More than three decades of relentless conservative attacks– from both the Democratic and the Republican parties in the U.S.– are starting to bear real fruit in Higher Education. The steady, mindless attacks on collective effort in general and on government in particular– with the sole exception of war– have made the very idea of an educated society almost unthinkable.
The Chronicle of Higher Education calls this a crisis of “confidence” (“Crisis of Confidence Threatens Colleges“) but I think that it’s more accurately called a crisis of imagination and culture. The real violence of conservatism is that it has destroyed our faith in our entitlements, in those things that we have earned together, as a culture and individually. We’ve been robbed of our inheritance.
We live in an affluent society–“the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world“– yet the conservative economic hegemony insists that we cannot sustain our debt, that we cannot fund our schools, and that national health care is out of the question. None of it’s true; it’s simply an ugly lie told to maximize profits, a lite repeated so often it’s come to seem like the truth.