20 December 2012

Perhaps our Youth Would Be Better Off Not Going to College

Sub Tuum.

There has long been a push for America's youth to go to college. It is now seen as a largely essential "ticket punch" to just about any career. Yet the harm done to the students at universities and by extension to society as a whole is such that either the university system needs to be changed drastically or people would be better off not going in the first place. It might surprise some to hear me say this. After all, I went to college and was even a college professor. Yet, I am a Christian first. If more people at universities would be Christians first and academics second, perhaps we wouldn't be in this dilemma. 

Let's consider some statistics about American university faculties. According to the Washington Post, 72% of professors in America self-identify as being liberal. At elite schools, that climbs to 87%. On church attendance, over half do not attend regularly or at all. 84% are in favor of abortion rights. Two-thirds consider homosexuality to be acceptable. 65% think the government should ensure full employment, despite the economic problems with doing so. Yes indeed, college professors are a liberal lot. 

I'm reminded of the many conversations I had with fellow professors who were in favor of socialism, of abortion, of homosexual marriage, and of just about every other thing in the world except, of course, the rights of conservatives to their points of view or of traditional Catholics to the practice and promotion of our faith. Sometimes it truly felt like I was talking to a brick wall, but then perhaps they felt the same way. 

As an undergraduate student at Georgia Tech, I saw the so-called "free speech zone" not be so free, but in reality be skewed highly towards liberal thought. The most offensive things to good and decent people could be written on the sidewalk in front of the student center or even displayed on the walls in the student center, and complaints were met with rhetoric that claimed it was all in the name of free speech and open-mindedness. Yet, anything that offended the liberals was immediately removed. It wasn't so free, after all. 

It isn't difficult to imagine that eventually school pressure and peer pressure work on the students to change their behavior towards the liberal, and even often their innermost beliefs. It takes a tremendous amount of moral courage to stand up in the face of such an onslaught of immorality. Many good young people have been corrupted at the hands of their professors and of the schools. But, while college football reigns supreme, perhaps nothing will be done about the situation within the school walls. The people cheer the game while the students descend into moral sloth more and more every day. 

We send our young people to college because we want them to have a better life. That is a worthy thing. The trouble is that we equate a better life only with financial well-being and career success. Those are fine things, but cannot be our focus. What does it profit our young if they go to college and get a good job, but they lose their souls in the process? It is any wonder that so many college graduates support abortion, homosexual marriage, pre-marital co-habitation, and more? Is it any wonder that we have lately been suffering such a moral crisis in America? This was one of the root causes of the financial crisis, so don't think for a minute that morality has nothing to do with career and financial success! 

So what are we to do? First, let's make high school mean something again. Let's make it so that people can get good jobs and even have a good career doing something fulfilling and meaningful with a high school diploma. Not everyone was made for books. Now, for those we send to college, consider not only the educational in their field of study, but also the environment that they will be in morally. Will they be spiritually uplifted at the school? Will they be morally edified? If not, leave and don't go back. There are schools like this in America. Exercise judgment and find them. Leave the professors who profess liberalism with no one left to teach.

+ Rutherford Cardinal Johnson