• 48°

My Turn, Bruce LaRue: No, Pitts: Radical indoctrination is the enemy

Columnist

Bruce La Rue lives in Mount Ulla.

By Bruce LaRue

I tried.

Normally I just shake my head and move on to sports and the puzzle page, but this time was different.

I waited, holding out hope that someone would call out Leonard Pitts over his column published Aug. 22 (“Knowledge is valuable currency, not the enemy”), but no one stepped forward. The piece is more egregious in its selective inclusion, omission and sophistry than the typical Pitts column and needs to be challenged.

As usual, Pitts was erudite and articulate, but also sly and disingenuous. He begins with the obligatory insertion of “planetary overheating,” even though the focus of the piece is on education.

He then asserts that we, as a country, cannot come together on the importance of education. That simply is not true. With the exception of a few irrational people and irresponsible parents, every right-thinking person believes that education is very important. Only then, after slathering the canvas with a false premise, does Pitts pick up a narrow brush to blend in higher education, which should have been specified from the outset.

In citing a Pew Research Center study, “The Growing Partisan Divide in Views of Higher Education,” Pitts selects data that he presumably thinks make Republicans look bad (I strongly recommend reading the full essay by Kim Parker and drawing your own conclusions). I do not deny the presence of some GOP antipathy toward higher education, but here is where Pitts gets selective: He writes that said antipathy “is driven in part, the study says, by a belief that colleges have gone overboard in protecting students from views they deem offensive.”

A brief departure: In my opinion, education is not just about teaching stuff. It should be about learning how to learn. Teachers should encourage critical as well as analytical thinking. Critical thinking will tap its metaphorical finger on the words “in part,” seeking clarification and perhaps asking, “How big a part?” and, “What are the other parts, and how big are they?”

Pitts then tried to pass lightly over what he presents as a contradiction, saying “students should not be sheltered from differing opinions while at the same time, wanting to shelter students from differing opinions.” If I were engaging in such sophistry, I would hope readers might pass lightly over it, too.

Liberal academia has squelched the voices of those with opinions different from theirs rather than discrediting them through reasoned debate and discussion. Professors and student activists have unrestricted access to impressionable young minds on a daily basis. Occasionally, a guest speaker with differing opinions may be invited — you know, diversity of ideas and all that — only to be disinvited with great fanfare because faculty and student activists are afraid of …

OK, here’s where I need a little help. I am not allowed to say what they are afraid of. That’s the point.

Another recurring theme from Pitts is to assign traits to Republicans that actually belong in the Democrats’ column. In this instance, he asserts that President Donald Trump won, at least in part, because he “trounced Hillary Clinton in the 50 largest counties with the lowest percentage of college graduates.”

One might easily infer that, at least in the opinion of Pitts and his source, if one is not a college graduate, one is undereducated. OK, the next time you two need a timing belt replaced or your furnace goes out on a subfreezing night, call a philosophy professor or someone with a master’s degree in the influence of Mesopotamian hairstyles on western civilization.

Second, more projection: Historically, from inner cities to Appalachia to the Deep South, Democrats, not Republicans, have benefited from the consistent, predictable support of truly undereducated voters, working to keep them intellectually barefoot and pregnant.

Toward the end of the piece, Mr. Pitts writes, “Yet Republicans are hostile toward knowledge.”

He knows better. We disagree on the usefulness of different kinds of knowledge in helping the country socially and economically. College is not for everyone. Sure, we need qualified STEM participants, teachers, and business and finance leaders — certainly more than we need philosophers and athletes. In fact, according to the same research article cited by Pitts, only 16% of adults, regardless of party, think a four-year degree prepares people for a well-paying job in today’s economy.

We should consider reallocating resources from four-year colleges, placing more emphasis on trade schools and special-needs education and job placement.

Knowledge is not the enemy; radical indoctrination is.

Bruce LaRue lives in Mount Ulla.

Second, more projection: Historically, from inner cities to Appalachia to the Deep South, Democrats, not Republicans, have benefitted from the consistent, predictable support of truly undereducated voters, working to keep them intellectually barefoot and pregnant.

Toward the end of the piece, Mr. Pitts writes, “Yet Republicans are hostile toward knowledge.”

He knows better. We disagree on the usefulness of different kinds of knowledge in helping the country socially and economically. College is not for everyone. Sure, we need qualified STEM participants, teachers, and business and finance leaders — certainly more than we need philosophers and athletes. In fact, according to the same research article cited by Pitts, only 16% of adults, regardless of party, think a four-year degree prepares people for a well-paying job in today’s economy.

We should consider reallocating resources from four-year colleges, placing more emphasis on trade schools and special-needs education and job placement.

Knowledge is not the enemy; radical indoctrination is.

Bruce LaRue lives in Mount Ulla.

Comments

News

Racial bias ‘deeply entrenched’ in report critical of Apex Police Department

Nation/World

US bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia

Elections

City council again dismisses idea of adding new member, focus now on recommendation to delay elections

Business

‘Let’s make some money:’ Loosened restrictions praised by bar owners, baseball team

High School

Salisbury High bucks historical trend in dominant shutout of West Rowan

Enochville

Garage declared total loss after Enochville fire

Crime

Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates

Coronavirus

Two more COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan, six for the week

Crime

Blotter: Man brandishes AR-15, runs over motorcycle at Rockwell-area gas station

Crime

Salisbury man charged with exploitation of minor

Crime

Road rage incident results in assault charges

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed

Education

Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening

News

Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need

Education

Education shoutouts

Local

Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts

Local

March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Education

Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships

Education

Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors

Education

Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Nation/World

Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push

Nation/World

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Nation/World

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package

Nation/World

FDA says single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson prevents severe COVID