Democrats seem to be making the administration’s deception over the war in Iraq their leading platform. They’re barking up the wrong tree. Don’t get me wrong: Having certain evidence that George W. Bush and friends lied for ideology and personal gain is an excellent way to get votes. So is the Democrats’ focus on domestic issues. America does have pressing matters to take care of at home, and happily, none of these involve murdering innocents. But these platforms are a hodgepodge mix of solutions to today’s problems. The Democratic Party needs a visionary platform to take it into the future. Something more compelling than “being right more often than the Republicans.” I have it for them: universal education.
It has long been known that society benefits when the level of general education is raised, but for some reason, nobody noticed that it primarily benefits liberals – nobody worth paying attention to, that is. The American Enterprise Institute discovered that, depending on what field of study you examine, as much as 90 percent of college faculty nationwide is liberal. And they made a big deal out of it. They insisted that there’s some sort of liberal conspiracy to indoctrinate America. I look at this from a different, that is to say, not crazy, perspective, and I see quite a few reasons to question their intelligence. Cause and effect could only work two ways here. Perhaps professors do devote their entire lives to teaching because they are part of a liberal conspiracy.
Or, it could be that conservatives are the modern day flat-earthers, geocentrists and, dare I say, creationists. Perhaps it is the lifetime of learning that leads professors towards liberalism. The AEI, a group that conservatives consider to be their intellectual elite, believe that hundreds of thousands of professors across the country are taking part in a vast conspiracy. This just might explain why conservatives aren’t well-respected in the academic community. And the fact that conservatives would raise awareness of their hollow intellectual foundation doesn’t leave me inclined to think of them as clever.
Yet their assumption of liberalism among professors did make sound, logical sense. It was a power grab to try and force conservative professors into schools. Conservatives seem to be idiot savants: brilliant at campaigning, but wrong on almost every policy front. Like that Phyllis Schlafly character, whom the College Republicans consider to be an “American hero.” One of her primary reasons for opposing feminism is the fact that women in this country have already achieved equality, which, strictly speaking, isn’t so much a fact as something she just made up, like the Bush administration and its outright rejection of science. When they found a study on global warming disagreeable, they ordered it redone. And they claimed that drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge would have no adverse effects on wildlife, when studies said the exact opposite. Conservatives believe that we should lock up criminals and throw away the key, when studies show that rehabilitation would reduce crime rates and costs at the same time. These are the people who believe that homosexuality is a choice rather than a genetic disposition. Some of them even believe in creationism, for Christ’s sake! (No, really, that’s why they believe it.) And if you still respect their intelligence, remind yourself who the Republican figureheads are right now, statewide and nationally. Still respect their intelligence? Perhaps you should rethink respecting your own intelligence.
That is why universal education should be the battle cry of the Democrats. More educated voters means more liberal votes. The Republicans can’t fight it, because nobody gets elected without at least pretending that they won’t leave any children behind. And one day, perhaps, these education policies will advance science far enough to create a good-looking Democrat.
Loren Williams is a Daily Nexus columnist.