I’m in the process of reading Michael Lee Lanning’s “Inside the LRRPs – Rangers in Vietnam”. It’s a good book, and nestled in the middle of Chapter 6: The Men With Painted Faces, where he discusses how LRRPs recruited their men and officers, is this quote:
While colleges and universities were a prime source of officers for all of the services, they also were a haven for those more interested in maintaining their draft-exempt status than in education itself. The length of the Vietnam War and this draft loophole produced America’s most-educated generation, as students stayed in college past undergraduate level to earn masters, doctorates, law degrees, or anything to remain deferred until the magical age of twenty-six, when a young man was no longer draft eligible.
It’s stated so succinctly that it encapsulates and explains a major leftist swing in academia.
Those who stayed on for years and years in college were often those who sought to elude the draft, who hated the war (though many were fine with war for their own causes), and who thought they were more intelligent than those around them. Certainly years and years in academia resulted in increased knowledge, even if it was devoid of wisdom or experience necessary to frame that knowledge. They hated the war, yet they would ultimately side with LBJ and his “Great Society” social experiments as they became the educated ruling class. They decided they knew, and now know, what’s best for everyone else.
With degrees and experience, they could get into government jobs, with their education – a luxury just a few decades before, they could now take the lead in society with their papered cleverness. Those who stayed in academia then set the tone for future generations of leftist academics.
It becomes crystal clear in retrospect that so many of our nation’s current problems and things that make traditionalists’, conservatives’, and libertarians’ eyes roll – like a toy gun buyback in California – stem from the fact that our nation’s education system was demographically remade in the late 1960s and early 1970s by people whose defining trait was cowardice.
While it may not be a new revelation, and of course exceptions existed and remain, that trait has stayed dominant into the present day, and permeated education, society and culture.