Magazine | August 28, 2017, Issue


(Baz Ratner/Reuters)

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

Out of Order

A  question in the spirit of Donald Trump’s tweets this morning might be: Who’s trying harder to crash U.S. markets, the president of the United States or the president of China? After Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell didn’t forecast the loosening of monetary policy that Trump craves and China ... Read More
Film & TV

Netflix Debuts Its Obama Manifesto

This week’s widespread media blitz heralding Netflix’s broadcast of its first Obama-endorsed presentation, American Factory, was more than synchronicity. It felt as though U.S. publicists and journalists collectively exhaled their relief at finally regaining the bully pulpit. Reviews of American Factory, a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Capital versus Tucker Carlson

Advertisers do not advertise on Tucker Carlson’s show to endorse the views of Tucker Carlson. They advertise on his show for the same reason they advertise elsewhere: a captive audience — in Tucker’s case, the second-largest one in cable news — might spare thirty seconds of attention that will, they hope, ... Read More
Natural Law

Are Your Sexual Preferences Transphobic?

Last year, a study exploring “transgender exclusion from the world of dating” was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Of nearly 1,000 participants, the overwhelming majority, 87.5 percent, irrespective of their sexual preference, said they would not consider dating a trans person, ... Read More

R.I.P. David Koch

Making the click-through worthwhile: breaking news that David Koch, a giant of philanthropy and the libertarian movement, has died; a couple of politicians who warn us about climate-change-driven rising oceans and worsening hurricanes pay millions for oceanfront property; an insane decision surrounding a morning ... Read More