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HomeIllinois PoliticsBiga: The Eloi Arrive a Tad Early

Biga: The Eloi Arrive a Tad Early




By Frank J Biga III - 

George Orwell is probably best known in political circles for 1984, his classic fictional account of a future dystopia. Orwell wrote this book in 1948 and feared at the time that a totalitarian and omnipresent super-state would emerge just 36 years later. This prediction did not happen of course, but given current technological trends he may just have been a little early in his prediction. But another famous epic novel about “the future” by H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, may be late in its forecast about the future- about 800,000 years too late to be exact.

In The Time Machine the protagonist Time Traveler insists at a dinner party that time travel is indeed possible and then develops his time machine. It goes out of control and sends him 802,701 years in to the future. In this future world, the Time Traveler meets the Eloi, a fair-haired race of young people. He quickly determines that this race is completely ignorant and interested in only one thing – playing. Sound familiar?

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With DePaul University in the news recently for banning “chalking” – a time honored tradition on many campuses across the country where students express their feelings and views on many political topics (usually liberal) – one has to wonder how far off the mark Wells was really?

In the last few years, we have heard numerous stories about college students and their extreme sensitivities. From students expecting new posh dormitories with food courts that offer the best, healthiest and non-culturally appropriating cuisine to students at Yale being offended by Halloween costumes to students at numerous universities requiring “safe spaces”, one can see that students today are more sheltered and coddled than ever.

A Safe Space, in case you grew up in times with less absurdity, is defined by the Safe Space Network (yes there is such an organization) as “a place where anyone can relax and be able to fully express, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, religious affiliation, age, or physical or mental ability”. I wonder what George Washington would have thought of this.

And heavens to think one might feel a bit “uncomfortable”. To be fair, I wonder if there will be safe spaces in the inevitable gender-free public bathrooms for those who might feel a little “uncomfortable” with someone of the other sex in the bathroom with him/her. But I digress.

No, it’s clear the Eloi have arrived on campuses across the country. I recall the fictional Eloi did not read books either. The Time Traveler had them show him their library and when he took a book off the shelf it quickly turned to dust. Today it’s even more bizarre. For instance, many colleges require “trigger warnings” on books that indicate ahead of time that there might be something offensive in the book’s content. Heavens! And there was interesting piece out of the Epoch Times a few days ago about how many students today in the British university system are unable to read books from cover to cover.

All of this brings to mind something I remember from economics regarding the value of education. Essentially there are two views on this topic. The first and most accepted view is the "Human Capital Theory" which states that education improves one’s productivity – which is a measure of the ratio of Outputs to Inputs in any process. This certainly is the traditional view and certainly has a lot validity especially in regards to occupations that require some sort of specific skill where the rate of Output production can be improved with training and education.

The second major theory on the value of education though is called "Signaling Theory." Basically it says that employers look at a college degree as a sort of stamp of approval that shows that the recipient is inherently capable of higher productivity. The education “signals” that someone is more productive. It assumes that education does not really make one more productive, it just shows one’s ability to handle rigor.

One now has to ask if a college degree even has any validity anymore as a signal? What exactly would it be a signal of? Is it one’s ability to run to the nearest safe space once one was confronted with a challenging idea? And college professors as a whole are already so liberal that one has to wonder if the typical graduate has even been exposed to any ideas that might run counter to so-called progressive orthodoxy? What does that signal to potential employers?

So, can the university system itself be saved?  Can our society? Or are they just becoming a playland for the modern day Eloi? As Lenin once quipped, What is to Be Done? FDR had a good idea in the Civilian Conservation Corps. It allowed mostly young men and women of the 1930s to be put out in the countryside to work off their angst by planting trees. And if they had urges to rebel, they could go howl at the moon in the national parks until it wore off.

JFK also gave us the Peace Corps which gave 1960s youngsters an outlet outside of our country to go work off their radical notions and feel better about themselves despite their guilt over their privilege. Maybe our next President could come up with a similar program. This might be a better option for the modern day Eloi as in the book they were fed upon by the Morloch race.

Evidently there aren’t any “safe spaces” 800,000 years in to the future.


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  1. Today’s college degree would be more useful if it was made of softer paper and came on a roll, if you get my meaning.
    I went to college in the early 1970s and liberals being easily offended was just beginning, but most of them on our campus were the instructors and administrators.
    Happily, a lot of us were older students; Vietnam vets and people from the working world who went back to school. We were conservative in politics and had “harder shells.” We spoke our minds. The school wanted our tuition money and put up with us.

  2. The expanded use of college degrees as a job requirement was a direct consequence of certain SCotUS discrimination decisions in the 1970s. EEOC declared, and the Court agreed, that any job qualification which had “disparate impact” on applicants of different races was presumed to be invidious discrimination, unless the employer conclusively proved otherwise (at their own expense, every time a rejected applicant complained).
    This forced employers to drop any use of intelligence tests. So
    employers began requiring a college degree, which was a reasonable proxy, but was immune to the “disparate impact” attack.