Thursday, November 12, 2015

Scientia potentia est*

The two major American political parties have begun the long, arduous road to the 2016 presidential election by holding a series of so-called debates at which potential candidates can put forth their views so that the general public, or at least the party faithful, can narrow their choices from five or 10 or 16 (yes, 16) to three or four before the individual states hold their primaries after the first of the year. The Republicans are holding nine debates and the Democrats are holding six.

One of the Republican candidates, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, was applauded at Tuesday’s fourth Republican presidential debate when he called for easier access to vocational schools. Then he made the following remarkable statement: “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.”

As you might expect, philosophy majors and professors all over this great land of ours were appalled and have been expressing their disagreement with the Senator.

I am appalled as well, but not for the same reason the philosophers are.

We may need more welders -- I really don’t know -- but Senator Rubio should never have said, “We need more welders and less philosophers.” Clearly, what he should have said was, “We need more welders and fewer philosophers.”

Obviously, what we really need are more English majors.

*Knowledge is power


  1. Perhaps he believes that your philosophers are all overweight?
    Though how, when they earn less than the welder raises philosophical questions of its own.

  2. Why can’t one be a welder and a philosopher, why this implication that the examined life requires a doctorate?

  3. P.S. “Though how, when they earn less than the welder raises philosophical questions of its own.”

    American politicians can say any stupid thing, and as long as it’s consistent with popular prejudices, they’ll be a applauded for their wisdom rather than challenged for their sources. We have such a low bar here, that few if any honorable people would even condescend to surmount it, although I think that Bernie Sanders might be one.

  4. EC (Sue), I truly don't understand what you mean about the philosophers being overweight. The only thing I can come up with is if the welders are repairing broken philosophers who have burst their seams. Is that it? I'm in the dark. Maybe you have to be an Aussie....

  5. I should not have published this post. I don't understand Snowbrush's comments either.

    My intention was to be mildly funny (apparently I didn't achieve my goal) by pointing out Senator Rubio's language slip -- he used less when the word he should have used was fewer. Maybe you have to be an English major....

  6. He wanted less philosphers? Or less of the philosphers. My own mild humour failing...

  7. What America really needs is more welders who philosophise and more philosophers who can weld. I have heard that Donald Trump can do both. Let's hope he doesn't blow himself up by accidentally setting his oxy-acetylene equipment on fire. BOOOOM! Bye-bye Donald! Oh dear.