The tyranny of the degreed

After my rather unpleasant hour debating Democrat Christine Bremer-Muggli on Wisconsin Public Radio Friday, I got this Facebook message:

It’s always a pleasure to hear you on Joy’s program, but I’m disappointed in you for not correcting your nemesis on this morning’s WPR show when she incessantly spewed out an oft-repeated fallacy about Governor Walker’s level of education. Christine said – no less than five times – that Scott Walker “does not have a college education.”

That is a blatant lie.

Scott Walker went to Marquette for four years. Folks who want to criticize him would be accurate in saying that he did not earn a degree from that university.

That’s a fact.

It’s not my intention to defend the governor; but instead, I’m pointing out the truth in the midst of the rhetoric. Christine spewed out misinformation, she said it with authority, portrayed it as fact, and nobody called her on it.

To say that Walker “did not get a college education” after sitting in a class room for four years is beyond comprehension.

Also, it’s offensive to all the people in the world who were alternatively educated — home schooled, Internet classes, or even the school of hard knocks.

What about Abe Lincoln, who never went to college but eventually became a U.S. president? Bill Gates dropped out of college because he was too bored with the standard way of learning and became a self-made billionaire! Many very successful people never “got a college education,” including Mark Twain, Frank Sinatra, Michael Dell (Dell computers), Thomas Edison, Ernest Hemingway, George Washington, Andrew Carnegie, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and Steve Jobs. Where would we be without these very influential — and dare I say “educated” — people?

I can argue with nothing our listener/reader wrote, other than to add to her list a president who never got to college. I don’t think my WPR opponent will kick out Harry S. Truman from her party, but by her Friday standards he wasn’t qualified to be president. Nor was Abraham Lincoln.

As numerous unemployed college graduates can attest, a college degree guarantees nothing other than the fact you met the degree requirements of the institution. (The same can be said about master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and yes, law degrees. The University of Wisconsin, from which my bachelor’s degree was earned, has among its alumni a large number of Ph.D.s working as Madison taxi drivers and waiters.) That means you attained the required number of credits by passing the required classes in the required subjects, including one or more majors and minors. Period. A college degree does not guarantee or demonstrate extraordinary intelligence, and it certainly does not prove wisdom.

It’s ironic, if you think about it, that a representative of the supposedly diverse, inclusive, tolerant, nondiscriminatory political party demonstrates a noted lack of tolerance toward someone with fewer degrees than her, beyond her willful falsehoods about Walker’s education. Then again, the diversity of the Democratic Party doesn’t include ideological diversity. (Bremer-Muggli respects neither the Second Amendment nor Article I, section 25 of the state Constitution either, but that’s hardly a surprise.)

One can ask if my microphone-hogging WPR nemesis actually intended to insult every listener without a degree, not to mention every potential legal client of hers without a degree. The charitable would assume the answer is no; she only intended to insult Scott Walker specifically and Republicans and non-liberals (including certainly myself) generally.

That makes her a victim of what Charlie Sykes calls Walker Derangement Syndrome, or the more scientific term, Reagan/Thompson/Bush/Walker Disease. Democrats believed, and believe in the latter’s case, that, respectively, a two-term president elected by larger margins than any of his Democratic successors, the longest-serving governor in Wisconsin’s history, our last two-term Republican president, and our current governor were, and in Walker’s case are, simultaneously stupid and evil. The victims not only spit contempt upon those who won, in order, two presidential elections, four gubernatorial elections, two presidential elections and a gubernatorial and recall election, they spit contempt upon those who voted for them.

Yesterday at work, for instance, I got an email from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin that could be described as slanderous toward Walker were it not for the fact that as a matter of law public officials generally cannot be the victims of slander. None of what the Democrats’ Baghdad Bob sent has a thing to do with issues facing this state. Other than possibly The Capital Times, Isthmus and some other Republican-hating publication, no publication would run this agitprop. Given the results of the 2010 and 2012 elections, the Democrats’ PR strategy, such as it is, isn’t working.

2 thoughts on “The tyranny of the degreed

  1. Steve:

    I heard you on WPR as well. My reaction was that you must have been up way too late the night before, as you were rude, crude and impolite. So now you can address this message.

    As far as having a degree goes, some folks need one, some don’t. I don’t mind that my plumber doesn’t have a 4 year degree, but I sure do care that my family doctor does have all the education they can get.

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