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Once upon a time American news papers were journals of information, with an expression of opinion to be found on the editorial pages. Now they are journals of opinion, the opinion of their public, and their editorial pages are devoted to the spread of information. One of the perennial subjects upon which there is opinion in the news columns and facts in the editorial pages is "college education, is it it a good thing?" Every manufacturer of cheap automobiles, every successful chorus girl who has been promoted to the spotlight, and now the world's richest, straphanger feel capable of Litter dicta upon this universal topic.
John E. Andrus of Yonkers, millionaire straphanger and graduate of Wesleyan University in the class of 1862, has been able to gain a hearing, and who can't these days, for his pet query. "Where are the openings for all the college graduates?"
The timeliness of the question, which the straphanger from Yonkers has probably been saving all winter with a great deal of impatience, has more than time on its side. But it points to the results as if they were causes, and deplores what cannot be remedied, while he emphasizes a standard which should not be employed. "You know," he says, "that 90 per cent of the young men being graduated today will never be heard from, as far as success is concerned."
Mr. Andrus is a success, so much so that he can afford to be known as a straphanger. It is inevitable that he should hold up a standard. It is all he knows. But the situation which he deplores is bad pot, because of the evils which he decries, rather in spite of them. For, though most of the young men who are going out of colleges now will never be successes, most of them have that as their highest aims. They too want to be millionaires, though perhaps not millionaire straphangers from Yonkers.
Colleges are too large. That is because so many sons want to be successes so many parents want to see them as successes. It seems strange that so often in a topsy-turvy world the determination to reach a certain goal-should be the check which prevents such attainment. So it is here. The universal love of success over-crowds the markets with a supply which demand cannot accommodate and so the commodity of potential success goes begging. To continue the economic figure the root of the trouble lie in the fact that there is too little variety. Thousands of young men are coming to colleges to get possession of success, too few get possession of themselves.
Success is a bale of straw in front of the ass's head. Mr. Andrus, having achieved success as a straphanger, seeks success as an oracle, and like most oracles his dictum is obscured by his ignorance. There are too many college men, but there will not be as soon as men learn that success is not assured by a college education. Then those men will come who seek here something upon which they can hang any laurel wreaths that may happen to win, something, too, which will make them careless whether they ever win the laurels. When activity, subways full of straphangers, overhead, turnover, widgets, gross profits, and your picture on the front page of a gum-chewer's sheetlet are not the summum bonnet of college graduate, and the emphasis is not on what goes out of college, but on what comes in and why, the Messrs. Andrus of the world will be out of jobs as oracles.
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