Well put

I’ll give Santorum credit for finding a concise and accurate way to describe those who want everybody to go to college, like President Obama, “What a snob!”

Jeff Jacoby writes about Santorum’s dig on Obama here and how it elicited criticism from, well…snobs:

Ridiculous? Offensive? Hypocritical? Manifestly, all of the above,” wrote Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post. On The Daily Show, the inimitable Jon Stewart was beside himself: “Just to be clear,” he said, “you’re coming out against people educating their kids because it’s – fancy?” Vice President Joe Biden assured a radio interviewer that Santorum had managed to separate himself from “all of America on this.”

A note to Jon Stewart: Just to be clear, no, Santorum didn’t come out against anybody educating their kids. That’s a straw man fallacy.

Santorum came out against the idea that college be considered the only path worth pursuing and using government policy to reinforce that mythical idea.

And Santorum meant that it’s snobbish to ignore the good work done by millions of people in this country who don’t have college degrees, but still managed to contribute to society and achieve the American Dream.

I know plenty of such people. They are business owners, electricians, factory workers and railroad workers. They build roads, program computers and edit video. They work on garage doors, paint houses, build fences, clean windows, fix cars and tractors and run restaurants.

They also start companies like Microsoft, win Oscar awards and play professional sports.

Many of these folks do amazing things that they didn’t learn in a classroom.

For example, I’m amazed that a painter I use can finish painting a room quicker than it would for me to set up and start, and his product looks far better than anything I’ve tried to paint.

I was amazed by the movers I hired a few years ago to move the heavy stuff from my old house to my new house. They accomplished in 3 hours what would have taken me days. I would have strained my muscles, maybe injured myself and I’m sure I would have marked up my walls or damage my furniture.

The path to the American Dream isn’t about going to college.

It’s about adopting a set of behaviors that includes a strong work ethic, integrity, personal responsibility, ability to get along with others, productivity, willingness to learn, careful consideration of decisions and resourcefulness, among other things.

The folks I mentioned above, who didn’t go to college, would score well on these behaviors. Likewise, I know folks who did go to college, who are struggling to achieve the American Dream and would score low on these behaviors.

We’d be far better off if we encouraged and reinforced the behaviors that lead to the American Dream, rather than encouraging shortcuts to achieving a facade of the American Dream.

1 thought on “Well put

  1. College. It’s what (jr) high school used to be………

    ……………..but without the drugs and alcohol and the co-ed bathrooms and the radical teachers.

    If college is viewed as a black box where we stuff our kids and cash in one end and hope that four years later they’ll emerge sans the cash, but with knowledge and wisdom that is valued more highly than the cash, then, with few exceptions, college is a rip-off. Sure, a degree does signal to potential employers that the graduate is statistically likely to be more trainable than those without a degree – although it does not guarantee it. However, as most employers will acknowledge, a college degree does NOT guarantee that the graduate is any more knowledgeable or wiser than when he entered college. To borrow from Bryan Caplan at George mason University, a college degree (I won’t call it an education) is more about signaling than improvements in human capital.


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