Thursday, February 2, 2017

Left Versus Right or Rich Versus Poor?

Last night a conservative, gay speaker name Milo Yiannopoulos was prohibited from speaking at U.C. Berkley by rioters. This is ironic in that Berkley was the home of the free speech movement in the 1960s. It is also ironic in that many, if not most of the protestors, would tell you that the internet should be free and not have speech restricted.

Many will assume that the protestors are just a bunch of crazy Californian liberals; but, that would be a mistake. In fact, the U.C. campuses have been increasing the number of out of state students for years in order to increase revenue as in state people pay less. The cost to attend Berkley for non residents is about $60,000 a year, the cost for residents is about $23,000 a year according to their website. The average household income is about $50,000. So, how many families can afford to send their kid to UC Berkley, not too many. It is way beyond the reach of most middle class families and is getting even more remote.

Lets consider the reality of a college education for the middle class. Well, to begin with if they take out loans they could end up with a quarter of a million in debt and the opportunity to make eight dollars an hour. The higher education system is a business anymore, it is about branding and selling. It is a privilege which is very much limited to the children of the well to do and the colleges sell them on the idea of a good time. College is no longer as strenuous or difficult as it once was and the focus of classes has moved from business and science to social issues. As it becomes harder and harder for middle class families to send their children to college, the colleges themselves become populated more and more by the privileged and those children become less and less exposed to the middle class.

The people protesting at Berkley and now worried about manufacturing or farming jobs in the United States, they are much more likely to be interested in starting or working for internet companies. We are creating an America of two classes which are completely removed from one another and that is dangerous in many ways. What are the shared interests? Can we find common ground when there is no shared interests? The truth is that Americans attending UC Berkley have more in common with students who go their from other countries whose families are well off than they do with the middle class in most of this country and certainly than with those in the Midwest.

What we are witnessing is the effects of the technological revolution in the same way that the industrial revolution split this country into different classes with different interests. Look beyond the simple left right paradigm and look at the class paradigm or you will not understand what is going on.

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