In praise of snobbery.

I never thought I’d see the day when someone aspiring to the presidency of the United States would state publicly that it is an act of snobbery to hope that every citizen has access to higher education.

Oh my God!

The fact that words like these came out of the mouth of a man who is at the very least the second generation of his family with advanced degrees (Santorum’s father had a PhD and he himself has both a JD and a MBA) and whose own children are currently enrolled in universities, is not only appalling but a clear sign of hypocrisy wrapped in do as I say not as I do rhetoric.

What kind of a society would we live in if we could not at the very least hope that our children fare better than us? Because let’s face it, education opens doors and makes the path to achieving the American dream we have been raised to believe in, a little less rocky.

I know that in our lifetime some of America’s most successful minds have not completed a university education. But for every Zuckerberg or Jobs that have dropped out of school and become gazillionaires, there are millions of others who are unqualified for jobs because they lack that degree.

If there was a time when one could go work in a manufacturing plant with just basic education, that time is long gone and now it is expected that employees have the technical know how to do their jobs. A clear example of this is a conversation between Steve Jobs and Obama before he passed away. One of the things he told Obama when he was asked what it would take to bring Apple’s manufacturing jobs to America was that there aren’t enough skilled laborers here to do the job.

Education is also something that gives individuals personal pride.

My first step father came to America when he was 18 years old. At the time, he didn’t speak the language, had no money, and only a high school education to speak of. He got a job as a NYC taxi driver while he learned English and saved money to go to college. Once he learned English, he got a job in a grocery store he eventually bought (the first of what would become a supermarket empire) and took classes at Baruch College to get his business degree. He dropped out of college to take care of his business and became a self-made millionaire.

At the tender age of 50, with more money than many could ever hope to have, he went back to school and finished his degree. He said he wanted to set an example for his children and finally achieve his American dream.

If it is an act of snobbery to want a better life for yourself and your family, then I would like to praise snobbery and call it our moral duty to pursue this wretched quality. If someone seeking to lead us honestly believes that education is really indoctrination and that as such we don’t need it, they are fooling themselves and setting a very dangerous precedent.

The world won’t stop moving if an idiot gets elected and I can’t imagine a life where our leader tells us that the education we need to do the jobs at hand is not one we should have access to.

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