Monday, February 27, 2012

Rick Santorum Is Against Collegiate Indoctrination or Make Sure That Your Kids Never Learn to Think for Themselves

A few days ago, Rick Santorum took some time out from prosecuting his war against women and shifted to another front in his drive to turn the United States into a theocracy:

On the president’s efforts to boost college attendance, Santorum said, “I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely … The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.”

He claimed that “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it,” but declined to cite a source for the figure.

Let’s analyze this statement. First, just think about the fact that Santorum is actually criticizing President Obama* for wanting kids to go to college. Given that Republicans have criticized Mrs. Obama for wanting kids to eat healthy, this isn’t really too surprising. But still… Now it’s a bad thing to want more American kids to be educated? Yeah, that will be good for America’s ability to compete in the world marketplace.

So why does Santorum object to President Obama’s desire to see more kids go to college? Because universities “indoctrinate” students and cause them to leave without a faith commitment. Well, then. Of course, as noted, Santorum offered no support for his claim that 62% of kids lose their faith commitment in college. But, assuming for a moment that statistic is true … so what? The government should not encourage kids to get a better education because they might — might — learn or be exposed to things that could cause them to question their faith commitment? By all means, let’s leave learning to the Chinese and French and Indians; I’m sure that they’ll share with us when they discover a cure to cancer while Santorum and his followers are still praying for that cure.

But what do you think Santorum is really complaining about? That word “indoctrination” is a bit vague. Indoctrination into what? Perhaps he’s suggesting that universities make people into Democrats, but that seems a bit farfetched. He led a College Republicans group, after all. I seriously doubt he’s suggesting that college turns kids into communists or socialists or some other type of evil “ists”. No. It appears that the indoctrination that he fears is indoctrination into a group that has lost a “faith commitment” — or at least his interpretation of what a faith commitment is. For example, I suspect that Santorum would argue that a person who does share his strict religious views, including hostility to gays and opposition to abortion, does not have a true faith commitment. Remember, over the weekend, he also noted that he does not believe in a strict separation of church and state and claimed that President Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech about the role of Kennedy’s Catholicism made Santorum want to “throw up”. As a brief aside, does that mean that Santorum, a Catholic like Kennedy, would allow the Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops to have a direct influence over Santorum’s decision-making? If we elect Rick Santorum are we really electing the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? Does that scare you the way it scares me?

But back to the indoctrination that Santorum fears will occur to kids who go to college. The only thing left, really, is the indoctrination that will cause kids to lose their “faith commitment”. And what kind of indoctrination might do that? Let’s think back over the history of … well, history. What has been the constant proverbial thorn in the side of religion? Knowledge. The desire to learn more. Questioning. Doubting. Learning.

When we send kids off to school — and college, in particular — the goal is to get them to look at the world around them, try to make sense of it, ask questions, challenge, and learn. By looking at the physical world around us and wondering how and why things work as they do, new scientists and doctors are born. By looking at our world, our society, and the human condition, we foster new generations of poets, teachers, and … well, humans. We ask them to think critically about things like global warming and evolution, not just take as assumed what they’ve been told. We ask them to think about real issues, whether abortion or poverty or racism. We ask them to think, to question, and to learn.

But to Rick Santorum, that is indoctrination. Because the one thing that college students learn not to do, is to just presume that because some authority figure says “it is thus” that there is no further need to search for the truth. In the early Renaissance, the Catholic Church persecuted Galileo for daring to note that the universe was not Earth-centric. Today, Rick Santorum fears just that sort of questioning and reasoning, for what if a college student asks about global warming, or evolution, or (gasp) what’s wrong with gay marriage. Santorum doesn’t fear indoctrination; that’s just a code word. What he fears is learning and knowledge that might make more people look to his antiquated bigoted views not with favor but with revulsion.

Is that the kind of man who should be President?

Oh, and in case you’re curious, according to Wikipedia, Santorum earned a BA from Penn State, an MBA from University of Pittsburgh, and a JD from Dickinson School of Law (Penn State’s law school).

You know, on second thought, maybe Santorum has something. Perhaps if his supporters and their kids took his advice and avoided college, there will be less of a demand for those slots for my kids to fight over, more available scholarship money, and more jobs available for those kids who did brave the university indoctrination centers and learned to think and reason for themselves. Yep. That’s the ticket. If you’re a supporter of Rick Santorum, please, please, keep your kids out of college. We do need more unskilled, uneducated labor, right?

Finally, please see my post So Just How Homophobic and Scary Is Rick Santorum? (posted January 9, 2012), in which I highlight some of Santorum’s most notorious statements.

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*Note that Santorum, as has become common among the Republican candidates, often doesn’t include the title “President” when referring to President Obama. Instead he refers to him as “Barack Obama”; many of the other candidates simply refer to him as “Obama”. What happened to respect for the office of the Presidency? What happened to common decorum? These people hate President Obama so much that respect and decorum are no longer recognized or practiced. Though I’m not a fan of “tit-for-tat” sorts of approaches, I will follow suit and refuse to show Santorum or the other candidates any respect that they may be owed and I will endeavor to refrain from prefacing Santorum’s name with “Senator”. If he can’t show a modest amount of respect, then he does not deserve respect himself.

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1 Comments:

At Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:25:00 PM , Anonymous Karin said...

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! This topic infuriates me and makes me laugh my butt off. I am the classic example of "indoctrination" that Mr. Frothy mixture speaks of...:) I was raised in a very republican household (you know the type...my dad would have voted for Hitler as long as he had an R after his name!)I made it a point, with my parents blessing or rather my mother telling my father this was how it was going to be, to go to school 600 miles away from Indiana and nary a cornfield in sight. WOW! It turned out to be a life education. I learned that what my parents had "indoctrinated" me to believe wasn't the only option out there. I became much more aware of the environment, women's/minority rights, pro-choice and fairness. I got to live and breathe the "otherside" and proudly have never gone back. So was the conservative message my parents instilled in my wrong...absolutely not. I thank my mother (RIP Dad) all the time that she encouraged me to go to school and expand my mind beyond the borders of Indiana. Makes for some awesome debated during the holidays.

Also, I took Pres. Obama's comment about college to mean any additional training or schooling beyond high school. So does Frothy Mixture have an issue with trade schools or vocational training? Obviously he does. My mother told me that even if I choose not to go to college (HA....like was going to happen) I was going to do something after high school....beauty school, trade school, etc. Additional training of some kind was going to be necessary and I believe it will continue to be well into the future.

Rick Santorum is a tool!

 

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