With Rick Perry and Herman Cain out of the hunt for the 2012 nomination, the Republican race has lost a lot of its pathetic charm. The entertainment value we had come to know and love has given way to irritating nonsense.
Recently, that tower of philosophical wisdom, Rick Santorum, spoke about how American universities “indoctrinate” students into liberalism and away from religion. As evidence for this, he cited data from a study, done by religion researche rs, that found that 64% (I think he got the number wrong) of students that enter college end up significantly curtailing their churchgoing after graduation.
This, of course, was just the kind of cheerleading chant that would ignite his audience at the First Baptist Church of Naples, Florida. In Rick Perry’s absence, Rick Santorum has become the front-runner for my least-favorite Republican candidate for 2012 (although Newt is still in the running).
Santorum said that this liberal indoctrination is the real reason that President Obama “wants every kid to go to college.” He just wants everyone to be liberal. Where do I start? President Obama said, “I want every child to have the opportunity to go to college.” (emphasis added). If you read something sinister in this, you’re probably the one who’s been indoctrinated… maybe by Glen Beck.
The misconceptions held by so many Americans about higher education just blow my mind. These are all assumptions based on the fact that educated people are likely to disagree with simplistic world views. While studying neurobiology at Colorado State University, I was “indoctrinated” into exactly one way of thinking: not to take anything at face value.
The other students and I were not at all led down a path. Instead, we were given the intellectual tools with which to dissect ideas, scholarly articles, and even accepted paradigms. Not one of my professors ever scoffed at me for questioning what was “accepted.” They would ask me what was giving me my doubts… what was my internal logic. Then we would discuss it and usually it would lead to an idea for some new research that might fill in a missing piece of some puzzle.
Higher education teaches people to think, not in a certain way, but with thoroughness and logic. Rick Santorum got his JD (law degree) from Penn State. I guess the “system” doesn’t always work. It didn’t turn him into a liberal and it didn’t teach him to think before he speaks, either.
Nor, evidently, did he learn to read. That same study found that 76% of people who never went to college cut down on their churchgoing in the same way. So much for teaching logic. I conclude from this that one of two things happened. Either Santorum didn’t bother to read the whole paper (or just didn’t care what it really said) or he knew full well what the real conclusions were and just went ahead anyway, in order to fire up the “troops.”
So, is Rick Santorum stupid? Or is he just typically unethical, politician style? I’ll let you decide.
Oh. Almost forgot. Happy “Make Greeting Card, Flower, and Candy Companies Rich” Day! Let it not be said that I’m un-romantic.
Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.