November 11, 2015


The fact-free coddle-fest last night ("Fox Business gives Ben Carson a free pass in GOP debate") offered many, many hilariously false statements for your 'umble scrivener to choose from -- lies cheerfully extruded by the yard by the Fox News employees behind the lecterns, and just as cheerfully ignored by the "elegant" Fox News employees who fed them stage direction from behind the moderator desk.

So I thought today I would pick out one that will probably be missed by almost everyone else.

From Marco Rubio, the Wandering Senator, last night (emphasis added):

... Here's the best way to raise wages. Make America the best place in the world to start a business or expand an existing business, tax reform and regulatory reform, bring our debt under control, fully utilize our energy resources so we can reinvigorate manufacturing, repeal and replace Obamacare, and make higher education faster and easier to access, especially vocational training. For the life of me, I don't know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.

First, it's "fewer" philosophers, not "less". Dumbass.

Second, the best manufacturers I know do indeed value their welders (who can pass a drug test. It's a thing)...and CNC operators...and mold-makers...who are also lateral thinkers that can evaluate weird, complex problems and work out creative solutions. You can study both. Dumbass.

Third, without philosophy students, Soundgarden may never have existed. Dumbass. (From the American Philosophical Association, "Who Studies Philosophy?")

Kim Thayil, musician (Soundgarden)

On the other hand, without a certain philosophy student, history might have been changed just enough to spare Hewlett-Packard the reign of the Destroyer of Companies:

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and presidential candidate
Bachelor’s Degree, Stanford University, 1976

You know what? It turns out lots of gainfully-employed people you may have heard about have studied philosophy along the way. Lots and lots. Here is a partial list:

Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President
Bachelor’s Degree, College of William and Mary, 1762

Fred Thompson, former senator and presidential candidate (and erstwhile actor)
Bachelor’s Degree, University of Memphis, 1964

George F. Will, journalist, author, and political commentator
Bachelor’s Degree, Trinity College, 1962

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader
Taught social philosophy at Morehouse College, 1961

Carl Icahn, investor and former CEO of TWA Airlines
Bachelor’s Degree, Princeton University, 1957

Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal
Bachelor’s Degree, Stanford University, 1989

Pope John Paul II
Ph.D., Jagiellonian University, 1948

Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize winning theologian and missionary
Ph.D., University of Tübingen, 1899

Christopher Hitchens, author
Bachelor’s Degree, Balliol College Oxford, 1967

Sam Harris, author (The End of Faith) and co-founder of Project Reason<
Bachelor’s Degree, Stanford University, 2000

Elie Wiesel, author (Night)
Studied at the Sorbonne, 1948-1951

Chris Hayes, journalist, political commentator, and MSNBC host
Bachelor’s Degree, Brown University, 2001

Wes Anderson, filmmaker
Bachelor’s Degree, University of Texas at Austin, 1990

Harrison Ford, actor
Majored in philosophy at Ripon College (no degree earned), 1960-1964

Steve Martin, comedian, actor, and musician
Majored in philosophy at California State University Long Beach (no degree earned), 1963-1967

Phil Jackson, NBA coach
Bachelor’s Degree, University of North Dakota, 1967

Bruce Lee, martial artist
Studied philosophy at University of Washington (no degree earned), 1961-1964

Ayn Rand, author (The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged)
Bachelor’s Degree, Petrograd State University, 1924

So...why does Marco Rubio hate Ayn Rand and Han Solo?

Finally, I agree that we should be doing a lot more to offer every American a ladder (well, "lattice", if you want to get technical and wonky) into the middle class by strategically strengthening America's manufacturing base and offering a program of life-long career education and training starting in high school.

You know who else believe that?

Barack Obama, who campaigned on this very subject back in 2008 before he was ever elected president. Here he is, taking specifically about Austin Polytech high school in Chicago and about which I have written from time to time:

And given the subject at hand, it's only appropriate to close out with a philosophical question of sorts: How much more might President Barack Obama have been able to accomplish on behalf of the manufacturing sector and American school kids had he not been blocked and sabotaged Every. Single. Fucking. Step. along the way by the party of bigots, assholes and lunatics to which Marco Rubio owes his allegiance?

Crossposted at

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