A Threat to the Social Order

Old regimes die hard and no greater threat exists to the way things are done in this country than Scott Walker.  Elected as a Republican governor twice in a formerly blue state, and the victor in a recall attempt, Walker broke the cash nexus between public employee unions and the Democrat party.  By making membership in most public employee unions voluntary, he has sent membership figures and dues through the floor and dried up one of the main cash cows for the Democrat party in Wisconsin, and broken the stranglehold the public employees had on the state budget.  For this revolutionary act he is enemy number one for the Democrats who view a possible successful run for the Presidency by Walker with the same enthusiasm that vampires have for garlic.  The latest non-issue that Democrats have sought to pillory him for, is that he dropped out of college a few credits shy of his BA degree to take a job.

Most Americans of course lack a four year college degree, but it is unusual these days for a high profile politician not to have one. I doubt if it is a political disadvantage since most people I think can distinguish between the wisdom a person possesses, or does not possess, as opposed to the credentials they have.  However, Robert Tracinski at The Federalist explains why this non-issue has been seized upon by the Democrats:



There are no real class divisions in America except one: the college-educated versus the non-college educated. It helps to think of this in terms borrowed from the world of a Jane Austen novel: graduating from college is what makes you a “gentleman.” (A degree from an Ivy League school makes you part of the aristocracy.) It qualifies you to marry the right people and hold the right kind of positions. It makes you respectable. And even if you don’t achieve much in the world of work and business, even if you’re still working as a barista ten years later, you still retain that special status. It’s a modern form of “genteel poverty,” which is considered superior to the regular kind of poverty.

If you don’t have a college degree, by contrast, you are looked down upon as a vulgar commoner who is presumptuously attempting to rise above his station. Which is pretty much what they’re saying about Scott Walker. This prejudice is particularly strong when applied to anyone from the right, whose retrograde views are easily attributed to his lack of attendance at the gentleman’s finishing school that is the university.

That brings us to the heart of the matter. I have observed before that left-leaning politics has become “part of the cultural class identity of college-educated people,” a prejudice that lingers long after they have graduated. You can see how this goes the other way, too. If to be college-educated is to have left-leaning views—then to have the “correct” political values, one must be college-educated.

You can see now what is fueling the reaction on the left. If Scott Walker can run for president, he is challenging the basic cultural class identity of the mainstream left. He is more than a threat to the Democrats’ hold on political power. He is a threat to the existing social order.


Go here to read the rest.  One of the beneficial aspects of a small town law practice is that I deal with all types of people, from college professors to high school dropouts, who live cheek by jowl in the village.  When it comes to success among my clients in managing their lives, I must say that other factors like sobriety, faithfulness in marriage, hard work, basic honesty, seem to loom much larger than how many years they spent in formal education.  I do appreciate people who are well read, but sadly that often seems to have little to do with whether someone attended college or not, since many colleges seem to increasingly view reading any of the great texts of Western civilization as completely dispensable, and writing as a talent that their students will have to acquire elsewhere. My parents never went to college, indeed my father dropped out of high school in his senior year to join the Air Force, and yet I would say that compared to the average college educated individual I encounter today, they were better read and better informed about current events.  O tempora, o mores!

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  1. Not something peculiar to the US.

    In France, a common term of derision for the products of the grandes écoles is « Les talons rouges » from the red heels worn by the nobility under the Ancien Régime.

    In the UK, I once heard the Oxford manner described as “an infinite superiority that one is much too well-bred to show, but which is, nevertheless, apparent.

  2. I got over that when an acquaintance, not genteel, wise nor elite in Any way achieved a graduate degree in divinity at Oxford. One could say of institutions as is said about people: “by their fruits you shall know them!”

  3. Let the hits keep coming I say, because the more the media presses the attack on Walker the more likely that he, and not Jeb Bush, will be the nominee. Not that Walker is necessarily my top pick at the moment, but he’s a damn sight preferable to Bush.

    As for the wider subject of college education, I am in wide agreement with Don. Probably one of the most educational periods of my life was the two year period between college and graduate school where I read more great works of literature than at any other time in my life. As well-credentialed as I am, it’s the stuff that I have read and experienced outside of school that has been some of the most fulfilling. And I gotta say that though I attended a rather top-tier university undergrad, the sheer number of idiots I encountered was proof that a university education is not indicative, in and of itself, that a person is intelligent.

  4. It is time for a change!

    Everything the lying, ivy-league credentialled morons has touched has turned to $#!+.

    Each day they provide evidence that one doesn’t have to be “smart” to obtain a “Fancy-pants” degree in some nonreality-based, useless course of study.

  5. Scott Walker is my man. He is a stand up guy, a truth teller, a man of action, fearless, determined, etc. Scott means to reduce the size of government and eliminate government unions. Of course, Democrat elites hate for all this as they believe the common man is stupid and driven by his appetites. Accordingly, in their elevated and ‘merciful’ view government is needed to control the actions of the common man thru various welfare schemes, support of unions thru favorable laws, support of big business thru tax breaks. All of this probably gives the Democrats 45% of the vote. Scott Walker is messing with their sacred formula for success so must described as lacking in education, heartless and a veritable monster of iniquity, a true enemy of the people. But Scott has an appealing advantage: his actions speak much louder. Let hope enough people are listening.

  6. In his book “Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010” Charles Murray (of “Bell Curve” fame) does an exemplary job of describing the self-segregated, elitist disconnect that the “Educated” class is inflicting upon itself.
    Among other things, he coins the abbreviation “OES,” for “Over-educated Elitist Snobs” and reinforces the distinction on a number of levels. He also shows how they are increasingly clustering in cocooned, private little enclaves with little to no daily contact with the rest of us and how they are, as a result, overwhelmingly liberal.
    Good read. Highly recommended.

  7. Perhaps Scott Walker should be proud that he lacks a college degree, given how today’s secular Academia is completely overtaken by Marxists.
    Confession: I have work in nuclear energy for all my adult life, starting as a submarine reactor operator decades ago. I never did get a college degree, yet I have been an engineering training instructor teaching college graduates entering the nuclear industry the basics of mathematics and engineering. Some graduates were super knowledgeable, but far too many were abysmally ignorant and wholly given over to liberal progressive talking points.
    If I wanted to know something, then I picked up the tech manual and studied it. Then I went out in the field and did what I had studied. And one other thing: Naval Nuclear Training beats the heck out of anything Academia teaches. It is quite motivating to hear your submarine reactor theory instructor say, “If you get your estimate critical rod position incorrect, then you may want to learn how to breathe seawater.” Surprise, surprise: I was opposed to the consequences of not learning my math.
    PS, no offense is intended towards those people here who worked hard the old fashion way for their college degree and actually put it to good use, having studied something besides gender theory, modern art or the engineering of basket weaving.

  8. Somewhat related, it’s just amazing how the vast majority of the officers being kicked out– or forced to resign– are the ones that went through the military academy, rather than normal college. (80%, last I heard.)
    I use to be skeptical about if that was anything but happenstance– then officers I know wouldn’t do what they were accused of, who actually fought against what they were held responsible for, were forced out.
    Having college may or may not make a difference in one’s views, but it’s pretty obvious that they think it does.

  9. PZ wrote, “I gotta say that though I attended a rather top-tier university undergrad, the sheer number of idiots I encountered was proof that a university education is not indicative, in and of itself, that a person is intelligent.”
    As my old tutor, Miss Anscombe advised me, “even if one is not particularly clever, one can still be learned. A lot of people here have cut a very respectable figure that way.”

  10. If the silly, giggling interviewees, looking expectantly at the interviewer for the ‘answer’ as if doing so is customary , are a microcosm of the social order; then Scott Walker would have a Herculean task to stand. Is agreeable cluelessness cool now? Each sadly looks at the other’s empty face for indications. Someone had better put the fear of God into them, or at least, sobriety; they won’t be so silly when ‘cute’ isn’t a great asset in a more mature reality of life and death.

  11. Has anyone seen a copy of any college diploma from the current occupant? The last I heard, all those school records are still sealed.

  12. The left loves to look down their noses at any republican that does not have an advanced degree. Sarah Palin comes to mind. She was ravaged by the liberal media for “only having a bachelor’s degree” that she obtained by going to a more than one college. So the latest is Scott Walker these weasels will try to destroy. It’s really Palin all over again. The common working man can identify with them so they are to be destroyed at all costs. Democrats only do this to republicans. They give a pass to any democrat for any reason. Whether it’s lying about being a Vietnam vet or their sexual perversions being ignored as in the cases of Bill Clinton and others, democrats get a pass. Republicans are to be destroyed. The current fraud-in-chief claims he has a a master’s from Columbia but has never presented a transcript showing he was a graduate of that school or any other school. He’s the first president in American history that was given a pass on actually proving his education credentials. He claims he was a a graduate of Columbia but no one can remember him being there. The only democrat president in my lifetime that’s worth being mentioned, that didn’t try to destroy the country, was Harry Truman and Harry Truman did not have a college degree.

  13. FYI: The people (both Bushes, Greenspan, Bernanke, Clintons, Obama, et al) that have destroyed the USA economy and standing in the world (with their brilliance) almost entirely are ivy-league maleducated.

    And, James and D Black: That which you suggest prove youse is racists!

  14. Paul W Primavera, I had a sense that we had something in common. Years ago, and most such things are years ago, we were all making small talk during an office coffee break and the well educated man who hired me, also years before, asked, apparently out of his forgetfulness, “Bill, where did you get your degree?” I said, “Roger, I am an autodidact.” His silent response was palpable, not because of his having forgotten my curriculum vitae but that he apparently didn’t know the definition of the word “Autodidact”.

  15. Not to get off the point of the article. But there is also class division between people with 2 year degrees and 4 year degrees or greater. I know that people think that if you only do a 2 year degree you just couldn’t make it at a 4 year college. Granted the class gap between 2 and 4 year is not as great as college grad and non college grad it does exist. In this day and age of the high cost of college I encouraged my children to consider a 2 year degree instead of 4 year degree. I know more education could be better but with the loans that students have to take out for a 4 year degree is a huge anchor around there neck. Some of the smartest people I know are not college grads and have more common sense than any college grad.

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