Image via the National Archives

As I was writing my book, I looked for evidence of a pretty common trope, the idea that we are sending too many people to college compared to trade school. It would be perfect for my argument, which among other things is that the preeminence of college in 21st century life (both economic and cultural) is a bad thing that creates perverse incentives. I had done some research earlier in life that seemed inconclusive, but I was eager to have the very direct and practical bullet point “Send More Students to Trade School” in my list of recommendations. So I…


cross-posted at fredrikdeboer.com

I told my agent, early in the process, that the biggest criticisms of my book would be scientific, as I am a (well read) total amateur attempting to engage with scientific concepts. Science people tend to hate this, and will generally police the borders of any conversation to deny the input of the amateur. Well, look: the influence of genes on human behavior is a matter of scientific controversy, and I am in no position to adjudicate that controversy. I have attempted to accurately reflect one position within that controversy, but it will not surprise me to…


“Studying” by mer chau is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Perhaps the fundamental argument of my upcoming book (out August 4th) is that it is both economically ruinous and cruel to maintain a society where the education system sorts economic winners and losers when not everyone enjoys the same academic gifts or abilities. But there’s an ancillary point that I think is just as important even if you maintain the myth of universal academic potential: the economic benefit of education is relative to the scarcity of being educated, and so efforts to spread education universally as a means to spread the advantage are doomed to fail.

One of the single…


Years ago the Nation (I believe) ran a piece titled “Feminism Should Make Men Uncomfortable.” It’s thoroughly evaded my Googling, but the thrust of the piece was simple: feminism’s tendency to make men uncomfortable was a feature, not a bug, as making those in places of privilege uncomfortable is itself a liberatory act. The author was a man. He did not seem uncomfortable; rather he seemed supremely self-assured as he took on the mantel of feminism to declare that men should be made uncomfortable by feminism. At the time it was published I dropped the link into the Twitter search…


Image by Hades2k used under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The following essay is adapted from my forthcoming book, The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Educational System Perpetuates Social Injustice. Pre-order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever books are sold.

Over the past several decades, the American educational system has seen a broad embrace of more and stricter standards. Variation and flexibility in curricula have been driven out in favor of uniformity in both the courses students are expected to take and how well they are expected to perform within them. This push to standardize has been going on at the local and state levels for a…


Let’s try this one more time.

Suppose you and a friend went to a basketball game where Bronny James, Lebron’s son, was playing. Suppose that friend said “he’s good at basketball because he’s black.” This would be a claim about group genetic influence. That is to say, it would be a claim that a population of people share genetic ancestry and that this population-level influence influenced a particular tangible human trait. And most people, I think, would find it offensive. It’s certainly not a claim I would ever make.

Now suppose instead that your friend said “he gets his athleticism…


Somebody sent me this New York magazine article about the socialism trend with the clear intent of me getting mad about it. This is not unusual, even now. When you are someone who is known to be easy to provoke, people will provoke you, especially if you blow up as entertainingly as I have been known to. Well, I decline to get mad at that piece, in part because it was written precisely to get people mad. Some will get mad at the socialish young boppers it skewers, some at the absurdly reductive lens it uses to examine them. Either…


Well gang it’s looking like my site is dead, in its current iteration. (And there was much rejoicing!)

So the story goes like this: on Saturday I woke up to find emails from readers that the site was down. This in itself isn’t that unusual; sometimes it’s crushed with traffic, sometimes we forget to pay. But it seemed that the page was in fact suspended. So I contacted my ex-girlfriend, who was the one who originally set it up and with whom I have still been sharing hosting. It turns out that her sites had been taken down too. She…

Freddie deBoer

This is an automated feed of the blog posts at http://fredrikdeboer.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store