March 26, 2004


When I taught ESL back in Illinois, the majority of my students were from South Korea. In my small conversation classes, we talked about the military, since many of the men had done their mandatory Korean service. The older gentlemen in my classes, those in the 40 year old range, thought very highly of the US military and insisted that the American presence was still very necessary. But they said that the younger Koreans don't see things the same way.

The nonprofit think tank’s report, released earlier this month, included two public opinion polls covering 1,710 South Koreans. Most South Koreans said they believe U.S. forces are important for security but also believe the 37,000 U.S. servicemembers stationed in their country may halt unification efforts with North Korea, the study said. And younger, better-educated respondents said they believe America poses a greater threat than North Korea.

Let's pause a moment and reflect on the word better-educated. In this context, it seems to me that this adjective is synonymous with head-up-their-butts or perhaps brainwashed-by-a-Leftist-agenda.

How is it in our country, as well as in Korea, the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be in touch with reality?

The United States is not preventing the reunification of North and South Korea. And I'll bet you a complete set of James Bond movies and $650,000 worth of Hennessey that anyone who thinks the US is more dangerous than Kim Jong Poofyhair obviously has not read a single thing about life in North Korea.

I'm starting to take real issue with the term better-educated. As one of Porphyrogenitus' readers astutely noted, "Waitresses and truck drivers are smart enough not to believe such patent absurdities. The amazing thing is that the majority of English and social science professors and journalists do believe them."

Posted by Sarah at March 26, 2004 07:30 AM

"How is it in our country, as well as in Korea, the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be in touch with reality?"

Maybe Orwell was right. Maybe ignorance IS strength. Ignorance, that is, of the memetic viruses of e-duh-cation.

Then again, we have to understand our aca-dumb-ic enemies to win against them. So there is no excuse for ignorance. Still doesn't mean people should spend thousands on indoctrination, though.

"Better-educated" is often code language for "one of us Leftists."

Of course, the absence of education is not inherently virtuous either. Some of those waitresses and truck drivers might not know what's happening in North Korea. I suspect Saddam is far more famous than Kim Jong Il in the US.

Posted by: Amritas at March 26, 2004 02:45 PM

One reason the state of higher education in the social sciences sucks is because teachers feel pressure to come up with original ideas for their writing. The old ideas: based on traditional values and common sense have been done to death. Somewhere around the sixties, perhaps earlier, students found that by attacking traditional value systems their work would be thought original. i noticed this in my own post graduate study. i could either state the truth: America is a force for good, or come up with some nonsensical but original thesis. What happens when all the America bashing becomes the norm? Maybe the pendulum will swing back? i doubt it, the professors now are so left wing, they're not interested in truth, just agreement.

Posted by: annika at March 26, 2004 06:19 PM

Annika, nail on the head regarding one of my doubleplusungood experiences with the teaching establishment. In elementary school in the early '90s, my son learned by "whole language" instruction, which had supplanted phonics. Best I can tell, WL became popular because it was New. Not because it was shown more effective in statistically-valid trials. It sure didn't work miracles in our family. Then last year, I heard a prof at the local teaching college staunchly the upcoming conference on implementing--Whole Language!

Be interesting to know how many Ed. theses have been written on SexyNew WL versus OldStodgy Phonics.

Posted by: AMac at March 29, 2004 07:21 PM

It's tricky to be totally wrongheaded about one's own subject (excluding comparative literature and some of the 'whatever-studies' which are disaster areas).
But no trouble at all to be so about others.

So in an environment where certain world-views dominate, considered self-evidently reasonable, and best deferred to avoid ostracism, the attitudes are picked up by osmosis.

There are the attractions of a thought-system that provides a comprehensive 'explanation of the world'.
(Religion could substitute, see Middle Eastern students of 'hard objective' subjects who become Islamic radicals, but generally it's too anti-hedonistic.)

This can have a long term influence.
Student days may be gone, and they would likely recoil in alarm if an socialist government appeared by magic overnight overnight with a command economy and 70+ per cent income tax on them (rather than the 'Super Rich'). But for many a 'radical' political stance is a painless way of maintaining their 'right-on' self-image, the apparent badge of an educated mind.

For such people anti-globalization, environmentalism, minority rights, anti-War, Palestine etc. gives the thrill of thinking they're still radicals, but apparently safely disconnected from impacting their everyday life.

Posted by: John F at March 30, 2004 12:07 PM

Just came across this quote; maybe it's not such a new problem :)
- Francis Bacon (1561-1626), "universities incline wits to sophistry and affectation"

Posted by: John F at March 30, 2004 01:03 PM

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