What I learned in Community College

A salvo:  As a returning student in my thirties, I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying the community college experience — it blows my mind that I have the freedom to return to the academic environment and pursue my education in a convenient and cost-effective manner.  Surely this is a testament to the community college system, and for that, I am grateful.

Now that I’ve established my gratitude, I’d like to outline briefly what I’ve learned in my first semester back in school, and solicit the well-educated community that is notesonliberty.com for a bit of guidance.  Hopefully, you fine lot will provide me with some direction and perspective.  I intend to apply to a California school upon completion of my transfer program at the end of the 2014 academic year.

Here is what I’ve learned in a semester at Cabrillo college in Aptos, CA:

GEOG 3, Physical Geography:  Anthropogenic climate change is a fact.  Humanity is a juggernaut exhausting the planet’s resources, polluting, heating and overpopulating the environment.  The planet’s ability to support us is quickly and undoubtedly reaching the breaking point, and the solution is radical and immediate de-industrialization and depopulation.  The fact that industrialized nations and economic development provide innovations that result in efficiency and sustainability, as well as a negative replacement population rate matter not.  Humans must cease to eat anything but primary energy producers (plants), and ‘enact policy’ to curtail fertility by all and any means necessary to save the planet.

CG 65, Leadership:  Democracy is fair and effective.  It is just and fair to allow the tyranny of the majority to compel by force the theft of property from individuals in the form of taxation for the ‘common good’.  The importance of understanding the electorate’s will is secondary at best to mastering the process by which I as an individual can gain power and privilege through the exploitation of the democratic process.  Open manipulation of the will of the masses is the only just means to gain dominance over my neighbors and co-opt their liberty and resources.  Individual ability is meaningless, and it is unethical to use superior individual ability, labor and intellect to succeed, because that would be unfair to the dull-witted and lazy.  Those who have no power or ability have been exploited by individuals with power and ability, which is unethical.  The ethical way to exploit the public is as a group.  Everyone has equal value and ability, and it is wrong to favor individual performance based upon merit.  An individual’s worth is based on their ability to consent to the democratic process, and there are no natural leaders — leadership is a learned skill.

ACCT 151a, Financial Accounting:  All systems of accounting exist solely for the expressed purpose of paying the state.  I am compelled to violate my own right against self-incrimination by ‘voluntarily’ providing the state with a detailed log of all of my economic activity, so that I can ‘voluntarily’ send them a portion of that which I have earned by way of participation in commerce.  I must use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and keep meticulous records, based on a system codified by a medieval Jesuit named Fra. Lucca Paccioli, which he derived from ancient Sumerian systems of accounting and transcribed in the margins of a bible.  Should I participate in commerce in any other manner, or fail to disclose exactly what I’ve done with every dime that passes through my hands, I will be fined or imprisoned.  Corporations (that is, ideas drawn on paper) are people who never die and have rights that supersede the rights of natural people.  This system exists for my benefit…somehow.

SOC 2, Introduction to Sociology:  The ‘sociological imagination’ is a process by which unique individuals are grouped and classified as either privileged or victimized.  Race does not exist biologically, and gender has nothing to do with sex — paradoxically, people of western European ancestry with testicles are inherently evil, unless they are homosexual and socialist.  The laws of the natural, biological world are immoral when applied to society, even though Sociology as a field proposed the theory of Social Darwinism.  Central planning is needed to control the actions of individuals, and a free society is inherently unjust.  Though the ‘sociological imagination’ has given birth to the greatest evils of human society — Totalitarianism, Eugenics, and Human Bondage, sociology is somehow the salvation of human civilization.  The ‘great sociologists’ include Marx, Sanger and Mao — three people responsible for the death of millions.  Enlightenment thinkers and individual liberty is wrong, and Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of slaves somehow invalidates the merit of any concepts he wrote on human liberty.

With all of that being stated — I pose a question to you, the great minds of notesonliberty.com:  To which schools within California shall I apply?  To which programs?  Is there any merit to a college education that has a legitimate basis in Art and Science, or is education within the college system simply a continued exercise in political indoctrination?  I write this in earnest — my thoughts aren’t in the least tongue-in-cheek.  Please, please, please, guide me to quality schools and baccalaureate programs for a libertarian thinker, so that I may not abandon my quest for a degree.

Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi.  You are my only hope.

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9 thoughts on “What I learned in Community College

  1. Welcome back to the world of academic elitism. It sounds as if you got a thorough indoctrination into the shortcomings of our modern universities.

    I dropped out of school the first time at 20, had a busy and productive career (actually several of them) and returned to school at 58, completing my bachelor’s degree at 60 and an MFA in writing at 61. So I am familiar with the world of the non-traditional student who has lived in the real world before confronting the university.

    I’m not familiar with California schools, but I can suggest this to you: eschew state-sponsored universities and look for a smaller school that focuses on liberal arts and that has an engaged faculty and administration (engaged with the students, not just major donors). Look for one that has a good portion of their student base drawn from the ranks of non-traditional students.

    In suggesting you focus on liberal arts, I’m assuming you desire to be educated, not just trained for employment. Look for faculty members who are willing to argue, Socratic-style, with their students. Try to sit in on some classes if you can. Look for a school that demands you get a broad-based education.

    School at 58 was a very different experience than school at 20. I’ve never regretted the effort (even when I was working full-time at a demanding company and enrolled in both an undergrad and graduate program simultaneously–whew!!) or the money spent. It was worth every hour and every dollar.

    Best of luck to you. Illegitimi non carborundum.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Marianne.

      And LA: It’s always a pleasure reading what my fellow Seahawks are up to. I never took any of the classes you mentioned, so I can’t really comment on your experience yet. However, I had a blast in community college (and even got a good education out of it, too). There are a couple of things that I did that I think helped my time in community college be worth the effort.

      First and foremost, I gave myself a two year time frame for community college and a four year time frame for my overall undergraduate education.

      Second, I put my ideology off to the side. When I first enrolled in community college I was still exploring libertarian thought and learning how to think critically, so this wasn’t too hard to do. I was more interested in finding the truth and humping sexy girls than I was in arguing about society. I think this reluctance had a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t really know shit when I got to Cabrillo (hell, I barely knew how to read and write!).

      These two tactics really helped me to enjoy my time in Santa Cruz, and they also helped me to learn. If your basic beliefs about how the world works aren’t being challenged then you ain’t at school (you’re at church).

      If you want to stay within the public university system here in California, and you want to pursue a liberal arts education, you have to go to UCLA, UCSD or Cal in order to be properly educated.

      Everything else is shit, although our co-blogger Matthew is a Philosophy and Literature double major at UCSC and he seems to be doing pretty well for himself, so take my words with a grain of salt. The key to getting a good liberal arts education in the community college system is taking the initiative.

      I took classes that I thought were interesting and that had professors with good reputations (Cabrillo has an abundance of these), which means you have to do your extracurricular homework on your upcoming semesters well in advance. You go to a good school, my friend, but how you approach your educational experience is completely up to you.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bumped into passionate libertarians in college and come away from my interactions with them feeling completely underwhelmed by their bitter intransigence.

      • Here, in no particular order, are some classes I really enjoyed there:

        1. Sociology 9: Global Society with her
        2. History 4BH: Honors Survey of Western Civilization, 1648-present with him
        3. Philosophy 10: Ethics with her
        4. Geography 4: World Regional Geography with him

        If you’ll notice, each of these professors has a PhD except for the last one, who has a joint MA/JD. I know it sounds pretentious, but the education level of your instructor matters a lot in community college.

  2. Note: Due to the vulgarity and immaturity of the following response, I was forced to edit it accordingly (it originally contained three short paragraphs). People are more than welcome to post away here, but adult manners are required. – bc

    [Redacted] I would almost bet money you went into these classes with an ideological checklist in order to hit all your ideological bases so you could go home, [Redacted], and write this blog.

    Community colleges aren’t meant to give you the most advanced and nuanced education available on earth. They’re there to drive home core-concepts. [Redacted]. [Redacted].

    [Redacted].

    • Critic,

      Thank you for the perspective. A few points — Firstly, I’d suggest my comments are intended to illuminate the monolithic paradigm of collectivism (itself a religion) that has worked it’s way into our nations’ educational zeitgeist, rather than a comprehensive exposition of every concept presented in class — indeed, you would be accurate to remark I’ve ‘cherry-picked’ the concepts above out of the total presented curriculum. For instance, anthropomorphic climate change represents a fraction of the total subject material in my Physical Geography course; who’s instructor I like and respect.

      Secondly, I openly acknowledge entering the academic environment with a paradigm well-formulated. Can you imagine a room full of students that are complete blank slates? I posit that all individuals are possessed of a specific paradigm in class or out, and to condemn me and disregard my observation based upon the universal reality that is individual perspective is a bit sophomoric, and hypocritical to boot. What would the opposing viewpoint be? Open-mindedness and empty-headedness are hardly equivalent — and your point betrays the necessity of the need for an environment bereft of challenge needed by the above-condemned agenda to exist in a so-called ‘academic’ environment.

      Finally, I’d simply say the following: I am in pursuit of an open marketplace of ideas as an academic environment. An education consisting solely of my own paradigm would be pure mental masturbation. The entire point of my post was to cite specific examples of that exact principle within the public schools — the academic philosophy in our public schools does not represent a poly-philosophical exploration and presentation of concepts, but rather, a monolithic, anti-intellectual paradigm that does not include in process the requisite open, Socratic, intellectual discussion that is the essence of a classical education. Rather than invite discussion, this process of indoctrination to the socialized agenda of modern public education punishes open inquiry and, due to the obvious fact that it is an agenda, cannot sustain itself through debate and therefore silences and punishes any suggestion of open challenge. I realize my anarchist paradigm represents the polar opposite of this default academic culture. The point of my post was to solicit the input of my fellow libertarian thinkers and attempt to identify an academic environment that represents a truly diverse marketplace of ideas — as a libertarian, I actually believe that ideas should compete in order to display merit.

      In closing, I’d ask which institution you attended, in order to avoid completing my formal education in an environment that generates rude, fowl-mouthed, insipid jackasses lacking any civility or eloquence. If your comments are representative of the quality of your education, I’d rather flip hamburgers than spend a single day in class with students of your caliber. Even if your comments contained actual wisdom, the manner in which you express yourself gives me cause to dismiss your remarks out of hand. Maybe consider finishing school?

      Disappointed,

      L.A. Repucci

  3. A long time ago, more or less in prehistory, I too attended a community college for two years. I had there two or three of the best classes I ever took. The socially mixed student body was a good thing. I learned there hat some plumbers are smarter than some accountants (and than all psychology majors, no exception).

    Of course the level of education of instructors matter. The PhD does not grow on trees. It’s still a quality label of sorts. It does not guarantee genius but it’s a barrier against being taught by room-temperature IQs. More on this if anyone is interested.

  4. I wanted to add to my post the general comment that I’ve received what I consider an excellent education within community colleges in California. Many of my professors have been Doctors and through the honors program at Mt SAC, specifically in the English and Philosophy departments, I’ve been the beneficiary of small classes taught well by smart, accomplished instructors (Dr. Mary Brackenhoff, Andrea Diem, and Paul O’Brien all come happily to mind). No doubt quality instructors exist here at Cabrillo — and my comments in no way are meant to suggest a condemnation of my instructors across the board — rather, they are simply an attempt to make the point that even good teachers are subject to the larger academic whim. Thanks to Brandon for you useful guidance in course selection. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I need specific courses to finish my transfer, I will need to prioritize my schedule and required classes in order to complete my IGETC program. When I was 17 years old at Mt SAC, I elected to take classes that spoke to my interest…and it was wonderful. I am certain if I were in a position to do the same here at Cabrillo, I would find my experience equally fulfilling.

    Grateful,

    LA Repucci

    • Ah, very cool.

      Do you know which discipline you’re going to major in yet? It seems like you’ve got a talent for philosophy, but I can never be too sure. A lot of cool, older students were in my philosophy courses at UCLA (both of them).

      If philosophy is your thing then I’d definitely recommend going to Westwood.

      • Brandon,

        Philosophy has always been a passion of mine — I took several honors-level PHIL classes at Mt SAC and loved every minute! Unfortunately, I can’t imagine a line of work that would correspond with a philosophy degree. I wish the Von Mises Institute offered an accredited degree program. As it stands, I am eyeing conservative schools in California, but may end up supplementing my program with Hillsdale College or something similar. Thank you for the advice.

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