(Apologies to my mother, who lives in Florida.)
OK, it’s official, Rick Scott, Republican governor of Florida, is an idiot. There’s really no other way to describe his spectacularly moronic comments about anthropologists and education:
If I’m going to take money from a citizen to put into education then I’m going to take that money to create jobs. So I want that money to go to degrees where people can get jobs in this state. Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so.
It’s a great degree if people want to get it. But we don’t need them here.
So take yer gol’ durned ejikashun and git the hell out o’ Flerida! We don’t need you stinkin’ pointy heads here! We kin skin a gator an’ chaw and spit jist fine, ya damn Yankee! And just whut degrees wuld ya be talkin’ ’bout anyhow, ya bald-headed skunk?
Look, I have a BA and an MA in anthropology, and so does Scott’s daughter, but the point isn’t that anthropologists should be looking over their shoulders for toothless torch-bearing yokels. He has basically said any education subtler than a sledge hammer ain’t necessary in the Sunshine State so you kin take yer book larnin’ and screw yerself.
He’s saying that people don’t need to learn how to think, how to ask questions, or challenge the status quo, whether in politics or theory. He’s saying we just need to teach people what they need to be workers and drones, taught to obey, not act on their own. When he says he wants to “create jobs,” what kind of jobs is he talking about? What does that mean in the context of “education?” I think we can assume that when Rick Scott says the word “education” he really means “training” or “indentured servitude.”
Defending anthropology per se doesn’t really help because it’s just a synecdoche for the world of thought. He, along with the rest of the Republican knuckle-draggers out there, hate educated, thoughtful people because they can see through the idiocy of their ideas. Educated people ask “gotcha” questions that any reasonable person would ask. They don’t believe you just because you said it, or said it twenty-two times. They don’t stop when you want them to. They can take apart the logical fallacies, the distortions of reality, and the outright lies. They can understand and challenge people like Rick Scott. They are a demagogue’s worst enemies. Too bad Florida’s school system can’t teach anyone well enough to do any of that.
To make matters worse, these people who claim to support science and math as ways to build a workforce don’t even like science and math. They disparage the science surrounding global warming and evolution; they dismiss the realities of the universe and cling to myths they interpret strictly according to their own twisted views (something a good anthropologist might want to study); and they think genuine scientists and mathematicians are dweebs and geeks.
So, good for you, Florida. Homer Simpson was right: you are America’s wang. If you want to do something about that, you need to dump your current Howdy Doody governor and elect someone with a brain. I won’t hold my breath, though; he’s in good company–just look at the current crop of tiny-brained wipers of other people’s bottoms running for the most powerful office in the world. Really???? We should be ashamed of ourselves.