David Brooks’ essay about student radicalism (CDT, 5/31) — based on an article by Nathan Heller in the New Yorker about the roots of student activism at Oberlin College — provides some insightful analysis about the tension between the meritocratic achievement culture and identity politics.
However, Brooks’ recommendation for change is nothing but dreamy and unrealistic: “If we slowed down the frenetic pace of competition and helped students think about vocation,” etc., etc. Huh?
Of course students should think about vocation, but most understand the need to do that, given the lofty cost of a higher education and the uber-competitive world beyond college.
The idea of trying to foster a less demanding university environment ignores human nature and would serve neither the interests of the students being prepared for life after graduation nor those paying the tuition bills.
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Jim Sorensen, Boalsburg