Magazine | August 28, 2017, Issue


College as Experiment

Oren Cass makes a strong case (“Teaching to the Rest,” July 31) that many of today’s high-school students would be better off taking career training instead of college prep. The reason everyone thinks college is so important is obvious: Higher education is a racket for the Left, providing employment, affirmation for their views, a comfortable, insular environment, and a steady stream of newly indoctrinated progressives, so the media do everything they can to keep pumping up enrollment. This country started on its long decline the day newspapers began expecting reporters to have college degrees.

In view of this, however, rising college-dropout rates may be less alarming than Mr. Cass appears to think. How many students enroll at college, get hit full blast by the pervasive political thought control, and decide to call Dave at the screen-door plant and see if they’re still hiring? Just as we would not condemn a plumbing trainee who wants to give college a try, neither should we automatically chalk up as a failure someone who goes to college and realizes it’s not for him. Teenage career plans last about as long as teenage romances.

The author quotes Charles Murray: “What we need is an educational system that brings children with all combinations of assets and deficits to adulthood having identified things they enjoy doing and having learned how to do them well.” That makes for a fine wish list, but does it perhaps expect too much self-awareness and constancy from kids who find new favorite entertainers, games, and social-media platforms every few months? Of course our children keep upsetting our plans for them—that’s their job. And an inconclusive spell at college is often a useful part of the learning process that Murray describes.

Rick Schaefer

Kent, Wash.

Ohio’s Thrill Engineers

Thank you for Charles C. W. Cooke’s wonderful article about our Cedar Point (“Magnificent Thrill Machines,” August 14). When I was growing up in Toledo, a visit to the Point—only an hour away—was an annual summer tradition. It represents something excellent in America: crazy and uninhibited ingenuity that brings simple joy to all.

It is not ironic, I believe, that close by in Milan (pronounced my-len), a young boy named Thomas Alva Edison grew up, and farther down the road were the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, and John Glenn, to name only a few. Ohio is a place where people stand firmly in the soil yet reach eagerly for the stars.

Cynthia Millen

Toledo, Ohio

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners




College as Experiment Oren Cass makes a strong case (“Teaching to the Rest,” July 31) that many of today’s high-school students would be better off taking career training instead of college ...
The Week

The Week

‐ Looks like Google dropped its “Don’t be evil” motto just in time. ‐ The personnel crises of the Trump administration are like groupies: There are so many, who can remember ...


AMONG OTHERS Working alone in the house, I look to the solitary sculls passing on the river for a sense that I am among others. The geese— my dogs—convene in the yard near the water. A summer in ...

Most Popular

White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More

What’s So Great about Western Civilization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Redacted: Harm to Ongoing Matter), One of the things I tell new parents is something that was told to me when my daughter still had that ... Read More
Film & TV

Jesus Is Not the Joker

Actors love to think they can play anything, but the job of any half-decent filmmaker is to tell them when they’re not right for a part. If the Rock wants to play Kurt Cobain, try to talk him out of it. Adam Sandler as King Lear is not a great match. And then there’s Joaquin Phoenix. He’s playing Jesus ... Read More

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More
White House

The Problem with the Mueller Report

So much for collusion. The media conversation has now officially moved on from the obsession of the last two years to obstruction of justice. That’s because the first volume of the voluminous Mueller report, the half devoted to what was supposed to be the underlying crime of a Trump conspiracy with Russia, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trump Can’t Cry ‘No Fair’

If I may jump in, I take Charlie’s point and I think he’s largely correct. I also think David is correct. There’s not that much of a contradiction in that because I think to some extent they’re talking about different things. And this reflects a larger frustration I have with many of the ... Read More