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I had a grandfather who never made it past third grade. But he read a newspaper every day and could carry on intelligent conversation about current events. He wrote me letters when I was serving in the U.S. Army. He didn’t know any fancy words and expressed himself in simple language, but most of his grammar and spelling were correct and I never had any trouble understanding what he was trying to say.

That’s more than I can say for so many of today’s college graduates. Among them are various family and friends that I’ve helped put together resumes and cover letters for job searches. I shake my head at how poorly they write – worse in many cases than my minimally educated grandfather. I am astounded that some of them acquired college degrees.

On second thought, it’s not that surprising. What used to be known as “higher education” is so only in the sense of rampant drug use on campus. So many of today’s colleges function as nothing more than white collar trade schools. You can acquire degrees in majors such as graphic arts, public relations, advertising and other fields that used to be spinoffs from broader liberal arts curricula like history and literature. Students used to take a wide variety of subjects that taught them to think and reason logically. Once their brains were properly aligned with a degree in, say, English, it wouldn’t take long for the college graduates of yesteryear to pick up on the finer details of communication needed to succeed in related fields such as journalism, PR or advertising.

A dumbing down and narrowing of instruction is not the worst thing about today’s colleges. The worst part is that education has been turned into indoctrination. Instead of learning to think for themselves, students are fed a lot of left-wing ideological garbage about how terrible our country is. You can acquire degrees in things like gender or ethnic studies that sort our society into victims and oppressors. Don’t you dare try to voice a contrary opinion in class. You likely will not only be flunked, but shouted down and humiliated for daring to challenge prevailing attitudes. You might even be disciplined for creating a hostile environment amid one of the “safe spaces” that exist on so many of today’s college graduates. These are areas set aside where students are not supposed to be exposed to ideas that might traumatize their delicate little minds.

This is a free country. You can participate in this kind of pseudo-education, and pay megabucks for the privilege. Or you can content yourself with building and fixing things with tools that are immune to ideological persuasion. One more reason to explore the trades.