We are quite literally bombarded with horror stories from universities where men get their lives messed-up over a false rape allegation or over mass-hysteria promoted by libelous journalists (see the UVA hoax).
But it’s not just the US. In Britain, we have the student unions which have the power to ban reading groups because they dared to study Friedrich Nietzsche. In Canada, student unions and other bullies of similar or larger caliber can and do ban even the very mention of misandry.
But the overwhelming majority of these highly insane cases have one thing in common: Virtually all take place in English-speaking countries. And those that don’t take place in an English-speaking country, such as the East-German type of censorship enforced at the Uppsala University in Sweden, are still universities that are remarkably similar in their structure with the model used by the universities in the English-speaking nations.
With the full acknowledgment that not all (maybe even not most) students can afford to travel to get their degrees and ignoring the argument whether a degree is actually needed or is worth the time and money for most people – I will try to explain why there would indeed be a permanent solution to simply vote with your feet and get your degree in a non-English speaking country.
Different organizational structure
On continental Europe (i.e. everything except the UK and Ireland), China, Japan, Central America and South America (that is to say, the overwhelming majority of the planet) – universities deal almost exclusively with knowledge and little with anything else.
Nowhere in Europe – and I checked from Russia to Spain and from Norway to Italy – has a university any authority whatsoever to adjudicate anything outside plagiarism and similar disputes of this nature.
Even if two students beat each other during a class, the University can’t do anything except to call the Police. And even if the students are found guilty by a court of law, they can still finish their studies there either in time (if they get a suspended sentence) or freeze their studies and continue at a later date (after they get out of jail). It so follows that if a court of law finds them innocent, the debate is already over no matter how serious the charges are. Also, the institution of “suspension” applied to students is de facto non-existent.
As a rule, expelling is limited to criminal deeds against the university itself (i.e. burn a university building or beat up a teacher) or aggravated academic crimes (i.e. plagiarism). In other words, the fact that a faculty member whined about “harassment” with no evidence and no criminal investigation – has zero meaningful consequences on the student(s) accused.
Campus culture is optional and highly limited in practice
As a rule, universities outside the Anglosphere own buildings that are quite at a distance from each other and the concept of fully-integrated campus is, for the most part, alien. And in the few place that it exists (such as the Paris-Sorbonne University) – it’s still significantly more liberal than almost anything found in the present-day Anglosphere.
Also, as a rule, universities do also own at least one complex of dormitories but the dormitories are part of the city and not a gated community – and while some may be large enough to warrant their own police station, the campus police has no more (or less) authority than any other police station in that country. In other words, the campus police cannot be summoned to pick someone up because (s)he posted something offensive or because some of the speshulest snowflake that ever snowflaked found him/her triggering.
Sometimes these dormitory complexes give birth to a community – and that community has the freedom to legally associate. However, that freedom stops the second they wish to impose something on other students in the same complex who do not wish to join their new little club.
The dormitories themselves are administered directly by the universities but they cannot impose anything that goes contrary to the national education acts – which are quite liberty-oriented for the most part. Now, there are exceptions to this rule – but since staying in the dormitory is not obligatory to begin with, those exceptions are not numerous since market forces apply.
Virtually nowhere in Europe – or elsewhere outside the Anglosphere – is there such thing as a First Year Live-on Requirement, regardless of whether we’re talking about taxpayer-funded universities (partially or fully) or private ones. In other words, one can graduate without even staying in dormitory campus to begin with.
This treatment stems from the commonsensical belief that students are legal adults and thus they need no babysitting. In fact, many students in Europe today go to college precisely to start learning how to handle life on their own – not to be even more sheltered and baby-sat in a gated campus.
More importantly – if one manages somehow to break one of the few rules that may exist in a particular campus, the worst case scenario is that one can get kicked out from the dorm and has to seek a rental flat for the rest of the academic year. But that won’t bring expelling or the loss of scholarship (if applicable).
Deeds that might get one kicked out from the dormitories: destruction of property (e.g. burning a bed), repeated physical fights, not paying rent for a number of months, repeated organization of parties (this is mainly because the students have endless options of going to parties anywhere in the city with no restrictions)
Situations that never get one kicked out: any allegation of any crime, bringing alcohol in the dorms (as long as there’s no loud party), petty nonsense (e.g. a student was triggered).
Student union is optional
The idea that a student union can ban a reading group at a university is totally alien outside the Anglosphere.
In most countries, there is a national student union. Italy has Unione degli Studenti, France has Union Nationale des Étudiants de France and some countries (like Germany) have more than one – Deutsche Studentenschaft (The German Student Union) and Sozialistische Deutsche Studentenbund (The Socialist German Student League).
But the role (and the power) of these unions is completely different from what one can find in the Anglosphere. For starters, membership in these unions is voluntary. Which means that most students don’t belong to a union.
Then, the role of these unions is to represent the students in their relation with the local government (in federal nations, such as Germany) or directly with the national government (in more centralized nations such as France).
Recently, there has even been formed a European Students Union which is, for the most part, a do-nothing institution like many others under the patronage of the European Union. That may be annoying if you’re a taxpayer, but the good news is that it’s essentially toothless.
Besides these unions, there are also student organizations which are legally NGOs and are sometimes tied to the Universities (e.g. The Organization of the Students from “Babeș-Bolyai” University – in my city of rezidence) or tied to larger international NGOs who have branches for the entire city – which can contain more than one university (e.g. AIESEC).
Membership in these organizations is also voluntary (and free of charge in many cases) and they tend to come with some perks – like facilitating connection(s) with future employers or offering a discount for the public transport via their partnership with the City Hall. Speaking of perks, in some university cities, there are even economics-centered student organizations. Membership in such organizations can bring (for a tiny fee) various discounts at restaurants, cinemas, party events, concerts, etc.
But what all of these forms of student organizing have in common is that they don’t have the power to impose anything to anyone who is not a member. And since membership is not compulsory, they essentially can’t dictate anything to anyone – which means they’re coerced by reality to use common sense and persuasion to get anything done.
The most recent example of the toothlessness of these unions was the little scandal created by the Trotskyite Student Union who wanted a professor banned from the Homboldt University in Berlin for the capital crimes of having a “rhetorical superiority”, for displaying “eurocentrism” and for using “gendered language” (mind you, German is a gendered language, like most languages on the planet).
The University swiftly responded that the professor won’t be banned, his lectures will continue to be hosted and those who disagree are invited to take part in a panel discussion with him – an offer which the Trotskyites refused because the professor was intimidating as he was “too confident” to debate with them. And that was the end of the story. Sure, the Trotskyites continued to whine on the Internet, but not a single flying toss is given.
Now imagine this story at an American university. This story also leads me to my next point.
Most of the universities outside the Anglosphere cannot become like the ones in the Anglosphere
Due to the way they’re structured, there is both a physical and a structural impossibility for these universities to even come close in the degree of insanity with the Anglo Universities in any foreseeable future.
Even if the governments become more PC (as they already are in most of Europe) – giving the Universities the legal possibility to adjudicate criminal cases usually means referenda on the Constitutions (which is pooh-poohed by most governments) and large parliamentary majorities (two thirds at least) to amend both the criminal law and the national education acts (a de facto impossibility in the multi-party systems of Europe).
Also, given that most of the interaction between the students occurs during classes – while all the other interactions are 100% voluntary – any indoctrination attempt is bound to be limited in effect. This is one physical barrier preventing non-Anglo universities to go down the same road. Another barrier comes from the economic reality – most of them simply can’t afford to start building gated campuses without risking to pull resources from more relevant projects which keep the university itself relevant on the global market.
Relatively similar educational quality
Now, if university ranking had been an exact science, then the difference between the various institutions’ ranking tables wouldn’t be so high.
In this ranking from the Times Higher Education – there are 74 Universities outside the Anglosphere in the first 200 (I counted Hong Kong as part of the Anglosphere). In this ranking, from Top Universities there are only 65 Universities outside the Anglosphere in the first 200.
But here’s the catch – they’re not even the same. University of Oslo is ranked 182 in the first link and 101 and in the second. Nagoya University from Japan is not even present in the first 200 in the first link whilst in the second it is ranked 103.
This leads us to an obvious conclusion: University ranking is both subjective and misleading. The reason why it’s subjective is quite obvious – when establishing a ranking, criteria such as “prestige” (usually defined quite dubiously) or “networking” matter quite a lot. “Networking” is a nice way of saying “business links” – which is all fine and dandy until we consider that some universities on this planet are not businesses in the classical sense. Some of them are a form of social entrepreneurship (like the American universities used to be), some of them are State-owned, some of them are non-profits, and some of them are a mixture of all of the above combined.
But the reason why University ranking is misleading may be less obvious. For instance, a degree in European Studies is worthless on the job market regardless of whether it is obtained at Harvard or at Sofia University. Same goes for other degrees such as gender studies, horticulture, human resources and a plethora of similar ones.
Also, many universities do award diverse degrees – from mathematics to human resources. In the case of these universities, the averaging that occurs during the ranking process affects their standing. In other words, a University may be fabulous in 80% of its degrees – but it still has a crappy Humanities department and, when averaged, it thus ranks lower than a university that has fewer departments and all good. It also works the other way around: a university may be generally crap, but it has one or two programs that are fabulous.
In other words, one should research the value of the particular program they’re interested in more than the overall value of the university, which, as noted, in addition to being misleading, can also be severely slanted by subjective criteria and cultural bias.
Programs in English
Even the very-very low ranked universities offer programs at least in English. In some universities, one can get a program in English, German and French, in addition to the local language(s).
Outside of the Anglosphere, speaking at least two languages (usually more, in Europe) is quite the norm.
However, in some nations, the most spoken second language is not English – but German (e.g. Greece or Czech Republic). This means that while getting a degree without knowing the local language is entirely possible, in some cases you might need to pick up some of the local tongue.
Picking up the local language may indeed be an economic advantage in the future. The foreign-language deficit is a known problem in the US (and rare skills are an economic advantage) while in Britain academics are still struggling to break what they call the vicious cycle of monolingualism.
To sum up
This article has not been written to bash the Anglosphere, but to point out that there are indeed better alternatives for those who (legitimately) fear the hostility of the modern-day university environment and just want to learn a particular subject without “listen and believe”, “she fears you” and other mandatory similar nonsense.
At least for British (and Irish) students, getting a degree in continental Europe may indeed be cheaper (as part of various EU agreements). For US citizens, choosing Universidade de São Paulo (ranked 132, better than University of California Santa Barbara) may also be cheaper (as per the difference in the cost of living).
Many of the differences listed in this article also stem from the fact that outside the Anglosphere, the Universities usually test for the abilities in the field the individual wants to study – and don’t take a holistic approach. In other words, your extracurricular activity doesn’t really matter if you want to get a degree in physics. What matters is your command of physics at 12th grade level and a bit more. This is not always true for masters programs, though. An entire book can be written on the pros and cons of these two approaches but if you want to avoid shenanigans of gender ideologues, a university not taking a holistic approach is a plus.
The purpose of the advice to try a University from outside the Anglosphere is not as much as to put an economic pressure on the universities within the Anglosphere – but rather to put a cultural pressure on them as more people learn that things can indeed be done differently without cutting the educational quality.
In a way, what I’m proposing is in line with the MGTOW tradition – why play a University game that is right from the get go rigged against you when there are alternatives?