May 7, 2010: At Least I Have a Strong Immune System...
Winston Churchill Liveblogs World War II: May 7, 1940

Note to Self: Stray Thoughts on Some Undergraduate Majors Here at Berkeley that I Do Not Influence at All...

Listening to the graduating students...

Those majoring in peace and conflict studies, development studies, and rhetoric...

It seems, reading through the lines of what they say, that the modal teacher in those programs approaches their educational mission as though they have a dire and urgent need to deprogram young minds that have been enslaved to the harsh market-ueber-alles doctrines of neoliberal capitalism and classical economics.

The problem is that these nineteen year olds are from the upper-middle class of twenty-first century California and are at base do-gooder meritocrats deeply suspicious of large greedy corporations that repeatedly and recurrently try to sell them junk that they don't really need. They have not only not been programmed by the ideologies of neoliberal market capitalism and classical economics, they barely know that they exist at an ideological level.

So their teachers come off, much of the time, as people who look like they are engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand struggle with a vicious antagonist--but one who is not only invisible but who isn't really there--and so they come off as unbalanced themselves...

If you are going to turn every class into a wrestle with the ghosts of Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Robert Nozick, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher, you will look silly unless you first make sure your students know who you are wrestling with, and why your struggle is such a desperate one--why their arguments have force and power...

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