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The Warm Dream of Intellectual Awakening

January 16, 2014

I just read this. I’m not impressed.

The author sells the warm dream of intellectual awakening, but ignores the cold realities of indebtedness and, more importantly, a political climate that has fostered job stagnation.

Apart from that, all three of the following sentences from Andrew Simmons—read in the context of his piece—are flat-out false: “All students should learn that privilege is connected to the pursuit of passions. People are privileged to follow their hearts in life, to spend their time crafting an identity instead of simply surviving. Access to higher education means that your values and interests can govern your choices.”

Privilege does not derive from the pursuit of intellectual passions. The market intervenes.

Privileged people get to follow their hearts and craft an identity instead of surviving. Admission to college does not mean that the matriculant gets to follow her/his heart.

Access to college does not determine if or how you will finish college. Your choices are circumscribed by curricular rules, professor quality, advising, peer pressures, and money.

Indeed, all three of Simmons’ statements underestimate the power of money to affect choices and self-awareness both before and during college. – TL

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