I’m not sure if this is more indicative of the rabid anti-Obama nonsense, or the rabid anti-intellectual nonsense that Teabaggers spout these days, but either way it’s fucking ridiculous.
“President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob,” Santorum said as the crowd howled with laughter and applause. “There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor.”
Santorum said he knows the real reason Obama wants more Americans on college campuses.
“That’s why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image,” Santorum said to more applause. “I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his.”
Emphasis mine. I could spend this post railing about how college is a good idea (although the financial aspect is an unadulterated scam), but I’m gonna focus more on that little bit.
You see, conservatives interpret college as liberal indoctrination. Santorum has repeatedly used this talking point, and even completely made up a statistic that “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it.” The implication being, of course, that the reason this happens isn’t a correlation between higher education and lack of belief in the supernatural, but rather that evil college professors somehow trick otherwise good Christians into turning their backs on God.
I could point out the irony in that statement given that I doubt Santorum gave his own children any choice regarding Christ, but we’ll move on.
Instead, let me use a little anecdote of sorts. I am, theoretically, the shining example of liberal education brainwashing. I went to the University of Pittsburgh, where I graduated with degrees in political science and English writing (and I have a political blog, shocker!). According to Santorum, my days must have been inundated with liberal “indoctrination” and godless heathens trying to make sure I worshiped Michael Moore instead of Jesus Christ.
The fact is, in my years of indoctrination, only one of my professors ever let his affiliations be known, and that was only via making jokes about Bush Jr. The rest were more likely to play devil’s advocate in order to get discussion going, and most of the time if you wrote a paper that had any apparent political bias to it you would lose points (I got hit pretty hard for this once). In a class I took which was a literary analysis of the Bible, the professor, who had done missionary work, went out of his way to emphasize that the divinity of the book was not to come up at all, and that any discussion concerning God’s existence would be silenced. He wanted his class to be educational for believers and non-believers alike. In my entire experience with dozens of professors, I can safely say that none of them attempted to “indoctrinate” the students, nor did they even entertain my liberal leanings.
Keep in mind this is what happened in the hotbed of political indoctrination. I’ve got a feeling that very, very few engineering and chemistry professors stop their lectures mid-formula to blather about atheism.
Even giving Ricky the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t pull that 62% statistic out of his frothy butthole, the only reason for that could be that when children are left away from their parents (who undoubtedly had indoctrinated them into the faith), they get to see and think and learn on their own, and that leads to questioning, and that leads to skepticism, and that leads to unbelief.
Of course, that even ignores the vast swath of religious groups on most campuses. I sat in on a few services for a journalism project, and believe me these people are not getting silenced, discouraged, or even ridiculed for their beliefs. I was given more pamphlets about saving my soul than I could possibly imagine. In the classroom, we were never asked our affiliations and it was rarely even relevant (writing a strictly informative essay on Thomas Hobbes has little to do with what you think about gun control).
In the end, Rick Santorum is playing into what might be the most peculiar campaign effort I’ve ever seen: saying he doesn’t want to encourage children to go to college. It’s rare for a politician to unabashedly take a stance against education. But then again, this is about as close to a straight evangelical candidate as we’ve had in some time, and he clearly would not want children to be educated if he plans on keeping them in the faith.