First-rate cynicism from Bill Bonner on a subject that begs for far more cynicism, satire, and scorn than it gets. From Bonner via davidstockmanscontracorner.com:
Gassy Hacks and Big Quacks
Today, we recall the “commencement” at the end of four years at the University of Vermont. The university itself is imposing and a little intimidating. The rest of the world works in warehouses or common office spaces. Academia labors in hallowed “halls” and prestigious “centers.”
People in the Main Street world work for profits… and are subject to market economics. The professoriate is above it all; no profit and loss statements… no profit motives or incentive bonuses… and (for those with “tenure”) no chance of getting fired, no matter how incompetent, irrelevant, or wrong they are. The private sector depends on output and results; academia harbors gassy hacks who may never produce much of anything at all.
The ceremony on Sunday opened with the procession of the university luminati, led by bagpipers of the St. Andrews Society. Ordinary people – even presidents of the United States of America – wear common coats and ties; the academic elite are gussied up with all manner of robes, funny hats, cowls, tassels, honors… and a line of capital letters following their names like baby ducks behind a waddling quack.
“All that brainpower… working on our Justin… it must have done him some good,” parents say to themselves. Then, they have their doubts. Justin seems to think that “diversity” is what really matters, that Bernie Sanders has the right idea, and that eating gluten is a sin.
Privately, they wonder if they haven’t just been the biggest fools on the planet, spending more than $100,000 to put their boy through four years of brainwashing, with no visible improvement in his critical thinking. But this is no time to say anything. It’s too late. So, they take their seats, along with thousands of others. At least, those were the dark thoughts gathering in our mind as we sat in a plastic chair on the green, waiting for the festivities to begin.
Criticism and Cynicism
Mr. E. Thomas Sullivan, university president, must have seen the clouds over our head.
“Criticism and cynicism will not lead to a constructive solution,” he said, looking right at us. But criticism and cynicism are just what the University of Vermont most lacks. Without them, the Yankees allow themselves to believe any self-congratulatory bunkum that comes along.
They say on Wall Street: When everyone is thinking the same thing, no one is really thinking. That’s the problem with the institution of higher learning on the banks of Lake Champlain. If anyone is doing any thinking there, they didn’t let him say anything on Sunday.
To continue reading: The Biggest Fools on the Planet—–Reflections On A University Graduation Day