Tea Partiers Lap Up Anti-Education Rhetoric


Despite being justifiably mocked for his simplistic demagoguery, Rick Santorum continues to push his anti-education position and claim that Obama is trying to indoctrinate people by making college more accessible for them. TPM interviews people at a Tea Party rally in Michigan where he spoke on the subject and finds them lapping it up:

So I set out into the crowded ballroom to find out just what the people the AFP crowd thought of Santorum’s attack line.

Turns out they quite liked it.

“I thought that was brilliant,” said Angie Clement of Commerce, Mich. “Not everybody has to go to college. We need garbagemen, we need welders, carpenters.”

“Everybody can’t be equal,” agreed Paul Murrow of Milford, MI seated nearby. “Somebody needs to do the manual labor.”

Clement’s husband, Stephen, said Santorum was right on the mark when he said that Obama wants to send kids to get college degrees so as to produce more liberals.

“It starts down at the elementary school level with all this bullshit about diversity, pardon my French,” he said. “Diversity and sensitivity and all that crap. That’s the stuff that needs to be taught at home not by my teachers. My teachers need to be academic: Math, science, history, social studies, that sort of thing and keep political opinions out of it, bottom line.”

Look, I don’t have a college degree (I dropped out to become a stand up comedian). I absolutely agree that one doesn’t have to go to college to be successful. And I absolutely agree that not everyone has to or should go to college at all. Yes, society needs people who do manual labor. If society was made up entirely of people like me, we’d be in big trouble; nothing would get built or produced, to be sure. But you can make that argument without all this anti-intellectual nonsense and without these ridiculous claims of brainwashing students. And that’s the root of all this bullshit.

Comments

  1. brianthomas says

    My teachers need to be academic: Math, science, history, social studies, that sort of thing…

    Except that there evolution stuff. That’s just a theory that creates libruls.

    …and keep political opinions out of it, bottom line.

    Well except my political opinions like America has always been and should be lilly white Jesus-land, all the way back to them there founders.

  2. Phillip IV says

    I think the argument is a winner for Santorum with two separate parts of the Teabagger movement:

    The Stoneage Fundamentalist wing likes if because they want to keep their own kids ignorant, so they don’t jump ship….well, more like so they don’t jump the roughly-hewn, soggy drifting log…

    And the hardcore racist wing want’s to keep black kids out of college, so they can become garbagemen, welders and carpenters, while their own kids naturally get an education.

  3. unbound says

    As George Carlin said, the corporations want you to be just smart enough to operate the machines and fill out the paperwork, but too dumb to know that you are being screwed over by the corporations. Sounds like the Tea Party is already there…

  4. davidct says

    The problem is that society has all the unskilled laborers it needs right now. True not everybody needs a liberal arts degree but there is a crying need for people with vocational skills and those also require education. Unfortunately, both academic and vocational education would be underfunded if the Tea Party people were to have their way. Apparently the one spot where there is a crying need for ignorance on the part of the right, is the ballot box.

  5. weaver says

    “It starts down at the elementary school level with all this bullshit about diversity, pardon my French,” he said. “Diversity and sensitivity and all that crap. That’s the stuff that needs to be taught at home not by my teachers”

    Or not taught at home – makes it so much easier to pass along bigotry and intolerance if the little kiddies aren’t exposed to diversity at school.

  6. d cwilson says

    The thing that burns me is all these wingnuts are all heaping praise on Sanoturm for lying his ass off. Obama never said that everyone must go to college for a four year degree. That’s only part of his education initiative. He’s also talked about being going to community college or trade schools:

    “When I speak about higher education we’re not just talking about a four-year degree,” he said. “We’re talking about somebody going to a community college and getting trained for that manufacturing job that now is requiring somebody walking through the door, handling a million-dollar piece of equipment. And they can’t go in there unless they’ve got some basic training beyond what they received in high school.”

    Hell, even Fox News is admitting that Sanoturm is mischaractizing Obama’s remarks.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/02/27/are-santorums-comments-on-higher-ed-out-step/#ixzz1nn6TThZO

  7. physioprof says

    And the hardcore racist wing want’s to keep black kids out of college, so they can become garbagemen, welders and carpenters, while their own kids naturally get an education.

    Exactly. This is all just more Southern Strategy racist dog-whistling. When racist tea party pig people hear “making college more accessible”, what it means to them is “more niggers and spics and faggots in college”.

  8. eric says

    The idiots keep getting Obama’s statement wrong. Obama explicitly included trade schools etc… in his statement. He supported the notion of folks becoming plumbers, electricians, etc.

    For sanity check, here’s what he actually said:

    “And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma. And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country — and this country needs and values the talents of every American.”

    Got that, teabaggers? One year. Vocational. Apprenticeships. He is not insisting everyone go to Brown.

    Now, maybe the “every American” part is a bit hyperbolic. But I think its uncontroversial to say that the percent of the US job market requiring some sort of post-secondary education is both large and increasing. So it is generally a good idea for people to pursue it. You may not need the extra education, but it won’t hurt you to have it in your back pocket.

  9. garnetstar says

    They don’t want their kids to go to college? Fine.

    Whoever does not want to go, need not. Those who do, and whose parents do not mind their being indoctrinated in critical thinking, reasoning, and the accumulated knowledge of the human species, can take their places.

    And, no barriers of poverty and unequal access should stand in their way. If you don’t want to go, access to job-training and other programs can only be a societal benefit. For those who do, access to similar support is equally of benefit.

  10. The Lorax says

    Education period is important. No, you don’t need to understand the underpinnings of relativistic mechanics in order to drive a truck, but you know what? If you did, you’d probably be doing your job better than someone who didn’t. Higher education isn’t just for filling your head with facts, it’s for expanding your understanding of the universe. This directly relates to everything we do in every facet of our lives, to some degree or another.

    So yes, we do need laborers in our society. But I’ll be damned if anyone says that “stupid” is a job requirement.

  11. raven says

    No doubt, in a Santorum/Tea Party world, the USA would rapidly end up a third world banana republic i.e. all but destroyed. Moron Bush, without even trying, managed to set us back a whole generation. Thanks to their attitudes towards education, universites, and science among other things.

    The US edge has always been education and science. With 5% of the world’s population we spend 1/3 of the world’s R&D budget. This is an extraordinary assymetry.

    30 of the world’s top 40 research universities are in the USA which explains why we have fleets of foreign students from everywhere. Oddly enough, in most of the world, a US higher education degree is a real prize.

    Oh well. All civilizations end, 100% of them. Ours will someday. And it is possible the christofascist fundie xians will be holding the axe.

    Did you know god and xianity is the source of all morality? I didn’t either.

  12. Michael Heath says

    “I thought that was brilliant,” said Angie Clement of Commerce, Mich. “Not everybody has to go to college. We need garbagemen, we need welders, carpenters.”

    “Everybody can’t be equal,” agreed Paul Murrow of Milford, MI seated nearby. “Somebody needs to do the manual labor.”

    This is a perfect example of how demagoguery works. Rick Santorum was referencing the president’s recent State of the Union speech. The president never argued in that speech everyone needed to go to college. Mr. Santorum lied about that. The Tea Partiers assimilate Santorum’s lie because a conservative authority said it where they’re delusional submissive sheep who embrace want they want to believe – consistent with the edicts of their holy dogma combined to their newly developed religious-political ideology.

    What amplifies this meme is the fact that conservative Christians have long abused their children to at least some degree when it comes to their children’s aspirations and desire to seek higher education at authentic institutions of higher learning. We’ve also seen the rise of politically active dumb people, which was best revealed by listening to and reading what Sarah Palin’s fans argue.

  13. raven says

    And the hardcore racist wing want’s to keep black kids out of college, so they can become garbagemen, welders and carpenters, while their own kids naturally get an education.

    Good point. We let blacks go to college and look what happened. A half black guy ended up…president of the USA.

  14. DaveL says

    “Everybody can’t be equal,” agreed Paul Murrow of Milford, MI seated nearby. “Somebody needs to do the manual labor.”

    Apparently, doing manual labor means you aren’t equal to those who do not.

  15. says

    It’s a sad sad place we’ve come to when it is no longer shameful to be on the side of Judge Elihu Smails…

    Danny Noonan: I planned to go to law school after I graduated, but it looks like my folks won’t have enough money to put me through college.
    Judge Smails: Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too.
    Lacey Underall: [to Danny] Nice try.

  16. says

    “It starts down at the elementary school level with all this bullshit about diversity, pardon my French,” he said.

    Only snobs think everyone should go to elementary school.

  17. naturalcynic says

    But I’ll be damned if anyone says that “stupid” is a job requirement. garnetstar

    Tea Party campaign worker?

  18. felicis says

    “Everybody can’t be equal,” agreed Paul Murrow of Milford, MI seated nearby. “Somebody needs to do the manual labor.”

    Because it’s impossible to do physical labor after getting a college degree?

    I do especially like the spirit of America present in that first phrase: “Everybody can’t be equal…”

  19. gshelley says

    I wonder how many of them really mean if for their family. I’m sure they realise that someone needs to do the low paid, minimum wage jobs, but are they really hoping it will be their children?

  20. Chiroptera says

    “I thought that was brilliant,” said Angie Clement of Commerce, Mich. “Not everybody has to go to college. We need garbagemen, we need welders, carpenters.”

    I’ll just point out that while I don’t know about garbagemen, the other two groups on that list are skilled. I certainly agree that we need more skilled vocational programs and probably financial aid to make sure that people have access to the required technical training. What, that’s what Santorum is saying, right?

    I will also agree with Santorum (uh-oh!) that not everybody has to go to college. In fact, I’ll say that it is not possible for just anyone to succeed at college. College is supposed to be for smart people. If you graduate college, you aren’t just supposed to be technically trained in something that just anyone could do if they wanted. You really are supposed to be part of an elite.

    One of the problems that higher education has these days, at least for smaller public institutions, is the pressures they are under to accept as many people as they can and pass through as many people as possible because of a popular belief that “everyone needs a college education,” and if too many people are failing then that must mean the college instructors are incompetent.

    Just something I wanted to get off my chest. Carry on!

  21. strata says

    The fact that I am in a low paying job right now does not make me regret getting a college education.

  22. d cwilson says

    Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father, in 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”.

    Stephen Clement, teabagger moron, in 2012: “Everybody can’t be equal…”

    What a difference a few centuries makes.

  23. caseloweraz says

    “Everybody can’t be equal,” agreed Paul Murrow of Milford, MI seated nearby. “Somebody needs to do the manual labor.”

    There’s a “Harvest of Shame” right there in that comment. I imagine Edward R. is spinning in his grave.

  24. says

    eric “The idiots keep getting Obama’s statement wrong. Obama explicitly included trade schools etc… in his statement. He supported the notion of folks becoming plumbers, electricians, etc.”
    Ah hah! So Obama thinks that college is too good for some people!

  25. rork says

    I’m sorta with Lorax. It is indisputable that the people (by means of their government) are horrible at running their affairs. That is not just cause of stupid, it is also cause of ignorant – they can’t think straight, and know little of history or law or science. Many are actually scared of thinking hard or studying up. There’s more to know that just what you need to know for your job. (Knowing Shakespeare or Goethe is more important to me than knowing Haar integral exists, sacrilege though it may be to say so.) It would also be nice if you were fit to be a citizen. We may be sending too many kids to college with low benefit/cost as judged by their earnings, but what price do you put on people who do not act like fools. I’m ready to be taxed more to help with that. 40 years ago I predicted the utopia of enough educated people to run the country properly in 20 years. Hahahaha.

    I immediately concede that college is neither necessary for nor a guarantee of reasonable knowledge or rational thinking.

  26. says

    I’m note sure how this argument would play in the USA, but in Australia (where voting is compulsory) education should be super-important even for the manual labourers. Even if you don’t need an extended education to do your job, you have a duty to vote wisely. In this age of nuclear power, genetic modification and climate change, we cannot vote intelligently unless we understand science.

    I sometimes wonder if we should have two voting systems. One would be for your representatives and would be universal to all voters. The other would be for specific proposals, and only those who have proven knowledge on the proposals’ subject(s) would be allowed to vote.

  27. says

    aussieseculardad “The other would be for specific proposals, and only those who have proven knowledge on the proposals’ subject(s) would be allowed to vote.”
    Assume for a second that the other team gains control (thereby choosing the standards of “proven knowledge”), keep in mind that they are far better at playing dirty than “our side”, and then look at your proposal again.

  28. says

    Assume for a second that the other team gains control (thereby choosing the standards of “proven knowledge”), keep in mind that they are far better at playing dirty than “our side”, and then look at your proposal again.

    Your point is well taken.

  29. Chiroptera says

    aussieseculardad, #31: The other would be for specific proposals, and only those who have proven knowledge on the proposals’ subject(s) would be allowed to vote.

    Besides Modus’ point, another objection is that the proposals would, if enacted, presumably affect a lot more people than just those with “proven knowledge.” And one of the main points about modern democracy is that people should have a significant say in the laws that will directly govern them.

  30. says

    @Chiroptera

    I suppose that’s a point too.

    I guess I have to revert back to my first paragraph. Education needs to be strong and compulsory to a level where the majority of voters know enough to make intelligent decisions. Or perhaps, strong enough that they know enough to know when they don’t know what they’re talking about. (Try saying that three times fast.) The latter is probably an easier thing to teach.

  31. Chiroptera says

    aussieseculardad, #35: Education needs to be strong and compulsory to a level where the majority of voters know enough to make intelligent decisions.

    Oh, that I definitely agree with.

    But as an educator, I may be biased. ;)

    Note the emoticon: that means that I was really joking. I actually feel that this is a common sense position, not one I’m making just because of my personal biases.

    Second note: The last note was a joke based on a comment on another thread. I don’t really think most of the readers here wouldn’t get the joke, as lame as it is.

    Third note: Yeah, these notes are really a not-so-subtle poke at people who can’t tell when a comment is an obvious (in my opinion) joke and think I’ve pulled some incredible gaffe that requires their correction.

  32. Aquaria says

    And here I am, about to go back to college to complete my degree, at 50 years old. Because I want it.

    By damn, everyone who wants to go to college, for whatever reason they have, should be able to do it. I don’t care if we have a nation of drama majors–it’s better than having doing without college when they want it.

    I’ll get a “useless” humanities degree, but somebody has to know about the effects on Japan after Tokugawa relaxed the ban on foreign books in 1720. That somebody might as well be me.

  33. Aquaria says

    Well, that turned into a mess.

    I promise I’ll be better when I actually write papers in college.

  34. uzza says

    @Aquaria
    You Go! I went back to school and got a useless liberal arts MA at age 58. Haven’t regretted it for a second. Do it!

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