Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Santorum Hits New Low Opposing Higher Ed

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Santorum Hits New Low Opposing Higher Ed

Article excerpt

In the 1920s, H.L. Mencken, the nasty patron saint of modern journalism, coined the term "booboise" to refer to a class of Americans he considered uneducated, uncultured and subservient to the religious and business status quo.

Mencken relished mocking those politicians who depended upon a stupid electorate for their ascendency to power. Almost every institution in American life harbored the seeds of revolt against modernity during the early decades of the 20th century.

Religious institutions and authoritarian personalities were especially horrified by the implications of Darwinism, the steady unraveling of middle-class morality, the growth of agnosticism and the impact of the newly enfranchised women's vote on democracy.

Were Mencken alive today, he would dust off the term booboise, now fallen into decades of disuse. He would gleefully lasso and hogtie Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum before dragging him through the pages of America's newspapers as the very embodiment of the anti-intellectualism he inveighed against daily.

What the former Pennsylvania senator said during a campaign stop in Troy, Mich., last week would have made the bard of Baltimore's head explode. "President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob," Mr. Santorum sneered while the booboise hooted.

"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 that [wants] to indoctrinate them," he added.

Mr. Santorum is always careful to pillory teachers with as much contempt as he can project with his voice, usually squeaking with indignation. He is nothing if not the master of the false choice, a talent he has perfected as the leading practitioner of a sly brand of American Manichaeanism.

Mr. Santorum also has settled upon the fuzzy politics of "anti- elitism" as the core of his critique of Mr. Obama. Mr. Santorum wants everyone to know that if Mr. Obama is re-elected, the masses of American children might find themselves conscripted into the Ivy League, where godless professors will murder their faith on the altar of socialism and effete liberalism. …

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