Myth Matched

Every culture has myths. For instance, I grew up in a culture where I knew (not thought, mind you, knew) that if you took more than one aspirin at once, you’d die.

Proven?  You don’t need proven.  Everyone knew this.  Why would you test something that could kill you?

So my first week in the states, when I told my host mother I had a headache and she said “just take a couple of aspirin” I thought she was trying to kill me.  She had to show me the instructions on the bottle.

This trivial incident was my first exposure to the idea that “what everybody knows” can be wrong.

Progressive culture in the US, having been the dominant culture in media/entertainment and the news for the last 100 years at least (not the dominant culture in the country, necessarily, but the dominant culture in the classes that controlled these intellectual products and which were consolidated/made uniform by the “mass” aspects of communication since at least the end of the nineteenth century) has lacked challenges to its internal myths, which means it ended up with as many unfounded “everybody knows” as a small village in Portugal where aspirin was still a miracle drug and a little scary.

I normally don’t pay attention to what Bernie Sanders says, and pay Hillary only the attention necessary to roll my eyes at the things that come flying out of her mouth.  (Like, for instance, that Republicans don’t know that terrorists use guns to kill people.  Oh, lady, we know, that’s why we want guns of our own to defend ourselves, because the terrorists, you know, aren’t likely to obey gun regulations.)

But yesterday Mike Rowe went after Bernie Sanders.

At first I just read it wishing that popcorn didn’t have so many carbs.  Then I went back and read the tweet that inspired Mike’s take down. Here it is in its full glory:

“At the end of the day, providing a path to go to college is a helluva lot cheaper than putting people on a path to jail.”

Mike got seriously upset — as he should — at the notion that not going to college is the same as being condemned to becoming a criminal, and he went after it, as well as after the fact that absent a few professions (and the only reason my kids are in college is because they’re aiming for two of those professions) college really doesn’t help.  (Make an informal count in your head.  How many of your friends with degrees work at anything even vaguely related to their degree?  And don’t tell me “but they learned to learn” because this is another thing altogether and you might have confused cause and effect.)

But there’s more than that in that tweet, there are at least three warring myths, all of them so central to what liberalism once was that the current progressives aren’t even aware most of them have been disproven by the real world tm.  These are things “everyone knows” and why would you question something everyone knows?

The thing is outside their world, where no one gives a good goddamn about their myths, these things are disproven, and most people only don’t realize it because of the entertainment news industrial complex repeating them so often and acting like they’re proven.

The first and most basic myth, and one of which, once upon a time, I was an ardent proponent, is that education is transformative.  This goes along with the myth that man is infinitely perfectible.

The liberal — back when liberal meant classical liberal — as undertaken by our ancestors, hinged on the idea that education would transform everyone into individual thinkers and philosophers like themselves.  It would make them more moral too and improve them to be onto like angels.

They had a point of sorts, in their time.  Most of the people who weren’t learning weren’t learning because they were underfed, too busy making a living, sick with a million little illnesses that made them not function well intellectually.

I saw this in action in the village, which is why I was an ardent believer in this myth.  Giving people education truly uplifts them if the people giving the education also provide a meal and clothes.

The thing is, it’s one of those things that has huge gains up front.  “Teach everyone to read.”  And yes, can make for a more moral society, if the education has a moral component.  This is important as “education” is not a neutral value.  It can be adaptive or maladaptive to reality.

However just about every country in the world that isn’t in dire crisis or doesn’t belong to a religion that forbids secular education has free education — yes, even where I came from, though often the kids were taken out of fourth grade to work in factories.  This was strictly speaking illegal, but you could always find a doctor to sign a paper saying your kid was educable mentally retarded and couldn’t learn any more “abstract stuff” but could learn to be a factory worker) — at least through 9th grade and often through 12th.

I’ll pause here to point out that when I was little, someone with a 9th grade education was accorded the respect here given to people with Masters Degrees.  They were learned and performed work of the mind, and didn’t dirty their hands.  This I’d guess is true for most of history.  The level of a 9th degree education allows you enough to explore and learn just about everything that doesn’t require hands on training or specialized tutoring only administrated by professionals.  (I’ll not specify which trades because it varies per learner.  I can’t learn languages outside a classroom, at least a virtual one.  I also have trouble with art by myself.  I’d guess there’s the same problem with most things requiring labs to learn.)

So, are people made more moral?  Snort giggle.  Hardly.  The causes for this are complex and a lot of it has to do with how wealthy our society is.  Wealthy people have always had more time to get funny on morality.  Other parts include a morally neutral or worse education (when the purpose of education is to deconstruct the culture that made more people wealthy and healthy than any other culture in history, while praising cultures that mutilate women, kill gays and enslave children, it is worse.)

Are people individual little philosopher kings, for all these years of education thrown at them?

I read something in a book I can no longer remember the title of, when I was researching Shakespeare.  The number of people who are fluent enough readers to read for pleasure in our day is the same as in Shakespeare’s day.  When they didn’t have free education, much less 12 years of it.

The idea that if you gave everyone enough food and time and free schooling they’d all become erudite and thinkers can be disproved by a stroll through your local Welfare hub.  Go on, I dare you, go down and start a little discussion on Kantian philosophy.

But it’s an idea that remains a myth on the left which has lost all other classical liberal ideals (like, you know, individual freedom) but holds fast onto this idea that education will somehow make a progressive out of everyone.  (Patently ridiculous as they’ve been indoctrinating several generations now, and it still won’t take the way they want.  That cold slap of reality counteracts it.  Which is why they advocate more cowbell.)

The other myth in that statement — and the only way to make sense out of that linkage between education and prison — is actually several linked myths:

1- that people turn to crime when they’re poor  (an insult to every poor but honest person ever.)

2- that without a college education you’ll be poor (Mike Rowe ably disposed of this one in the linked article.)

3- that if the government won’t pay for something it’s unobtainable because there is no private charity and also people can’t lift themselves up by their bootstraps.

All of these are nonsense.  Sometimes I think people like Bernie Sanders watch Les Miserables (a piece of propaganda even when it was written) and say “it’s true, it’s all true” and then see the world through that lens ever since.

Being poor doesn’t lead to crime.  Wealthy people can and do commit crimes, not all of them white collar (in one of the stunning contradictions that would make their heads explode if they paused and thought about it, progressives also assume that all rich people are criminals, since economics is a fixed pie (giggle-snort) and to have more you have taken “more than your fair share.)

Lack of a college education doesn’t make you poor.  I’ve yet to meet a poor, competent plumber. And I sometimes regret I didn’t learn more carpentry from grandad, instead of going to college.  We knew someone who built cabinets by grandad’s method (think all manual tools) in reproduction of colonial furniture.  One of those cabinets which he could build in 3 months, sold for what my husband was making at the time, as a computer programmer. I’m fairly sure anyone who knows one of those trades really well is raking it in.  We’ve become a nation of do-it-yourselvers not because we enjoy it, or want to save money but because finding a competent tradesmen takes longer than just doing the best you can.  (Been there, done that, have spackle on my t-shirt.)

People have managed to be educated beyond their relatives and parents without any government intervention (in fact until government stuck its nose and quotas in, there were a lot of merit scholarships.  My husband did his college with them and a part-time job.)

Once you realize those myths ARE myths, Bernie’s prescription to end crime makes about as much sense as saying something like “Hit yourselves on the head with rubber mallets, increase the production of wheat.”

In fact, someone came trolling a share of this post trying desperately to keep the two things linked by yelling that it was a shame we spent more on jails than education.

Again, with the what?  Nothing our government does makes much sense, but this makes as much sense as “Abolish the helium reserve. Subsidize canneries.”

What we’ve found since the classical liberal times when we thought education would uplift everyone is that education and proper nutrition and proper civic instruction does uplift some people.  Yeah, there are a percentage of people out there who could/would do much better with a little help.  I don’t know about you, but I make it a point, on my own, to identify such people and such situations and intervene and help when I can.

But you can lead a student to school; you can imprison him/her in it for 8 hours a day for 12 years: what you can’t do is make them learn.

The same person who was whining about that horrible discrepancy between jail spending and education spending said that you know, most criminals stop learning in grade school.  I think he meant they dropped out.  This is probably true, although I’d bet the reverse, that if you dropped out of grade school you’re likely to be a criminal isn’t true.  It’s also insulting to claim so.  For this he advised more cowbell… er I mean more free education.

The sad fact is that we’ve continuously not only dumbed down education, but tried to make it “fun” (listen, if you’re learning a language, there’s no way to make it fun.  To be fluent, you need to start by memorizing vocabulary and studying grammatical structures.  Neither of those is fun.  Useful. Needed.  Not fun.) to the point that a High School diploma means nothing, which is why the new push to put everyone to college, as if more of the same will fix the problems.

There are people who don’t learn because they have no interest in learning.  Some of them might be very good at things — engines. Carpentry — that would baffle phds who are not put together that way.  There are people who don’t learn because our educational system, barring active teaching at home after class, is put together NOT to teach but to keep the masses from rebelling in their pseudo-scholastic prisons.

Lack of book learning doesn’t make anyone a criminal.  It doesn’t make them poor either.  I think my dad’s dad had a third grade (might be fourth) education.  Like younger son when he was younger, he had problems with verbal expression, and issues writing a legible hand.  In those days this meant “stupid” or at least book stupid, so his caring parents apprenticed him as a carpenter.  He supported his family in (for the village — grin) a more than middle class lifestyle, never that I know so much as stole a stamp, and raised sons and daughter who did better than him, and grandchildren who — weirdly — all have college educations, almost all of them (except me) in useful fields that actually make things or cure people.

The left is so wrapped up in their myths that they don’t understand “subsidize more education.  You’ll need fewer prisons” makes about as much sense as “eat more fiber. Control garden pests.” Worse, they legislate based on these myths, without the slightest qualm.  And then are shocked and posit bizarre theories (the GOP is holding back solar energy! The oil lobby! Eleventy!) for why it didn’t work.

And this is why our monoculture of progressivism hurts every field in which it is in fact a monoculture: education, the arts, entertainment, politics.

This is why diversity of thought is important. And why the progressives’ crazy attempts to shut down opinions they don’t agree with are … well… crazy.

In the safe space everyone believes as you do.  And that’s the problem.  Human beings aren’t built to be safe.

It is in the rubbing of thought against thought, in the contest of vision against vision that the truly ludicrous is eliminated and that, at least, we avoid the worst errors.

It is in not being locked up in a tiny intellectual village that real progress is made.  Not the “progressive” of progressives, which fills mass graves with those humans who weren’t infinitely perfectible, but the progress that fills bellies, raises humans above poverty and makes it possible to aspire to the stars.

Real progress comes from strife and work.

Which is why they’re acting more and more like isolated, illiterate villagers in a land where myth is more important than evidence.

And why in the end we win, they lose.

 

 

 

264 responses to “Myth Matched

  1. I see this myth in action with No.2 son. He’s a junior in high school, and wants to be a blacksmith and has gone out and gotten apprenticed to a smith; but the teachers at his school keep pestering him about college plans even though they know he wants to be a smith and has gotten an apprenticeship.

    (His boss has even given him an old propane powered forge and a new anvil for Christmas.)

  2. As our microelectronics professor once told us, “if you think intelligence and education bring nobility, remember William Shockley.”

  3. If anyone has doubts about the real purpose of the American education system, he should read John Taylor Gatto’s “Underground History of American Education”. (It used to be freely available online, not so sure now). It’s eye-opening. I read it and all the things that didn’t make sense to me about the system (because I was homeschooled and therefore an outsider and could see how bizarre certain aspects were) made a lot more sense. The government school system in this country works exactly as it is designed, producing factory-and-low-skilled-industry drones. Of course we don’t really have many of those jobs any more…

    • The Progressive view in a nutshell. The school system is designed to produce factory and low-skilled drones, and therefore, they are pushing everybody to go to college to avoid being low-skilled workers. While at the same time, trying to dumb down college for everybody because hitting the poor kids with knowledge at the level they should be at is HARD and results it hurt feelings.

      • The problem I’m having with this is that from long term experience and lots of reading from primary sources that I’ve been able to get my hands on, dumb drones are NOT what companies really wanted. The problem is with dumb drones is that you can’t adapt to new technologies and techniques and this was well known back in the 19th Century.

    • It’s one of those things the school system doesn’t really advertise. Too often the schooling is targeted at factories where you have one job. Hence the Bell and sit down, shut up mentality. While it is a plus to understand punctuality it doesn’t help with the randomness of the real world.

    • Here it is:
      https://archive.org/details/TheUndergroundHistoryOfAmericanEducation_758
      As I’m reading through it, the book is scaring the hell out of me. And it explains SO much.

      • Thanks for the link! I’m going to bookmark it as I keep recommending it to people. It was seriously eye-opening in a “why do they keep doing these things when none of it works, oh wait, it’s working perfectly” kind of way.

    • Just downloaded a pdf looks interesting.

  4. Pingback: DYSPEPSIA GENERATION » Blog Archive » Myth Matched

  5. As far as the myths that “everyone believes” go, I got an interesting one at a scientific conference a couple of years. There was a gene that “everyone knew” was a major player in breast cancer, until one day, some young researcher got curious at the state of the emperor’s clothes, and decided to figure out how it was that everyone knew that this gene was related to breast cancer. She started looking through the papers, tracing back their citations, and finally she found that they all led back to four papers. All four of these papers came from the same authors, and they used overlapping experimental data, so they weren’t actually independent studies. Moreover, two of the papers claimed ambiguous results on that particular gene.

    So yeah. Even scientist have the problem of “knowing something that just isn’t so” and not even realizing that knowledge needs to be tested.

    • Is this regarding brca 2? Mind if I ask for link

      • I’ve been thinking about it, but I just can’t remember the specific gene. Since I don’t work with those particular genes, I didn’t remember too many of the specifics, just the general takeaway of the talk of “Beware, your data may not be as trustworthy as you think.” It wasn’t BRCA2 or any of the big ones; I would have remembered that.

        • Ah. OK. I’m well aware of brca 2 but that was when I was in grade school. Was wondering if that had changed in last decade and half

    • Something similar applies to the supposed 98.6 degree oral body temperature. It turns out it originated with a guess by an orderly a long time ago, and rapidly became common ‘knowledge’.

      • If I remember the history of the Fahrenheit scale correctly, it was actually designed for body temperature to be 100°F. But there are various stories to that. But I still like Fahrenheit. 0°F, real cold, 100°F, kind of warm (I work in a boiler house…).

        In the others- 0°C, cold, 100°C-dead. 0°K or 0°R-dead, 100°K or °R- dead. Fahrenheit is scaled towards ease of understanding everyday temperatures.

        • 100 degrees Fahrenheit is (supposedly) the temperature of Bull blood. At least, that’s what they taught us back in the 70’s in physics.

          • okkkkkkay, so… um… ruminant occupation!

          • We were told that 100 F was supposed to be normal human body temp, but his test subject had a fever. Also that 0 F was supposed to be the freezing point of seawater. Never did investigate either of those claims, though.

            • Zero was explained as the lowest temp that he could get saturated saltwater, not merely seawater, to. One of the students who took Chemistry II the same time I had Chemistry I tested the zero point (In our school, Chem II was never more than 5 students, and they held their class in the same room at the same time as a Chem I class – it was essentially independent study, though the teacher did spend some time with them at the end of class time).

              • We were told it was crushed ice covered with salt– the coldest temp he could induce.

                Tried it in class, got roughly the right result. At least as close as 100 being body temp.

              • Which means, as a corollary, when it hits 0 degrees, it doesn’t matter if they salt the roads — the snow won’t melt.

                • True, but really, the effectiveness of rock salt takes a big dive when the temps get below 20. Calcium Chloride and a few others are effective to a somewhat lower temperature, but are rather more expensive, too.

    • This is why the cries that “The Science Is Settled” are like fingernails on a chalkboard to anybody who actually understands how Science works.

      The entire freaking HISTORY of Science is how people employed this tool, this process, to disprove science that had supposedly been settled. Newton’s theorems were LAWS until Einstein came along and unsettled them, and the understanding of the age of this planet was tossed in the dustbin by discovery of radioactive elements.

      Because our university awards higher degrees based upon “original” research, too little effort is spent challenging the accepted notions, handed down by teachers who learned it at their teachers’ knees. Just in terms of accuracy of measurement what once were determinative differences now represent rounding error.

      • Plus, the people who are going to be judging your “original research” are the people who created the accepted notions handed down before. Every student learns early on that you don’t rock the boat too hard if you want to get your papers through peer review.

        (And this isn’t just in “controversial” fields like Climate Science. Sometime I’ll tell you the story of how many genes are in the human genome or the charge on an electron.)

        • Ayup – an expert is merely somebody who is highly invested in the conventional wisdom.

          Just look at the arguments that stomach ulcers are caused by stress (vaguely valid in the sense that stress suppresses the immune system, but hardly causal) or look at how long we taught about Junk DNA.

      • It does not, in the conventional phrase, accept the conclusions of science, for the simple reason that science has not concluded. To conclude is to shut up; and the man of science is not at all likely to shut up. ― G.K. Chesterton,

  6. It’s not just Progressives who buy into myths. We’ve got an utter crap sandwich of an omnibus budget bill in no small part because everyone knows that government shutdowns hurt the GOP, so the Democrats are free to lard funding bills with everything under the sun while the Republicans must grin and take it.

    After all, the 2013 shutdown led to the shellacing on 2014.

    • Yeah, but note the people promoting it are the progressive industrial-media complex.
      And yep, a lot of non-vileprogs have bought into the prison vs education bs. If repeated enough.

  7. that people turn to crime when they’re poor (an insult to every poor but honest person ever.)

    The myth that won’t die. Aristotle debunked this one.

    “Men do not become tyrants in order that they may not suffer cold.”

    • The problem here is that it comes down to the fact that they believe man to be inherently good and if they are not then there must be a “root” cause for them not being good.

      • And we all know what that “root” cause for men not being good is.

        This is why all women are good and all men bad.

        • The Other Sean

          I guess that means I’d rather be a bad man than a good man (or a Good Man). The price of being good is too high. 🙂

    • Aristotle is a dead white male. We don’t teach him anymore; what could he have understood about the nature of Man?

  8. “I think people like Bernie Sanders watch Les Miserables (a piece of propaganda even when it was written)”

    The thing about the musical at least of Les Miz is that while I know that no one involved likely intended this, I’ve always seen it as having a very conservative message.

    Think about it. We have well-meaning but ultimately ignorant revolutionary college students who decide to improve life for the poor with a grand and stupid gesture. They get a lot of people killed and do precisely nothing to help those for whom they were supposedly fighting.

    Meanwhile, there are two people in the play who actually do make a difference in the lives of the poor. The first is the bishop who gives Valjean the silver that lets him start a new life. The second is “Monsieur Madeline” whose factory provides jobs for people and vastly improves the lives of those who work there.

    So in short:

    Religious people engaging in private charity + businessmen engaging in capitalism >>> self-righteous revolutionaries.

    • Catticus Finch

      The book was also more nuanced and more complex. It had a definite liberal philosophy, but I think its great strength was its investigation of grace and mercy and conscience. It provoked real thought and discourse – things which are unfortunately lacking in many modern liberal tracts.

      • Yes. I read the book, then saw the musical when it came out. Learned a lot about why the French legal systems make me tip my head to the side like a confused dog. Mercy is indeed one of the great themes in the book, not so much in the films and musical.

      • The liberal philosophy infusing that work is not the same philosophy infusing modern Liberalism. Something toxic has been added over the intervening years.

    • Conservative AND Christian. I wonder if they ever noticed…or just hoped we wouldn’t. Much in the vein of Josh Whedon’s supposed annoyance when he realized he’d made a “right wing” movie in Serenity.

    • For that matter, I remember from the book the contrast between the poor student (I can’t remember his name, even though he was a central character) who made a small amount of money translating things, and lived frugally, but was otherwise comfortable, to his neighbors who (again, I can’t remember his name, but he’s the central figure of the “Master of the House”) lives is squalor, and who uses an injury to try to solicit even more sympathy as he begs money. One type of poverty was fine, the other…not so much…

      Furthermore, Jean Valjean himself was a convict who turned his life around and, as a successful capitalist, helped as many people as he could.

      So, yeah, I remember strong elements of conservatism from the book…

  9. c4c

  10. Christopher M. Chupik

    Here’s one that drives me around the bend: “Individualism is fascism!” But I suppose it makes sense to people who believe that collectivism and increased government magically create “freedom”. Somehow.

    • The freedom they crave is the freedom of babies who do not have to make their own decisions. They don’t understand liberty.

      • It’s Rousseau’s freedom to obey the dictates (or diktats) of the General Will. Another of his grand bad ideas.

        • The Other Sean

          Reading “On Social Contracts” after reading a book on the French Revolution helps to explain so much. Rousseau had some good thoughts in there, but his General Will needed to be restrained. Scruples and principles should not be thrown aside at the whim of a mob. Natural rights, ala Locke, should be respected.

      • They want “freedom from” not “freedom to”.

  11. A friend of mine has a Business Administration Degree and is making a comfortable living as a House painter.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      And yet I, with no degree, am now a Data Analyst (except that I don’t think this company understands the term – all I do is fetch data and build some simple reports. No actual “Data Analysis” going on here.

      • I am very well educated. I’ve dropped out of college twice.
        I learned real skills in the Army, and they paid me for my time. Now that I’m out, I make a comfortable living for me and my family, using some of the skills I learned in the service.

        My son intends to go to trade school during high school, then join the Army to get practical experience and build up a bank account. He’s got a plan, and is looking to the future.

        You know, it’s kind of funny. My kids’ favorite game for years has been The Game of Life ™. My son always went to work immediately, skipping college. My daughter always went to college. Now that real life is approaching, they’re continuing the same strategies they played in the game.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Oh, I spent three years in college, and am probably better educated than most who have at least a Bachelor’s degree, but I never got mine.

      • Don’t underestimate the difference between your stuff and what they would be capable of without you – I am in a similar position, writing SQL queries and building reporting and analysis that isn’t really very complex, definitely isn’t elegant, and seldom in my eyes rises to the level of insightful, yet when I look at some of the stuff clients do on their own I understand that this simple stuff is parsecs beyond what they can manage themselves.

        And I get the same vibe from clients – I do something I think is simple, and they start to dig out the pitchforks and torches and set up the stuff to see if I float.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Heh. I’m familiar with the difference between what I am able to do and what a lot of the people I produce things for consider good. I have many times thrown out something that just barely passed my sniff test and they have fawned over it. I was just quibbling about the definition of the term. I’d LIKE to get into real analysis, and be able to tell them things about their ad placements and effectiveness that they would have never guessed (say, if it turns out that perfume ads are more effective in the Sports section than in wherever else they may end up), so they could use that information in selling their ad space, but don’t get the chance.

        • A friend of mine, in one of her first jobs out of college, was asked to take the numbers in one Excel column and subtract them from the numbers in another, making a third column of the results. Her boss believed that the only way to do this was to use a calculator to subtract each pair of numbers, then manually type in the result.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Ow. that made my eyes squich up so hard, my eyebrows hurt.

            • I know — a college graduate should have been able to do that math in her head.

              OTOH, I did know a number of students in my Accounting labs who essentially did that rather than build a spreadsheet to calculate it.

              • Reality Observer

                Way back in the dark ages (when I think Lotus 1-2-3 was something like $200? More than I could afford, anyway) – I was so tempted to just put together a simple Basic program on my Trash-80 to do my homework.

                Decided not to – I still had to be able to do the whole thing on the “T” accounts for tests…

                I did take a fund accounting course many years later, and did everything (including the take-home final) on Excel. Unfortunately… I was working about 70 hours a week then, and exactly reversed the signs on every last part of it. Sigh.

                The thing that really ticked me off, though, was that the instructor gave me an “A” on the final, because I was “inventive” in using a spreadsheet. Community college, the woman worked for County government, what can I tell you…

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Somewhat OT: There are people who think freedom of religion means that the constitution prevents us from exterminating all the foreign religions. We came very close to wiping out the Japanese during WWII. If we had done so, we would have ended up also extinguishing Shinto. Perfectly legal. Without even doing the whole ‘period Shinto was a political philosophy disguised as a religion’ thing.

              I’m no great fan of the historic Spaniard, but they did a service to mankind when they shut down the Aztec Triple Alliance and suppressed that faith.

          • …was he terribly impressed when she automated the spreadsheet in five minutes?

          • …..

            Ouch.

    • I took my daughter to the recent Mythbusters appearance in Denver, and one of the things that came out in Adam Savage’s Q&A session was that Jamie had a degree in Russian literature with a minor in library science, and Adam was a high school graduate.

      • To my knowledge, Jamie’s degree has had no effect on his careers as a divemaster, boat captain and special effect factory owner, along with a bunch of things that Jamie or Adam have mentioned over the years. Adam has always been sort of a flake, which even he will admit.

        • Wasn’t claiming that it had, just pointing out that they were successes without what would be considered “appropriate” educational backgrounds for what they do, given how much technical knowledge some of the things I’ve seen on their show involve.

          I once helped make the decision to hire as a computer programmer someone who had a degree in French, and whose prior work experience involved being a business translator for that language.

          • I think that it is sort of funny that you have these two guys with no technical education that do all that highly innovative stuff very well for the most part. There are a couple of things that made me cringe on the show and more than a few things that I saw that, had things gone differently could have caused death and injury, but by and large they did things very well.

            • True. If we’d been sitting close enough to the stage to have a chance at being called on, I’d have loved to ask a followup question about how much of their research they do themselves, versus how much they bring in experts for.

          • Oh, h*ll, not now, but I would have made a pretty good research analyzer/collator right after I finished working as a technical translator for a couple of years.

  12. The Other Sean

    The idea that if you gave everyone enough food and time and free schooling they’d all become erudite and thinkers can be disproved by a stroll through your local Welfare hub. Go on, I dare you, go down and start a little discussion on Kantian philosophy.

    I Kant think anybody tyring this will meet with much success.

  13. Back in 1969 I was a senior in high school. I had already given up on education stemming from any number of events in years prior, but due to my test scores found myself a National Merit finalist and pre-approved for enrollment at ISU. Had a school councilor trap me in her office and lecture me at length on how I owed it to society to spend the next four years earning a liberal arts degree at which point I could then consider going on to engineering or better yet a real profession. You see, all my teachers and councilors knew my IQ, though they never shared that information with either me or my parents. I just thought I was odd and different.
    Two days after graduation I signed on at the local factory and did not enter a classroom for another twelve years.

    • Liberal arts degree then Engineering? That reminds me of my High School councillor telling me in order to get an engineering degree I needed to take 4 years of shop.

      • Actually, in Germany, and some engineering colleges in the US, engineering students, especially mechanical, have to apprentice at a machine shop for a couple of years.

        • They don’t have to do that where son goes to school, but they have hours in the shop towards the degree. He likes machine shops. Has been hanging around them since he was 14. His secondary dream is to be able to start a rapid fabrication service for specialty parts, particularly for vintage cars. I suspect somewhere, not expressed is the desire to restore a vintage Cadillac (he has a stupid love for them.)

          • vintage caddies are pretty!

          • Somewhere back in the mists of time we must be related.
            Youngest boy, who turned 41 this year, called the other day thrilled because they had just gotten the rebuilt motor back in the ’65 Caddy he is restoring and he got to drive it a few blocks.
            As for that fab shop idea, a few CNC driven machine tools, large format plastic and sintered metal 3D printers, and the skill to properly use them, all for about the price of a small house, and you’re in business.
            Of course such a shop would come under close scrutiny from the authorities as such a facility could quite easily turn out large numbers of automatic weapons.

          • “Stupid Love” – well yeah, tell him he should have a love of old Corvettes. 🙂 And I echo what Uncle Lar says below – a could of the right tools and he could make spare parts for almost ANYTHING. The biggest problem is getting the right information in digital format to tell the 3D printer what to make (plastic/metal/etc). I have a mental image of a string of allied shops – one per large area – that make all sorts of parts for anything and share there digital files. Once you make it once – the machines can duplicate it.

            Now I just need time to make my own 3D printer and start playing with it – but I have stuff to do on my house as well. 😦

            -John

            • Try a love of vintage British sports cars for stupid loves.

              • My first car was a 1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500.

                There are days when I think getting rid of that car was one of my biggest mistakes, reflecting on those thoughts occasionally makes me wonder if I’m a closet masochist.

      • I think that would be a great idea, and I’d loved it if that was the case, however, the councillor deleted Math and many other college prep courses. My Dad went to a nearby college and asked if the courses that were set out would allow me to be admitted. The college told him that there would be no way I could be admitted.

  14. I’d really love to see a Relative Risk assessment of criminality and higher ed, preferably broken down by degree (Electrical Engineering vs. Victim Studies) and type of crime.

    I have a feeling it wouldn’t show what the Bern thinks it would.

  15. And HR departments, staffed entirely by people with degrees, normally SJWs, are constantly trying to lower classifications, and therefore wages, of skilled labor. Why? Well, we don’t have degrees, so anyone can do our job. The minor detail that HR jobs typically have hundreds of applicants, and can be filled overnight, while it can take months to fill a skilled labor job, and actually qualified candidates are somewhat scare, seems to escape them. That and people who have to work 24/7/365 jobs want to be compensated for having work the off hours seems to throw them. Perhaps if HR offices were staffed from 9 PM to 5 AM they’d figure that one out…

    Even the great and evil Wal-Mart has figured out the odd hours thing. Their night shits make more then day shifts, but because the differential isn’t all that big, have difficulty filling the night shifts with quality workers. And in some areas, the supercenters aren’t 24 hours because the local prevailing wage is such that they can’t staff an overnight crew with a low enough wage to charge Wal-Mart prices and make a profit.

  16. You do save people, Sarah. You give me a place to escape the insanity and find my temper, if only in my mind, if only for a while. People like you bring the cure for puppy-related sadness!

  17. Pardon my tangent.
    Does anyone have a good website or book they recommend for dog training? My puppy has me at wits’ end.

    • The Other Sean

      Yet another person complaining about Puppies. 😦

      (Just kidding. Alas, I have no puppy-training experience or books to recommend.)

      • Yeah but this is a literal puppy. And she isn’t sad, she’s rather exuberant.

        • You need to enroll that puppy in pre-K ASAP (they’ll take that exuberance right out) then strive your utmost to get him enrolled in a competitive high quality private school and thence to an elite college preparatory academy. After that, an elite Ivy League school, such as Harvard, ans possibly law school, after which the son of a bitch could run for president.

        • Check for a local obedience train class. A lot of vets sponsor them. And I’ve found the one smoked pig ear a day takes care of a lot of chewing problems.

          • My sister would get rawhide bones for her Akitas, although they wouldn’t last that long. They also got pork neck bones for treats. It might be too early for either of those.

        • PetsMart runs a decent basic obedience course. Didn’t cost that much, either.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      I’ve heard that Cesar Milan is actually very good, and “The Dog Whisperer” is not just hype:

      https://www.cesarsway.com/

    • I probably won’t need this for years, but I’ve wondered.

    • A long time ago, I gave copies of Paul Loeb’s Complete Book of Dog Training to a couple of friends. They both seemed to think it worked pretty well for them. I got to witness one training technique, which looked impressive to me: the puppy had wet the carpet, so they cleaned the spot with vinegar, forced the puppy to smell the new smell, and rubbed a drop of hot sauce on his gums as punishment. Five minutes later, the puppy was at the door, clamoring to go out.

      I doubt you’d want to use Naga Jolokia sauce, though.

      • “I doubt you’d want to use Naga Jolokia sauce, though.”

        That depends on the puppy. My avatar was utterly undeterred by Tobasco; indeed, she seemed to like it. Habanero was required.

        • I once read a library book about hot peppers which mentioned that in parts of the Yucatan, the people had to grow their habaneros (IIRC) in hanging pots to keep them safe from dogs and rats.

      • I’ve always been told that dogs have a very short-term ability to associate punishment with actions: unless you catch the dog in the act of peeing on the carpet, punishing him for it won’t be effective. I.e., if you punish him for it five minutes after the act, he’ll be completely confused about why you’re being so mean, and won’t be able to figure out that it’s because of the peeing on the carpet.

        Now, cleaning the spot with vinegar strikes me as taking longer than five minutes, so if that worked for your friends, maybe the conventional wisdom is wrong about time? Or maybe what they did was dump vinegar on the spot, then force him to smell it, then spend some time rubbing the vinegar into the carpet? (I.e., punish him quickly while he still remembers the association, then do the lengthy job later.) Do you happen to know?

        • My understanding was that you were supposed to shove the dog’s nose into the wet stain, then immediately take them outside for a few minutes. If he goes again while outside, give praise, then come back inside and clean it.

          Shoving the nose into the stain and immediately going outside causes the dog to associate the smell of his urine with being outside. Praise at going while outside reinforces the association of going while outside. It’s worked with all my dogs.

        • Well, it was about 1976 or 1977 when it occurred. As I recall, the puppy did it in front of us, so cleanup and vinegar dousing only took a couple of minutes.

    • No guarantees, but Simple Solutions’ “Come, Sit, Stay” and “Housetraining, plus Training Tips” look pretty good.

    • We’ve used this book to train 3 dogs in the last 20 years. Very good.

      http://www.amazon.com/SuperPuppy-Raise-Best-Youll-Ever/dp/1886056013

  18. Took notes as I read. There will be several comments. This is the shortest:

    .. our educational system, barring active teaching at home after class, is put together NOT to teach but to keep the masses from rebelling in their pseudo-scholastic prisons.

    It is excellent training for work on an assembly line or being cannon fodder, which is what the Prussians responsible for our pedagogy developed it to be. They were determined that the next Bonaparte would not walk so easily over them.

    • Reading “Underground History” the whole bell and class thing may actually have started with the Hindus and maintaining a caste system. Pushed forward by intellectuals who had NO clue what it really takes to be a soldier or a factory worker. Armies didn’t WANT cannon fodder for the most part and factories didn’t want drones. This whole thing is a legacy of Progressive aberration and WW1 thinking.

  19. Out of curiosity and an affinity for playing devil’s advocate, suppose one rephrased the myths (which I agree are myths as presented) as follows:

    1) Being poor does not lead to crime, but the kind of failure to socialize that produces truly recidivist and destructive/self-destructive criminal behaviour — rape, gang violence, drug dealing — has a measurable and non-coincidental correlation to growing up in poverty, such that poverty should be reduced wherever possible.

    2) Lacking a degree doesn’t guarantee poverty, but there is (or has been, historically) a measurable and non-coincidental correlation between educational and economic success, such that education should be maximized wherever possible.

    3) Lack of government support does not render success unobtainable, but its availability helps maximize the likelihood of that success for those who, for whatever reason, lack either self-sufficiency or access to private charity, and so should be maximized wherever possible.

    The parenthetical caveat I had to throw into #2, above, suggests that even these formulations may not now hold the water they were once supposed to. But I like to find whatever kernel of truth I can in opposing arguments just so that I can more effectively co-opt it for myself.

    • 1- Yes, but what is “poverty” — our poor are supported much better than the poor in the village (many of them hard working and honest.) So, what does poverty consist of? Making less than the people around you? Or a disordered existence with no real learning or socializing? If the last, show how warehousing the kids and giving them pretend grades helps. More, show how stoking their sense of envy by telling them everything everyone else has was somehow stolen from them (yes, this is what our schools do. I read my kids’ books. Africa is poor because Europeans took everything. Which is poppycock.) will help socialize them and keep them from crime. Show your work.
      2- Correlation is not causation. Arguably the housing crisis was caused by the belief that home ownership caused bourgeois virtues of thrift and application. This was supposed to happen via the mysterious elixir of “Self esteem.” It didn’t work. How is giving anyone a sheep skin for which they don’t have to pay or make any effort translate into the virtues NOW associated with a sheepskin which either your parents pay for, or you have to pay for. As an addition prove how in a society in which everyone has a sheepskin and a lot of them are pretend (truth in advertising, I had a “free” college education. All it took was being in the top half of one percent in my graduating class. Yeah, my degree meant a lot in that time and place. But if college becomes just another hoop it will be filled with the dispirited and disinterested) how does this effectively avoid poverty? Explain and show your work.
      3- Government is mostly good at wasting money. The percentage of money going to the poor is minimal. Worse, government hands the money with the understanding that you’re owed this, and that it was somehow taken from you. It’s owed to you just for existing. How does this lead to anything but four years of partying at the end of which you pick the sort of kind of degree the courses you didn’t flunk warrant (arguably what Breitbart did, but he might have been the exception that proved the rule.) How does this teach you anything that will keep you out of jail? Won’t the lack of success after your “hard work” and the sheepskin that was owed you rather push you towards at the very least the sort of petty criminal larceny the envious and mediocre engage in? (Note this is why government charity is far worse than church charity in results. They can’t even hint at moral behavior to prevent need.)

      • You can’t run a homeless shelter in America without providing amenities — deem necessary to be “fit for human habitation” — that would make kings and queens and emperors of three centuries ago gape in astonishment.

        How can anyone be poor in a country where the charity cases live better than royalty?

      • For 1 & 2 the question is whether the correlation is not just what you are calling out. School is rote memorization most of the time. Pretty much anyone can learn a skill of they apply themselves to it but you need a foundation. Ben Carson and our hostess were both poor (materially) but they had the drive to learn and succeed. Paris Hilton is rich but will never create or save. Libraries are cheap. Books are cheap, especially classics. Perhaps poverty and criminality are correlated because the desires for easy success and instant gratification lead to both if circumstances are disfavorable enough.

        • As for 3. Supply and demand apply to school as well. Enlarge demand and supply will either enlarge and potentially degrade or cost will increase. Plus you have govt playing favorites to get the youth to vote for them (the student loan rate arguments)

        • “Paris Hilton is rich but will never create or save.” That is a provably false trope that gets pulled out a lot. Like or hate her, she has used her silver spoon to vault herself to success. http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapid=27756141
          She gets a cut of each bottle of Paris Hilton Perfume.
          Paris Hilton DJ is in great demand- she draws crowds that spend money freely.
          Her book, Confessions of an Heiress, probably ghostwritten, was a NY Times best seller.
          She’s a paid model and celebrity spokesperson.
          And an actress. She didn’t appear in movies and television shows for free.

          Don’t know what her IQ or actual education is. But based on her business success to date, I’d trade the current POTUS in for her. She certainly couldn’t do a worse job. And the entertainment value would be higher.

          • I stand corrected. Just one I came up with off top of my head. But there are many wealthy that get material success only because of the parent connections, not from real achievement.

            • Like, for example, Monica Lewinsky’s ex-boyfriend’s wife’s daughter, who got her $600,000 job at NBC for- doing what? And now sits on a PAID position on the board of- The Clinton Foundation. Found 25 charities that Paris Hilton has done charity work for. That don’t carry her family name. Plus, little known, visits children’s hospitals in many of the places she goes. Not widely reported.

              • Trying to imagine what the kids tell their folks…. “Mom! Mom! A real live BARBIE came in!!!!”

                ….and now I want to see her and Dolly Parton do something. *grin* Dolly had a great line about how she didn’t have many dolls when she was a kid, but dressing herself up was like having a life-sized barbie doll.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        To add to Sarah’s points:

        1 – How much effect does “out of school” education affect the relationship between being poor and being a criminal? The poor, which are, by percentages, disproportionately minorities, are frequently told that they are being kept down by the white man, and they will never be anything but poor, and the message carries an implication that they might as well get theirs any way they can.

        2 – As Mike Rowe points out over and over again, there is more education than college. The push for everyone to be college educated has led to many areas having a severe shortage of skilled laborers in such fields as auto mechanics, plumbing, HVAC, general welding, etc. I’ve been contacting several such in the past couple of years, and they are all booked up 2-3 weeks out, and working overtime, too. And these are professions that make plenty of money.

        3 – OK, I don’t have anything different to add on this one, except maybe to add the reminder that not only does the Government tell you that you’re owed that money, but they take it ALL away if you start earning more than some comparatively small amount. And that the total that someone can receive on government assistance will dwarf anything that a person is likely to earn in any of their first 5 years of working, so the incentive is to stay on the dole, not try to actually succeed.

      • Re. Sarah’s reply to #1 – Africa is poor because looooong ago, someone p1ssed off Mapamundi, the Deity of Geography, who gave that continent about as bad of a hand as a continent can be dealt.

        Mapamundi is distantly related to ZooNo! the deity of dangerous animals, who is the patron of Australia.

      • Won’t the lack of success after your “hard work” and the sheepskin that was owed you rather push you towards at the very least the sort of petty criminal larceny the envious and mediocre engage in?

        Nyahhhh – how could teaching a sense of entitlement possibly lead to criminality?

        • That reminds me of something a friend said to me long ago. She worked in the prison system in PA, and said one of the biggest problems she saw in the prisoners was too much self-esteem. They were all sure they were owed something by society/life/existence, way beyond their value as perceived by outside observers. They were all very sure that nothing bad that happened to them was ever the consequence of their own actions, too. It was always something that was done to them by hostile outsiders.

          • Yes. Boosting self-esteem directly has negative impacts in just about every area. Including criminal activity. And one’s belief that criminals really have low self-esteem, facts being irrelevant.

            • This is demonstrated on this very page in the follow-up posting of Rowe’s handling of responding comments. His critics engage in substance-free name-calling, forced onto the attack by his fundamental undermining of their bestowed self-esteem. Because their self-esteem is tautologically founded — they are valuable because they have college degrees — they are maddened by any argument against the value of a college degree.

              Because Mike Rowe has self-esteem based upon achievement, he is not threatened by their attacks — they do not touch upon the core of his self-perception. Rowe’s accomplishments are substantial and undeniable, not subject to the estimation of the pampered poodle SJWs. Thus he is able to calmly and competently demolish their criticisms.

      • Won’t the lack of success after your “hard work” and the sheepskin that was owed you rather push you towards at the very least the sort of petty criminal larceny the envious and mediocre engage in?

        Tends to push more toward SJWs at best and terrorism at worst. The sense of entitlement demands the world be remade to justly reward them.

      • I’ve mentioned my youth spent partly in a hastily converted pole building with quirky (to put it politely) plumbing arrangements. I had one great advantage over many despite that: an actual functional family. And while others were, obviously, better off, I never once heard how anything was stolen from us (except for things we once possessed and were taken away without payment or consent – and even those were few and minor). And education – the real thing, not to be confused with mere schooling – was valued. I might not have grades or certificates for various things, but (too) often a diploma says “This person can put up with our X years of nonsense.” more than “This person knows this subject better than the average bear.”

    • In the same spirit.

      1) Being poor does not lead to crime, but the kind of failure to socialize that produces truly recidivist and destructive/self-destructive criminal behaviour — rape, gang violence, drug dealing — has a measurable and non-coincidental correlation to growing up in poverty, such that poverty should be reduced wherever possible.

      We also know that it has a very high correlation to being raise in a family where that is practice, and that it is a common story for families that do not practice it to actively work to get out of areas where it is practiced; that suggests that crime causes poverty, if only because anybody who has the means to leave, does.

      My own neighborhood has a below-average income, but we’re also a “community watch” area that thinks more highly of the police than of criminals, so there’s less exposure to crime and opportunities to be temped to it.

      • Criminals do not respect property rights; respect for property rights seems to be essential for economic advancement.

  20. Is this brca 2?

  21. I caught this on Facebook. It’s really pathetic how many of his zombies came to defend the 1% politico. The US education Establishment actively dislikes vocations and since the ed Establishment is very powerful in politics the government often does the same. And since they push so many into needless college degrees and forbid skills tests it makes someone perfectly suited with no debt but no degree less likely to be hired.

  22. .. don’t tell me ‘but they learned to learn’ because this is another thing altogether and you might have confused cause and effect.

    Leave us not mistake correlation for causation, either.

    I think a stronger argument can be made that colleges, with their political correctness, excruciatingly trained sensitivity, and ivory-towered isolation from reality are less institutions in which people “learn to learn” than they are agents of indoctrination (which would explain why tests have demonstrated people becoming increasingly ignorant while matriculating at college.)

    Shouldn’t you have “learned to learn” before you hit college? If you failed to that can only mean your preperatory schools did not do its jobs (it didn’t, but don’t lets open that can – it’s got worms in it.)

    Historically, colleges have been for people who didn’t require an education to ensure their ability to earn a living. Even doctors, lawyers and engineers tended to be trained through the apprentice system (it worked okay for some kid from Illinois named Lincoln), not colleges. Colleges were for the wealthy few who could afford to spend four years not earning their livings. Their purpose was to better prepare you to enjoy your wealth. This meant studying things like philosophy, art in all its myriad forms, and other subjects which prepared you to enjoy a life of wealth, privilege and civic virtue.

    Colleges were also focii of networking (the Ivy Leagues largely remain that), providing social connections that extended a person’s reach, something terribly important in a time when few people routinely travelled. College networks meant that a lawyer in Richmond, VA, had a contact in Boston, MA, who could be trusted to handle a writ or other legal procedure. They meant an inventer in Dayton, OH, had a place to stay when travelling to New York, NY or Chicago, IL in search of financial backing (indeed, several colleges mainitained “clubs” in cities where enough of their alumini resided, often offering overnight privileges for travelling graduates or local ones simply seeking a placve to sleep out from under the wife’s eye.)

    People lacking this type of connection were at a disadvantage, lacking a ready resource of acquaintances to introduce them into society in towns they visited. often they would tyap other networks, such as the Rotarians, Brotherhood of Elks or even the Young Men’s Christian Association.

    Proglodytes, demonstrating the type of magical thinking which applies to most of their efforts, confuse cause and effect, correlation and causation, and imagine that college is a fount of this social wealth rather than a means of capitalizing on it. If High School graduates earn more than those who haven’t, lower the standards so that everybody gets their diploma whether they’ve acquired those traits of discipline, diligence and application of knowledge which were previously what that diploma recognized. Now that such diplomas are little more than certificates of (often spotty) attendance, High School graduates no longer out earn their undiplomaed fellows, so we are repeating the experiment with college — and getting far worse results.

    • In 1862 the American Government subverted that a little with the creation of Land Grant Colleges that were supposed to train a generation of mechanics and farmers in the best practices of practical knowledge, as well as training a few people to be teachers. Thus State State vs. U of State: or U of TX vs. Texas Agricultural and Mechanical vs. Texas Technical College.

      • And military officers!

        Military Science is also a required component of the land grant colleges. (IIRC)

        • Useta was. Now, I couldn’t say

          • They still have ROTC, but TAMU made the Cadet Corps voluntary in 1969. A&M used to be the largest military school in the US, and still commissions more officers than all three service academies combined.

    • …than they are agents of indoctrination

      Or for the truly intelligent and devious, finishing academies for polishing the skills of infiltrating and surviving in hostile territories while avoiding discovery.

      So, kinda like spy school.

      Which personally has stood me in good stead during my career here behind enemy lines in Silicon Valley.

  23. .. when I was little, someone with a 9th grade education was accorded the respect here given to people with Masters Degrees

    Thus the defining adjective, High School.

    Although these days it may indicate that the intelligent students mostly spend their time there getting high, the better to accommodate the massive boredom inflicted.

    • My grandpa went to high school in his late teens and early 20s in the 1920s. He got a job to pay room and board because High School was in another state, 3-4 hours away by 1920s transportation. That high school is now a State University.

      When he got a job, it was a government position at a local federal monument that had actually been in our family and then donated or sold to the government. He got the place put in order, rebuilt and restored things to their original states, scoured the area for historical articles for the museum portion. He worked on that place for 30+ years all by himself. His staff was his family. He never got a higher title than “Custodian” or maybe “Assistant Superintendent”. After he retired, they hired a full Superintendent. I have wondered if his pay scale and title were early indications of the bias towards college educations or at least traditional government employees.

  24. Being poor doesn’t lead to crime. Wealthy people can and do commit crimes

    In their view of society, Honore de Balzac spoke truly: “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.”

    Oddly, in the societies they create, this is true. Look at the wealth acquired by the Clintons, by Obama’s cronies (cough*Solyndra), Arafat & Abbas, the Castro brothers and Hugo Chávez’s daughter, now Venezuela’s richest woman.

    For a start.

    It also helps when you ignore the fact that men such as Sam Walton have gotten rich by benefacting their fellows in ways undreamt of in the Hells of Academe (where they are likely to decry that he could have paid his employees better and accepted getting slightly less rich.)

  25. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    The big problem with liberal myths is that somebody else usually pays the price for them. As far as education goes, those kids who could be working and making lives for themselves are trapped in government indoctrination centers learning little of real value and losing valuable time that they could be starting out. Add to that things like minimum wage laws that tend to work against people trying to get a start and high employment taxes and you lose a great deal of valuable people’s working time.

  26. Of course, now our proglodyte betters are starting to meet the world’s Morlocks, who don’t know what “everybody knows,” and people are dying as a result.

  27. To inject a note of levity into the proceedings, I would like to point out that truly educated people can a) hide their crimes better, because they know not to say to curious law enforcement officials “He couldn’t nave recognized me, I was wearing a mask!” (true story) and b) when Mad Scientists go to the bad, the large smoking crater is frequently the only evidence left.

    Further, properly done a STEM degree can give you the best of both worlds. I know vast swaths of information about Green functions and polar coordinate derivatives I have *never* used outside a classroom, but I also learned wiring, machining, electronics, plumbing, radiation safety, treatment of third-degree burns, surviving mild electrocution, and the preservation of plausible deniability in the face of laboratory disaster. Oh, and the utter necessity of keeping the administrative staff on your side to expedite purchase orders, with cookies if possible. My advisor never did figure that one out…

    • My #1 career advice, especially for Engineers, is “Get on the good side of the administrative folks, and stay there.”

      Having friendly relations with the folks who makes sure things actually happen is invaluable in any endeavor.

      • First thing I was told in grad school. “There are two people you never, ever p!ss off: your archivist and the departmental secretary.” Truer words were never spoken.

        • From the song, Threes, Revision 1.1:

          Three things never anger: first, the one who runs your deck,
          The one who does your backups,
          And the one who signs your check.

    • On the Arts side, Theater actually performs a similar functions. If you follow the Dark Side, I mean technical theater: carpentry, painting, welding, wiring, it’s all there.

      • I have a friend who has a degree in stage management. She didn’t get anywhere in the theatre, (though she still has the respect of every single person she stage managed.) However, she IS making a very efficient manager at her current job, with a reputation for getting all the things done.

    • I find that true in most places. When I had to do alot of filings, I figured out the mail office manager’s favorite candy and put some with each one I sent down. Never had a problem.

      And I would add being friendly with the security personnel as well. This holds true especially in college dorms. We have all heard the horror stories of fire drills while taking a shower – then not having an ID when it was time to go back in. I would wager that if security knew you and liked you – you would go right in – on the other hand if you were unknown or despised guess who has to go to the campus security office on the other side of the quad?

      -John

  28. “At the end of the day, providing a path to go to college is a helluva lot cheaper than putting people on a path to jail.”

    Only an old white male would hate women so much to try to trick them into going someplace where 1 in 5 of them will be sexually assaulted.

    /ducks

  29. OT, can anyone explain how change my email for Gravatar and here? Got a new ISP, and I can’t seem to find where to change things.

  30. BobtheRegisterredFool

    The fallacies I saw were different.

    The jails are full of impulsive drug addicts. It is mostly too late for intervention to change that quality. The only form of education that could’ve possibly altered that in the past would have been the certain knowledge that they would be tortured to death if they didn’t control themselves and stay away from drugs. I think this may only be theoretically possible. Everything short of that is only likely to work on the people it already works on.

    College education doesn’t make a person stay away from drugs, or be less impulsive.

    Secondly, we could make everyone a Doctor tomorrow, by changing the laws, and mailing everyone a certificate. Of course a) if everyone is one, it destroys the rarity b) if it is trivial to become one, the process doesn’t select for and develop competence c) hence being a Doctor would lose its value.

    Thirdly, combine ‘poverty causes crime’ with ‘gun control works and is a good idea’. The study Medicine and STEM give a person more potential ability to harm others. If growing up poor makes a fellow prone towards crime, why arm them by giving them a scholarship to get an education.

    • “You know how to make poison gas.”
      “No I don’t.”
      “Never read the warnings on cleaning products?”
      “Oh….”

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Engineering necessarily includes morality and certain philosophical positions. These cannot come from the university, and mostly can only come from mother’s milk.

        Look at Eichmann and all of the modern terrorist organizations. The engineering skill set is readily turned to evil ends because it is powerful.

        In the hands of the unwise, it can also be very destructive. Technocracy is essentially caused by an excess of confidence in the tools of engineering, without knowing that they are better at some things than others, and why.

      • An industrial hygienist giving a presentation to the staff of a cleaning company actually managed to impress them by figuring out they were all suffering sniffles owing to using two cleaning products together. (In spite of the “this woman has a college degree and wants to tell ME how to scrub a toilet” initial reaction.)

      • Now there’s a warped idea– maybe the way that warning labels are being inappropriately applied is actually to prevent exactly this reasoning.

        I had to call poison control because one of my kids ate some hand sanitizer, at about 20 pounds and 15 months of age. Short form, she would’ve had to have consumed most of the half-gallon jug to get a BUZZ, never mind so much as a tummy ache. But there was an instruction to call poison control if any was consumed….

  31. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how people like Sen. Sanders think that pushing everyone through college/university will somehow magically prevent them from becoming criminals. All it is doing is driving up the cost of higher education while simultaneously diluting the value of it.

    How about working on getting everyone above a 4th grade literacy level? http://www.fightilliteracy.org/literacy-facts/

    But I forget myself. All they want is sheep.

    • Never assume a politician consumes what he/she shovels.

      By virtue of getting elected and reelected she/he knows the public is highly gullible; contempt for the electorate is an occupational hazard, like Black Lung disease.

  32. Am I the only one who sees SJW and automatically thinks Social Justice Wimps…

  33. My Dad is a high school drop out. As in credit for one history class and one PE class. This was circa 1940. He served in the Air Force, and several years after WWII entered college. Two years into his chemical engineering studies, his records caught up to him, and he had to take the GED test, or whatever it was called then, and graduated the next year. First job in a refinery, then it was rocket fuel, then the ablative coatings on rocket nozzles . . . Yeah, he was smarted than H***. Still is at 89. But with essentially an 8th grade education his reading writing and math skills were good enough for engineering classes.

    Drop outs now tend to be illiterate and innumerate. A lot of high school grads need remedial classes in college. The failure of education starts all the way down in elementary schools.

    • my mom has a fourth grade education plus apprenticeship.

      • An attribute common to those lacking advanced degrees (e.g., of the sort you might be awarded by Harvard Law) is that they do not suffer the misapprehension that they know everything worth knowing. Consequently, they carefully examine decisions and information and do not hesitate to admit their limitations. Such people are unlikely to declare “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

        They also expect to make mistakes and thus learn from those they do make rather than denying them.

    • My maternal grandfather left school at or after the 8th grade. He did fairly well for himself and his family, and even wound up presiding over a local school board. That happened when he became annoyed his kids were going to the same one-room school he had gone to.[1] Eventually he managed to get a new multi-room building built, and I went to that school.

      The requirements for presiding over the school board changed over the years, to where it now requires a doctorate (any doctorate, not limited to one in Education – so they didn’t completely mess it up, just mostly mess it up). One fellow who had the degree, but no sense, would walk himself and his dog down the middle of the road. I recall, having safely passed man and dog, Pa did something he normally did not: Gunned the engine to let a pointed throaty roar of exhaust note out, as if to say, “You IDIOT!”

      [1] My mothers family lived on a farm not very far from that one room schoolhouse and there was a (note, ‘a’) show-and-tell pets day. The result of this is that I can truthfully say that (at least once) my mother rode a horse to a one-room school.

  34. Morons comment on Mike’s wall. Mike uses blowtorch and blasts away:

    “Off The Wall

    Well, that was fun! My post on Bernie Sanders’ comments regarding the “path to college” versus the “path to prison” has now reached 13 million people. I can’t be sure, but it seems as if I may have stepped on a few toes…

    “I used to like you Mike Rowe, and your show. Not anymore.” Tom Noerper

    “You’re attempts to stay relevant are tired. You’re a former host of a mediocre tv show. Your opinions don’t matter.” Levi Athan Buble

    “LOL a VOICE actor who pretends to work for a living lecturing us… get a life you irrelevant old wash up.” Jordan Farrar

    “Damn, after reading your rant I can’t see you as anything but really dumb now. Please, don’t go into areas that you don’t understand. Stick to your stupid show. Geesh. Damn, you’re dumb.” Sally Hampton-Brzescinski

    And finally, my personal favorite –
    “You are a moron.” Lars Taylor

    For what it’s worth, Lars may be right. I seem to have broken a few eggs with this one. Regardless, it was not my intention to offend him or any of Bernie Sanders many supporters. I run a modest foundation that supports alternatives to college, and my role is to shine a light on the many thousands of good jobs currently available that don’t require a four-year degree. Along the way, I raise money for our Work Ethic Scholarship Program, and try to keep the conversation lively. Specifically, I try to highlight the unintended consequences of promoting one form of education at the expense of all the others. It’s a job I take somewhat personally.

    Back in 1980, my high-school guidance counselor told me the local community college was “beneath my potential.” Mr. Dunbar wanted me to apply at James Madison or Penn State. He said a two-year school would put me on the wrong path, and lead to a life of “wrench-turning.” He then pointed to this poster, part of the “Push for College” campaign in the late seventies, hanging on his office wall. “Which one of these guys do you want to be, Mike?” I still remember the caption on the poster – “Work Smart, Not Hard.”

    My decision was easy. Even with my parents help, there was no way I could afford a four-year school. I didn’t qualify for any kind of scholarship, and there was no outside financial aid. But even if there had been, I was not a good candidate for a loan. I was just 18, for crying out loud. I didn’t know my ass from a hot rock, much less what I wanted to major in. So, I stuck to my plan. I spent the next two years at Essex Community College. There, I took dozens of unrelated courses, and started to get a sense of what I wanted to do. (At $26 a credit, I could afford to be wrong.)

    Eventually, I earned an AA degree. A few years later, when I had saved some money, I transferred my credits to Towson State, and with my parents help, got a BA in Communications. Total cost for all of it? Less than $10,000. Point is, I was able to start working in my chosen field at 23, free from the crushing weight of a student loan.

    Today, that would be impossible. Since I graduated, the cost of college has increased 1,120%. Nothing so important has ever gotten so expensive so quickly – food, medicine, even real-estate…the rise of tuition trumps them all, outpacing the consumer price index by over 400%. The question is why? Why has the cost of college risen faster than anything else?

    Obviously, I’m not an economist. In fact, as Lars indicated, I may well be a moron. But if I wanted to drive the cost of college through the roof, I would first encourage employers to make a college degree a condition of employment. Then, I’d tell every high school kid their futures depended on getting a diploma. Then, I’d make sure that pop culture portrayed all non-college careers as second-class occupations. Finally, I’d make available an unlimited pile of money, and encourage those same kids to borrow whatever they needed to pay for that degree.

    From what I can tell, that’s precisely what we’ve done. We’ve given colleges and universities free rein to charge whatever they want. And so they have.

    Now, the chickens have come to roost. Students hold 1.3 trillion in debt, and many of the indebted are unable to find work in their chosen field. Meanwhile, thousands of jobs currently exist that no one is trained for or excited about. Vocational education has pretty much vanished from high schools, and the skills gap continues to widen. And really, why would we expect otherwise? These are the same jobs we’ve been marginalizing for years. Plumbers, carpenters, welders, and electricians are consistently portrayed as something subordinate to those vocations that require a four year degree. That image from Mr. Dunbar’s wall is alive and well in the minds of many parents, anxious to make sure their kids “live up to their potential.”

    Anyway, that’s why my knee jerked when I saw Bernie’s tweet. It struck me as just one more bromide in favor of more borrowing and more spending on an educational system that needs a total teardown.

    Now, regarding “free college for all.” Again, I’m not an expert, but I don’t see how giving something away drives down it’s real cost. Are the professors and administrators going to lower their salaries? Are the colleges going to be forced to run more efficiently? I have no idea, but from what I’ve seen of the species, I believe most people do better when they have at least some skin in the game. And I have no reason to assume that making college free will create better students.

    Consider health clubs. Most people agree that physical fitness is really important to living a productive life. That’s why society encourages people to exercise and eat right. But we don’t subsidize gym memberships, because we know that simply belonging to a gym won’t make you healthy. You have to do the work. Besides, they’re lots of other ways to stay physically fit that don’t require an expensive gym membership. Mental fitness is no different.

    Today, the entire wealth of accumulated knowledge has been democratized. Every known fact can be accessed from a smartphone, and they’re more free courses on You Tube than a curious student could watch in four years of round the clock viewing. Apprenticeship programs and training programs and on-the-job training opportunities abound, but most are ignored, because we’ve convinced ourselves that the path to college is the best path for the most people, cost be damned. And too many employers will look right past a perfect candidate, if they lack a diploma. It’s gotta change.

    At mikeroweWORKS, we don’t offer scholarships to four-year schools, because frankly, I don’t care to subsidize football stadiums and Student Unions and Fraternity Houses. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) We offer Work-Ethic scholarships to people who want to learn a skill that’s in demand. But we don’t just give money away because “education is important.” We do it because we want to encourage certain qualities not present in every individual. Attitude, ambition, work ethic. Frankly, I wish the government would do that too.

    Finally, let me say something to those who are surprised and disappointed to learn that I’m not in “Bernie’s Camp.” Truth is, Bernie and I want the exact same thing – more people with jobs, more people getting an affordable education, and fewer criminals. Reasonable citizens will disagree as to the best way to get there, but there’s no denying our system is broken and in desperate need of fixing. And though I don’t think Bernie’s approach is the right solution, I admire him for trying, and I respect his service to our county.
    Mike”

    • Very diplomatic of Mike. I would have said Bernie Sanders is a friggin’ moron, and so are all of his zombie followers.

    • “At $26 a credit, I could afford to be wrong.”

      And that may be the single most pointed truth of the entire educational apparatus in the West today.

      • Yup. When I started grad school, 12 hours cost about $1200 plus books. My last semester in grad school, one hour of credit while doing PhD research out of state cost me $1200. And I got a semi-in-state research hour discount. That’s 7 years of tuition jumps. (And I got done in a nearly departmental record short time.)

        • When I went through the Naval Academy (class of 1975), the joke was that the four years there was “a $50000 education, shoved up the a** a nickel at a time.”

          $50k now won’t buy one year at some schools.

    • Personally, I wonder how much of the animosity is defensiveness about their own choices/education.

    • LArs is a frequent troll at This Ain’t Hell- and all his post can pretty much be summed up by the following:
      1) Post some left wing bull crap, makes a mistake
      2) Oops, he misspoke
      3) He’s still smarter than everyone
      Which is pretty much standard Lefty troll.

  35. Was Power Line’s Ammo Grrrll reading us?

    She writes:

    Back in the day, when we were raising foster kids, one of them was sent to what the educational system called the Alternative Learning Center. … It demanded close to nothing from the students placed there. Basically, It required showing up. And many the student could not manage that. The other students called the ALC “A**holes’ Last Chance.” Kids can be brutally insensitive. (Call the cops!) Also accurate.

    … our Black/Hispanic foster son did actually receive a high school diploma.

    He was functionally illiterate in both his native Spanish and English, knew absolutely nothing about Civics, Science or History, and could neither add nor subtract, to say nothing of mastering algebra. Yet he graduated. Wrap your mind around that. What that made us realize was just how hard the 50 percent or more of students who FAIL to graduate at inner city high schools have to be trying in order to avoid meeting the most pathetic standards.

    • My mother taught 4th grade in AL for 20+ years. They were told straight up that no kid could be failed and held back more than once, because the schools couldn’t handle the numbers.

  36. Bernies’ remark is on par with Al(thewhore)Gores’ remark to the effect that if you don’t go to college you’ll end up in Iraq. Funny, i’nit, that the lying com/soc/lib/prog/soc/com/dems(BIRM) bastids never get called on anything stupid that they say? And they say such STUPID things ALL. THE. TIME.

  37. Andrew McDowell

    Michael Flynn’s Firestar series has a lot of ideas about improving education in the US, especially to produce Scientists and Technicians. I agree that the current system is wasting three or more years of too many people’s lives, but I also think there are things everybody should learn that few do – not for their daily job of earning their living, but for their every-few-years jobs of electing a new government. Randomized Trials and Sunk Costs and Use Cases and Comparative Advantage. I see enough sheer insanity out there that I’m not claiming that education would be a miracle cure here, but I still think it could improve things. There are also some suggestions that education improves health via better compliance with medical and public health advice.

  38. And while I’m thinking about it, I ‘spect that most of Bernies’ fans would have to call for help to change a flat tire.