have the vote up until 1920, the US Civil Rights act of 1964 outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, over the course of the last century racial discrimination has shifted from being morally acceptable to morally unacceptable for most Americans.

            Can I take from your comment that you adhere to the earlier moral codes around these two issues? That you share the disapproval of your Great Grandfathers contemporaries over his marriage?

          3. Can I take from your comment that you adhere to the earlier moral codes around these two issues? That you share the disapproval of your Great Grandfathers contemporaries over his marriage?
            Spoken like a true troll. Nothing in what I said gives you any reason to make those assumptions.

            Women had the right to vote before 1920 in some parts of the USA, especially the west, before it was outlawed at the federal level. It wasn’t considered immoral by most people just illegal by some.

            Similarly it is hard to prove what most people thought was moral with regards to oppressed persons. That the people in power in some states allowed persecution and that people in power in other states were slow to step up says little about what most people considered moral at the time.

          4. The thing with democracies is that the politicians follow the the lead given by the people on moral issues, so it was morally acceptable for most voters for women to be denied the vote prior to ~1920 and for racial discrimination to be practiced prior to ~1964.

            “Spoken like a true troll.”
            I see you as the troll, I’m just trying to understand your position on moral relativism, but all I’m getting back is nit-picking. Do you accept that morality codes change? You seem to be arguing it both ways. Do you believe that morality is relative or objective in its nature? I’ve got no idea, maybe you’ve got a dime each way.
            So you just carry or with your little anecdotes, they contribute nothing.

          5. “So you still adhere to your great grandparents moral codes?”

            Why as a matter of fact I do:

            I don’t lie* cheat or steal. I won’t touch your stuff. I won’t be laid a hand on nor will I allow that of others. I wouldn’t kill anyone except in defense of myself for my loved ones. I look out for myself and try to do for myself without sponging off of others.

            I could go on. But a moral relativist such as yourself would be blind to the obvious point, which is that there is a timeless morality and it covers most if not all of the really important stuff. That morality was important then and it’s important now – unless you are a moral relativist in which case what is important is only what you say is important.

            Which means there is no morality at all.

            *Well ok I confess to the “How does this dress I just made look on me?” dodge and other examples. But then so did my great grandparents. 😉

          6. Gregg, I assume you also oppose equality for women, support discrimination against minorities, believe homosexual acts are immoral and should punished with lengthy prison terms. Obviously you believe that a daughter having sex before marriage brings shame on her family and that it’s a mans right to force sex on his wife no matter that she does not want it?

            “. . . a moral relativist such as yourself would be blind to the obvious point, which is that there is a timeless morality and it covers most if not all of the really important stuff.”

            As I said (but evidently you didn’t read): ” . . . we do have human instinctive moral codes imposed on us by evolution.”
            Obviously those moral codes are essentially constants (evolution is slow) – the ones you offer being examples, the codes I’m referring to, the codes that change, are cultural, they change with changing culture – which itself changes with changes in technology and wealth.

          7. Gregg, I assume you also oppose equality for women, support discrimination against minorities, believe homosexual acts are immoral and should punished with lengthy prison terms. Obviously you believe that a daughter having sex before marriage brings shame on her family and that it’s a mans right to force sex on his wife no matter that she does not want it?

            I have no idea whether or not my great-grandparents believed any of those things, but I have no evidence that they did.

          8. “Gregg, I assume you also oppose equality for women, support discrimination against minorities, believe homosexual acts are immoral and should punished with lengthy prison terms. Obviously you believe that a daughter having sex before marriage brings shame on her family and that it’s a mans right to force sex on his wife no matter that she does not want it?”

            I’ve attempted to make a reply to this but the blog keeps saying that my reply ‘seems a bit spammy” and I don’t know what triggers that. I’ll try to post it some other way.

          9. “I’ve attempted to make a reply to this but the blog keeps saying that my reply ‘seems a bit spammy” ”

            Excuse me while I bite my tongue.
            I’m hoping that the part of my comment that you quote can be regarded as rhetorical and so not really needing a reply, it was said to illustrate that cultural morals DO change, so if that’s accepted the debate comes down to whether or not such cultural moral issues are relative or objective ie. in some universal sense that cultural moral positions are alway right or wrong.

          10. “Gregg, I assume you also oppose equality for women, support discrimination against minorities, believe homosexual acts are immoral and should punished with lengthy prison terms. Obviously you believe that a daughter having sex before marriage brings shame on her family and that it’s a mans right to force sex on his wife no matter that she does not want it?”

            Oh dear me…where does one begin?

            I’ll start by pointing out to you that one of my paternal great Aunts married a full blooded Cherokee Indian. He was warmly welcomed by the family including my great grandparents.
            You fool.

            Secondly, I just love the way you called my great grandparents mysoginists, homophobes and racists etc.. And yes that’s precisely what you did. Given that you have ZERO knowledge about them, it’s another example of how you make wild unwarranted assumptions. You do that a lot. Like when you assume that when someone says “I feel” they really mean “I think”. Now normally I’d be ripped that you would make such accusations against any member of my family. But to do that as a debating point is so stupid and infantile that I cannot imagine yo are above the age of 13. And I don’t get angry at children.

            Yes I did read this:

            “As I said (but evidently you didn’t read): ” . . . we do have human instinctive moral codes imposed on us by evolution.”

            I ignored it for the infantile blathering that it is. Universal morals are not driven by evolution. If they were animals wouldn’t steal because of evolutionary pressures. Yet predators will steal other predators’ kills.

            And this whole diversion regarding what my great grandparents thought (and the lies you told about them) is just that – a diversion from the slam on your notion that morals derive from wealth. Wealth affects what people do, but not the moral value.

            You are dismissed.

          11. Gregg, even an idiot should understand that I was not referring specifically to your Great Grandparents but rather the people of that generation, and my point remains unchallenged, it was said to illustrate that “cultural morals DO change”.

            “Universal morals are not driven by evolution. If they were animals wouldn’t steal because of evolutionary pressures. Yet predators will steal other predators’ kills.”

            Are you serious? Has it occurred to you that because different species fill different niches in the ecology that they evolve different forms?? You have noticed that different species look different? You are capable of understanding that the instinctive “moral codes” of different species would be different?? As it is there is little in the way of moral codes outside of species that live in social groups, morality is the accepted behavior between individuals within the same social group. (And before you confuse yourself further “social group” when it comes to Humans can be so extensive as to include everyone on the planet or restricted to your nearest and dearest depending on context, it’s multi-layered.

            Anyway, I notice that you’re still haven’t addressed my point “cultural morals DO change” you obviously realize that to acknowledge that they change would then lead you to having to address the main point I’m advancing which is that if they change and are objective in nature who’s practicing the wrong moral codes: Todays generations? Our Grandparents generation? Our Grandchildren’s generation (who’re certain to have different moral perspectives to the current generations on a whole range of issues, from animal welfare to drug use and sexuality)?

            So how about you be brave and address my points rather than deflecting using the excuse of a false affront.

          12. The thing with democracies is that the politicians follow the the lead given by the people on moral issues,

            Are you making stuff up are are you silly enough to believe this?

            Politicians do whatever they think they can get away with. They have no regard for what the people think as long as they have a way to be reelected. When the people get “mad as hell” and “won’t take it anymore” they act out. If they are trying to not be violent they do something like elect a Donald Trump.

          13. “The thing with democracies is that the politicians follow the the lead given by the people on moral issues”

            Are you making stuff up are are you silly enough to believe this?

            The recent referendum on the change in a moral issue in Australia is a good example. After a 62% vote for legalizing same sex marriage the Australian Prime Minister has pledge to get the legislation through in weeks, it will pass, and as a conscience vote MP’s will vote according to their own moral compass, any MP whose moral compass does not point the same way as the voters in their electorate will be in trouble come election time.

            You give the example of Trump, Trump stood on a platform that appealed to voters and as a result – and despite his narcissistic personality, he got elected – clearly evidence that if the politicians in a democracy don’t follow the lead of the public they get turfed out.

            You appear to have a problem with representative democracy, well according to Churchill “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

            Perhaps if you were to live under a dictatorship for a few years you would start to appreciate the power the voter has in a democracy.

          14. No, I think the confusion arose because I assumed that you were living in a functioning democracy, obviously that’s not the case.

    2. But will these alternate universities be able to obtain accreditation, or other general recognition that what they teach is of value to an employer? That may be the hard part.

  7. “Fairness” without context is meaningless. Within a context it is usually an ethical equivalence used to justify what appears on the surface as an inequality.

  8. Where do you get ‘inherently wrong’ from? In other words, where does this value choice come from? If it is your religion, say so, or something your parents taught you, say so. If you derived it from something else, what?

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