Representative Virginia Foxx, chair of the House Subcommittee on higher education, went on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show to say this:
I went through school, I worked my way through, it took me seven years, I never borrowed a dime of money. He borrowed a little bit because we both were totally on our own when we went to college, totally...I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that. We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” You don’t have it dumped in your lap.Think Progress has the audio:
I have a few words for Representative Foxx. You see, I went to UCLA on full-ride academic (Regents') scholarship. I graduated summa cum laude with honors and highest departmental honors. I won the undergraduate of the year award during junior year for academic achievement, was published in an academic journal, and won all sorts of other scholarships and awards such that I couldn't even get money or benefits for them as they exceeded my financial need. I did all of this while taking the bus to school for 45 minutes each way during my first two years, and while working 25-30 hours a week off-site throughout the entirety of my four years. I didn't have a life on campus.
So whatever Ayn Randian feats of glory Ms. Foxx and her husband think they achieved, they can't hold a candle to what I did.
Not that any of that matters. In fact, my educational attainments haven't mattered a whit to my chosen career or hobbies, neither of which have anything to do with the subjects I studied. I'm not an educational snob, and don't look down on anyone else for it. All in all, college was mostly a waste of my time, and I wish I had spent more time pursuing other interests while getting worse grades for all the good it did me. Having come out of a homeschooling background where I learned more on my own than in any classroom, I really couldn't wait to leave.
But I bring it up to point out to Ms. Foxx that, having earned my way through my attainments, I feel perfectly justified in saying this: Take a long walk off a short pier, Ms. Foxx. And the same to everyone else who believes as you do.
First off, college tuitions have soared since you went to school. It's much more expensive today than it was in your day. Heck, it's a lot more expensive now than it was even in my day, and I'm not even a decade out of school.
Second, not everyone is privileged with a strong academic background. A lot of people a lot smarter than you, Ms. Foxx, struggle to get through, and society ought to give them a fair shake at life, too.
Third, a $12-an-hour job isn't exactly going to make much of a dent in a $15,000-$20,000 a year tuition (to say nothing of graduate school.)
Fourth, I see no reason why I should show any deference or respect for a woman of such debased moral character and lack of empathy. I don't really care what you think you "earned." Whatever you "earned," I did much more than you and then some. But I have something more important: a conscience which you clearly lack.
I have very little tolerance for that. There may come a day when society will depend on much more than social status or educational attainment. A day when the skills that you, Ms. Foxx, and I have both honed will come to nothing and be mostly useless. A day when a working knowledge of medicine, mechanics and marksmanship will be more important to the world than all your book learning, "business" acumen and social climbing, pitiful as it may be while you elevate yourself on an undeserved pedestal.
And on that day, Ms. Foxx, I hope that society shows more empathy toward us than you show to the people whom you consider your lessers. At least, I hope they show it to me, my friends, my family and the rest of decent society. But there's a part of me that hopes they don't show you the same courtesy, so that you may feel in moments the pain and sorrow you choose to inflict on your moral betters for the course of their entire lives. Sadly, I doubt you or your amoral base of voters will live to see that day.
Cross-posted from Digby's Hullabaloo