There is a motto at Ohio State University emblazed on its crest: “Disciplina in civitatem.” Translation: Education for Citizenship.
Unfortunately, the school does not live up to its creed.
James Madison once remarked that if a people wish to rule themselves, they must be educated; and here, amongst the tall trees and balmy summers, the snow and frigid winters, Ohio State students strive toward enriching their minds in the hopes of enriching their pocketbooks and communities.
There is, however, a systemic failure on this campus, and that is the school cannot provide an adequate education, cannot put forth to a student – in other than the technical disciplines – an education that is able to prepare them for citizenship.
As I transfer out of Ohio State, I look back on some of my humanities and social science classes over the last two years with some measure of disappointment and frustration.
Take my “History of American Capitalism” class, one in which I was spoken over as soon as I began to correct the instructor that it was in fact not George W. Bush that repealed Glass-Steagall, but his predecessor, Bill Clinton.
Needless to say, my papers submitted containing accurate histories of this country’s capitalism were similarly dismissed with red pen strokes. After the first occurrence, I sat with the TA and explained how I was not, in fact, wrong in my historical points. The points docked, were never replaced. I stopped looking at my grades after that meeting.
Now perhaps this seems trivial, and the manner in which students were expected to regurgitate an inaccurate quarter-long history of our country may seem insignificant.
But in the words of financial analyst and military consultant on financial warfare James Rickard, author of Currency Wars: “The oldest propaganda technique is to repeat a lie emphatically and often until it is taken for the truth… In fact, the financial crisis might not have happened at all but for the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall law.”
So, an accurate History of American Capitalism in this country – out the window; it was, after all, during the Republican primaries, so truth could take a backseat to political purposes.
In another class, my comparison of President Bush to Lao Tzu’s comments on the greatness of simple men were similarly not appreciated by my Asian philosophy professor, even though they were made largely tongue in cheek.
My German II class, which I have previously written on, was one in which learning the language was often not the primary focus.
The class delved into instruction now and again, but it quickly became apparent I was the lone conservative in a classroom in which learning German took a backseat to discussions on the prowess of Barack Obama, American narcissism, the virtues of socialism, the sad plight of Chicago’s teachers, and why the U.S. military is the reason the American education system is broken, just to name a few tangents I endured last fall.
I did not begin these discussions; I did, however, participate in them, to the great chagrin of all present. We learned how the cost of one fighter jet could fix the entire education system (as one of my classmates righteously proclaimed), and that the protesting teachers in Chicago were actually victims, according to my good professor.
Talk of the right diet for all Americans? Well, that lead to a question of whether or not a vegan had peed in my coffee. And, of course, who could forget our great Vice President Joe Biden serving as the topic of the first ten minutes of a less than hour-long class, when he became our professor’s new favorite politician.
During the 2012 presidential election, as documented by The College Fix last fall, OSU became our president’s playground. Anytime he needed a backdrop of screaming and adoring members of the youngest voting bloc, the campus practically shut down for him. Inside the classroom, students were told how great he is, then given the chance to scream like he was The Beatles reincarnated.
(In an interesting coincidence, Ohio State received the largest increase, by percentage, of Pell Grants in 2013.)
I have spent two years here. I came hoping to learn one thing, and instead learned another. This public university’s loyalty to the causes supported and promulgated by Democrats and socialists has not been lost on Obama, who dropped in on the Columbus campus about a half-dozen times in the span of roughly two years.
So it’s no surprise that Obama, in his speech to the graduating class of 2013 earlier this month, warned students to reject those who warn about government tyranny, and to be good citizens. And he thanked them for their service.
“And as citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us, it’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government,” Obama had said. “And class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.”
I, however, refuse to be a party to it anymore. If this is Ohio State’s “Education for Citizenship” – count me out.