I begin with a critical analysis of one of those open letters that naïve people post on websites that will not be read or visited by the target audience to whom the letter is supposedly directed.
These letters are not to the listed targets. They are letters that reinforce a particular worldview among holders of the worldview. In other words, these letters are known as preaching to the choir. They establish a person’s bona fides, proving to the readers, who are not the supposed targets of the letter, that the writer of the letter is a true believer, firmly committed to the program of the actual readers.
In other words, these letters have nothing to do with persuading the supposed recipients of the letters. They are to reconfirm the confession of faith of the letter writer, and to persuade the faithful readers that the letter writer has not deviated from the confession of faith.
With this as background, consider this letter: A Letter to Conservatives: You Need College and College Definitely Needs You
It was written by someone I have never heard of, and I am sure you have never heard of: Clay Routledge. The author is a professor of something called social psychology. I think I have some idea of what psychology is: a scientific study of how the human mind works. Scientists find out how the human mind works by studying rats. Sometimes they conduct experiments, or their graduate students conduct experiments, which involve lying to the participants. If the participants believe the lie, the psychologists then report on their findings about how people actually behave when they are persuaded by the lies.
I am not sure what social psychology is. I don’t know how you get inside the mind of an entire society. But whatever it is, someone teaches it at North Dakota State University.
This description of Prof. Routledge from Psychology Today tells us the following:
Clay Routledge, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and professor of psychology at North Dakota State University. His research focuses on how the need to perceive life as meaningful impacts mental and physical health, close relationships, and intergroup relations. Dr. Routledge is a leading expert in the area of experimental existential psychology. He regularly publishes his work in the top psychology journals, recently co-edited a book on the scientific study of meaning in life, and authored the book Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource. His work has been featured by the New York Times, New Yorker, NPR, BBC, CNN, CBC, ABC News, CBS News, The Atlantic, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. He also regularly serves as an expert guest on national and international radio programs.
North Dakota State University is an educational institution famous for its cold winters . . . and nothing else. It is a place where parents send their children, but only if the parents live in North Dakota.
He is listed on the website of his university as being a professor. If he is a professor, he has tenure. This means that he cannot be fired.
He begins as follows:
Dear conservative parents and students,
First, I would like to address conservative parents. Lately, I hear many of you questioning whether you should send your kids to college. Maybe they should just go to trade school or straight into the workforce.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)