This Economics Professor Thinks College Is Useless

Bryan Caplan may make his living in higher education – but for the most part, he believes that education is a useless experience.

On today’s show, the author of “The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money” explained why college is about conforming, not learning.

“If you really think about all the classes … throughout your life, how many can you safely forget after the final exam?” Caplan asked. “And why do employers care?”

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: So I personally think that the world is changing so fast, that -- that you're not going to recognize it in ten to 15 years. Your kids. If you have a five or 6-year-old, they probably will never have a driver's license.

Maybe that's a little early. But, you know, if they come of age at 2030 or so, they're probably not going to have a driver's license. They won't probably believe that you were ever allowed to drive a car, at some point.

Things are changing are just the car industry, with Uber. What's going to happen to the taxi jobs with Uber? What's going to happen with the Uber jobs, with self-driving cars, with self-driving trucks? That's 5 percent of the workforce. What do we do on education?

I have been reading a lot lately on -- on high-tech. And the book I'm currently working on is life 3.0. Being human in the age of artificial intelligence. And it is really good because of the questions half an hour in it.

But it talks a little bit about educating your kids. And there are three things for the future that, if you want your child to be successful, there are three things that you really need to focus on.

One, does their future job, the thing they want to do, does it require interacting with people and using social intelligence? Because robots are not going to be able to do that. Computers can't do that. They can be an accountant. They can be a driver. But they're not going to be -- they're not going to have social intelligence yet. And they're also not going to be great with interacting with people. So you don't want to be the person that takes the x-ray or is the x-ray tech that is getting it ready for the doctor. You want to be the doctor.

Does it involve creativity and coming up with clever solutions? And does it require working with an unpredictable environment.

Those three things are what your kids -- you should be preaching to your kids and talking to your kids about on their future career or your future career. Those three things.

I contend that the current education system is -- it does require -- it is teaching people how to socially interact and use social intelligence.

But it is putting you in a box on that. Because it's killing the other two things. Does it require creativity and coming up with clever solutions?

No. There's no clever solutions. They'll tell you exactly what the answer is, and you dare not disagree. And the third one is, does it require working in an unpredictable environment? No. Every college is a safe zone.

We are killing the opportunity for our kids by using this kind of educational system. Now, there is a -- there is an actual professor, that is part of this institution, who has just written a new book, the case against education.

STU: Yeah, The Case Against Education from a professor. I love that. Bryan Caplan, he's the author of the book. He's an economics professor at George Mason University. And he joins us now.

GLENN: Bryan, how are you?

BRYAN: Doing fantastic.

GLENN: Very good.

How do you respond to those three questions and the idea that the educational system is teaching us to live in a box that no longer exists or will no longer exist?

BRYAN: Well, I mean, the truth is that the economy is changing much more slowly than people realize. The high tech sectors that you're talking about are only a small part of the economy. The world is changing a lot more between 1945 in the '70s, than it has in the last 30 years.

GLENN: So I'm specifically talking about the thinking creatively and thinking out of the box, to be able to adapt to whatever comes.

BRYAN: Yeah. Let me put it this way. You know, if we could do something much less than that, it would be a big improvement of what we have. I mean, right now, just to get kids able to read and write and do basic math would be an improvement for a lot of them. I mean, creativity, most jobs are not creative. So -- meaning, like it would be great for tech people to be creative. But if you could just get basic skills up to a reasonable level, that would be a lot better than what we have.

GLENN: So if you had a -- you know, a 10-year-old that you were raising now, are they --

BRYAN: I have an 8-year-old.

GLENN: You have an 8-year-old?

BRYAN: Yep.

GLENN: Are you preparing them for college as it is now?

BRYAN: Basically. So a lot of what I say in my book is that, even though the world is changing dramatically, colleges have been locked in the same system for about 1,000 years. And here's the amazing thing: Modern employers keep rewarding people with fancy college degrees, even though it doesn't seem like they're adapting to the modern world very well. And my main story is that the point of college isn't really to train people for the future anyway. It's more to jump through a bunch of hoops and show off and say, "Hey, look at me, I can do a lot of what most people can't do."

STU: This is the difference in the book. The difference between signaling and capital. Can you explain what those things are and what the difference is?

BRYAN: Yeah, sure. So human capital story is basically the one that parents and teachers and propaganda say about education. Which is, you go into school, and they pour skills into you. You learn reading, writing, math, all this great stuff. And at the end, you are a transformed child. You know how to do all these things. And then you're suddenly employable.

And obviously, there's something to that. But if you really think about all the class of these things throughout your life, how many can you safely forget after the final exam?

I mean, I don't know about you. But I think 75, 80, 90 percent of classes, once you're done with the final exam, you never need to know this stuff again. But then why do employers care? And that's where signaling comes in. It says, you know, whenever you do anything impressive, when you go and get an A in your Aristotle class or complete four years of Latin, or any accomplishment that's irrelevant to virtually any job you'll ever do, still when you put that on your transcript, employers look and say, wow, look at what this kid did. I think he's worthy of being trained to be a secretary.

STU: That is -- essentially, the education system as -- what it's signaling, designed to do, not to actually teach people things. But to be able to signal to employers that in theory, you're smart enough to do something else.

BRYAN: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

You start getting sorted. So think about this, there's two ways you can raise the value of a diamond. One is to be an expert gem smith who cuts it perfectly to make it great. The other one is to be the guy with that monocle on his eye. And he looks at it, and he goes, oh, look at this. This thing is a wonderful diamond. Yes, I'll put a Grade A sticker on it. A lot of what the education system does, is the second thing. They're not really cutting you and making you great. They're looking at you and putting a sticker on you and saying, see, this is worthy of being hired for certain kinds of jobs. And if you don't get the sticker, it's like, no, not good enough.

STU: Hmm.

GLENN: So there's -- there's another theory out there that has been popular. Called Common Core. Which this is, in my opinion, what Bill Gates was trying to solve. He was trying to put that sticker on you really early. By, you know, really watching you closely and then sorting you out for the right job.

I don't think that education is -- for me, education -- good education is not teaching me what to think, it's -- it's teaching me how to think. It's teaching me how to find answers.

And that's not what we're doing now. We're teaching answers. You learn them. You test them. You forget. And then you go and be a little worker bee.

That's not the future.

BRYAN: So, Glenn, you're being an optimist there. Even the idea that kids are learning a lot of stuff is really optimistic. So if you especially just look at what adults know about any of the substance they learned in school, they've forgotten almost all of it. So if you get an education system that actually durable taught them even a bunch of facts, that would be better than what we have. Sure, it would be great if we teach them how to think. But that's really a moon shot.

GLENN: So let's go there. I'll take a quick break. And then we'll come back. And tell me how bad the education system is. And then, what do we do about it? And I'm looking for much more simple answers. What do I do about it as a parent?

(music)

STU: You may have witnessed the first time anyone has ever come on the program and accused Glenn of being an optimist. We'll get back to that in a minute. It's Bryan Caplan. It's The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money.

GLENN: We have Bryan Caplan on. He is the author of the book The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is A Waste of Time and Money.

It's interesting to me or ironic that he is a university professor, and the book is published by Princeton Press. And he is saying, there's real problems here, and we need to have a discussion.

So let's talk a little bit about -- quickly, the problems of education and how bad they are.

BRYAN: All right. Well, I mean, if you just go and measure the literacy and numeracy of adults, say about a third to a half, are -- are -- their skills are so bad, you would almost call them illiterate enumerate. On the other hand, if you go over to college graduates, I would say that basically their literacy and numeracy, kind of what you would look for in high school graduates.

STU: That's a problem. That seems like that would be a problem.

GLENN: So --

BRYAN: Yeah. I mean, like the amazing thing is, I look out my window here in Philadelphia and see this amazing society. You know, how is it that we're able to get it done when people's skills are so poor?

And the truth is, most of the time, people learn on the job by practice. And most of what you fail to learn in school never comes up again anyway. So thank God for that.

GLENN: So MIT, for instance, you can audit every single class online for free.

BRYAN: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: If you did that, you make the case, that really wouldn't be -- that would be very useful in the current system because there's no little stamp of approval that says, MIT loves you. Right?

BRYAN: Yeah, that's exactly right. You didn't even have to wait for this. I never heard a professor that kicks out visitors. Professors love it when someone comes to their class. Someone actually wants to learn what I have to teach. This has never happened before. They get a tear in their eyes. But almost no one takes you up on this offer, because people don't really want the learning so much as that sticker.

STU: That is amazing. Because you talk about this with -- with graduation years, versus intermediate years. In your first and second year in college, is not as valuable as your graduate year.

But it's not like they're waiting until your last year of college, until they start teaching you things of value. It really does explain that the stamp of approval is really what we're looking for when we get into the system.

BRYAN: Yeah, exactly. This is true for high school. True for college. True for graduate school. It's crossing the finish line that has most of the reward. If you do 3.9 years of college and then give up, the labor market barely gives you anything. Your application still goes in the trash with the other applications of people who didn't finish college. But you just get right over that finish line, and then a lot of doors open up for you.

Which, again, would be very puzzling if the main thing that you were learning in school were your job skills. But if you're trying to show, hey, look at me. If you say -- want four years, I do what you say. When you say jump, I say how high, not how can I weasel out of this.

If you're that kind of person, then employers take you seriously. And, you know, striking if you go to countries where college lasts three years. Then, of course, it's the third year that really counts a lot. It's all just about what is the social expectation, and if the people who fulfill it, they look good, the world likes them, and employers like them -- and if you fall short, then, oh, no, you're not good enough.

GLENN: You, in fact, in the book said we need a lot less education. What do you mean by that?

BRYAN: Right. So if you just go back to 1945, back then maybe 25 percent of American adults finished high school, and yet back in those days, with a high school degree, you could become a manager. You could get all kinds of high status jobs. Now, of course, you can't. There's been quite a bit of research just looking at what's happened to the labor market over these last 70 years or so, is the main thing that's happened, is that jobs become more cognitively demanding. And now you need to have these college degrees to do the kind of work that we do today.

Whereas, the main thing that's happened, that for one in the same job, you need extra degrees in order to even get your foot in the door. And both stories are somewhat true. But the second story is the main story.

You know, now we have lots of waiters with college degrees. Bartenders with college degrees. Cashiers with college degrees. Parking lot attendants with college degrees.

And, you know, this is pretty bizarre if you think about it. It's like, do you really need these degrees to do the job? No, but if you want to go and get a job at a good restaurant now, for example, a college degree really helps.

GLENN: That's unbelievable. We'll come back and I'll start to apply this to our lives and our children, and what do we do about it?

Economics professor, George Mason. University. Author of the book, the case against education. Bryan Caplan, when we come back.

GLENN: Hello, America. Welcome to the program. So glad that you are here. We're spending a few minutes with Bryan Caplan. He's an economics professor. George Mason University. He's the author of The Case Against Education. And he's also going to be speaking today at the public library of Philadelphia. It's free. If you would like to, you know, get a free education. Today at 7:30.

So, Bryan, let me just speak for, I think, the average person in America, whether it is a parent, a person going to college or thinking about going to college -- we know the -- we don't know it like you do.

I mean, the stats that you lay out are -- are pretty frightening, of what -- of how bad education is right now. However, I think most people kind of know. Especially conservatives.

I think they send their kids saying, they're going to have all this debt. They're building water parks at universities now. They're not really getting a real education. In fact, I'm sending them almost against my will, because I'm afraid of what those professors and what these universities are going to teach my kids on social justice and all this nonsense. But every parent -- most of them will say the same thing -- but they've got to have a degree.

So what do we do right now? There's two questions: One, what do we do as a society? But let's start with, what do we do right now as a parent or somebody that has to go to college?

BRYAN: Right. Well, the first thing to ask yourself is, how good was your kid in high school?

The idea that every kid should go to college is -- makes sense if you can know for sure your kid can finish. But completion rates are shockingly low. So only about 40 percent of full-time students will finish a bachelor's degree in four years.

After five years, it's up to 55 percent to finish. But there's a really big chunk that just don't finish.

And as I was saying, if you don't finish and you don't get that diploma, then the payoff is really crummy. So I would say the very first thing is, was my kid good enough in high school, to think he's going to finish? Right now, I'd say for maybe a third to a half of students going to college, you know, the right answer is no.

In a way, you might say, well, thank goodness we don't have to pay for this stuff now. And then we need to look for something else for my kid to do, at least until he gets serious enough to start studying.

GLENN: I'm friends with Mike Rowe. And this is something that he has been fighting.

BRYAN: Oh, yeah.

GLENN: And that is this instinct. This knee-jerk answer. Well, it doesn't matter. They have to go to college. What, do you want them to be a janitor the rest of their life?

BRYAN: Oh, yeah. And, of course, there are tons of other jobs. Many of them high-paying that don't -- that, still, to this day, don't require college. Plumber, electrician. If you just go -- like you say, if you go through government statistics, what are high-paying jobs that don't require college? You know, there are still a lot of them. There are ones where especially upper middle-class families, they don't really know anyone who does these jobs anymore, so it's kind of hard for them to really visualize it. But they're out there.

If your kid is super bored sitting listening to some windbag go and talk about some abstract stuff, then, yeah, really you should look into getting your kid vocational education. And instead of pressuring him to do something that he's probably just has no interest in, find something that he has -- that actually engages him. And, of course, that doesn't require you to have four years of college debt, which is pretty crazy if your kid is going to drop out anyway.

STU: You break this into kind of the selfish return and the social return. Which is an interesting way of looking at it. Because you go through really the numbers of the selfish return on education, which a lot of times can turn out better, even financially for a lot of kids to not go to college. Because they don't have all that debt.

But can you talk a little bit about the social return? What's the actual path forward for us, when you're talking about policy and how to design an education system that actually works for the country.

BRYAN: Sure. So if you remember I was talking about human capital versus signaling. So there's the optimistic view that college is actually transforming you into a skilled and able adult. And then there's the not-so-optimistic view that I'm pushing, that most of it is just about putting a stamp on your forehead and saying, good enough to be trained. All right?

Now, selfishly speaking, it doesn't really matter why employers will reward you for getting your degree. Who really cares why they're doing it. But from the point of view of society, from the point of view of taxpayers, it makes a huge difference. Because if school is really actually remolding our youth into the skilled workers of the future, then it's making our whole society richer. But if the main thing you're doing is putting stickers on people's foreheads, you can't get rich by putting a bunch of stickers on people's heads. So there's really a saying, you're in the top 25 percent of the distribution. Then when you go and you encourage education, the main thing you do isn't get skilled workers. It just means you have to spend more and more years in school, just to get on to first base, just to go and start learning the job.

GLENN: Yeah. I will tell you, there's a lot of people that I have met -- and I'm in media. So it's slightly different. But nobody takes the college person seriously. Like, oh, you have some latest information. You've got some new. Okay. That's great. Watch. Because they usually don't walk into a job. They've got that great degree.

But they don't have any practical experience. They don't really have practical understanding, many times of what we're doing. It really is, okay. You're smart. So we'll train you from the beginning on how to do things.

BRYAN: Yeah. This really is one of the greatest frauds on campus. The communications major is enormous. And yet, every year, they graduate more communications majors than the total number of jobs in every kind of media that exists. So, you know, it's a major that you're preparing them through your job, Glenn. And yet, of course, you can't have a million kids get to be Glenn Beck.

STU: Nor do we want them, by the way. We don't want a million Glenn Becks, believe me.

GLENN: That's a really bad thing. Yeah. One is enough.

Nor do I know the people that really excel in media, really excel, you know, were the top of their class and the one that we just had to have from Harvard. That's generally not them.

BRYAN: Right. The nice thing about that entertainment is that there is a very clear market test, which is, do people actually watch you? Whereas, for a lot of jobs, being on a team, it's like, well, is this person really pulling their weight or not? So there's some confusion there.

And then -- you know, say you're not going to -- you're not going to keep someone employed just because you hired them and they're on the team, if you -- if they're on the radio. Whereas, for a lot of jobs, once you get hired, people will keep you there, at least until the next recession comes along. And they just, well, we got to get rid of somebody. So how about the person who is a huge disappointment?

STU: We're talking to Bryan Caplan, author of The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money.

Bryan, the way we've moved toward signaling, when it comes to universities, does that explain great inflation at some level, where we've seen back in the day, it used to be 10 or 15 percent of kids got A's in classes. And now it's sometimes 60 and 70 percent.

BRYAN: Yeah, that's a great question. So it's actually pretty weird when you think about it. Because if the main thing that college is doing is signaling, you might think that there would be a lot of pressure on us to really separate the great students from the good ones, from the not so good one.

GLENN: Hello. Oh, my gosh.

STU: Lost him there.

GLENN: There he is.

BRYAN: Professor to give out better grades.

STU: We lost you in the middle there. Can you give that to us one more time?

BRYAN: Right. So it has a lot more to do with universities are nonprofits, and the professors are regarded as basically artists. You can't tell them what to do.

And so, you know, if we really wanted to maintain the purity of the signal, we would have kept the high standards. But it's just so much easier for a professor to go and give high grades to everyone. And then the students don't complain. Since it's nonprofit, there's no one at the top saying, we must maintain our brand at all costs. You professors get in line. So I think that's more of what's going on.

STU: Because it seems like there's a series of incentives. Because if I'm now sending my kid to college because I want them to get that piece of paper, if at the end of this, where I've spent all of this money, I don't get that piece of paper, there's -- I'm not going to want to continue that process with the next kid. And it feels like there's an incentive for colleges to be able to push these people through and give them the piece of paper whether they want it or not, because that's all I'm really asking them for in the first place.

BRYAN: Yeah. I mean, that sounds right, until you take a look at the low graduation rates. If colleges really wanted to just pass people along, they would just cut standards even more than they already have. Which, it's a little scary to think about.

But, I mean, there is a point, where you say, how low can we have the standards, before the students -- before everyone will get over them? A lot of it is honestly just to get the students to even bother to show up in class. Typical college class has maybe 60 percent attendance on an average day. Forty percent, a lot of those kids are the ones that are not going to get it through. A reasonably good student can still squeak by, even not attending all that often. Standards are strangely low. And yet, there are many standard students that fall below even those low standards.

GLENN: If I could reflect what I think people feel for a second, Bryan, we -- we are concerned about the standards, obviously. We're concerned about the price. Because how do we or our kids afford this.

But we are also -- growing concern. And I hear this from the left as well. They are very concerned about the things like the freedom of speech and thought on campus. And it is becoming -- it feels as though it is becoming dangerous to the republic, to get this indoctrination sometimes. And when you're talking about all these problems, you're saying, we need to fix this.

From the inside of these powerful institutions, you're a freak. Aren't you? Or do others -- is there a movement inside to say, we have real problems, and we've got to change this.

BRYAN: So here's the thing. You know, professors vary very widely amongst themselves. Different departments are very different. So, here's the main thing I would say just to help people calm down a bit. Most professors are so boring, that the brainwashing doesn't work.

And most -- and attendance is so low, that a lot of the students are not hearing the stuff that you don't want them to hear. So, I mean, it's important to keep in mind, that, you know, when students -- even when they're getting a grade for the class and everything else, a lot of them just stay in the room and play video games. And -- and, like, even when they're in the classroom, their minds are wandering. They're not paying that much attention. So I agree that if you just look at the syllabi or if you just listen to a recording of many lectures, then you say, this is horrible. Kids are being taught this stuff. But the reasons to feel at least somewhat less bad about it, is if you were to go and turn the camera around and look at the face of the students and see how they're sleeping and not paying that much attention, and bored out of their minds. There is actual like empirical research where they try to see how much does college change students minds. And, you know, it doesn't seem to change them that much. Again, the kids you see on the news, those are the ones that -- it's a small minority of kids that really love this stuff and want to be activists. But most kids don't want to be activists. They want to play video games.

GLENN: I have a friend who is in college, and they sent a screenshot of one of their tests that happened in science, just last week.

Which of the following answers do you think characterizes the political views of the person to your right? He or she is the founder of the alt-left, leaning liberal, middle of the road, leaning conservative, founder of the alt-right. Your answer. The next one was: Which of the following answers characterize your political views?

I'm a founder of the alt-left, leaning liberal, middle of the road, leaning conservative, founder of the alt-right.

Can you, for the life of you, figure out what that has to do with science?

BRYAN: I mean, if I were in that class, I would be curious if the professor is trying to get on your show. You know, maybe they're saying, hey, I want to go and show how brainwashed these kids are. I mean, if you're brainwashing people, the last thing you want to do is call attention to the brainwashing. You just want to act, I'm not brainwashing them. It's just oxygen we're breathing here. It's not anything anyone someone should be paying attention to. So maybe it was an effort to politicize science. Although, maybe it was just the professor was curious about what kinds of kids he's teaching. I don't know.

GLENN: Bryan Caplan. He is the author of The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money.

And he is going to be speaking again tonight. The public library of Philadelphia. Tonight at 7:30. Thank you so much, Bryan. Good to talk to you.

BRYAN: All right. Fantastic to talk to you.

STU: Once again, he's going to be speaking at the free public library in the city of the Super Bowl champion, Philadelphia Eagles.

GLENN: At least according to Amazon --

STU: Alexa, that's right. Yeah. BCaplan.com. Or @Bryan_Caplan. I mean, really, if you want to dive in and really see what's happening to our education system, there's a lot of material. We only scratched the surface about.

GLENN: Really -- page 41 is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying.

STU: Yeah.

Tapping the brakes on transgenderism in 2023

Hunter Martin / Contributor | Getty Images

2022 was the year of the emperor’s new clothes—where we were supposed to pretend that someone like Lia Thomas is a woman, legitimately beating actual women in swimming competitions. This carpet-bombing of common sense won’t be letting up anytime soon. Just before the New Year, the World Boxing Council announced that it’s going to create a separate category for transgender boxers. The WBC president said:

we are doing this because of safety and inclusion. We have been the leaders in rules for women’s boxing—so the dangers of a man fighting a woman will never happen because of what we are going to put in place.

After all the insanity you’ve been told to accept about transgender athletes in recent years, his statement is remarkable. He’s admitting what common sense people have been saying all along—that trans athletes identifying as women still carry natural physical advantages (from the fact that they’re actually male), and that those natural advantages could endanger biological women.

Trans athletes identifying as women still carry natural physical advantages.

The WBC president went on to say:

In boxing, a man fighting a woman must never be accepted regardless of gender change. There should be no gray area around this, and we want to go into it with transparency and the correct decisions. Woman to man or man to woman transgender change will never be allowed to fight a different gender by birth.

Maybe the WBC is on to something here. Maybe the only way to solve the stupidity of letting biological males play female sports is to create a separate transgender category in every sport. That would make competition fair again. However, the trans agenda will never accept this because it doesn’t validate their transition—in fact, it admits that these are not authentically female athletes.

There is some rare, good news on this front. In late December, the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted to uphold a Florida school-board policy that requires transgender students to use the bathroom of their biological sex. Of course, the Left won’t accept this, so this case will probably go to the Supreme Court sooner than later. You’re supposed to always believe the science, except when it comes to your own body parts.

You’re supposed to always believe the science, except when it comes to your own body parts.

And by the way, if the Left truly cared about unbiased science as it pertains to transgenderism, they’d listen to their favorite European country, Sweden. Sweden’s national board of health recently updated its guidelines on treating children with gender dysphoria. Unlike the Biden administration and the U.S. medical establishment right now, Sweden’s new emphasis is caution:

the scientific data is INSUFFICIENT to assess the effects of puberty-inhibiting and gender-sensitive hormone therapy of children and young people.

The Swedish guidelines also mention the prevalence of de-transition cases as another reason for tapping the brakes on sex-change surgeries for children.

Common sense apparently does still exist, even in places like Sweden. If only America would listen.

Glenn wants to dive deep into different philosophical topics this year. As CRT and woke curricula are demonizing the "western tradition," it is vitally important that we preserve the tradition that gave birth our nation and gives context to the culture we live in today. Here are the top 11 books to give you a crash course in the western philosophic tradition. If you don't have the time to read them, you can find an overview to each of the books below!

1. Plato's Republic

The first titan of Greek philosophy, Plato articulated the set of questions that would drive the future western philosophical tradition. The pre-eminent question among Greek philosophers was "what is the thing that explains everything." In philosophical lingo, this question is framed as "what is the logos or the good." Plato argued that reality could be explained in terms of the "forms." For example, when you see multiple examples of a "courageous" act, then, Plato would argue, there is such a thing as "courage." The form of "the good" is the form that gives meaning to all of reality. Humans use their rational minds to contemplate what is good and then align their desires to "the good" in order to pursue it.

2. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

The second titan of Greek philosophy was none other than Aristotle, who was a student of Plato. Aristotle deviated from his teacher's claims about "forms" and instead argued that every single thing has a purpose, a telos. For example, the telos of a chair is to provide a place for someone to sit. In the same way that a chair's purpose is to provide a place for someone to sit, Aristotle argues that the telos of human beings is to pursue happiness.

In the first page of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle claims that every action is done for the sake of pursuing happiness, although, all too often, our actions are misplaced. We often pursue things we believe will make us happy when, in reality, they are fleeting, momentary pleasures that result in despair, heartbreak, or pain. Rather than conforming the world around us to fit our momentary desires, Aristotle argues that we achieve happiness by understanding the nature of the world around us and how we fit into it by actively cultivating virtues in order to make our soul "fit to be happy." Work and action, therefore, are not mere moral "to-do lists," but rather bring us fulfillment.

3. Augustine's City of God

If Plato is the first titan of ancient philosophy, then Augustine is the first titan of medieval philosophy. Medieval philosophy begins with the re-discovery of ancient philosophical texts that had been lost throughout the Roman Empire. As Christianity had taken root and spread across the western world, medieval philosophy integrated these newly-discovered texts into Christian theology. Augustine is the pre-eminent medieval Neo-platonic philosopher, incorporating Plato's philosophy into Christian theology.

Augustine claimed that God himself is the ultimate "form" or "the good" from which all of reality derives its meaning and existence. A thing is "good" insofar as it coalesces with the way God intended it to be. When a thing stays away from God's intention, it is "not good." From this, we get the Augustinian definition of "evil" as a "privation" or "absence of goodness," which ultimately corresponds to God's nature and character.

4. Aquinas' Summa Theologica

Just as Augustine incorporated Plato's philosophy into Christian theology, the second medieval titan, Thomas Aquinas, incorporated Aristotelian philosophy into Christian theology. Building from Aristotle, Aquinas argues that Christ is our happiness, the longing of every human heart and the object of every human action. Though we may think we are pursuing happiness outside of Christ, our this pursuit is misplaced and will result in fleeting pleasure and pain. True happiness and fulfillment, Aquinas argues, is found in Christ himself and the pursuit of his nature.

**Note: Aquinas' Summa is one of the largest works ever written and contains arguments about many different subjects--there are concise versions that will save you a lot of time!

5. Francis Bacon's Novem Organum

If medieval philosophy is defined by the incorporation of ancient philosophy into orthodox Christian theology, then the Enlightenment is defined as the rejection of both. English philosopher Francis Bacon kicked off the Enlightenment with a total rejection of the Aristotelian view of reality. The title of his book, the Novum Organum, or "the new order," is a deliberate tease of Aristotle's Organon, or "the order of things." Bacon's "new order" purports that, contrary to Aristotle, there is no inherent "nature" or "purpose" in reality. Rather, reality is something that we can conquer by means of knowledge and force, dissecting nature to its fundamental parts and reconstructing it into what we want. Bacon is considered the father of the scientific method, creating a testable means through which we can understand, break down and re-construct nature.

6. Descartes' Discourse on Method

Descartes is best known for his famous assertion, cogito ergo sum, or "I think, therefore, I am." In Discourse on Method, Descartes embarks on a rigorous endeavor to doubt anything that can be doubted. He postulates that all of reality can be doubted; however, the one thing that cannot be doubted, he concludes, is that there must be someonewho is doubting. Though we may think that we are in the matrix, we are thinking, therefore, we must exist.

Descartes's rigorous skepticism introduced a brand-new burden of truth. In order for something to be true, it must be beyond all reasonable doubt. Many continue to use Descartes' skepticism as a way to challenge religious belief. According to these modern-day skeptics, unless you can prove that God exists beyond any reasonable doubt, there is no way to actually know whether he exists. The severing of knowledge and faith is often attributed to Descartes.

7. David Hume's Treatise on Human Nature

Scottish philosopher David Hume took aim at both Plato and Aristotle. One of his most famous and consequential claims about human nature is, "reason is and always ought to be slave of the passions." This took direct aim at Plato's view of human nature. Plato argued that our reason or "rationality" should always rule our passions so that we will desire what is good. Hume flips this on its head, claiming that our reason is helplessly enslaved to our passions and will inevitably justify what we will already want. From this, Hume introduced a new articulation of moral relativism, claiming that humans are not able to choose between what is good and what is evil, but rather will choose what they want over what they don't.

8. Kant's Contemplation on the Metaphysics of Morals

Hume's moral relativism sparked panic within German philosopher Immanuel Kant. If we will inevitably do what we desire, how can we ever choose to do something good and moral for its own sake? We must, according to Kant, separate morality completely from the passions if it's to be saved. Kant, therefore, argues that duty is the highest good that man can aspire to. We do the right thing, not because we want to--on the contrary, we do the "right thing" because it's our duty to do so, especially when we don't want to. This breaks away from the Aristotelian notion that our happiness is inextricably intertwined with the pursuit of "the good."

9. Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil

Nietzsche wasn't convinced by either Hume or Kant's efforts to retain some semblance of civility or relativistic moral standard. According to Nietzsche, if there is no such thing as transcendent morality, then "moral maxims" are reduced to meaningless words purported by the people in power. Morality, therefore, becomes a game of persuasion at best, coercion and force at worst. People are reduced to winners and losers, opressors and victims, and whoever comes out on top gets to impose their desired view of the world on the losers. Therefore, the goal of the individual is to cultivate the "will to power," to become the powerful "ubermensch" or "superhuman," or else you will be reduced to a victim susceptible to other people's coercion and oppression.

10. C.S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man

After the Enlightenment ends in a grand, destructive finale with Nietzsche, Christian philosophers in the 20th century attempt to pick up the pieces and resurrect the ancient and medieval philosophies that had been cast to the side. In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis famously laments that mankind has become "men without chests." This is a direct reference to Plato's view of human nature--there is nothing linking our mind to our heart. Intellectually, we have dissected all of reality into its individual bits, stripping it of its holistic beauty, while also succumbing to our whims and passions with no notion of a transcendent moral law. Lewis calls for the re-marriage of our minds and our hearts, so that we will not only pursue what is good, but moreover, we will desire to do so.

11. Alasdair McIntyre's After Virtue

The latter part of the 20th century saw the resurgence of Aristotelian ethics after being largely dismissed over the past 400 years during the Enlightenment. Scottish Catholic philosopher Alasdair McIntyre was and continues to be one of the foremost leaders of this movement. In his magnum opus, After Virtue, McIntyre takes aim at the entire Enlightenment project itself and shows how it ultimately fails by its own standards. If reality is a mere power dynamic, as Nietzsche argues, and if morality is an act of persuasion and passion, as Hume purports, then we have no reason to take their views seriously. If all of reality is relative, then the statement "reality is relative" is itself relative. It becomes victim of the self-refutation of its own standards. Transcendent morality, he argues, must exist, because there must be some standard by which we judge reality and can say with determination, "this is good" and "this is evil."

The Biden Admin EXPANDED abortion access because they DON'T believe in the Constitution

Joshua Lott / Stringer, JOSEPH PREZIOSO / Contributor | Getty Images

This month has already produced an extreme example of why we need a functional and more conservative Congress in order for America to have a chance at moving forward—because the Left does not believe in the Constitution.

Sure, if you confronted a Democrat in Congress, they would probably claim some sort of allegiance to the Constitution—but as a practical matter, they do not believe in it.

Instead, the Left has put all of their eggs in the basket of the executive branch. Why? Because it has the furthest reach through all the various departments, and it can move the fastest—in short, because it’s the most dictatorial. It only takes a department head to write a new memo, or even better, the President to sign a new executive order to carry the force of law.

The Left has put all of their eggs in the basket of the executive branch.

Do you recall any of the Left’s favorite Supreme Court decisions over the years—something like gay marriage for example—and how Republicans immediately tried to subvert it, using the executive branch to try to nullify the decision? Yeah, that never happened. But that is exactly what Democrats have done in recent weeks to expand abortion access.

Democrats only consider the Supreme Court legitimate when they approve of the decisions. When the miraculous overturning of Roe v. Wade happened last summer, President Biden called it “a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court.”

Democrats only consider the Supreme Court legitimate when they approve of the decisions.

Recently the FDA approved local pharmacies to issue abortion pills. For the first 20 years after these pills were developed, they were not treated like typical prescription drugs. They had to be dispensed in-person by a doctor. That in-person requirement is now gone.

Keep in mind that the Left’s go-to line is that abortion is always about the health and safety of women, yet a 2021 peer-reviewed study found that chemical abortions have a complication rate four times greater than surgical abortions. Between 2002 and 2015, the rate of abortion-related ER visits following use of the abortion pills increased by 507 percent.

Chemical abortions have a complication rate four times greater than surgical abortions.

And now the Biden administration is making these less-safe abortions much more accessible. Thanks to the FDA’s rule change, Walgreens and CVS have already agreed to dispense abortion pills in states where abortion is legal—effectively turning these stores into new abortion clinics.

As for states that have abortion bans, "Team Biden" announced a new way around those too. Three weeks ago, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion that the U.S. Postal Service is allowed to deliver abortion pills anywhere, even in places where abortion is illegal. What’s their rationale? That the sender cannot know for sure whether the recipient will use the pills illegally or not. So it’s totally okay.

The U.S. Postal Service is allowed to deliver abortion pills anywhere, even in places where abortion is illegal.

Georgetown Law professor Lawrence Gostin told the Washington Post that this Justice Department opinion is “a major expansion of abortion access in the United States.”

So, to recap—the Biden administration has used the FDA, the Justice Department, and the Post Office, which all fall under the executive branch, to provide an end-run around the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision.

Expanding abortion was easy—simple policy tweaks and declarations that carry the force of law without an ounce of input from actual lawmakers in Congress—all because it comes from the grotesque, bloated, apparently pro-death executive branch.

Glenn is one of the most outspoken critics of the World Economic Forum and their vision to use crises to reconstruct the world order known as The Great Reset. The recent WEF summit in Davos confirms what Glenn has long warned about: globalist elites seek to upend our democracy, freedoms, and way of life to achieve their utopian climate goals. Here are 15 quotes from the 2023 Davos Summit, revealing their true intentions in their own words:

1. Saving the planet

When you hear the word, "Davos," the first thought that should pop into your mind is an elite group getting together to save the world from imminent climate disaster... at least they think of themselves that way. According to John Kerry:

I mean, it's so almost extraterrestrial to think about saving the planet.

2. Private jets

What most people think when they hear the word "Davos" is a group of global elites flying in on private jets to talk about climate change... and yes, John Kerry does own a private jet, no matter how many times he denies it:

I fly commercial [...] Exclusively.

3. Global Collaboration Village

You always hear some weird, dystopian projects coming out of WEF, like "The Global Collaboration Village," a new metaverse community aimed at strengthening "global cooperation." It sounds like the next installment of Brave New World. According to Klaus Schwab, Founder and President of the WEF:

The Global Collaboration Village is the pioneering effort to use the metaverse for public good, to create global cooperation and to strengthen global cooperation in the metaverse or using metaverse technologies. For me, it's a dream coming true because the village allows the Forum to create a more larger and open platform where everybody can participate.

4. Climate revolution

However, the core theme throughout WEF summits is the immediate need for a climate revolution and how businesses are selfishly blocking the revolution because they want to make an extra buck. Here's how John Kerry summed up the sentiment:

How do we get there? The lesson I have learned in the last years [...] is money, money, money, money, money, money, money.

5. Do or die

This often turns into alarmist language, like having to choose between wealth and our planet's survival... Joyeeta Gupta, Professor of Environment and Development in the Global South at University of Amsterdam, said it eloquently:

If we do the minimum at this pivotable moment in our history, then we and our children – even if we are rich – will live in the danger zone. But if we – business people, governments, citizens, cities – take action today, then we and our children will have a future worth looking forward to.

6. Colossal risks

Potsdam Institute's director Johan Rockström, used similar language, claiming we are "taking colossal risks with the future of civilization":

We are taking colossal risks with the future of civilization on Earth, we are degrading the life support systems that we all depend on, we are actually pushing the entire Earth system to a point of destabilization, pushing Earth outside of the state that has supported civilization since we left the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago.

7. Rain bombs

"Colossal risks" like... rain bombs? We didn't make that up. Ask Al Gore:

That’s what’s boiling the oceans, creating these atmospheric rivers, and the rain bombs.

Courtesy of the World Economic Forum

8. Survival comes down to this

How do we secure our survival? According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, we have to "end our addiction to fossil fuels." This entails wiping out our entire energy industry, displacing millions of workers, and relying on global governments to usher in a new green industry. In his words:

So, we need to act together to close the emissions gap, and that means to phase out progressively coal and supercharge the renewable revolution, to end the addiction to fossil fuels, and to stop our self-defeating war on nature.

9. Complete transformation

It isn't hyperbolic to argue that the globalist climate goals will completely transform the world economy. Even EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted:

The net-zero transformation is already causing huge industrial, economic and geopolitical shifts – by far the quickest and the most pronounced in our lifetime. It is changing the nature of work and the shape of our industry.

10. Scientific necessity

Of course, to bring about this "net-zero" transformation, we will have to override small, "political expediencies" like democracy to do what is "scientifically necessary." According to Zurich Insurance Group’s head of sustainability risk John Scott:

We’re living in a world right now where what’s scientifically necessary, and what is politically expedient don’t match.

11. Illegal hate speech

Doing away with "political expediencies" would also require the censorship of dissent, which would likely manifest in hate-speech laws. When asked by Brian Stelter how the discussion of disinformation relates to everything else happening today in Davos, European Commission VP Věra Jourová shared this prediction:

Illegal hate speech, which you will have soon also in the U.S. I think that we have a strong reason why we have this in the criminal law.

12. Climate first

We will also have to forego national interests on the international stage. America won't be able to advocate for policies and interests that benefit Americans. Instead, we will sacrifice national interests for the sake of global climate interests. French economy minister Bruno Le Maire said:

The key question is not China First, US First, Europe First. The key question for all of us is Climate First.

13. The role of war

We can also expect globalist leaders to use crises, like the war in Ukraine, to expedite the "net-zero transformation." Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz said:

Ultimately, our goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 has been given an additional boost by Putin’s war. Now we have even more cause to move away from fossil fuels.

14. Blame game

Globalist leaders will continue to blame ALL of the crises in our society on climate change to justify the "net-zero transition," from the energy shortage to "mistrust, selfishness [and] xenophobia." Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez said:

Our present struggle is not only against Putin or the energy shortage. It is also against fear, mistrust, selfishness, xenophobia, and environmental disaster. And its outcome will define life in the West and beyond for decades to come.

15. Sacrifice for the greater good

While we sacrifice our national interests for the sake of the "greater global good," we can expect our foreign enemies, like China, to benefit. Suisse Chairman Axel Lehmann said:

The growth forecasts now for China is 4.5%. I would not personally be surprised when that would be topped.

Conclusion

Glenn has been clear about the distinction between wanting to transition to green practices on your own accord and being forced into that transition by globalist, unelected elites. Leaders at Davos will continue to use alarmist language to justify their crackdown on democracy and freedom to bring about their leftist utopia. We have to cut through the alarmist language and in order to protect our freedoms.