A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
12-11-2015, 07:08 PM (This post was last modified: 13-11-2015 09:12 AM by Full Circle.)
A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
I just had to share this gem.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_p...hinks.html

Dear Sen. Marco Rubio,

I’m writing to you instead of grading papers, because the only thing more tedious than grading, as any philosophy and religion professor will tell you, is finishing the dissertation that earned you the privilege.

I’m also writing this instead of working on a ludicrously specialized article that examines Grimms’ fairy tales—actually one fairy tale, Lucky Hans; indeed, importantly, Lucky Hans can be translated as Happy Hans because … screw it, anyone interested can just read the article if it ever comes out—I’m writing this instead of working on an article that only 10 people will see, reviewers included.

So yes, indeed, a lot of academia is useless bullshit. (Indeed, I’ve used indeed three times already. Academic writing is the best.) You made that clear in the fourth Republican presidential debate when you said that America needs “more welders and less philosophers” and complained that higher education is “outdated” and “doesn’t teach 21st-century skills.” I should just quit and live the good life, like my attorney, doctor, and investment banker classmates from college and graduate school (Stanford and the University of Chicago—what a colossal waste, right?) who defend innocents, save lives, and make tons of money and donate said money to all the causes I’d donate to if I weren’t wasting my education on a low-paying joke of a job. Maybe I should even become a politician, Mr. Rubio—surely our nation needs more of those?

But I won’t quit. I’d never quit. This job is awesome. Investment bankers would be lucky to have it. In fact, after this comes out and goes viral, droves of them will retire, seek jobs as adjunct philosophy professors, and the economy will improve slightly.

A key part of my job is identifying and fighting the stupid wherever it is found.
I won’t quit because my colleagues and I are part of a sacred order, bound to seek out and profess truth, no matter how complicated or unappealing that truth might be. The truth about evolution, for example—and why people like you, Sen. Rubio, seem incapable of believing in it.

I won’t quit because there’s no feeling like the one I get when a student says my class has changed his or her life. It’s as if I’ve performed alchemy or magic: With nothing more than a powerful set of symbols (and a PowerPoint), I can, on occasion, alter the very fabric of people’s reality. It’s like church, but for everyone.

Like any sacred order, academia suffers from the standard list of problems: corruption, superficiality, conservatism (of the generic, not political, kind), cumbersome bureaucracy, perpetual underfunding, self-doubt.

But I’m pretty damn sure the self-doubt is unwarranted, even in the case of the ever-beleaguered humanities. Because any student who has had the pleasure of taking a philosophy class knows that debating the merits of the humanities—debating the merits of anything, really—is itself a humanistic endeavor, and we ignore the rigorous study of proper argumentation at our own peril.

Maybe you just don’t care. Having watched the presidential debates, I think it’s safe to say that proper argumentation isn’t the highest value for you and your colleagues. In fact, humanities professors like me work against many of your core values. Explaining the origin and persistence of creationist pseudoscience? Religion and philosophy. Shutting down racists and sexists who explain discrimination with “natural differences”? Anthropology and history. We can’t take all the credit, of course, but the fact that the arc of history seems to bend toward justice is due, at least in part, to the efforts of humanities scholars.

Sen. Rubio, rants like yours about the uselessness of academe can be disheartening. (Same goes for you, President Obama, when you ignore the humanities and call only for more STEM education.) But if there’s anything we academics are able to do, it’s to recognize that these rants are poorly argued and lacking in evidence. Often they are the self-congratulatory blather of those whose success is predicated—in more and less obvious ways—on the existence of higher education, but who in hindsight credit that success solely to innate ability. In short, the rants are stupid, and a key part of my job is identifying and fighting the stupid wherever it is found.

So I won’t quit, even in the face of your derogatory comments. I won’t quit because without the institution for which I stand, history would be twisted and forgotten, arguments would devolve into shouting, and truth would lose its professional evangelists. Since I am certain of all this, I cherish my place in the ivory tower—which, contrary to popular belief, is located smack in the middle of the real world, where it continues its ancient mission of making that world a better, wiser place.

Can you say the same of your own mission, Sen. Rubio?

By Alan Levinovitz

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like Full Circle's post
12-11-2015, 07:36 PM
RE: A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
That was really fantastic.

I think one of the tragedies of late 20th and now 21st century American and western Europe is our disdain for liberal arts education and our valuation only on "job skills". We are creating legions of "drones" who lack the capacity for critical thought. We attack the arts as a tax payer waste at every opportunity; even the most despotic regimes in history acted as patrons for the arts. Our cynicism about our past puts us almost on the same intellectual plateau with ISIL and the Taliban.

I hope that letter gets so much play that Rubio is forced to respond to it, because I'd be very interested in his answer. I'm sure it will be pure bullshit, though.

How did we ever devolve to this point?

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes BnW's post
12-11-2015, 07:58 PM
RE: A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
Critical thinkers are a rare breed, especially in today’s current political arena.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-11-2015, 08:36 PM
RE: A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
Professor:
A key part of my job is identifying and fighting the stupid wherever it is found.
Alla:
Very well, continue. But we still need more welders and less philosophers.

English is my second language.
I AM DEPLORABLE AND IRREDEEMABLE
SHE PERSISTED WE RESISTED
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-11-2015, 08:51 PM
RE: A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
(12-11-2015 08:36 PM)Alla Wrote:  Professor:
A key part of my job is identifying and fighting the stupid wherever it is found.
Alla:
Very well, continue. But we still need more welders and less philosophers.

What evidence do you have that welders are in short supply?

And what evidence is there that welders in the US are keeping jobs, rather than these jobs being exported to lower cost shops outside of the US? At least university professors of philosophy are (presumably) holding positions that haven't been outsourced.

Your English ranges from decent to abysmal (IMO because you are a Poe). Please decide which persona you want to maintain here. If it's "English is my third language" Alla: grammatical English would specify that you write fewer, not less, philosophers. If you are a Poe, use your fucking grammar correctly, as it is already annoying enough to read your posts.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes julep's post
12-11-2015, 09:01 PM
RE: A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
(12-11-2015 08:51 PM)julep Wrote:  What evidence do you have that welders are in short supply?
I have no evidence. I didn't even say that welders are in short supply. I only agreed with Marco that we need more welders than philosophers.
(12-11-2015 08:51 PM)julep Wrote:  Your English ranges from decent to abysmal (IMO because you are a Poe). Please decide which persona you want to maintain here. If it's "English is my third language" Alla: grammatical English would specify that you write fewer, not less, philosophers. If you are a Poe, use your fucking grammar correctly, as it is already annoying enough to read your posts.
you are annoying.

English is my second language.
I AM DEPLORABLE AND IRREDEEMABLE
SHE PERSISTED WE RESISTED
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-11-2015, 09:07 PM
RE: A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
I think we found the next target for "God's not dead 3"

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-11-2015, 09:09 PM
RE: A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
(12-11-2015 08:36 PM)Alla Wrote:  Professor:
A key part of my job is identifying and fighting the stupid wherever it is found.
Alla:
Very well, continue. But we still need more welders and less philosophers.

Welders will be the first to be replaced by robots and automation. Hell, they already are.

#sigh
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like GirlyMan's post
12-11-2015, 09:10 PM
RE: A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
(12-11-2015 08:51 PM)julep Wrote:  grammatical English would specify that you write fewer, not less, philosophers
Oh, I forgot to thank you for a little English grammar lesson.
if only you were less annoying.

English is my second language.
I AM DEPLORABLE AND IRREDEEMABLE
SHE PERSISTED WE RESISTED
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-11-2015, 09:12 PM
RE: A philosophy professor responds to Marco Rubio
(12-11-2015 09:09 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(12-11-2015 08:36 PM)Alla Wrote:  Professor:
A key part of my job is identifying and fighting the stupid wherever it is found.
Alla:
Very well, continue. But we still need more welders and less philosophers.

Welders will be the first to be replaced by robots and automation. Hell, they already are.
Hmm.. You are right. Do you see? when you give me good(true) argument I accept it.

English is my second language.
I AM DEPLORABLE AND IRREDEEMABLE
SHE PERSISTED WE RESISTED
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: