Once upon a time, a college education served one of two major purposes:

  1. To obtain a “liberal arts” degree, which rounded out a student’s education by exposing him to classic literature, art, music, political ideologies, history, and other useful and worthy subjects.
  2. To train a student in a specialized field such as medicine, law, engineering, or other focused discipline.

In both cases, students generally took their studies seriously. Oh sure, there were the oddball types who cut loose and spent their college years in parentally-supported alcoholic stupors, but they were the exception, not the norm. Not only was college too expensive to waste, but attending higher education was considered a privilege, not a right.

These days – if the news is anything to go by – the serious students are in the minority. Most young people, it appears, suck down massive “free” government loans and attend college to become activists. Last year, we learned students were annoyed that their classes, homework and studies interfered with their activism.

“There are people breaking down, dropping out of classes and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” complained one student, adding: “My grades dropped dramatically. My health completely changed. I lost weight. I’m on antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills right now. (Counseling and Psychological Services) counselors called me. I had deans calling me to make sure I was OK.”

My my, what a healthy and vigorous atmosphere. We have to ask, is college really worth it?

It’s no longer enough to question whether college is worth it economically. The tens of thousands of students who are now enslaved by lifelong debt for their Women’s Studies or Gender Studies degrees are testimony enough.

But now it’s important – critical – also to ask whether college is worth the risk of indoctrinating young people with eerie concentration-camp-style brainwashing. Students are now expected to think, act, agitate, vote and report micro-aggressions in lockstep with the progressive agenda, and woe betide anyone who steps out of line.

Rather than preparing students to face harsh real-world challenges, colleges are teaching students to curl into fetal positions when triggered by, well, everything. They offer safe spaces full of “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and videos of frolicking puppies.” (How much are you paying for this?)

Colleges train students to think unrealistically, including the cost of attending their hallowed halls. Apparently, student loans are nothing more than play money. “Owing to a serious misconception,” noted a recent article, “almost half of college students recently polled believe they won’t be saddled with student loans soon after graduation. … This belief is hardly justified, given the limited circumstances in which these loans can actually be forgiven.”

Nate Matherson, co-founder of an organization called LendEDU, added, “The fact that many students do not understand this means that they may be significantly underestimating the cost of financing a college education.”

But far more dramatic than crippling debt is the life-long brainwashing these young people receive. Increasingly, formal education has come to mean conformity to the left’s narrative, and college campuses are becoming places of mind control rather than institutions of higher learning. Recent examples include:

  • St. John’s College in Santa Fe is holding seminars on “the depravity of whiteness” and “the brutality of masculinity.”
  • Students at University of Michigan are demanding permanent places where no whites are allowed so students can organize and do social justice work.
  • Students at Elizabethtown College are wearing white pins in the shape of puzzle pieces to remind them of their white privilege.
  • Following the Berkeley riots protesting Milo Yiannopoulos, the campus student-run paper ran editorials justifying the violence, which basically stated words (from Yiannopoulos’ talk) are more dangerous than anarchy, and rioting is perfectly acceptable when exposed to different opinions.
  • And, of course, we have a Columbia professor who is conveniently blaming student suicides on – wait for it – Trump’s election.

“In all of human history, perhaps no other person has ever been as privileged, coddled and appeased as the modern American university student,” notes this article. “And yet from coast to coast, campus to campus, paroxysms of rage and hysteria, culminating in violence, are now the new normal. ‘The hysteria level is rising, that’s not my imagination,’ marveled Tucker Carlson on his Fox News Channel show. ‘I went to college at one point; it wasn’t like this. What’s changed?'”

The answer seems to be “a whole new form of morality” now endemic on campuses. Students are being taught professional victimhood (I wonder if they can declare this as a major?) and identity politics. Liberals like to think they’re enlightened, free, intelligent, open-minded and magnanimous, but clearly the opposite is true (as Yiannopoulos can attest).

College is no longer a place where students learn to be independent thinkers, but instead learn to march in lockstep with the fascist left. That’s the only “education” the progressives recognize as worthwhile. These are people for whom “snowflake” is a compliment and a career goal, and who genuinely think they’ll succeed outside the ivy walls of their temporary abode since, after all, everyone loves snowflakes because of their, um, diversity or something.

But things may be shifting. Students are objecting to the “Stepford” requirements. Over Christmas, for example, Tennessee students fought back after being told to take down Christmas decorations. And after a Princeton freshman was forced to attend a mandatory orientation where she was instructed to “stand up if you identify as Caucasian,” she penned an editorial calling the campus dysfunctional, dystopian and oppressive. As the College Fix noted, “This doesn’t sound like a university – more like a re-education camp.”

And now mandatory diversity training is backfiring. People are no longer willing to shell out the big bucks for a laughable “education.” There are two possible reasons:

1. Parents are rebelling. “I’m not putting us $100,000 into debt so you can spend four years breaking windows, only to get a job at Starbucks!”

2. Students themselves are rebelling. “I’m not putting myself $100,000 in debt unless I emerge from this university with a degree worth having, since I don’t want to work at Starbucks the rest of my life.”

Frankly, the sooner this rebellion flourishes, the better.

If you or your children wish to attend college, by all means do so. Just accept it comes with a risk and a price tag, both literal and figurative.

Learn how to achieve a simple lifestyle without “going green” or joining a monastery. Read Patrice Lewis’ helpful book, “The Simplicity Primer: 365 Ideas for Making Life more Livable”

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