Aug 27, 2016
There must be a new degree program at university called The Insanities, and it must be the most popular major nationwide.
The curriculum must include striving for ignorance in history, economics, and psychology. And yet, at once, feeling as if you have all the solutions to the world’s woes because you are not only more caring and sophisticated than all those currently on the other side of any issue, but also far more compassionate than those who came before you.
The Insanities teach that if only you were alive hundreds of years ago, everything today would be nearing utopia merely because somehow you would have seen through the evils of slavery and imperialism. Of course, it assumes you would have been visionary enough to not be indoctrinated that such things were acceptable. You are taught that you would have been the good Southerner, though your parents and friends and neighbors were rabid racists. You are taught you would not have been sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic though nearly everyone around you were the embodiment of those things.
You are taught that you could have ended World War II without nuclear weapons. You are taught that if you were Columbus you would have promptly turned around and left the continent to the Natives. You are taught that you would have never been greedy. You are taught that you would have handled the specter of Communism in a much more humane way; in fact, you may have even brought Communism here and made it work.
Today you are taught, that if only you were in power Islamic radicals would let us live in peace and surely like us more. No matter what the historical or present evil is, a mysterious and retrograde “they” are the problem and you would be the solution.
You are taught that, by the special application or avoidance of certain English words or phrases, that multitudes in the Arab world – who do not speak a syllable of English – will somehow come to appreciate us more.
You are taught to caste spells. For instance, by labeling an attack a “man made disaster” it magically is no longer Islamic terrorism. Or likewise, a terror attack at a job is “workplace violence.”
You are taught that not only is the KKK a white supremacy group, but that all whites are white supremacists too even if they have not a single cell of racism in them. More yet, you are taught that society is oddly a white supremacist as well.
You are instructed that great art and writing is very much correlated with the author’s skin color, sexual orientation, gender, and political views regardless of the quality of their ideas, brushstroke, chisel work, sentences, or story.
This scholastic program must ordain that all students receive their news from watching shows on Comedy Central, and to read only the “clickbait” headlines of stories. Making certain only facts favorable to one’s weltanschauung are learned is crucial for completion of this education track. The program makes certain that their graduates are as bias as those who only listen to talk radio.
Another goal must be to be devoid of humor, and to be nearly unemployable. To be extravagantly lazy and to feel entitled to short work weeks, long lunch breaks, and even longer vacations. Every person I meet who has achieved this degree, after about two challenging work weeks, invariably says, “I just need to get away for a while. I deserve a vacation.”
Recently, I was in a rather hot conversation over police shootings of African Americans – the best 2015 statistics for the number of blacks killed by police was around 40. The person – a recent college grad with a BA in The Insanities – argued that that was a “made up stat.” (Never mind that it came from the liberal Washington Post.) That the real number was clearly “more like 1,000.” Thus, in this degree, if facts don’t fit, you are taught to dismiss them or fabricate new ones up or finagle the current stats until you get what you want.
To understand the other side of an argument, it is required that students merely watch someone on their side rip the opponent. Hence, Michael Moore can tell you everything you need to know about George Bush and the Iraq War, John Oliver about the Republican Party, and Trevor Noah about racism in America. If you disagree with someone, you are taught to assume the very most demonic thing about that person is the reason they oppose you and your ideas. If they like to have guns in their home, it is because they don’t care about dead children in mass shootings (cf. Ben Shapiro).
This program must also instruct you to place relatively minor issues above major issues: Manspreading over honor killings, police shootings over gang slayings, and Christian creationism over ISIS genocidism. You are taught to ignore the ferocious progress the West has made in terms of the rights of women, homosexuals, blacks, Asians, children, the press, workers, and so on. You must act as if a little lagging in certain areas for certain groups is an all-out war of oppression against those groups. You are taught to treat 2016 as if it is the terrible year of 1956.
You must ignore the technological boon America and the West has given the world and instead focus on the gifts (many of which are extremely insignificant) other cultures bequeathed the world often centuries ago. Westerners invent the computer, but on a college campus it seems to be more important to learn that Muslims did many super things during their Golden Age. (This is not to say the Islamic Golden Age is unimportant – not at all – but it is to say those things look rather miniature next to the recent, gargantuan inventions of the Occident).
It also teaches you to attack anything that is powerful or successful, such as Wal-Mart. You are taught you must always be out to discredit or kill anything that has immensely helped society – nothing successful can actually be good. You must also look down on all forms of old-fashioned masculine energy – whether the UFC, NFL, or boxing.
You are taught to believe in unreal things like a “War on Women” in the Western world, or a ubiquitous gender pay gap. You are taught to have a 1984 Inner-Party obsession with language. You are taught not to be eloquent with your tongue, but to have those weird rabbit ears for any phrase that may be even slightly offensive. A person majoring in the Insanities recently yelled at me for using the phrase “hard work,” because she said, “Only slaves really know what hard work was.” (I later learned she got this idea from a CNN television host).
You are taught that God has been mostly proven not to exist, that religion is for low-IQ fools unlike yourself. You are informed that to merely yell, “That’s science!” ends all debate.
You are taught there is no action by America or Europe that could have ever been non-malicious. Not the Korean War, not the Balkans, not Afghanistan in the 1980s – somehow America was behaving sinisterly and incompetently – and you will bring up U.S. sins every time you can. You are taught that capitalism is repugnant. You are taught to love America by hating America. You are taught to believe in unity, but to hate about 50% of your conservative co-nationals.
You are made to read books that reinforce insane beliefs, such as Catch-22, or Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, or Confessions of an Economic Hitman. You will learn nothing of American heroism on the battlefield, but will learn much about Abu Ghraib, Mai Lai, Japanese Internment Camps, and Gitmo.
You are taught to believe in total free speech and be a free-thinker, except for the speech you are told to disagree with.
In sum, The Insanities major is what great philosophers of antiquity feared: that Sophists, who make meaningless arguments seem ultra-meaningful and weaker arguments appear stronger, would corrupt the minds of the youth, that is, make them insane. The core mission of The Insanities is to flip truth and falsehood, to relativize good and bad, and to create a group of students who are cerebrally incapable of noticing how magnificent – though in no way perfect – the Western World is and hopefully continues to become. I guess the good news for them is, being insane – even if it doesn’t pay well – can make you quite popular among a growing number of Americans.