The 2020 Dems

The two Democratic presidential debates were performed against a broad background of consecrated untruths and the debates gave them new life. Mostly, I don’t use the word “lies” because pseudo-facts eventually become facts in the mind of those who hear them repeated many times. And, to lie, you have to know that what you are saying isn’t true. Also, it seems to me that most of the candidates are more like my B- undergraduates than like A students. They lack the criticality to separate the superficially plausible from the true. Or, they don’t care.

So, it’s hard to tell who really believes the untruths below and who just let’s them pass for a variety of reasons, none of which speaks well of their intellectual integrity. There are also some down-and-out lies that none of the candidates has denounced, even ever so softly. Here is a medley of untruths.

Untruths and lies

I begin with a theme that’s not obviously an untruth, just very questionable. Economic inequality is rising in America or, (alt.) it has reached a new high point. I could easily use official data to demonstrate either. I could also – I am confident – use official figures to show that it’s shrinking or at a new low. Why do we care anyway? There may be good reasons. The Dems should give them. Otherwise, it’s the same old politics of envy. Boring!

Women need equal pay for equal work finally. But it’s been the law of the land for about forty years. Any company that does not obey that particular law is asking for a vast class action suit. Where are the class action suits?

What do you call a “half-truth” that’s only 10% true? Continue reading

More on the trap of college debt

I’m writing this short note to point to John Elliott’s article about how student debt is changing the American family. He has mentored young students at both the Institute for Humane Studies and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

The article at times seems to play the idea of going to college against starting a family as two incompatible choices.

Some time ago, though, I wrote a piece on how to avoid student debt, get a degree and even focus on more important things such as work and family.

The article was published here, but as a summary I’m pasting below the “cheap college tips” again:

1. Do well enough at school to get a substantive merit-based scholarship

2. Don’t count on athletics scholarships

3. Start at a community college and transfer

4. Try distance learning at a fraction of the cost

5. Go to a local college and stay with your parents

6. Do your college abroad through distance learning

7. Move abroad and pay much less tuition

8. If abroad, you can still study for a while in America through student exchange

9. Do credit-awarding exams to cut corners – and costs

10. Do French and German for reading (this will save you time and money at Graduate School)