Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why College?

I thought (and continue to think) that I am pretty counter-cultural and radical. I am realizing how much, I tend to just go with the flow of society, without questioning for a moment some of the most fundamental and basic trends of typical American lifestyles.

This is not to say that what is popular is necessarily wrong all the time. But they very often are wrong. It is worth thinking things through.

For example, why go to college? I was just browsing the internet today, and I saw an article: Five Reasons to Skip College. Check it out: http://www.forbes.com/technology/2006/04/15/dont-go-college_cx_lh_06slate_0418skipcollege.html

That sparked my curiosity and my mind. So, then I did a google search. What alternatives are there to college? I came across this: http://www.patriarch.com/college@home.html

This is radical. It also is mostly all (if not completely) Biblical. And there seems to be a lot of wisdom here. It is also a hard calling, which is, of course, why most people don't do things this way. But one of the big reasons why our nation is so plagued with problems is due to the rejection of anything and everything that is hard.

We live our lives obedient to the socialist state, and for so many of us, we never give this more than a passing thought.

Of course, most of us go to college and send our children to college, because we lack the confidence and the means to adequately prepare ourselves or our children for life in the world. So, we write a check, and place our trust in the hands of the leftist controlled educational elite.

Is this wise?

If we have the means to spend tens of thousands of dollars on education, then do we have the means to provide a great education without spending that kind of money? Do we really need to spend so much money in order to learn? Can't we get on the internet and/or go to a library, and learn things that way?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against all college all the time. But I do think that this is an issue that we ought to think through.


Blogger Dan said...

This looks like an interesting book:


10:17 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Check out this out too:

And there several links that are interesting too.

10:26 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

We live in such different universes. I would no more take ancient israel as my model for ideal education that I would try to emulate the ancient aztecs or pre-columbian plains indians or feudal japan.

To me, insane as it is, modern 21st century america may be the greatest civilization in the histor of the planet. I presume you think we're inferior to a lot of other more theocratic societies, like 1950s america, or 19th century america, or... i don't know, the holy roman empire.

One good reason to go to college is to give up some of our control over what information we'll be exposed to, and to let conflicting viewpoints in. My concern with private schools and homeschool isn't so much what they teach as much as it is what they forbid. Going to college, I think almost everyone bumps into ideas they hate, people they don't understand, and lifestyles and worldviews totally different from their own. and this is a good thing.

As for the concern that colleges are leftist: if that is really true, doesn't that just say good things about leftism, rather than saying bad things about colleges?

don't get me wrong-- I hate arguments based on authority. "Because an authority said so" is the lowest form of reasoning.

but, that said... if all the smart well-educated people are leftists... doesn't that just mean agnostic leftism is probably the smart answer?

as it is, people turn the argument upside down. Educated people tend to be liberals, we take as a premise. Most people would conclude: so liberalism is good. but conservatives take then same premise and conclude: educated people are more liberal-- so education is bad!

9:44 AM  
Blogger Dan said...


You said, "We live in such different universes. I would no more take ancient israel as my model for ideal education that I would try to emulate the ancient aztecs or pre-columbian plains indians or feudal japan."

It appears that you are rejecting the model of acient Israel because it is ancient. This seems foolish. What is it about moderns that causes them to assume that everything modern is good, simply because it is not ancient. How much have people really changed in the past 6000 years? The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life have driven millions of people for thousands of years. People want money, sex, and power.

And throughout history, God's people have stood up against this. God's people have preached and modeled selfless love, purity, joy, and faith. God's people have stood up for justice and mercy, and have defended the basic God-given rights of people. They have defended the dignity of man precisely because man has been created in God's image.

You do not have much depth in your analysis of the ancient Israel model versus the ancient Greek model versus the modern college model. What have you really considered? It seems to me that you have considered the words ancient and modern. That's it.

You said, "To me, insane as it is, modern 21st century america may be the greatest civilization in the histor of the planet. I presume you think we're inferior to a lot of other more theocratic societies, like 1950s america, or 19th century america, or... i don't know, the holy roman empire."

1950's America was not a theocratic society. Neither ws the 19th century America. There were some good things about the 1950's. Most people back then at least tipped their hat to the Bible and to the values of the Bible. Their "old fashioned" ideas of discipline in school were wiser than the insanity that we have today. Back then, if a student was misbehvaing, he would be disciplined. There was not that much concern about his "self-esteem." They would even be hit with the rod. And there weren't lawsuits. They would go home to their parents (usually two parents - a mother and a father), and then they would get another whipping.

Most of my friends I know today who are living healthy and successful lives got spanked when they were children. They love their parents for that today.

But today we have lawsuits. Discipline is not politically correct. So, psychology and psychiatry and drugs have replaced discipline and the gospel. Thus we have a generation of narcissists, many of whom are addicted to harmful drugs.

The 1950s had their problems, to be sure. But there were some good things about that generation.

Very little of what happened in the Holy Roman Empire was really holy.

You said, "One good reason to go to college is to give up some of our control over what information we'll be exposed to, and to let conflicting viewpoints in. My concern with private schools and homeschool isn't so much what they teach as much as it is what they forbid. Going to college, I think almost everyone bumps into ideas they hate, people they don't understand, and lifestyles and worldviews totally different from their own. and this is a good thing."

So, if I understand you right, you are saying that the college experience is healthy and good. At least, you are saying that the classes and the diversity of people that you meet gives people a chance to experience something good.

Certainly, I am the quasi-theologian/philosopher today partly due to all the debates I had in college. I had a Calvinist friend in college (one who believes that God predestines and chooses all who would be saved). Over four years, we must have logged well over a thousand hours of debate about everything: theology, politics, girls, movies, etc.

Certainly, when you see the diversity of people, I believe you are seeing the creativity of God. Different cultures, different customs, different ideas are wonderful - when it is all dedicated to the glory of God. God loves all the nations, and one day there will be people from every tongue and tribe and nation worshipping God. I have seen Marshallese worship God; they do it very differently than American white Presbyterians. I have seen black Penteocstal brothas worship God. They do it very differently than Mexicans. There is richness in diversity.

However, there are some ideas that are evil and perverted. And there are people who are evil and perverted. If a black man went to college and sat through a class where the professor constantly degraded "niggers," that would not be a good thing. It would not be positive.

Also, time is limited. This life is but a breath, and then we're done. We can spend this precious time investigating a few thousand of the millions of Hindu deities, but that would be a waste of time.

We should number our days aright, that we might gain a heart of wisdom. We should focus on learning wisdom and truth. Millions people go through this life wasting time, without ever studying the Bible. I can testify that this is a tragedy. Without trying to sound arrogant, I see most people, in the depth of their ignorance and foolishness, and I think it is such a waste of life to live thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, or more years, without every studying the Bible.

In modern colleges, psychology has replaced the Bible. The problem with the human condition is poverty and environment - not sin. And the rich are evil and should be taxed more than everyone else. Morals are not absolute - absolutely. Anyone who says so is a bigot. Abortion is a right, and homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle. Education needs to build up the self-esteem of children.

The left is like this giant political machine. They are moving forward in their agenda with momentum. But they are fundamentally flawed, because they are in rebellion against God.

The Good News is that there is a better way! There is God's way! It is a hard way, but when peole embrace it, they are made whole. It is a way of discipline and love. It is a way of fellowship and family. It is the way of charity and joy. It is the way of salvation and righteousness. It is the way of faith and justice.

The ancient Hebrews were onto something. Throughout the centuries God's people have shined like a bright light.

Now, I don't condemn all college activity. But I am asking what is the best way? What is the most important thing about the "college experience?" I think, for many people, it is the "4-year camp experience." But that is an awfully expensive camp. And I think that this is one of the ways that Americans tend to live above their means. They go to camp for four years, and then spend the next ten years paying off student loans. Then they spend the next twenty years saving money for their kids to go to camp.

Camp is great. I went to camp growing up, and I loved it. But is there a better way?

11:36 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

"It appears that you are rejecting the model of acient Israel because it is ancient."

no, no. I should have clarified. I bear no inherent grudge against ancientness. In my list of "poor education models", I for example excluded the ancient Greeks and Romans because I have to admit to having a soft spot in my heart for those two civilizations. They may not have been as literate and enlightened as we are, but they were a start of something special.

I just feel like every ancient civilization had customs and superstitions and mythologies. You could pick any one and argue that we have something to learn from them, and you might be right that they have SOMETHING to teach us. But no matter which one you pick, you're left with the fact that all ancient societies had rampant illiteracy, slavery, racism, superstition, and generalized ignorance about what sort of a world they were living in.

We've made so much progress. Science WORKS. After all the thousands upon thousands of humans making half-insane guesses about what the universe was like, we actual have a system that works so incredibly well at actually finding the truth about our universe. Electricity works. Nuclear power works. The Apollo program worked. My computer works.

Science isn't just the random musings and wild guesses of primitive mythologies. Its equations consistently are borne out. time and time and time again, the scientists predict X, and X turns out to work. From computer to medicine to nuclear weapons to space travel. Scientists say X, and X happens.

And then there's the social enlightenment. Our modern global society is the first one in history that has come so close to eradicating racism. Ours is one of the few societies that has gender equality. We have soaring literacy rates, and almost no one is condemned to a lifetime of unskilled manual labor.

We ain't perfect, but I'll put us up against anyone who's ever lived. The ancient Greeks may seem pretty cool, until you realize that only a select elite got to participate in their scholarly utopia. Ancient Israel sounds fun at first, until you realize they were a nation of fanatics on a scale that makes the amish seem liberal (and don't even think about particpating if you're a woman or aren't in "god's chosen race"). The Romans certainly got a lot done, but they lived in a fascist militaristic society under the rule of a total dictator.

Sure, our public schools have lots of problems, but at least we recognize the right of every child to have an education (well, most people recognize that right. :) ). Sure, our health care system sucks, but at least our doctors have medicine that works, rather than ineffective folk cures and superstitious rituals.


There is definitely an element of truth in some of your comments about college. I think it's important that we never think formal education has a monopoly on enlightenment or learning.

I think the analogy to a four year camp experience is a good one. I think most people feel that college is almost certainly worth the costs-- certainly in sheer business sense your increased income almost always compensates for the tuition, measured over a lifetime. But even if college isn't financially profitable, money's sole purpose is to better our lives, and I feel like most peoples college experiences are so overwhelmingly positive, it's an incredible investment. But, I can't dispute the idea that it is, in some ways, a giant intellectual 4-year long camp experience. I definitely feel like the classes are only one small part of the overall positivity of going to college.

and I can understand being concerned any time our society claims this is the "one and only way to adulthood, the thing you are 'supposed' to do, no matter who you are". And I sympathize with the high cost burden that it puts on poor families-- if I ran the circus, it'd be as free as public school.

More on other topics momentarily

5:58 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

On Corporal Punishment.

You say: "Most of my friends I know today who are living healthy and successful lives got spanked when they were children. They love their parents for that today."

This is a world-view I have a hard time understanding, despite how prevalent it is in America. More than anything else we've probably discussed, it can get my emotions going.

I'm glad I'm not the embodiment of the moral relativist you always rail against, because it would make this debate much harder. I simply feel, quite strongly, violence itself is inherently wrong. violence against innocent children, ten times as wrong.

I have definitely bumped into some people who were the victims of violence discipline during their childhood yet love their parents for it. I can say, however, this number is small compared to the number of people I've met who were the victims of physical or sexual abuse during their childhood and who have crippling mental scars as a result. But perhaps I just know a lot of odd people.

A parent has such total control over their child-- they control what the child sees, hears, eats. when the child can sleep, wake. where the child goes. children have no rights to have their own possessions unless the parent says so. children are very powerless, dependent creatures, and parents are very powerful entities. There is _ample_ power for the limited disciplining necessary for children. To resort to the voluntary infliction of pain is sad, short-sighted, and I feel, completely and utterly immoral.

We, as a society, have come to the consensus that it is immoral for the state to inflict physical pain as punishment for crimes-- yet the most powerless and innocent among us can have pain inflicted upon them.

I have spent quite a lot of time trying to understand the zeal with which people support corporal punishment. It is understandable that some people might feel corporal punishment is a sad, regrettable necessity-- something that is so essential to raising a child that despite the horrible prospect of violently inflicting pain upon a child, it is something that we simply do not dare part with.

But in reality, almost no one seems to feel that way. The adherents of corporal punishment seem to relish it-- they seem to enjoy it, to find it slightly amusing, to find it somehow deeply satisfying. Remember in the 90s when that american kid on vacation in singapore was going to be caned for commiting vandalism?

People _LOVED_ it. People rallied around it. People couldn't shut up about how wonderful it was that this one lousy kid was going to finally get what was coming to him.

Nobody said "It certianly is a sad, regrettable necessity that that poor child is going to be caned". Instead, people cheers like fans in the Roman Coliseum.

I don't understand this phenomenon. I can only guess it's some deep seated human need to see violence, even if against children. People can quote the bible till the cow's come home claiming it's a parental necessity, but that doesn't explain the furverence and outright zeal of their support for the practice.


In the end, I can't prove to you it's wrong if you don't automatically see it as wrong yourself. I can point out that statistically, children who weren't spanked turn out much better than children who were. I can point out that many many children are the victims of clear-cut abuse, so we all agree that violence beyond a certain point is wrong. I can say that I bet for every parent who calmly and rationally decides to inflict pain on their child, there are probably 20 parents who hit their children out of sheer anger.

And I can say that if you look at the perpetrators of violent crime, they were invariably the victims of violence before they became the perpetrators of it. People claim pornography is 'dangerous', but to me, violence against children is a thousand times more dangerous. To support it is to risk condoning child abuse, to risk scarring children for life emotionally, and to risk sending the message that "might makes right" and that violence is an acceptable method of getting your way.


The downside to having libertarian overtones in your political view is that it makes it very difficult to indulge yourself when you feel strongly about an issue. I would like very much to live in a society where it was agreed that hitting a child is just as unacceptable as hitting another adult. But a substantial minority of our population disagrees, and who am I to legislate those views into illegality. I can preach against violent discipline, and to be sure, I do. I can insist that no state employee participate in the violence, and our society has come to agree that it's wrong for a public school teacher to inflict pain.

But after all is said and done, so long as so many people feel violence is part of parenting, I can't support using the legal establishment to outlaw it outright.

So perhaps I'm a moral relativist after all-- unable to absolutely support even my own absolutes. Maybe I'm just in denial. But I think I'm not a relativist for the following subtle reason: I don't deny the existences of absolutes, I just have little faith in any one human being's ability to discover them. The absolutes may be out there-- solutions to an equation so big no one can comprehend it.

6:40 AM  
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2:52 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Violence and abuse is always wrong. Those who commit violent crimes and abuse children ought to be punished severely.

But there is a difference between a spanking and abuse. Getting hit with an open hand on the butt or the thigh with some force, but not full force, will produce a stinging sensation, not an injury or a bruise. My Dad used to spank me in this way. I didn't like it then. I love him for it now.

Certainly, all disciplinary action needs to be done IN CONTROL. Children should have a clear understanding of the rules, the boundaries, and the expectations. They should also have a clear understanding of the punishment they will experience if they choose to break the rules, go outside of the boundaries, or violate the expectations. When a child does something wrong, the parent ought to sit down and have a discussion with the child. The child will thus know precisely why he is being punished. Then, he will experience the punishment. This could be a spanking or it could be something else. But it should hurt (physically and emotionally), but not injure (physically or emotionally).

Then after the punishment is complete, the parent and child should have another talk, in which the parent "shepherds the heart" of the child. He reaffirms his love for his child, and helps the child to understand that he was disciplined because he is loved.

This brings wonderful blessing and security to the child's life. This training, combined with prayer and faith, will keep the child on the straight and narrow. It will protect him from "road of destruction" and will set him on the road of life, prosperity, success, and wholesome balance.

Kids who are not disciplined get on the broad road of destruction. More later.

7:46 AM  

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