The continued vilification of critical thinking in this country is leading us towards disaster. You can try to wage a war against facts, but the facts will eventually win. There are too many people who blindly support any politician that happens to have the right letter next to their name, no matter how disastrous their policies are or how often they blatantly lie. What we’ve been witnessing is a critical failure in critical thinking. Education has always been important, but we need it now more than ever.
Which is ironic, considering that education funding in Missouri has been slashed by politicians who would rather spend the state’s expected income on giving tax breaks to people who join country clubs (HB 276) instead of giving our young people a quality education. Yeah, that’s definitely one of the top issues facing the average Missourian: the sales tax on country club dues is just too darn high! The government shouldn’t waste money on healthcare or education, but they should definitely subsidize golf.
Not too long ago State Fair Community College introduced its “Building Strong Futures” initiative. The people will get to vote on a sales bond, and will get to decide if they’re willing to pay a little more in taxes ($48 a year or so) to support expansion of the facilities at SFCC.
Of course, that’s a tough sell around here. There are many who aren’t willing to pay even a single cent more in taxes no matter what the potential benefit might be. To them, taxation will always be theft and every dollar spent by the government that doesn’t immediately and directly benefit them personally has been wasted. And there are those who might support some sort of bond initiative in theory, but not for the sake of one of those dastardly and traitorous institutes of higher learning!
Colleges and universities across the country are brainwashing our children with crazy ideas like: respecting your fellow man, learning things about other cultures, math, religions other than the one I like, critical thinking, problem solving and science!
Look, the higher education system isn’t perfect. There are bad professors and bad classes. But it’s not surprising that sometimes when people are presented with a large number of new facts it changes the way they view certain things. There isn’t a council of evil deans, cackling about turning the young people against the ideals of their parents. A good institute of higher learning doesn’t strive to create a Republican or a Democrat, but a person who can come to terms with objective reality, confidently make their own decisions and occasionally solve a problem or two.
We need more people who can put aside their personal biases when considering if something is beneficial for the people. We need more people who are willing to spare a thought for their fellow man. We need more politicians that work for the people. A good education goes a long way towards helping someone see the big picture.
So if your top complaint is that academia is too academic than you should support this initiative, because it is mostly an expansion of the trade skills facilities at SFCC. This is a glimpse into the future of higher learning: it needs to simultaneously be a place for academics and a place where skilled workers learn their trade. There are too many jobs out there that haven’t been filled because there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill them.
If we all had exactly the jobs we wanted there wouldn’t be very many people to do all the other jobs that are vital to society. We can’t hope to maintain civilization if we look down on or mistreat people who get up every morning and put in a hard day’s work. We also can’t keep denying them the wage they deserve based on the ever-increasing cost of living.
Maybe if our universities embraced more trade school elements than some people wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them as a weapon of the enemy. Or maybe we should work on being less hostile towards education in general.
— Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.