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Conservatives: Education is Evil, Don’t Go to College

How did the conservatives forget that in the post-World War II era the United States had the best educated work force in the world?

While campaigning in Florida, Conservative ringleader Rick Santorum attacked President Obama for encouraging young people to “go to college”. Apparently, within the conservative psyche, college is now evil because education “indoctrinates” students with progressive ideas and that somehow turns them into members of the Democratic Party. Santorum’s conservative audience clapped and cheered at his revelation. It appears that conservatives have not only abandoned intellectual enlightenment, they have demonized it.

If you are one of those that still consider a college education a good thing don’t breathe a sigh of relief that Santorum has suspended his campaign and this kind of regressive thinking would fade into the Dark Ages where it belongs, because Mitt Romney has announced that he would consider Santorum as his Vice Presidential running mate. Just when many thought the Republicans would never make a mistake like Sarah Palin again, they find a way to eclipse their past mistakes with an even greater mismatch for America’s future.

Responding to these conservative attacks on higher education is difficult because by its nature the idea of attacking education is so alien to our traditional American value system that it defies logic. That being said, it is none-the-less important to respond even to these illogical statements when they come from the mouth of a misguided individual that conservatives see as their spokesman.

It is pure ignorance for any politician to condemn higher education in America when the future strength of our economy will be determined by our ability to compete globally with nations that are making huge investments in the education of their own populations. How did the conservatives forget that in the post-World War II era the United States had the best educated work force in the world? More than any other one factor, having the best educated workforce in the world put us on top and made our middle class prosperous. Maybe the conservatives have forgotten that simple fact, but the Japanese and Germans learned from America’s success and they learned that you cannot develop a prosperous middle class without a commitment to education.

Even China recently announced a massive expansion of its primary and secondary educational systems including pre-school, compulsory education, and greater equity in access to a good education. China believes it must shift from a nation with large human resources to a nation of well-educated people in order to prosper in the future. What is surprising about this announcement by the Chinese is that it was only 45 years ago when during the “Cultural Revolution” Mao Zedong attacked his nations “educational elite” as being too liberal and sent Chinese university professors to camps in order to be “re-educated” in the doctrines of Mao. The conservatives are constantly making reference to China’s economic dominance over the U.S. therefore wouldn’t it then be prudent to invest in our educational system to insure we do not fall further behind our competition? Instead of investing in the education of our young people and preparing them to compete with the likes of the Japanese, Germans, and Chinese, conservatives are attacking and condemning education at the federal, state, and local levels. This conservative attack on higher education will only serve to weaken the American middle class and place our future workers at a huge disadvantage when compared to nations that have embraced the wisdom of investing in higher education and not attacking it.

Earlier this year Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust, spoke before an the Asian Society Foundation on Education and said the following, “There is also an explosive demand for higher education," she said, "at a time when ideas and capital travel across the world with ease and when knowledge has become the primary driver of social mobility and prosperity."

America would be wise to listen to one of our own respected educational leaders at this critical and challenging time in our history.

It is a perilous mistake for America to elect conservatives that possess this anti-intellectual platform. We need to again embrace education and invest in our schools and reaffirm the value system that worked for America in the past and will work again. It is critical that as a nation we commitment ourselves to make American workers the best educated in the world. Because if we follow the path of the conservatives and attack our educational system on political or even religious grounds we had better at the same time find another philosopher like Saint Thomas Aquinas to generate a new American Renaissance in order to end the conflict between faith and reason and rebuildour educational system.

http://asiasociety.org/education/drew-gilpin-faust-what-do-we-want-higher-education

http://asiasociety.org/education/learning-world/chinas-2020-education-reform-strategy

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/abc-world-news-poll-us-middle-class-concerns/story?id=10088470

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/rick-santorums-anti-college-rant/

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Vince Latchford April 16, 2012 at 04:13 PM
And I know propaganda even if I can't always spell it.
Xavier April 16, 2012 at 04:31 PM
His opinion was quite a bit more eloquent.
Xavier April 16, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Vince, if this were a conservative piece bashing liberals would you be so up in arms? As an Independent voter I find the back and forth bickering between liberals and conservatives sad and unproductive. It just shows that a majority of Americans have a hard time not eating up everything the media throws at them, whether it comes from Fox or Huffington.
Nicholas Loffredo April 16, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Vince, Patch is open to any local residents who wish to blog. All those appearing in the Local Voices section are unpaid contributors; they don't work for us, and we don't give them assignments or topics. So we don't look for a specific political opinion, nor would we block someone based on their affiliation. Anyone wishing to be approved to blog need only click the "Start a Blog" link they'll find under "What's Up With You?" in the center of the homepage.
Project Bluebeam April 16, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Nick: I would sincerely like to believe you, but Patricia Miller's article: "Disgust, Embarrassment Over Ritacco Guilty Pleas" http://tomsriver.patch.com/articles/disgust-embarrassment-over-ritacco-guilty-pleas includes an interview with a known left-leaning TR Patch blogger. The reader was led to believe this was a "man on the street" interview where those interviewed were selected randomly. Not exactly ethical journalism.
Bob Griffiths April 16, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Chris, I am listening, and the role of news journalism is part of the problem, too bad there isn't another Walter Cronkite to make sense of the fray. I can only compare the political conflict of ideologies today to the Fog of War, once the battle (ideological in this case) starts it is difficult to remember who stands for what and why. I do know the rift between Progressive and Conservative is too far apart at this time to bridge with logic or literary eloquence. I am of the opinion that even if we brought back Madison, Hamilton and Jay to write a new version of the Federalist Papers their message would not be understood due to the Partisan Cold War in which we are now engaged. I understand that I am only one voice in that engagement.
Daniel Nee (Editor) April 16, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Vince -- One more thing, this isn't a franchise. I'm an employee of Patch here in Brick, along with a number of other folks who work in our region here in Ocean County. As Nick said, if you'd like to blog, go for it! It's open to anyone of any political persuasion. For the record, I don't personally endorse or necessarily agree with what is written in opinion blog posts. They're the words of the writer.
Vince Latchford April 16, 2012 at 07:18 PM
To respond to Chris' question, I suppose that there are right-wingers who are as extreme as this Griffiths. If I spotted them I suppose that I would object to their ranting. The two Griffiths articles that I have seen were something like this. Republican budget intended to kill medicare so more money will go to the richest 1% and big oil, and Conservatives say education is evil. I've been around a long time and I've known lots of Democrtats and Republicans. And not one of them wants sections of the public to sicken or die so that money can be diverted to their friends. Also, I have never heard anyone say that education is evil. To believe either of these assertions must necessarily be partisan exageration, since the only other explanation is lack of intellect on a grand scale. Note I didn't use an objectionable term for the same condition. Something to look for in pollitical debate is at play here. If your beloved leader or party is weak, or failing, or worse, and there is no factual rebuttal to those who point this out, then the only course is to scream that the opposition are demons who want you to die and your children to be slaves to thier extremist religious and racist insanity. Too much? Read Mr Griffiths again.
The Liberal Crusader April 16, 2012 at 07:50 PM
What a revelation, conservatives think education is evil. If everyone is educated, they have nobody to work for next to nothing at their big companies shoveling sh*t.
Ken G April 16, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Indoctrinate lol. And your saying conservatives dont indoctrinate their young?
Ken G April 16, 2012 at 08:00 PM
"Project Bluebeam 2 hours ago Nick: I would sincerely like to believe you, but Patricia Miller's article: "Disgust, Embarrassment Over Ritacco Guilty Pleas" http://tomsriver.patch.com/articles/disgust-embarrassment-over-ritacco-guilty-pleas includes an interview with a known left-leaning TR Patch blogger. The reader was led to believe this was a "man on the street" interview where those interviewed were selected randomly. Not exactly ethical journalism." You really are an idiot. Thank you proving to me that you are just a paranoid far right Faux news addict.
Ken G April 16, 2012 at 08:03 PM
to note, the woman came up to me and asked me my opinion, so when you are asked a question i will assume that Patch is violating reporting ethics? Grow up and welcome to the 21st century. When i find out you are interviewed I think i'll make the exact same comment about you.
Ken G April 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Also, why are you so obsessed over me? It's kinda scary!
Ann Powers April 18, 2012 at 02:09 PM
IMO, here's the real issue: libs want HOPE (have others pay for everything) while conservatives are saying that college (higher education) is so expensive, it needs to be scrutinized. And if that examination were to occur, we would find that colleges/universities overcharge; their largely liberal professors go unchecked, and after spending more than $100,000 on an education, students often find there are no jobs available...so what do they do? Go for a master's - and spend another $50,000-$75,000. To anyone who disagrees w/the liberal profs issue, just ask any conservative-minded student who's been in college about how his/her opinion was regarded. As one college senior recently told me, she learned early on to "keep my mouth shut" because her grades were being affected and she needed a good transcript to get into law school.
CR April 18, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I grew up in a Dem household, the son of a lab tech at TRC and a secretary at a small business. Monetarily, we had very little. I worked hard, graduated from a prestigious university and later studied business at Harvard, all while racking up in excess of $440K in student loans, to which I paid pack every dime, with interest. My political ideologies may have changed over the years, but the notion that conservatives view education as "evil" is tripe in the first degree.
CR April 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Mr Griffiths- the only word that comes to mind after reading your blog is, silly. I am a conservative who worked hard and benefitted from education at a cost to no-one but myself. I currently give back to the educational projects at Duke, that I myself never seemed to qualify for as a student. Your message is off-base and disturbing, at a minimum.
The Liberal Crusader April 18, 2012 at 04:12 PM
But the message from Santorum isn't? A very wise man once said "Let's not have a double standard. One standard will do just fine."
Bob Griffiths April 18, 2012 at 04:40 PM
"Responding to these conservative attacks on higher education is difficult because by its nature the idea of attacking education is so alien to our traditional American value system that it defies logic. That being said, it is none-the-less important to respond even to these illogical statements when they come from the mouth of a misguided individual that conservatives see as their spokesman". It has been said before of conservatives that they have a tendency to either back away from the less than intelligent statements by their right-wing political spokesmen (such as Santorum's comment on college education) or they attack the messenger with psudo-moral indignation, I think both of these are occuring here.
CR April 18, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Santorum was handily dispatched. Don't generalize all conservatives as having the same mental capacity as Rick Santorum.
Dave Sleeper April 18, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Just let me attack this pompous piece a lying waste matter messenger one more time. I am a conservative and Rick Santorum does NOT speak for me. Not all conservatives share the same ideologys!
CR April 18, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Oh boy! Pseudo moral indignation...next time just cut to the chase and call me "smug" or even "snarky". But just remember, I never outwardly classified you as inferior in any capacity. Your blog post painted all conservatives with the same brush and you couldn't be any farther off base. What is your unifying theme in making such presumptions? Perhaps I already know.
The Liberal Crusader April 18, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Until one proves otherwise, CR, I will be doing just that.
CR April 18, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Bob, I took a few minutes to read over some of your other handy work. You are indeed an oddity.
Bob Griffiths April 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Well, well, well…it seems that conservatives are alot better at handing out criticism than taking it. For 3 years you have been huddling at your conservative confabs and tea party outings degrading and belittling the President of the United States and his family. May I remind you that President Obama was elected with the MOST VOTES of any President in the history of the United States; by belittling him, did you really think you were not insulting a great many people. President Obama is a good man, a good husband, and a good father, and is a worthy example to young people; in today’s world of less-than-ethical politicians, like despicable Gingrich to name one, being a good family man in actions rather than words is admirable. It’s easy to talk a good game, much harder to play it, and there is the flaw in most conservative politicians.
Vince Latchford April 20, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I think it's time to take leave of Mr. Griffiths. He is an Obama fanatic and is doing everything he can to convince others to reelect him. However, it is embarassingly pathetic that his reasons why we should vote for Obama are that Republicans want to kill Medicare so that more money can go to the rich, and that Conservatives are saying that education is evil. All of you out there should know that your Republican neighbors, little league coaches, pastors, cops, and everything else are plotting to kill all you Democrats for the benefit of Donald Trump and in the meantime they hate education, probably for racial reasons, despite the fact that most of them are burdened with debt incurred by putting kids thru as much school as they can afford. If these are the reasons to reelect Obama, he has no chance. So it looks like a combination of desperation, ignorance, and a certainty that they can peddle any unbelievable twaddle and convince dim-witted voters to vote to reelect. Pathetic. Let's leave this self-admiring loser to his fantasy. I'm tired of hearing about him.
CR April 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
April 1976, President Gerald Ford was in about the same position as Obama is now. He lost the 1976 general election to Jimmy Carter by two points. In April 1980, President Jimmy Carter was leading Ronald Reagan by 38 points to 32 points with John Anderson on 22. In November 1980, Reagan won by 10 points. History will repeat itself in 2012, as Obama will soon have to begin defending an atrocious record. Maybe (hopefully) add Christie into the mix, who will rapidly expose Biden for the blubbering disaster he is and that should just about wrap it up.
CR April 20, 2012 at 06:30 PM
"President Obama was elected with the MOST VOTES of any President in the history of the United States..." -BG That was easy considering all the ballots cast by Mickey Mouse, Humpty Dumpty, John Doe and whomever else ACORN could wrangle up... and don't forget all the dead folk that miraculously came back to life and showed up to vote for The Messiah...
CR April 20, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Vince: That was one fine post. You summed it up so eloquently.
CR April 20, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Bob: Let me head you off at the pass before you rev-up your soup cooler. Christie's approval rating in NJ is at 59% and climbing and Obama's is 51...but I'm sure there's a logical leftist explanation for that?!
Bob Griffiths April 20, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I hate to interfere with this group of republicans busy patting each other on the as@, but I felt it was time to interject some reality into this conservative mutual admiration society. Your boy Christie is no sure thing, and I’ll tell you why whether you like it or not. First, assuming Romney goes for a “true” conservative, which I think he will because he has no choice, Christie will be out and he will resume his attack on public employees, namely collective bargaining, pensions, and health care. He just took a break because he was busy chasing Romney all over the country kissing up. Haven’t heard a lot from NJ public unions lately have you, that’s because all eyes are on Wisconsin. Events in Wisconsin are also one of the reasons Christie decided to cool his attacks for a while. If Walker gets recalled the game changes for one simple reason, in Wisconsin 12% of the workforce is public employees, and look at what they have accomplished already. In NJ, slightly more than 17% are public employees and that is one formidable voting block including family members that have also been impacted by Christie’s doctrines. One more thing, you better keep an eye on Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, he has his sights set on bigger things. He has impeccable credentials and the talk is beginning that he would be a considerable challenge to Christie.

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