Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Antioch College Goes Down for the Count

I've been to Antioch (teaching a personal development workshop there that the students took to an alarmingly unworkable extreme--mostly because they didn't have any personal issues...it was everybody else that needed "fixing"). Well-meaning people one and all, their personal ideologies tended to reduce social and criminal misbehavior to external forces (the racist, sexist system), blame others for the failures of minority men and women and white women, and villainize white men (note: white women got a pass), corporations and the government. Listening to them talk about the "plight of the American Black," I couldn't help but feel that we were so doomed that without "special consideration" (and a heaping dose of pity), we didn't stand a chance. We, they explained, were to be excused for everything.

Before my time at Yellow Springs, I thought I was liberal. On the drive back home, I realized that I sho nuff wasn't.

No matter what our personal or political ideology, we need to be certain that the real world models of our ideologies will work. Having long been called the purveyors of spendthrift social experimentation, we would be well-served to carefully examine what went right and wrong at Antioch and not make those mistakes again.

A piece of George Will's Antioch Obit

Farewell, Antioch
By George Will
Sunday, July 15, 2007

WASHINGTON -- During the campus convulsions of the late 1960s, when rebellion against any authority was considered obedience to every virtue, the film "To Die in Madrid," a documentary about the Spanish Civil War, was shown at a small liberal arts college famous for, and vain about, its dedication to all things progressive. When the film's narrator intoned, "The rebels advanced on Madrid," the students, who adored rebels and were innocent of information, cheered. Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, had been so busy turning undergraduates into vessels of liberalism and apostles of social improvement that it had not found time for the tiresome task of teaching them tedious facts, such as that the rebels in Spain were Franco's fascists.

That illustrates why it is heartening that Antioch will close after the 2007-08 academic year. Its board of trustees says the decision is to "suspend operations" and it talks dottily about reviving the institution in 2012. There is, however, a minuscule market for what Antioch sells for a tuition, room and board of $35,221 -- repressive liberalism unleavened by learning.

Read the rest of the article...

Now, so you don't think I'm just talking about a liberal arts college that went terribly wrong, think a moment about your own business model. Does it address the needs of your customers in a workable way? Can you sustain your business this way? Wrongheaded is wrongheaded. And just like Antioch, I've seen numerous businesses with either no fleshed out business model or one that's unsustainable.