Parallels

This is Victor Davis Hanson writing about why so many of America’s youth are increasing embracing socialism.  The system of organisation that delivers equality of poverty at the point of a gun and has already led the the death of over 100 million; not counting the latest from Venezuela.

While this is about America, the parallels are not too far from Australia:

One force multiplier of socialist unrest has been an absence of upward mobility, coupled with a superficial sense of being educated. Today’s college graduate may feel that while his education has led to few marketable skills, it has at least taught him the innate inequalities of American capitalism which, in his eyes, explain better than his poor choices why he is degreed but otherwise poor and in debt. College-educated Americans collectively owe an estimated $1.5 trillion in unpaid student loans, and many despair of ever repaying the huge sums spent to collect noncompetitive degrees.

and:

Many young people claim to be socialists but are instead simply angry that they were unable to afford a home, a new car, or other nice things, or start a family in their “woke” urban neighborhoods during a decade of muted economic growth (2008–17) and high unemployment. In college, they were not warned about the dangers of statism and collectivism, nor given the skills to look at the world empirically. The combination of nonmarketable degrees and skills with burdensome debt helped alter an entire generation’s customs, habits, and thinking.

One more:

Popular culture and contemporary politics have more or less institutionalized a model of citizenship quite unlike previous visions that were based on the autonomous family. The new American archetype apparently is a single, urban youth, presumably well-educated and glib but dependent on government subsidies and suffering from arrested development. His environment stresses the attractions of government dependency and the alleged lack of upward mobility through the private sector. This view is expansively depicted as the liberation of an everywoman or everyman through cradle-to-grave government reliance—a person thus in little need of marriage, religion, or community and family support.

And finally:

Socialist revolutions do not sprout organically in so-called good times. Instead they are the children of wars, depressions, and natural and manmade upheavals. They are facilitated by “never let a crisis go to waste” opportunism—turmoil during which socialist activists emerge as prophets to condemn systems of free enterprise and constitutional government. Leaders like Fidel Castro, Vladimir Lenin, or Leon Trotsky rarely rise from among the poor. They often have just enough education to connect their own unhappiness with cosmic forces but not enough to explain their own unhappiness in ways that transcend their own self-obsessions.

The light at the end of the tunnel is the Albanese highspeed train.  It probably has ‘free’ childcare on board, is powered by green energy and stops at all stations except those at the big end of town.

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16 Responses to Parallels

  1. H B Bear says:

    Always worth reading VDH.

  2. H B Bear says:

    Anyone leaving with a US (or Australian) tertiary education and $60,000 worth of debt has a right to be pissed.

  3. bemused says:

    Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) has, for a very long time, been advocating and providing assistance to those wanting to get into the trades, rather than university. He has been trying to make the trades a respectable and desirable career once more.

    It reminded me of the complaints about the latest budget, not enough money for women and the Yarts. In this age of women being not just equal, but better, that men in all respects, why these complaints about lack of funding for women? And why always the emphasis on the Yarts?

  4. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    many despair of ever repaying the huge sums spent to collect noncompetitive degrees

    This is an interesting issue. The traditional reason for these kids coughing up such enormous fees is the alumni effect of having gone to places like Harvard or Dartmouth.

    But now the material they learn at such places has become so useless and vapid that even with a degree from a prestigious university they are still unemployable.

    The system has become so hopelessly vapidified that they increasingly can’t even get a decent education anywhere else either. There are some colleges who do teach useful stuff, but as you might expect they are denounced by the Left and anyone who goes to them becomes unemployable in a different way.

    The whole lefty higher education sector is tottering. It remains to be seen if the lockdowns will finally break the back of the camel.

  5. stackja says:

    In college, they were not warned about the dangers of statism and collectivism, nor given the skills to look at the world empirically.

    …Wilfully blind, and obstinately deaf, who will neither see nor hear the word,..

  6. H B Bear says:

    Bruce – the traditional uplift in income from a degree was always illusory. At best it served as a crude filter for employability and in limited cases a strict legal prohibition on entry. Now everybody has a bachelors degree it no longer is capable of fulfilling that function. Sandstone unis are torn between debasing standards chasing Asian students and fees. Competition for entry has resulted in ATAR entry scores now serving as a proxy – the unis add nothing.

  7. stackja says:

    ‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. ‘ The quote is most likely due to writer and philosopher George Santayana, and in its original form it read, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” … According to Santayana’s philosophy, history repeats

  8. FelixKruell says:

    many despair of ever repaying the huge sums spent to collect noncompetitive degrees.

    We have a slightly different issue. We hide from students the true cost of their degrees. They see (and pay) only a portion of this cost, through HELP. Meaning the cost/benefit analysis they should be applying to their degrees is skewed. $25k for that gender studies degree seems a risk worth taking, and it will be a fun 3 years. Even if it doesn’t lead to a better paying job later on.

    The new uni changes that just passed try to fix this a little, but don’t do nearly enough.

  9. nb says:

    ‘unable to afford a home’
    During the 1950s being able to afford a home meant to be able to join with a group of people who built homes for each other, or buying a kit and assembling it, or making your own cement blocks and assembling them. What you ended up with is a shell. That was when you owned your own home. It was on the fringe of suburbia, quite likely on an unpaved road, with an unsewered toilet. Out of settled areas electricity might not have got there yet. Kero fridge, kero light, kero heat. After you ‘owned your own home’ it needed completing on the inside and furnishing, with these processes sometimes taking years.
    Now?

  10. Pyrmonter says:

    Where is the failure? Is it the success of the Left in saying, more or less, what the Left has always said?

    Or is it on the ‘Right’, where the orthodoxies of the 1980s and 1990s, even 2000s – the Reason / Cato / AEI conventional wisdom that:
    – markets work;
    – the rule of law is important (and different to ‘law and order’, or simply ‘order’ and the ability of the state to assert itself); and that
    – over time freedom in market exchanges, within and across borders, between people of all shapes, sizes, religious affiliations, sexes and geners, provides the only sure foundation for prosperity and the capacity therewith for human flourishing

    First it was affronted by ‘compassionate conservatism’ – the notion that the state could act in loco parentis; then the politicisation of SSM by Rove; then the ever cheaper populism, first of Sarah Palin and then the Great Orange Man – whose politics, so far as they can be said to be coherent, resemble more the left populism of Gephardt of the 70s/80s than traditional, open, accepting, liberal-conservatism?

    When all the problems of the world are being blamed on ‘the other’ – the foreigner, the ‘elites’, the queers, the atheists – is it any wonder the young begin to wonder whether ‘the other’ isn’t the market economy?

  11. Pyrmonter says:

    @ HBB

    I disagree. VDH has a romantic idea of Trumpism’s coherence not dissimilar to that of those who succumb to the Kennedy mystique.

    Of his Hoover colleagues, the much more rewarding are Richard Epstein and John Cochrane, with honourable mentions to Miskin, Hassett and John Taylor. And Scott Sumner and Tyler Cowan at Mercatus.

  12. Up TheWorkers! says:

    I thought that most people with Social Sciences Degrees worked off the debt with a mandatory period of penal servitude at their local Macca’s, KFC, Domino’s, 7/11’s or Hungry Jacks franchise.

    Those with higher-level Law degrees go on to become fine barristas at the same establishments.

  13. nb says:

    @Pyrmonter
    Thank you.
    John Cochrane here: https://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/
    Richard Epstein here: https://www.hoover.org/profiles/richard-epstein;
    . frequently here: https://audioboom.com/channel/johnbatchelor
    Cochrane blog and Batchelor audio have RSS feeds. 🙂

  14. Ian Loudon says:

    Having just completed my master of Business Management at Swinburne as a very senior aged student (with a couple of the subjects offloaded to Unisa and Curtin), even the management subjects like Financial Accounting have extraordinary amounts of the feel good & socialist politics stuff included (sustainability, climate change) – I found the Universities extremely myopic, most lecturers put very little effort into their subjects, quite disappointing considering I have paid so much. All Universities should be self-sustaining, the salaries those idiots are paid, incredibly high for what they produce!

  15. Pyrmonter says:

    @ nb

    Batchelor is good. Would be better with more Tamny/Pethoukoukas, Mona Charon, O’Grady and John Taylor and less Tollerson/Gorka/Aaron Klein

  16. PB says:

    “Today’s college graduate may feel that while his education has led to few marketable skills, it has at least taught him the innate inequalities of American capitalism which, in his eyes, explain better than his poor choices why he is degreed but otherwise poor and in debt. College-educated Americans collectively owe an estimated $1.5 trillion in unpaid student loans, and”

    Should that not read “her” and “she” (possibly “Xe)?

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