The Rise of the Anti-Intellectual Movement

Why would a potential president of the United States want Americans to be less educated?
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As we approach the most intense and cut-throat parts of the presidential election season, I become increasingly more concerned about the party that leans furthest to the right. In 1895, H.G. Wells made a bold prediction that in 1,000 years time the human race would separate into two different species: the intelligent, more attractive, sophisticated class and the opposing dim-witted, short-statured, creature-like working class.

While reading the classic novella, The Time Machine, I began to notice the overwhelming allusions to the current state of politics in America. While I wouldn't go as far as to say that Wells' science-fiction prediction is coming to fruition, I can't deny the similarities between the aforementioned fictional working class and the current Republican voters.

One presidential candidate in particular seems to be leading the way in the division of intellectualism between the human race. Last month Rick Santorum unleashed off-putting and clumsily articulated statements targeting institutions of higher education and their professors. During this particular speaking engagement Santorum chided, "President Obama wants everyone in America to go to college. What a snob." To my surprise he was met with cheers. He went on to explain that liberal college professors are hard at work trying to indoctrinate students. Santorum also states that President Obama's support for Americans in college is solely to help him "remake you in his image." At this point, I think Santorum is confusing indoctrination with educating people with facts.

It's hard for me to understand why Santorum would speak out against Americans obtaining higher levels of education. With more degree-holding citizens, our country would produce more engineers, scientists and intellectuals, which would ultimately help grow our economy. I find this even more perplexing considering Santorum holds three degrees himself.

Mr. Santorum and other far-right leaders are marching the herds of simple-minded Americans towards the new anti-intellectualism America structure. In recent years, The Republican and Tea Parties have been crowded with popular loud mouth, far-right Christians who have difficulty naming newspaper publications or Supreme Court cases, such as former Governor Sarah Palin. Like Palin, Former President Bush Jr., a self-proclaimed 'C' student, is praised by conservative voters for being down-to-earth. Someone you'd want to have a beer with. Someone just like them. Frankly, I don't want a president just like me. I want the kid who kicked my SAT score's ass.

Why would a potential president of the United States want Americans to be less educated? I ask this especially since, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States holds an approximately 500 rating in overall education on a 1,000 point scale. Furthermore, I can't help but wonder if Americans would be better equipped to take out a mortgage they could actually afford had they been educated on mortgage underwriting guidelines at a technical school or university. With sinking education levels it is disturbing to me that a potential future president would be opposed to making more Americans eligible for careers in engineering and the sciences, with Jobs that could be more available in our home country instead of overseas. Higher skill sets and education levels could be a gateway to build and sustain clean energy industries and other innovations. This out-right attack on knowledge-seeking and mental growth is something I hope gives every voter pause.

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