Magazine August 28, 2017, Issue

Letters

(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

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Letters

Letters

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 ...
Poetry

Poetry

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 ...

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Elections

Biden: Make America Great Again

A promise of economic nationalism, an expensive infrastructure bill that’s really a make-work program, prejudice against foreigners, denunciations of Wall Street — Joe Biden is running the 2016 Trump campaign against Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden gave a big economic speech in Pennsylvania yesterday, and ... Read More
Elections

Biden: Make America Great Again

A promise of economic nationalism, an expensive infrastructure bill that’s really a make-work program, prejudice against foreigners, denunciations of Wall Street — Joe Biden is running the 2016 Trump campaign against Donald Trump in 2020. Joe Biden gave a big economic speech in Pennsylvania yesterday, and ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More

Mel Gibson’s Beastmode

Late-period Mel Gibson is probably the best Mel Gibson; in film after film after film he plays ornery old bastards with such conviction that each successive outing feels like a personal trip to the confessional. He doesn’t need the money anymore, and most of these roles are in indie movies that pay very little ... Read More

Mel Gibson’s Beastmode

Late-period Mel Gibson is probably the best Mel Gibson; in film after film after film he plays ornery old bastards with such conviction that each successive outing feels like a personal trip to the confessional. He doesn’t need the money anymore, and most of these roles are in indie movies that pay very little ... Read More
Culture

Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

Mark Zuckerberg clearly hasn’t gotten the memo. The founder of Facebook persists in defending free expression, even though free speech has fallen decidedly out of fashion. His reward for adhering to what once would have been a commonsensical, if not banal, view of the value of the free exchange of ideas ... Read More
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Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

Mark Zuckerberg clearly hasn’t gotten the memo. The founder of Facebook persists in defending free expression, even though free speech has fallen decidedly out of fashion. His reward for adhering to what once would have been a commonsensical, if not banal, view of the value of the free exchange of ideas ... Read More