Multiculturalism and intellectual failure in the United States
A conservative—I had better say, paleoconservative—acquaintance of mine is fond of saying that the two body blows against the USA in the past half century were, first, the 1965 Immigration Act, which fired up the odious doctrine of multiculturalism, and second, the Griggs v. Duke Power decision of 1971.
The second of those is of course much less well known than the first. It essentially rules that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act forbids employers giving aptitude tests to prospective hires. In other words, it forbids an employer from trying to find out how smart you are before hiring you.
The result is, that employers need a proxy for smarts. The obvious proxy is a college degree. Our colleges and universities have therefore become credentialing institutions, whose purpose is to stamp a person as suitable for middle-class employment. The actual content of college courses has degraded accordingly. What does content matter? An employer just wants to know how smart you are. You graduated from a decent college? Fine, you’re smart, you can start Monday. The fact that you accumulated your college credits from courses like Queer Approaches to Literature, or Women’s Studies, or anything beginning with “Representations of...,” is neither here nor there.
The consequences can be seen in our universities. Tom Wolfe’s 2004 novel I Am Charlotte Simmons is a good introduction to current American university life. After I had read that book I went around saying that surely Tom had exaggerating a lot there. No, people assured me—including people actually working and studying at universities—no, that’s pretty much what it’s like.
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