Je suis élitaire

Yes, I am, damn it. I am in the educational elite. My degrees are from land-grant universities which were created to move America ahead by establishing educational institutions that would benefit the peoples of the various states. I returned to teach and do research in one such institution for the better part of my academic career. So, of course, I say: I am elite. And it enrages me that our country has now stooped so low as to devalue facts, the means to make them as such (research), and the institutions charged with enabling that knowledge (public education).

The [Morrill act][wiki] says about land-grant colleges:

without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactic, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life. (my emphasis)

In other words, our predecessors in Congress saw education as the way to create the American Dream. Trump and his minions are out to reverse that process. The reason why is that Trump and Putin know the value of having uneducated serfs at the base of the economic ladder.

Here are excerpts from a report comparing the Obama and Trump cabinets so far with respect to their educational qualifications, The Difference In Education Between Trump & Obama’s Cabinets Is Staggering (h/t Michele Manos).

While there are no educational or professional restrictions barring our citizens from serving the public as part of a presidential administration, traditionally Presidents opt to choose the highest-qualified men and women for important positions, while usually being well-learned themselves. No longer is that the case. Trump and his administration are without a doubt the most wildly unqualified team to ever darken the door of the White House.

It’s called kakistocracy.

It should ring all sorts of alarm bells when you realize that the most educated man on the Trump staff is the sole black man, Dr. Ben Carson, who is a skilled surgeon but whose religious extremism clouds his muddled judgment. Trump himself will be the first president in 25 years to not have a graduate degree of any kind, and his proud ignorance has already become a major source of contention in national security circles.

The rest of his team is largely horrendously unqualified to run the departments they have been given control of. Here are a couple of what I think are the most egregious examples.

The new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has billions of dollars but just a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College. The current Secretary of Education, John King Jr., “has a B.A. from Harvard, a master’s degree and doctorate from Columbia, and a law degree from Yale.”

The Department of Energy will now be run by former Texas Governor and Dancing With The Stars washout Rick Perry, who famously couldn’t remember the name of the department he wanted to abolish and will now run. Perry has a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Texas A&M and failed his college chemistry courses. He will be replacing Ernest Moniz, who is a Nobel Prize-winning nuclear physicist with a PhD from Stanford University.

Trump has staffed his administration with the wealthy and the connected, rewarding megadonors and appointed GOP sycophants to run departments they want to abolish.

That is what dictators do.

The smoothness and talent with which our nation was guided over the past eight years has all been taken for granted; now we shall truly see what happens when the captain of the Titanic and all of his mates are drunk at the wheel.


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