“President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob,” said the former senator from Pennsylvania. “There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor to try to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image.”

- Rick Santorum this past weekend in a speech given at a Detroit rally (The Washington Post)

This sort of batshit populism seems familiar somehow…

The intellectual forces of the workers and peasants are growing and getting stronger in their fight to overthrow the bourgeoisie and their accomplices, the educated classes, the lackeys of capital, who consider themselves the brains of the nation. In fact they are not its brains but its shit.

- Lenin in a 1918 letter to Maxim Gorky.

Huh. What do you know. Wait, there’s also…

“Fascism combats…not intelligence, but intellectualism…which is…a sickness of the intellect…not a consequence of its abuse, because the intellect cannot be used too much…it derives from the false belief that one can segregate oneself from life…”

— Giovanni Gentile, addressing a Congress of Fascist Culture, Bologna, 30 March 1925

I’m noticing a pattern…

“The youthful brain should in general not be burdened with things ninety-five percent of which it cannot use and hence forgets again… In many cases, the material to be learned in the various subjects is so swollen that only a fraction of it remains in the head of the individual pupil, and only a fraction of this abundance can find application, while on the other hand it is not adequate for the man working and earning his living in a definite field.”

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

OH C’MON. We can’t…we can’t evoke Hitler. Even though it fits. We just can’t.

But it is disturbing, isn’t it? And apt. I’m not saying Santorum is Hitler. Of course I’m not. I am saying that anti-intellectual and anti-science attitudes are often cornerstones of authoritarian beliefs. It’s the shared link between fascist dictatorships and totalitarian Soviet-style communist governments and betrays the true nature of both: that despite all pretenses, the sole philosophy is destruction and power at any cost. No body, government, or civilization has ever improved when such aggressive attitudes have been taken against something as beneficial as education. Rick Santorum is not a monster, per se, but his position and poll numbers should frighten anyone with half a brain, regardless of their political leanings.

Isaac Asimov put it best:

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’

Couldn’t have said it better.

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  • 1Mrivest1

    What can I say..Not a thing. Perfect, Kevin. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/cherylpet Haviva

    Rick has a persecution complex, because he says he was disliked in college for be a conservative! Boo hoo! Now, he wants to destroy higher learning like he is some evil comic book villian! “I’ll get you Superman, and your little college too!” This man is a mental wreck! He should be seeing a shrink twice a day! Hitler was also a big persecution complex wacko! Just saying….!

    • kevinmarshall

      Rick has a persecution complex

      Agreed. I think it’s cultural, too. Because if your will and your way isn’t being exclusively taught or accepted, it means you’re being discriminated against. It’s the same type of mentality that thinks because someone says “Happy Holidays” they really mean “I hate Christmas.”

      Also read a screed recently (can’t find the link now) about how it’s kind of strange for Santorum to evoke a flimsy conspiracy of indoctrination of legal adults whilst he home schooled all his own children. I think that’s a very valid and fair point.