Mike Rowe: Lending money to kids who can’t pay it back to educate them for jobs that don’t exist anymore is a bad idea.

I think Mike Rowe is quite on-target with this. As a friend of mine put it, when she posted this on Facebook earlier today,

“I don’t regret college, I believe it was the right choice for me, but I do regret not being more thoughtful about the degree I chose. I love history but if I had it to do over again, I would double major in something a little more employable.

“Let’s stop telling kids if they get a college degree they won’t have a problem getting a job. We have too many college graduates with the equivalent of a mortgage at the age of 22 who are under- and unemployed for that to be true. Seek all options and find what works for you.”

Indeed. I have said for years that we as a society make a mistake when we try to sell “college for all.” For any reason, but particularly as a ticket out of poverty! First and foremost, not everyone has the intellectual gifts and temperament for college.

Actually getting them through it – which we must, if we are claiming that anyone can go to college, and everyone should – means that a) academic standards are being “dumbed down,” and b) colleges themselves are refashioning themselves into glorified vocational institutes, which is unfair both to them, and to genuine vocational institutes, which have for a long time gotten a great deal less credit and support than they deserve.

On a related note, it fosters the greed and expansionism (both part of fallen human nature) to which colleges and universities – no less than any other large human institutions – are prey, leading them to seek to recruit more and more students (whether they are what was once called “college material” or not), thus exacerbating the problems.

Speaking of problems, when more and more students are (by hook or by crook) graduating, diploma in hand, we have a growing issue of degree inflation: in which an Associate’s, or even a Bachelor’s, degree is needed to perform jobs which once could be filled by a qualified high school graduate, a Masters to fill what were formerly Baccalaureate positions, and a Doctorate to fill what used to be Masters-level positions.

Which of course means that now more and more people are trying to go to college or “uni,” because what used to be a helpful bonus is now a necessity! And once again the problem grows…

From the standpoint of economic success, the reason a college or university degree used to be a pathway out of poverty is precisely because it was RARE. It was indicative of a person with an unusually high degree of intellect, drive / determination, or simple sticktoitiveness, either singly or in combination. That is obviously not the case when a degree is simply another ticket to be punched, on one’s way (hopefully, but less certainly all the time) up the ladder.

It was also viewed by those tasked with hiring as a major plus because a college or university graduate could reasonably be considered to be a person who had both a certain broadness of perspective, and who had received training in broadening and fostering his or her critical thinking skills.

With colleges and universities morphing into vocational training schools, the classic liberal arts breadth of perspective is increasingly becoming a thing of the past; while even a brief survey of the level of political – or if there even was such a thing any more, philosophical – discourse in this county by folks who theoretically are the beneficiaries of higher education leads to the inescapable conclusion that critical thinking can no longer be counted upon as one of the fruits of such education.

But the root problem is this: if everyone has a thing, it is no longer special. Would anybody care about having a Porsche, if everybody had a Porsche? Businesses aren’t going to pay someone more for a college degree if everyone has a college degree! So the more people who seek one as a means of getting hired, or paid more, the less likelihood there is that any particular degree-holder is going to be hired, or given a raise.

The most they will do is refuse to consider anyone who does not hold a degree, transforming what – as I mentioned above – used to be a selling point, into a necessity. It is difficult for me to see how this is an improvement in the situation!

On a personal level, I agree with you, Olivia: I am the holder of a B.A. in medieval studies, and a Masters in theology. While I do not (usually) regret either degree, I also have to be honest enough to admit that cool as they are, neither has proven particularly salable! They have not brought me the level of financial stability – forget about “success,” whatever that means – that the salesmen for universal college education would like people to believe.

If I could do it over again, I, too, would have chosen my major(s) with more care, taken a second and more salable major, or at the very least gotten my teaching certificate when I was in college the first time. Or perhaps better yet, learned a trade, to fall back on. Degree inflation was already a “thing” when I graduated in 1991, and the intervening almost 30 years have increased the problem exponentially!

That doesn’t mean that those degrees weren’t worthwhile in other respects: they were, and are. I am very glad, from a personal and philosophical standpoint, that I got the education I did. But as money-makers? Not so much. Thank God I didn’t go on for Ph.D. study, and come out with that level of debt, and not much more chance of finding employment!

If I had dictatorial powers, I would make colleges and universities smaller, not larger; shrink, rather than increase, their enrollment; and return them to what they used to be: places for those who wished to grapple with the larger and deeper existential questions of life – for the pursuit of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. At the same time, I would strengthen opportunities for vocational / technical learning, which is badly needed, and which can be done more efficiently and economically in other contexts than a college or university environment.

Higher education and vocational training are not the same thing, and it’s time we stopped pretending that they are.

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Heat Wave Reveals Hidden Archaeological Sites Across England (Photos) | The Weather Channel

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/9f436efb25447d392762cecf1df2a9339dcf52ce/0_274_7360_4417/master/7360.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=434f684f1ebeac6d2fdd286f56363bac

Hot, dry conditions this summer in England have revealed mysterious Stone Age ceremonial monuments, Iron Age settlements, burial mounds and a Roman farm.

Source: Heat Wave Reveals Hidden Archaeological Sites Across England (Photos) | The Weather Channel

This is fascinating!

“A scorching heat wave that has left much of the English countryside dusty and brown has also uncovered parts of the country’s past that have been buried for millennia.

“Archaeologists have been flying over the parched landscape this summer looking for patterns in the fields. As the soil dried out , ‘mysterious Neolithic ceremonial monuments, Iron Age settlements, square barrows and a Roman farm’ have become visible, Historic England said in a news release this week.”

Follow the link for more information, and/or see this Guardian article.

Rowan Atkinson on freedom of speech and “the New Intolerance”

Boris Johnson and Rowan Atkinson

“‘I am not intolerant,’ say many people; say many softly spoken, highly-educated, liberal-minded people: ‘I am only intolerant of intolerance.’ And people tend to nod sagely and say ‘Oh, wise words, wise words,’ and yet if you think about this supposedly inarguable statement for longer than five seconds, you realize that all it is advocating is the replacement of one kind of intolerance with another.”

Source: Rowan Atkinson At Reform Section 5 Parliamentary Reception | LYBIO.NET Discover New Reading Content.

Former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has come under fire for saying, among other things, that burkha-wearing Muslim women look like “letterboxes.” English actor Rowan Atkinson, CBE – perhaps best known here in the U.S. for his role as “Mr. Bean” – is among those defending him.

In this context, it is worth noting Mr. Atkinson’s earlier comments on freedom of speech, one of the best defenses of that right I have seen. The full transcript is at the link above, but here are what I consider key excerpts:

“[A] culture… has taken hold of the programmes of successive governments that, with the reasonable and well-intended ambition to contain obnoxious elements in society, has created a society of an extraordinarily authoritarian and controlling nature. That is what you might call The New Intolerance, a new but intense desire to gag uncomfortable voices of dissent.

“‘I am not intolerant’, say many people; say many softly spoken, highly-educated, liberal-minded people: ‘I am only intolerant of intolerance’. And people tend to nod sagely and say ‘Oh, Wise words, wise words’ and yet if you think about this supposedly inarguable statement for longer than five seconds, you realize that all it is advocating is the replacement of one kind of intolerance with another. Which to me doesn’t represent any kind of progress at all.

“Underlying prejudices, injustices or resentments are not addressed by arresting people: they are addressed by the issues being aired, argued and dealt with, preferably outside the legal process. For me, the best way to increase society’s resistance to insulting or offensive speech is to allow a lot more of it. As with childhood diseases, you can better resist those germs to which you have been exposed.

“We need to build our immunity to taking offence, so that we can deal with the issues that perfectly justified criticism can raise. Our priority should be to deal with the message, not the messenger. As President Obama said in an address to the United Nations a month or so ago: ‘…laudable efforts to restrict [hateful] speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities. The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech’ – and that is the essence of my thesis; more speech.

“If we want a robust society, we need more robust dialogue and that must include the right to insult or to offend. As Lord Dear says, the freedom to be inoffensive is no freedom at all.”

Precisely so. Liberals – authentic, classical Liberals, not the illiberal Leftists one sees on display so prominently today – used to “get” that. “If only inoffensive speech is free, no speech is free,” they often said, and rightly so. “The right to freedom of speech must extent to unpopular speech.” Or in the words often attributed (possibly incorrectly) to Voltaire, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Unfortunately, it seems that – while there may have been, and may continue to be – those who actually believed that, for too many on the Left, that now seems, in retrospect, to have been a tactic to open a space for their ideologies in the national dialogue, and now that they have achieved a certain dominance, they want to repress all speech with which they themselves do not agree.

Either we have freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the (U.S.) Constitution, or we do not; if we do, then it must certainly include the freedom to oppose the ideological orthodoxies of the Left! But like so many others, supposed “liberals” only actually like freedom when it suits them. Shutting down opinions they find uncongenial is not only permissible, in their worldview, but laudable.

That viewpoint may be described in may ways, but “liberal,” or tending toward freedom, are not among those way!

Jethro Tull: Fires at Midnight (Songs From The Wood, 1977)

“I believe in fires at midnight,

When the dogs have all been fed:

A golden toddy on the mantle,

A broken gun beneath the bed…”

I have always thought of Songs from the Wood as in some ways the quintessential British countryside album, and this song as the quintessential British countryside song. As such, it fits perfectly into the “Blighty Boys” concept!

It appears that, in some ways at least, the band itself agrees:

“Jethro Tull’s tenth album was inspired by Ian Anderson’s departure to a more rural environment in a transition which bore clear influence on the writing and recording process, with the band notably doffing a cap to British folklore and countryside.”

Songwriter and Jethro Tull lead singer Ian Anderson has also noted that the album was “for all the band members… a reaffirmation of our Britishness.”

https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/774/MI0001774361.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Blighty Boys!

What is a “Blighty Boy”…?

Blighty Boy!

This is a Blighty Boy!

In notable contradistinction to his chief adversary, the distressingly numerous, if decidedly unimpressive, Nu-“Male” (note the quotes), the Blighty Boy is the John Bull of the 21st century. Rule Britannia!

I wish I could claim credit for creating this meme, and the concept it embodies! But alas, I did not. I found it on the internet, and adapted it slightly (the original was “Blighty Boi,” which is way too metrosexual for me) to suit the purposes of The Anglophilic Anglican.

With that change of spelling, The Anglophilic Anglican proudly declares himself a Blighty Boy – at least in principle and philosophy, despite not living in Blighty, and lacking (currently, but hopefully not permanently) “a wholesome, steady relationship.” And I further declare that “Blighty Boys” will be a new category and tag for this blog, referring to traditional English / British culture, viewed from a masculine perspective!

Some (potentially) helpful links and images:

Parliamentary sovereignty: actually, I believe in the sovereignty of the Sovereign: the Monarch, currently Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II – health and long life to her! But I can get onboard with the Sovereignty of Queen-in-Parliament… formally, in the UK, “Queen [or King] in Parliament under God.”

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Roast Dinner with seasonal, local produce – the latter recipes are a bit fancy, but hey! I’m a bit of a “foodie”…

Book of Common Prayer Service, plus an explanation of why “The Book of Common Prayer Is Still A Big Deal.”

The Book of Common Prayer Is Still a Big Deal

“Rugged, strong hands… Works on the land, in industry, or serving society in a useful way.”

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“Applauds Army parades and stands to attention for the National Anthem.”

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The “obligations [the class system] places on the privileged“:

“Paternalism is a much-discredited word these days, but it ought to be remembered that the old, aristocratic ideal of society, however much it involved one side knowing its place and another exercising an arbitrary authority, relied on re-distributing a small part of your largesse to those less fortunately situated… Noblesse continues to oblige, and in a world full of new, tax-avoiding, prole-hating, obligation-avoiding money, old, duty-conscious, stately-home money can sometimes seem a very desirable friend to cultivate.”

Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, was a scion of old-school aristocracy which is still bound by the concept of ‘noblesse oblige’Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, was a scion of old-school aristocracy which is still bound by the concept of ‘noblesse oblige’ (Christopher Thomond/The Guardian)

“Drinks loose-leaf tea with whole milk.”

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Impressive collection of Airfix models:

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“Loves a cheeky pint…”