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On “G-d and Man and Sex (!) on Campus: Moral Relativism Goes to College, An Historical Perspective, Part I

There has always been a strong conformist strain in American society besides all our talk about individual. Before the upheavals of the 1950s, nearly everybody was expected to conform to Anglo-Protestant ideas of behavior with little or no tolerance for those who deviate from it. For all our talk about Free Speech and freedom of religion, American society hasn't dealt well with people on the far left or atheists until very recently.

I think you could also make an argument that American society was more upset at the student radicalism of the 1960s than European society was. In Europe, it was naturally assumed that university students would have a radical and experimental phase before going up. In the United States, since university education was more widespread since the get-go, this was not tolerated. College life was supposed to be about getting polished for working for daddy or getting married or building a career. The student radicalism of the 1960s was an unprecedented event in American life. The Europeans expected it a bit more.

On “Not Your Typical Admissions Letter

I was applying to go to college in the late 1990s and the competition didn't seem so intense then even for the elite schools like Harvard or Yale. Does anybody have any idea why the arms race for the elite colleges increased so much in such a short time?


I think your second paragraph describes the problem with American higher education really well. The number of qualified students for elite institutions rose exponentially since the end of WWII while the number of elite institutions remained constants. There are plenty of near elite colleges and universities that are just as good but they don't have the cachet of the elite ones. Students, rightly or wrongly, view it as hurting their job prospects. The rise of the internship as a prerequisite for a good job in many places makes things worse.

On “Yes, But Which Arts?

Camus would be another good choice for philosophical literature.

On “Why Are You Even Thinking About This? (Law School, Part 1)

Every lawyer who practices what I call "real people" law like matrimony, immigration, and criminal defense thinks that they also act as psychologists and social workers in addition to being an advocate. There were times I literally had to hold client's hands and walk them back to the office after things didn't go so well for them.

On “Yes, But Which Arts?

I'd actually avoid philosophy in creating a liberal arts education. I loved reading philosophy in high school and college but a lot of people are going to find it to be naval gazing. A safer bet would be to replace philosophy with literature. Literature touches a lot on the human condition like philosophy, although it doesn't ask all of the same questions, but the narrative format of much literature would make it more captivating for students. Literature should be added regardless of whether philosophy is taught or not. I'd focus on relatively short works that ask a lot of deep questions like the works of Hesse plus the foundational stuff.

On “Sign Language

Kiryas Joel is inhabited by a particular group of Ultra-Orthodox Jews called the Satmar, after the place in Romania that they originated, Satu Mare. I live in their Brooklyn neighborhood. Kiryas Joel is a utopian, isolated community that they built so they could live their life style while limiting the influence of modernity. Ultra-Orthodox Judaism operates on the assumption that modernity and Jewishness are incompatible and if the ghetto was torn down than Jews should maintain it anyway.

The Satmar Hasidim are particular passionate about this idea, more so than other Ultra-Orthodox Jews. They aren't what you would call respected or liked in the Jewish community even among other Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

On “The Liberal Arts and Humanities, Law School, and Careers for the Somewhat Unpractical Student

Before the explosion in business schools and business education, lots of liberal arts people had great careers in business because they could write among other things.


American society never looked favorably at youthful experimentation much either. In Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere it was expected that people in universities would have a flirtation with radicalism and Bohemianism. I think since American colleges were mass phenomena much earlier, even in the 19th century university education was more common in the United States than elsewhere, American university education was more about careers than experimentation.


That's a bit of a shame because doing a semester or year abroad is a wonderful experience. My medieval history professor was a great advocate of the junior year abroad with Mickey Mouse classes as a life experience.

On “Ten College Admission Myths

I'd say that any accredited school near a major metropolitan area is going to give you a quality education. The school might not be "elite" but the desirability of the area makes it a really attractive choice for potential professors.


Point taken, we till them that if they don't go to an elite school than their job prospects are hurt because they can't get connections and the employers want and demand elite schools for the best or even the next-best jobs.


Qualified students who didn't quite make it into the elite schools might think going to a state or "non-elite" private is a bit of a failure. They might think they won't get a good as an education or that it might hurt their job practice.


The best way to make college admissions sane again is to try to find to make it purely academic again. We probably can't use entrance exams like they do in other countries because its simply not practical for a host of reasons. What needs to be done is to find away to decrease the importance of extra-curriculars and activities outside of school and make it more about the GPA, SAT scores, and AP exam results.

The problem is that there are too many elite students and not enough elite institutions at the Ivy or almost as good as an Ivy level. All the elite institutions are probably wealthy enough to expand in size so more students could attend but they can't be force to do so and its not in their interest to do so, they wouldn't be as elite then. Qualified students do not want to settle for state universities and non-elite private ones. The other problem is that sports are always going to matter because of college football and basketball are big money earners.

On “Safety, at what price?

It didn't work this way in the 19th century, I'm not sure why it would work this way know

On “Timing, Part 2

Kazzy, I meant that purchasing healthcare isn't like buying a furniture in the sense that when people need healthcare, its often an emergency and not something they could take their time with because they want to start cancer treatment ASAP or the bone needs to be fixed right now, that most people lack the knowledge to know what the best treatment for their illness is or the resources to research this in the same way you research computers, and that very few people are in a place to enter into any sort of negotiation with their providers on price.


The other reason is that it's hard for an individual to approach healthcare with the same patience and research as buying furniture or other consumer goods.


I've never had a problem at the DMV.


Yeah but I'm sure emitters would like their emotes to be able to contact their health insurance companies on weekends so they don't do it during office hours or have to take time off from work.

On “Trade Sequence Part 5 – The Rich Man’s Burden

I don't think honey fits into the mass luxury category, the same way that tobacco, sugar, and coffee do. First, the Middle Ages are not the Early Modern Period, which starts in the mid-1600s about the time period of the English Civil War or at earliest during James I reign. Honey was different because it wasn't really a luxury good. It wasn't exotic or that expensive compared to the other three goods at any time. It was also a lot easier to produce in Europe. Honey was always an everyday sort of good.

Tobacco, sugar, coffee, and tea were mass luxury goods because they were exotic, started off very expensive and out of the reach of most people but became relatively affordable fast. They were produced in a somewhat industrial manner for agricultural goods if you see the plantation as a sort of agricultural factory. There weren't any honey plantations, it was just grown with other crops on the farm.

On “Timing, Part 2

Medical insurance companies make money by being inconvenient to their customers. Its so they could avoid or at least delay payment. Thats why medical insurance should either be heavily regulated by the state or operated by the state. Healthcare is an area where socialist theory works.

On “Here I Am

Thats what you get from non-careful reading. I seriously doubt that even if all the predictions come true in twenty years that we'll see a rise in secessionist feeling in the Western states. These things take a long time to build and we don't even have any rumblings.


Doesn't this argument have a major flaw that most people in the Western states do not want to succeed from the Union?

On “Trade Sequence Part 5 – The Rich Man’s Burden

Slave trading was a big business and it was used to supprot some of the earliest mass luxury goods in early modern society, tobacco, sugar, and coffee. You could make a lot of money by provinding tobacco, sugar, and coffee to people. Slavery was especially important to sugar because very few people would willingly work on sugar plantation even for high wages since sugar production is really unpleseant work. Slavery and untouchability were the traditional ways societies dealt with necessary work that nobody wanted to do.

The codification of slavery were usually attempts to mitigate the harshness of slavery. France's Code Noir was an improvement over what existed beforehand. A badly implemented improvement but still an improvement.

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