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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Sep 13, 2020, 12:30 PM

2. universities, hospitals, schools, nursing homes run by corporations; end of the liberal class

Excerpts, Ed:

Unhappily, the university as I knew it no longer exists. Through the decades of Reaganomics and neo-liberal austerity, an elite determination was made that the state should no longer pay for public higher education; henceforth, universities would be funded through personal debt. Tuition to public colleges and universities became a bloated "user fee" for access to a government-affiliated service, like gaining access to a parking lot. Novel arguments gained force: students were just another type of consumer, and "student demand" should determine the content of the curriculum.
programs in the arts and humanities—not just in universities but at all levels of education—had become the primary way in which we were allowed to think about who we are, where we are, how we got here, and what, if anything, we'd like to see changed. In the place of that worthy process, we were left with what David Harvey described succinctly: "The traditional university culture, with its odd sense of community, has been penetrated, disrupted, and reconfigured by raw money power."

In both the public and private sectors, the corporate university has been slowly growing for many years, but it has now become more brazen in its destructive tendencies..The Board of Trustees at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) in Bloomington, Illinois, announced in May of 2020 that it was considering the elimination of many long established programs all of which were in the liberal arts and social sciences..Without the consent of the faculty, the Board sent pre-termination letters to 25 faculty members and instructional staff in philosophy, anthropology, music, foreign languages, sociology, art, and religion — in total, about a quarter of IWU's faculty. A liberal arts university without philosophers is a contradiction in terms, but a Wesleyan university without a department of religion is an exercise in self-mockery. No doubt, IWU will continue to claim that its "primary focus" is in "opening students' minds," but the college of business will have to do most of the opening. "philosophy will support business and accounting, computer science and data science." the department of art will "move more in the direction of art and design," including graphic design and product design. In other words, before the arts can transform students, commerce will first transform the arts.
Andy Warhol saw it coming: art is a can of soup.

After the 2nd WW, there was an enormous investment in public education. For the first time, the children of the working class had an opportunity to study subjects, like literature, that were formerly a privilege for the children of the affluent. We studied the humanities and the social sciences and in so doing found ways to critique and resist corporate culture and all of its murderous inequalities. In the 1960s, universities became best known for their "student protests." The protests may now be in the streets and not on campus, but many of the protestors of the present—marching with Black Lives Matter, or against gender bigotry, or against the world as organized for the benefit of oil companies—got their intellectual chops in universities taking courses like Professor Rundblad's "Sex and Gender in Society" or "Race and Ethnic Relations."

But all this time our masters have been paying attention, and they have seen clearly and correctly: for many, many students, going to college was and remains a liberalizing experience (thus Biden's enormous lead over Trump among college-educated voters). Our plutocrat masters concluded, "So this is what happens when you let the working class and minorities go to college. They study things of no value to us, and they learn to hate us." As a consequence, slowly, decade after decade, universities were starved and students were put in debt. Meanwhile, the wealthy came to the rescue and became university trustees. In these fallen days, the ideal trustee is someone who has money or knows people with money, ideally both. The ultimate benefit of all this for our oligarchs, the 1%, is a new but very powerful form of social regimentation.

Their message to students: "If you want a job, you will study what we want you to study, or else you will live in debt." We could call this naked coercion, but for students it is their first adult taste of American Un-freedom.
1780 Letter: "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." ~ John Adams

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marmar Sep 2020 OP
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