Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Most Liberal of Arts

So the President tells some autoworkers yesterday that learning how to actually do something is a good idea for many. We can all guess what happened next. Many people who weren't in that room lost their collective minds.

I read the exact text of what he said- not a word to offend anybody. Unless you make your living in Art History. So, of course, the President had to make a public apology.

This is one of the roughly 2,992 reasons why I'm not currently The President of the United States.

There is no better way to put off having to actually do something with your life than to put your parents heavily in debt while you go to college to learn how to do nothing in particular. You also likely will incur significant debt that you can subsequently default on and blame someone other than yourself how unfair it all is. I'm being smarmy because I've hit my limit with The Cult of Entitlement.

Learning for many is one of life's great joys including for no other reason than you like to learn. Structured learning is necessary for sizable segments of the population or society would suffer greatly (Is there a Doctor in the House?).

I think we can safely (and fairly) now say that gaining a four year degree at significant cost is not an entitlement. Unless you're the President or someone else with the guts to say that too many young people leave college without any marketable skills. That's fine if your family is wealthy and has no qualms in financially supporting you into adulthood but very possibly a rude awakening if they're not. (Is there an 'Occupy Wall Streeter' in the House?).

I once asked a Pultizer Prize winning writer how to "do what I love". His one-word answer: Write. I've written ever since- I've even been paid (a little) to write. Nobody owes me a living to write but I do it anyway.

The same is true of countless other lines of work that society may enjoy but doesn't necessarily need. If you have a gift or even an intense love of something and you want to earn your daily bread from it- go after it. If it requires a formal education- go get it. If you want to go away to college for the experience- do it. When the bill comes due, don't assign blame. Life is inherently unfair but you're not one of it's victims. It's victims live in the world's hellholes.