School Dazed

Over the past few weeks, the news that young men are rapidly heading toward being a superminority – 1/3 of the population – at America’s colleges and universities has seemed to come as a surprise to the bits and pieces of the media that have reported on it at all – like, for instance, this piece in The Atlantic,

Of course, this has been anticipated literally for decades. I first read the prediction in 2000, in Christina Hoff-Summers’ The War on Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Young Men

And it’s been a significant subject on this blog since the beginning, no less than when I spent quite a bit of time wrestling with modern education’s treatment of boys, most notably my son and stepson. . The Atlantic piece all but dismisses the notion that modern adademia (and its product and farm club, K-12 education) pathologizes boyhood, and that systematic discrimination sours boys on education even before modern post-secondary academia takes over and treats “maleness” like a mental illness. I think the article is wrong, and I’d welcome a serious, frank (read “no holds barred”) debate on the subject.

But I come here not to recap views of the disease, about which I have few doubts, but to ask questions about the treatment.

Boys are opting out of school – post-secondary education, in this case, but it applies across non-vocational higher education and non-engineering and hard-science spaces (which continue to be fairly male-dominated, despite decades of effort) . And it’s causing…

…well, “concern” may be an overstatement.

My pullquote from the Atlantic piece:

The implications of the college gender gap for individual men are troubling but uncertain. “My biggest immediate worry is that men are making the wrong decision,” Goldin said. “I worry they’ll come to severely regret their choice if they realize the best jobs require a degree they never got.” There is also the issue of dating. College grads typically marry college grads. But this trend of associative mating will hit some turbulence, at least among heterosexual people; if present trends continue, the dating pool of college grads could include two women for every guy. As women spend more time in school and their male peers dwindle as a share of the college population, further delays in marriage and childbirth may ensue. That would further reduce U.S. fertility rates, which worries some commentators, albeit not all.


I not only went to college, I got a BA in English. And, perhaps unexpectedly given the state of modern higher ed, I went in a fairly “progressive” but not very well-read Democrat, and came out four years later a Reagan conservative – because of my English major adviser.

I’m sure he’d have been cashiered from academia, or at least the humanities academy, these days.

I got, in short, the sort of humanities education that today trips a whole lot of social and political triggers, but set me up for not only the life I have today but system of beliefs by which I live (and about which I write on this blog and talk on my radio show) pretty darn well, conservatism and all.

Of course, higher ed has changed a lot in the past 35 years. The academy, which tended to lean left when I was in college, has toppled over to the left today. Conservative thought is not only scarce, in some cases it is actively hunted down, intellectually speaking (so far).

A Pox?

The response from a lot of my conservative and libertarian friends has been along the lines of “Good! Get our young guys to go to tech school or do apprenticeships and become mechanics and plumbers and HVAC techs!”

There’s a practical side to that; the modern secondary education seems to consider high school grads who don’t go to college as defeats, personal slights to them as teachers. But, obviously, not everyone wants, or is suited, to be a teacher, an administrator, a professional. Destigmatizing the trades would be a wonderful thing.

But there’s a social and political side as well; some say it’s high time for young conservatives to secede from academia, go into the trades. A pox on the whole house of academia.

I get it.

But thinking back on 17 year old me? The closest thing I had to an interest in the trades was working in radio, which I’d most definitely learned on the job (then as now) – and which, to be fair, turned out to be a career, albeit not a lucrative one. Beyond that? 17 year old Mitch, just as *&^% year old Mitch, lived in his head, not with his hands, for better or worse. Even with hindsight, I can’t think of a trade I would have been happy with. (Happy with learning to a basic level of competence is another story; I’d love to have retained some of the electricity or carpentry knowledge I picked up along the way, but that’s purely avocational, not a career goal).

But it was a moot point, because when I was 17, college was not only moderately affordable, it was presented as a place to learn the tools to think critically about the smorgasbord of ideas pelting one about one’s head.

And the first 13 years of school hadn’t beaten all love of learning out of most of us guys.

Eating The Seed Corn

So I completely support destigmatizing the vocational education track.

And I understand the impetus to chuck the whole thing.

But as the masculine half of this nation’s collective brain gets pushed out of the “Brain” half of this nation’s public life, what does it get replaced with?

The feminine half?

Forget for a moment that it’s a “Feminine” half trained by, well, modern academia, with all of its current adjectives (post-structural, proto-Marxist, anti-Western-Civilization, and I could probably go on from there). Leave that out of it completely for a moment.

What happens to a nation that cedes its public intellectual life entirely to its feminine half?

Men and women lead differently, process threats and stress differently, appraise situations very differently.

And that difference can be a good thing.

But what happens when the doors that do get opened to college grads – the thinking, rather than doing jobs – have nothing but women going through them?

It’s been de rigeur since the late seventies to reflexively bark “a society and world run by women would be perfect! No war, no hunger – it’d be like having Mom run everything!”

Which, like all “progressive” fever dreams, is reductionist baked wind. A society whose entire intellectual direction is run by women – especially a society which has become as centralized, bureaucratized, credentialized and driven by increasingly stratified institutions as ours is becoming – would have different dysfunctions than a completely masculine society, but dysfunctional it would remain.

And beyond that – quick: someone show me a matriarchal society throughout all of human history that has survived prolonged conflict with an aggressive patriarchal one? History bids us to look at sub-Saharan Africa, where indigenous culture is highly matriarchal…

…and was easily steamrollered by the aggressive, patriarchal, militaristic Bantu, Swahili, and other masculine mega-tribes.

Families, across all of society, need male and female influences to thrive and survive.

So do the societies themselves.

And we’ve known for a generation, now, that we’re slowly losing that, on an intellectual level. Some of the dumber among us are celebrating it.

It’s going to be a big problem in the future.

27 thoughts on “School Dazed

  1. Ha! So the elitist pricks trying to ruin the country, are panicking, because they are realizing that there might not be any serfs to fix their busted windmills and solar farms.

  2. Good post and I agree that not everyone can be a vo-tech guy, at least in the traditional sense (plumber, electrician, mechanic…).

    However, this line, But what happens when the doors that do get opened to college grads – the thinking, rather than doing jobs is wrong. And women who bought into the feminism BS are experiencing this, if not learning it. And that is, *all* real jobs are “doing jobs”, some just require more or different thinking than the others.

    So many women (and college educated guys for that matter) bought into the line about how it doesn’t matter what college degree you have as long as you have one. To sit in a cubicle. Shuffling papers. Going to meetings. Dreaming up rules and restrictions. Applying for exemptions and grants. Sucking up to the boss(ette). Gossiping with co-workers… sheesh, this is what feminism hath wrought? If you can’t read between the lines, the true growth industry amongst women (and their useless male-ish cohorts) is administration – government, academia, or private. The graphs are out there: look at the growth of administrative jobs in the past 50 years.

    While I’m pleasantly amused by the notion that the 19th Amendment is the source of all evil, I would really have to say that it’s feminism.

  3. The thing that bothers me even more than the increased feminization of the academy is the high increase of disassociation the academy has from reality. To wit, VP Harris’ interaction with the student that was claiming that the Iron Dome system was enabling genocide.

    Any sane person would have taken her aside, explained what Iron Dome actually is and what it protects Israel from, and shown her that if the Israelis wanted to commit genocide against the Palestinians, that certainly lay within their capabilities–but that it’s not happening.

    VP Harris, however, “acknowledged her truth” and didn’t pick that fight. OK, if the VP of the country won’t confront obvious BS, what hope does that poor student have to learn the truth?

    Maybe it’s got something to do with feminization in general (I’m not sure), or perhaps more specifically how the academy is being feminized, but we’re in sad shape if we get to a point where the truth becomes unspeakable.

  4. Before everyone gets their undies in a bunch, let’s contemplate three questions:

    With all due respect to Mitch’s English degree.

    1) What is the ratio of male/female in areas other than liberal arts?

    2) What is the ratio of students graduating from liberal arts who make more than the national average?

    3) What are the job prospects for a Lesbian Dance major?

  5. When women take over the world, there will be nobody willing to maintain the water works, the sewer lines, the power plant. Women are smart enough to learn the tasks, but they’re not willing to do the work, which is why there are so few women in the brutal jobs despite half-a-century of affirmative action trying to recruit them.

    We’ll all be living in caves, crapping in holes in the ground, drinking water from the river, but it will be acceptable because it will be FAIR. We may not have much, but at least that B(*&^ Suzy doesn’t have more than we do. So we’re happy.

  6. I think Mitch is talking about matrilinear societies, not matriarchial societies.
    There have been no matriarchial societies. Nowhere, no when. The men are always in charge.
    The men are in charge because they are bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than women are.

  7. Women tend to marry up. With the marrigable men disappearing from colleges, there will be increased female competition for the few eligible single men.
    The future is not one where men do all the menial work and have female bosses. There is a lot of menial work done by lower educated women. They don’t dig ditches, the clean houses or take care of other people’s children.
    If this goes on, the future in the US will be fewer men in lower management. Men will still dominate middle and upper management.

  8. Forget grade inflation. With the pool of suitable candidates dwindling, the competition to win an MRS degree is going to be ‘intense.’

  9. Speaking of the feminization of everything, I remember JD’s comment a couple months ago about an amateur pilot magazine he subscribes to. It used to have technical articles, airplane reviews, etc. A woman became editor and now it talks about advancing women in the aviation industry, female pilot fashion, etc. Car and Driver magazine, to which I have been a fauthful subscriber for the past 35 years (but not a faithful reader….I have a 4″ tall stack of unread C&Ds) brought on their first female lead editor in the summer of 2019. As I work my way thru that stack, I’ll be closely watching to see if, in which direction, and how far, the magazine’s content and tone has shifted. I do know from their current FB postings and email digests, they are cheering on EVs with a tone of inevitability. They haven’t yet stated that fossil fuel vehicles should be ended (along with the hundreds of billions of dollars of industry of cars, trucks and the industries that support them), but they’re not very far away. They do still enthusiastically report on sporty/sports/super/hypercars in the actual magazines. For a 2 year stretch, roughly75% of their cover photo cars were either the Corvette or the various Mustang GT/Shelby variations. They do negatively remark on things like huge V8 engines getting bad gas mileage, but they’ve been doing that for 20+ years, and it’s just a tradeoff for the benefits of those engines.

  10. Bubba, given that I’m presently preparing to be unemployed for the foreseeable future , thanks to Joe Biden, I hope you’ll understand my lack of outrage at the slowing of gibs to Israel, or anyone else.

  11. Twat — don’t be ridiculous. It’s not unusual for a business to set its own workplace policies. If employees don’t want to work there, they can take themselves somewhere else.

  12. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 09.30.21 : The Other McCain

  13. It’s not unusual for a business to set its own workplace policies. If employees don’t want to work there, they can take themselves somewhere else.

    Now businesses may require female employees to go topless. There is no escape from Emery’s bear-trap of legal reasoning!

  14. Swiftee, no doubt we can debate the propriety of funding Iron Dome for Israel. My personal take is that we ought to cut aid to the PLO, which will greatly reduce the need for Iron Dome, and save a whole bunch of money.

    My objection to the VP is on another level; that instead of pointing out the real nature of the funding and the conflict, she “acknowledged the student’s truth”, which was pure BS. And that’s scary–it means that the VP, with all her authority, didn’t feel ashamed to do that.

  15. Israel has a GDP of $440 billion, why exactly are we giving them military welfare funds?

    I think it’s probably best to frame opposition to paying for Israel’s weapons systems like this: Israel is a welfare state with free healthcare and nearly free university education. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay the full cost of their own defense.

  16. Really good piece, Mitch. As a fellow English major from a liberal arts school, I saw the shift starting to happen, but things have deteriorated since then.

  17. I don’t know what to make from Emery’s 9:57 “Old Man Yells at Clouds” comment.

  18. Woolly is pivoting from boldly predicting that vaccine mandates will never work — to sullenly complaining that they do.

  19. On September 9, the day that Biden issued his vaccine mandate, the CDC reports that that 806,410 doses of the covid vaccine were administered.
    The daily vax count has been dropping since Biden issued his mandate. The latest good data is from September 25th. On that day 595,916 doses of the covid-19 vax were administered.
    Some people support there arguments with anecdotes. I give data, and link to reliable sources:

  20. I don’t have any idea what Emery is talking about in his 1:20. I never argued that mandates wouldn’t work (you would first have to define what you meant by “work”).
    Also I have never complained, sullenly or otherwise, that mandates “work,” because once again we have not defined what a working mandate would look like.
    And on top of that, Biden’s mandate through OSHA has not yet been implemented.
    Covid cases and hospitalizations peaked at the end of August, more than a week before Biden his mandate:
    So Emery is “old man yelling at clouds” again.

  21. Woolly’s latest pivot is “the numbers are declining, see we didn’t need mandates”.

  22. Uh . . . no.
    I am countering your anecdotal claim that the mandate is driving people to become vaccinated with CDC data showing that the number of vaccinations given daily has declined significantly by about 25% since Biden announced his mandate. Why this is, I don’t know, but it makes your claim that Biden’s mandate (which has not yet been implemented) is increasing the numbers of people who are getting vaccinated.
    You seem to think that the mandate “is working.”
    What are your metrics?

  23. What you would see if Biden’s mandate was working, or if state level mandates were working, is that on the date of the implementation of the mandate, the number of vaccinations would began to increase, or there would be a t least SOME significant change in the numbers of vaccines administered. The vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective at keeping people from being admitted to the hospital, so about two weeks after an increase in the daily vax rate, you should expect to see a decrease in covid-linked hospital admissions.
    Neither of these two thins have happened. Biden’s mandate has not increased the daily number of vaxxes, and the number of vaxxed people does not correlate with the number of people admitted to the hospital with covid.
    So If Emery has some way of demonstrating that covid mandates == less covid admissions to hospitals, I wish he would share it, cuz I can’t see it. It is not in the data.

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