But for Wales?

It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world … but for Wales, Richard?- From A Man for All Seasons

I have been following the Oberlin/Gibson Bakery trial with the same kind of reluctant and horrified fascination with which one might regard a multi-vehicle pileup on the highway; the mass-casualty kind that involves numerous vehicles in every kind of disassembled condition and in every possible position, scattered or crunched together on the roadway or catapulted off on the verge, which attracts the professional attention of multiple fire department engines, ambulances, and every police and highway patrol cruiser for miles around. In the case of the Gibson Bakery suit against Oberlin, extensive coverage of the protests, trial, verdict and local background to the whole messy affair was provided by the Legal Insurrection blog.

One of the nastier aspects to the imbroglio is the revelation that there was an ongoing problem with students shoplifting, at Gibson’s and apparently at other local retailers. A writer for a student publication called it as a “culture of theft.”

Meanwhile, administrators at Oberlin gave every evidence of wanting local merchants who apprehended student shoplifters to turn the matter over to the college, rather than to police. This is a perfectly poisonous state of affairs, especially as the problem of student shoplifters continued unabated, to the fury of the victimized merchants. Essentially, the college appeared to indulge their students’ impulse to predate on merchants like Gibson’s, without even administering a slap on the wrist for show. They’re our privileged little pets, and don’t you stupid bigoted townies dare lay a hand on them, is what the Oberlin administrative cadre was saying in so many words.

And then, adding insult to injury by accusing a business such as Gibson’s of endemic racism, and doing their official level-best to ruin the business entirely, all as part of a vast social-justice-warrior live-action role-playing game? Like viewing the multi-car pileup on the interstate, observers are left appalled and wondering how on earth … Well, at least the Gibson family had their day in court and a just verdict at the end of it, too. As for Oberlin and their current administrative cadre; the college itself may very well pay a price for having created a situation and fanned the flames. As for the administrators who set the stage and by their own actions and inactions set it all in motion? Golden parachutes and/or remunerative offers of employment elsewhere will be their reward. That kind of executive always moves fast enough to leave the stink behind them.

As for the students at Oberlin who participated in the protests, and likely to this day believe that the owners of Gibson’s are the worst kind of racists; I might feel sorry for them, but that they chose to lend themselves to a vicious calumny against wholly innocent people. A small thing, in itself as things go – but that way, the way of small steps, going along to get along, excusing small things because it seems that everyone else is going along and no one wants to go against the tide, do they, Comrade – that is the way into a moral hell. And yes, as Sarah Hoyt muses here, it may be difficult avoiding those small steps, but at the very least, one should be aware of where those small steps may lead, eventually.

27 thoughts on “But for Wales?”

  1. A whopping 82% of all of the shoplifting at Gibson’s was done by Oberlin students. If there was any profiling going on, it was “student” profiling, not race profiling. The bakery had good reason to watch any 18-24 year-olds coming into the store.
    Oberlin, to this day, continues to show no remorse. Burn the rotten place to the ground.

  2. 33 million should be interesting. If academic staff earn $100K with fringes and any overheads, and there are about 330 academic staff (per wikipedia), and maybe 1/4 of them are social justice directors, I think I can see an easy way for them to pay that off in only a few years. I don’t think they’d suffer much from the loss of the paid positions; there are probably plenty of volunteers. Though perhaps the Grievance BS degree would be less attractive to students if there weren’t obviously sinecures for them.

  3. This ties in well with the previous story about Arnade’s book. The Oberlin students and their faculty enablers think they are superior to the townie business owners and entitled to push them around. It’s about time they got punched back.

  4. There was an interesting post somewhere that pointed out that brick and mortar stores have enough trouble without having to to cope with shoplifting.

    Online shopping has no trouble with shoplifting.

    The Covington boys case is coming like a cloud on the horizon “no bigger than a man’s hand.”

    The left is not prepared.

  5. “the college appeared to indulge their students’ impulse to predate on merchants like Gibson’s”

    Wasn’t there a finding a few years ago that Progressive opinions correlated inversely with actual moral behavior? That leftism seemed to act as permission to treat other people badly?

  6. Is it time yet to write off the American higher education experiment? It was a good try, but while we thought they were serving some greater good of educating our youth, what they were really doing was carving out feudal fiefdoms whose sole mission was to turn students into debt slaves and local citizens into obedient vassals.

  7. :Is it time yet to write off the American higher education experiment?

    I would suggest ending student loans for non-STEM majors. The original student loan program was “The National Defense Student Loan Program.” The open handed program began, I think about 1965. Along with all the other bad ideas of Johnson, et a l.

  8. I think we’re getting close to that point, Gurray. Looking at the educational complex, and what emerges from it – there must be a lot of people realizing that we’ve paid more and more, and gotten less and less for the effort and expense, with a vast crop of unemployable, badly-educated snowflakes. There must be a lot of parents making a rational calculation. I’m certain that my sister and brother-in-law are. My nephew graduated two years ago – he’s part-time employed and living at home. My niece will graduate next June – and likely will move back home as well.

  9. Turned out to be a Great Society didn’t it. On so many levels, Johnson and his type of corrupt like are poison.


  10. National Defense requires some non-STEM majors: Languages, for example. I’m not sure how corrupted the Arabic or Chinese programs are, but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on their integrity. We need a bit more fiddling than just loan restrictions.

    And in any event, we have, through credential inflation and the banning of the use of “IQ tests,” managed to lock in an expectation that anybody worth hiring has at least a 4-year degree. This is stupid on several levels. I don’t know how to fix it.

    I don’t think we’ll fix much until we have some clarity on what “higher education” is and who and what it is for.
    Some STEM degrees are job-training for high-powered jobs (engineer, MD). Some study is and is likely to remain purely academic (philosophy, cosmology). And some degrees just serve to check the right box when HR’s algorithm is filtering job candidates. And for a while we’ve had the ideal of the “educated citizen”–do you need a degree for that, or can you just “study on the side” as much as you care to?

    Hoyt’s link is a good reminder that a lot of the SJWs are just caught up in the fury–many of them may be salvageable.

  11. I call 100% BS (haha) on this:
    “The first $120,000 came with a bachelor’s degree from my state school.”
    I’ve never heard of anything like that. I don’t think it’s possible to take that much debt on for a BS.

  12. I’m not sure how corrupted the Arabic or Chinese programs are, but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on their integrity. We need a bit more fiddling than just loan restrictions.

    My daughter took Arabic at UCLA about 15 years ago. Her class was cancelled for low registration,. She and a couple of other students hired the instructor (whose name was Jihad !) privately and he taught the class at home.

    She was working on a PhD on Spain in the Muslim occupation period. She lived in Spain a year. Spent weeks in Morocco working on her Arabic.

    Her sister, who is an FBI agent, tried to recruit her for the FBI.

    By STEM I include premed and a few other majors likely to result in good jobs.

  13. Brian: I wish that were true, it would be in a sane system. I know, unfortunately, of a student that ended up with a $70,000 debt not getting an associates degree in business. It’s a blank check handed to an 18 year old, what could go wrong.

    I don’t think that STEM is an answer and certainly shouldn’t qualify for the blank check treatment. Cub engineers are pretty useless for at least the first few years and only become better if they’re around good engineers and forced to measure up and pay attention. There’s a significant washout rate. An engineering or science degree can be as meaningless as any English or “Studies” degree. We have a lot of lawyers that thought they were writing their own ticket and ended up poor in both senses and pre-med only works if you make it all the way to M.D.

    I think the most important and certainly the rarest qualification is paying attention and taking responsibility.

  14. whose name was Jihad !

    I had a coworker before 9/11 whose family name was Jihad. Nice guy. I wonder if he still goes by that name.

  15. I read that there was a sergeant in the US Army during WWII whose name was Hitler. He refused to change it, saying, “Let the other one change his!”

    Also, the US 45th Infantry Division, which included many American Indians, originally had as its symbol the swastika, a traditional southwest Indian symbol (though with the hooks reversed from the Nazi version.) As WWII approached, the symbol was changed to the Thunderbird.

  16. I find it unbelievably nonchalant how students, undergraduate and graduate, can spend so much in such a short time that they essentially become indentured. When I went to college, I had no money. Therefor, I spent no money. I shared living space with multiple roommates, sharing bedrooms even. I cooked my own meals, did my own dishes and washed my own sheets and towels. I did not have maid or cleaning service. BTW, some rootmmates were terrible slobs that drove me nuts, leaving their dirty dishes in the sink until stuff was growing on them.
    Point is, I did not live above my means.
    Either I have totally lost touch with current costs/reality, or these students are dumber than the local rocks. How can one spend over $190k and not realize that someday someone would want their money back? How can someone essentially turn parents into debt slaves during their ‘golden years’ without a shimmer of guilt?
    I have no pity. Supposedly smart enough to get into college, be awarded a degree(didn’t say earned…) and continue to further education without a single thought about how it was all being paid for?
    Lord, these people live in a dream world where all the have to do is “Want” and their wishes are met.
    Reality is harsh. Grow up, and pay your debt. You lived a ‘life of Reilly’ for 4-8 years, and it’s time to pay the bill. Get two jobs, and quit playing computer games. Pay your dam bill.
    But, that won’t happen. Our generous government will declare a holiday, and all debts will either be forgiven, or a token amount will be paid, and the taxpay will get to pay for their lifestyle. It’s called charity at the point of a weapon, taxes. Will anything ever come home to roost on these fools?

  17. I would only add that I was one of 12 children, worked in a burger joint one summer and ran a gas station from 6 to midnight for $.75/hr, until gained new ownership and I asked for $1.25/hr another summer.
    I took almost nothing from my parents and would not think of asking them to co-sign for a loan to let me live so comfortably while in school.
    At the time, I got books, fees,tuition and a $50/mo stipend to live on as a NROTC scholar. I lived poor, and realized that comfortable living on loans was a prescription for misery later on.
    I truly have no compassion for those who willfully indebted them self to such a degree. They were smart enough to gain admission, they should be smart enough to do some math. Caveat emptor.

  18. A little bit of pity:

    When selling an investment, the seller is supposed to divulge the risks…look at any 10-K form for a public company, or any S-1 for an IPO. Well, for many people, a college education is one of the largest investments, if not the largest, that they will ever make. And the academic institutions peddling these product rarely if ever make any attempt at risk disclosure. The vast majority of the media, too, has been solidly behind the “a college education will get you a good job” meme.

    Students and their parents do in at least many cases have something to be angry about…but their targets should be the academic institutions that oversold their value. The mansions of college presidents, the lavish salaries of growing armies of administrators…these things are paid for with a lot of human suffering.

  19. I sent my kids through college when, for all but one, the costs were modest. Then, the last one came along when I was older and costs had skyrocketed. I felt obligated to send her to college, even out of state to U of Arizona. The tuition increased by a third while she was there and I had to take out a Parent Plus loan, which I am still paying off.

    She got mad at me after I bought her sister a car and does not speak to me. King Lear comes to mind. I am trying to figure out how much I still owe.

  20. Tommy: The main objections I have to your position are 1) that the government, the media, and society in general tell people that if they don’t go to the best (i.e., most expensive) college they can, they will be failures and losers, AND 2) that unlike with any other sort of debt, student loans can’t be discharged, so that lenders have no reason to act responsibly on their own part. The current system is going to collapse soon, and there will be winners and losers in the unwinding and aftermath, and “we” do need to think seriously about how to reshape the way that higher education works and is funded–this is one area among so many where the fact that the GOP establishment is dominated by the Chamber of Commerce types is so frustrating, as they’re leaving so many opportunities on the table.

  21. The thing about Oberlin that strikes me is that what they’ve essentially done is take and recruit kids from totally dysfunctional social settings, ones where they are raised to believe that shoplifting is just another way of getting what you want, and then taken them out into rural Ohio and dumped them in a social situation where the old civilized standards apply.

    The locals ought to sue the school for bringing in the criminal element, and profiting thereby.

    I’d be willing to bet that most of those Oberlin shoplifters are kids who grew up in neighborhoods like the one I wandered into once, near Detroit. I knew I was in the wrong part of town when I noticed the the American processed cheese was locked up in anti-theft plastic doo-hickeys that required a special key to get open, and that anything of any real value was similarly secured. They literally had commodity foods, not just the fancy imported stuff, locked up in theft-resistant carriers like you used to see in some places for high-pilferage DVD and electronics.

    Take a child from that environment out into the rural hinterlands, and you’re asking for trouble. Forget the town-and-gown dichotomy; you’re looking at the difference between ferals raised in an endemic crime environment, and then expecting them to magically become normal civilized human beings through the magic of osmosis.

    I’m actually surprised that there hasn’t been more violence, stemming from the locals getting tired of the little goblins stealing everything that isn’t nailed down. Friend of mine moved to a nice little neighborhood a few years back, and it went south for him when they started putting Section Eight clients into the foreclosed houses around him. He and the other two property owners had a come-to-Jesus meeting with the bank and developer who were responsible for this, and after a mysterious fire at one of the newly-made-Section-Eight houses, they decided to stop what they were doing.

    Oberlin is basically committing the equivalent of what a Section Eight landlord is doing, to the surrounding town. I can about guarantee you that the majority of the kids at that school who are a part of the “culture of shoplifting” aren’t there on their own tickets.

  22. This is all part of Leftist ideology. That’s what is driving Oberlin and their behavior. Its just gets crazier and nuttier. But trying to deal with it, without noticing its leftist, will get you nowhere. Sadly, lots of center-right cannot understand ideology. Everything is matter of “Smart” or “Stupid” and they’re always puzzled as to why people are acting that way.

    And I don’t see a good outcome. I don’t how you stop a bunch of well organized, smart, left-wingers who constantly fight a culture & political war, when you got nothing on the other side, except a bunch of random, unorganized people.

    If 15 years ago, you’d told me that illegals would be getting drivers licensees and everyone would yawn. Or that every D candidate would support taxpayer funded abortions – I’d have said you were crazy. But that’s reality and its going to get worse.

    On the positive side: think of where we would be if Hillary was POTUS and Kagan ran the SCOTUS!

  23. And I don’t see a good outcome. I don’t how you stop a bunch of well organized, smart, left-wingers who constantly fight a culture & political war, when you got nothing on the other side, except a bunch of random, unorganized people.

    Eventually we will have a cold (or hot) civil war. Michael Lotus visualized a peaceful transition to a federal system with more states. Another version is to change the Constitution and divide the country up into more states into House district sized entities. The energy would come from small reactors while the blue states can play with solar and windmills. Local grids

  24. whose name was Jihad !

    Reminiscent of this old Saturday Night Live skit, Hudson Valley Community Circuit with Dan Aykroyd. He interviewed citizens in Mt. Arab, NY with unfortunate names, Al Gezzera, Al Kyda, and Tally Bands, and the kicker, Old Sammy’s Bin Ladles.

    It wasn’t really funny (most SNL skits are not), I wouldn’t call it witty (sometimes they can be clever), but it was interesting in the context of the turmoil at the time with 9-11 and then the anthrax scare.

    A lot of the skits from those days weren’t exactly comedy but more like group therapy. This particular gag was sort of ironic resignation that a massive act of revenge was about to occur regardless of the consequences.

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