T Nation

Public Universities



I chuckled a few times. Got to keep in mind that it is pretty easy to take a video camera and make any segment of the population look retarded.


I can't believe the professor in that video... And the Kopechne gag was the best display ever of stupid kids protesting FOR something that they don't comprehend.


Speaking as a student of that institution: yes, there are a good amount of idiots. But the causal relationship between their beliefs and their classes is shaky at best. You must understand that the vast majority of these students are in-state, and a very liberal state at that.

I would trace the origins of their ideologies more to their formative years when their parents wielded a heavy influence. Still, it pains me to see students who are misinformed about U.S. history.(The film maker did have an obvious agenda, however, which could have skewed what was shown and what was left on the editing floor)

A counter argument to this, though, would be that many of these students just never cared to inform themselves. I know of brilliant math and sciency people who know jack about civics or history. They're focused more narrowly: getting into med school, training to become an accountant or actuary, getting into a Phd. program, etc.

Then again, these people are not the activist types. They tend to engross themselves in their discipline and little else. I suspect many of the politically involved originate from the poli sci department, which I can't really comment on.

Regarding the socialists: The Socialist Club is pretty insignificant and doesn't represent the student body as a whole. They are left of the vast majority at Berkeley and the average dude sporting an Obama "HOPE" shirt won't be supportive of them. I've heard Cal Democrats' meetings are pretty shitty though; lots of name calling towards conservatives and little substance.

There are, of course, alternative voices on campus, but you have to look harder to find them. The College Republicans' meetings, on the other hand, are, from what I've heard, more civil.(my room mate is on the board of the club)

I am lucky in that I am in a major which is fairly insulated from any blatant bias.(perhaps because the course of study doesn't deal with contemporary politics) I take it as a given that in the Bay Area I will encounter stupidity stemming from the Left.

But I also grant that I may, in more conservative areas, find the same measurable amount of idiocy stemming from the Right. It is what it is, and the fair minded who weigh the pros and cons of any ideology from a relatively objective stand point are rare, both in the U.S. and in the world as a whole.

In defense of the University, though, I will say that in the realm of quantitative study(engineering, physics, math) and science, it is most certainly NOT producing "idiots".


Don't tell this guy that, he had a video to make.

You may find the same measurable amount of idiocy stemming from the right? I'd bet my left nut that if I went onto a major conservative college college in a conservative state I could make a similar video in an hour.


If you were to do it (we all know you won't), which college would you go to?


Well, the best bets would probably be religious colleges--and since we're going for extremes here, Bob Jones University might be a fun target. Whether would would ask historical, political, or dare I suggest scientific questions there I'm sure the results would be the same.


Besides, what does my not actually doing it have to do with the truth of a counter-factual conditional? If anyone really doubts the truth of this then they are merely deluding themselves.


I knew you would come up with BJU. Think about the impact the graduates from BJU have on society, and compare that with those who graduate from Berkeley. One school is heavily regarded, the other isn't even ACCREDITED. Apples and oranges, my friend.


UC Berkeley is a fantastic school, this guy is a huge douche.


Conservative != religious.


Those subjects are the only ones that marginally pay the bills these days. I was required to take only a small handful of humanities classes as an EE major at another top CA public institution.

It is good to be able to communicate effectively and to make persuasive oral and written arguments, but you don't learn these things nowadays in humanities classes. You learn agenda, agenda, agenda. Ben Shapiro wrote a book documenting all of the things he heard from professors on the humanities side of campus at my alma mater. Pretty eye-opening and largely agrees with my brief experience in humanities.

If you're not going to school for a math or science degree or don't think you can get into a Top 14 law school, stay the hell out of college - it's a waste of your time and money.


Actually they are accredited now, although you are correct that until very recently (2000 maybe?) they were not accredited. I'm not quite sure what your point is though. My point was simply that you will find these sort of ignorant, ideologically blind people all over the place, from both sides of the spectrum. If your point was that we should expect better from UC, sure, one would hope. Reality is a sad thing though, isn't it?

As an aside, there are much better regarded schools than BJU that are still crawling with right wing nuts. BYU comes to mind. I'm sure Notre Dame and other large Catholic schools like Villanova have their fair share of nuts too.


Well, I can't judge if the youtube movie depicted reality, because I've never been to that campus. Indoctrination is always scary to see at a place where free thought is supposed to flow.


I don't know much about Berkeley as a school, but yeah the guy comes off as a douche in a lot of his videos. I'm usually not that impressed with this type of video for two reasons:

  1. There's no methodology given for how he selects his subjects. I'm not convinced that he interviewed a random sample of Berkeley students to determine whether or not it is a hive of idiocy. This problem is further exascerbated by the fact that the video appears to be edited pretty heavily. You can make look bad if you're editing it right.

  2. His line of questioning and method of investigation seemed to be fairly erratic and unfair. There were a few spots in particular where this stuck out to me. The first is when he makes the guy seem like an idiot for not knowing the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons. I don't think failure to make that distinction necessarily makes one an idiot, and he seemed to be leading the interviewees by phrasing the question in such a way as to suggest that machine guns and semi-automatic weapons are the same thing.

A second instance was when he was asking the girl what party Lincoln belonged to and she said "Nominally he was a Republican." He reacted to this by saying "Well, she's basically right, but that's a little subjective." I don't understand why that's subjective or why he seemed reluctant to acknowledge the correctness of her answer.

I would be curious to know what the majors were for the people he was talking to. I would have also liked to hear his own answers to some of the questions he asked, especially the ones concerning the start of the Depression and how it was resolved. Finally, I would like to see the video he shoots among a sample where nobody went to college. After all, the only way to prove his hypothesis is to control the independent variable. I notice that aspect of his study is absent.

I did find parts of it funny. "Black Friday?" "Uhh the GREAT Depression?" and "Does Mary Joe Kopechne support this?" where pretty funny moments. And that law student guy definitely sucks. The scene where the girl is telling the professor that he doesn't need evidence is a little disturbing.


It is of course unfair to ask for concise, definitive answers to questions which none.