When school starts in the fall, many college students will be paying exorbitant tuition to universities that offer a silver platter of worthless courses: classes in Marxism, prostitution (Sociology of the Sex Industry is all the rage), “queer theory,” pornography, and rock and rap music. While some of these classes are easy to spot as non-educational, others masquerade under legitimate-sounding names in mainstream academic departments.
As an Ohio University senior who has sat through plenty of college junk courses—many of which were required for graduation—I’ve compiled a list classes for incoming freshmen to avoid.
1. Don’t register for English classes that revolve around the writings of some allegedly oppressed group, such as “Gay and Lesbian Literature” or “Women and Writing.” These classes typically have nothing to do with great, or even good, literature. I once signed up for a Women’s Writing class to fill a requirement. Did we study the classic works of history’s best female authors, such as the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen? Nah. Instead, the class mostly revolved around short pieces by untalented women who whined about America’s “sex/gender system.” The only assigned book was the biography of Assata Shakur, a female Black Panther who fled to Cuba after she was convicted of murdering a cop.
2. Avoid classes that teach American history not as it actually happened, but as the professor thinks it should have happened. Check out the required texts before registering. If the professor uses books like Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (which claims that American leaders orchestrated the Civil War to halt the impending socialist revolution), don’t waste your money; you’re unlikely to learn much. In fact, according to a 2006 study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, you might end up among the 40 percent of college students who can’t place the Civil War in the correct decade.
3. If possible, avoid the sociology department, especially introductory-level classes. These are often crash courses in politically correct thinking. You will be expected to view all social problems through the prism of race/class/gender oppression, and to display a negative attitude toward religion, law enforcement, morality, marriage, and families.
4. Be skeptical of classes with words like “Non-Western” and “Multicultural” in the title. Some are legitimate and valuable studies of societies outside the West. Others are taught by self-described “cultural relativists” who denigrate America while defending heinous cultural practices in the third world. For instance, I once took a class in which the relativist professor attempted to justify Female Genital Mutilation—a barbaric custom forced on little girls in Africa and the Middle East—by claiming it was no different from adult women in the West undergoing cosmetic surgery.
5. Don’t spend your money on what I refer to as “Trash Studies”: classes in pop culture, drugs, sex, and the entertainment industry. If your school offers something on the order of Berkeley’s “Journal Your Ass Off” or Johns Hopkins’ “Sex, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll in Ancient Egypt,” avoid them. These classes are especially tempting because students can earn A’s without putting forth any intellectual effort. However, if you take your education seriously and want to maximize your tuition dollars, avoid Trash Studies, where you’ll inevitably learn a boatload of nothing.
Of course, many of these classes are difficult to avoid and might even be required for graduation. But I hope this list will prevent college freshmen from wasting their precious time and money on the politically correct, non-educational classes that have become so common on our campuses.
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