Assembly Speaker Robin Vos Proves Republicans (Again) Are Anti-Intellectual


Reading a news story in the paper today was akin to a nail being streaked across a blackboard.   Once again Republicans are displaying themselves as being anti-intellectual.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, who noted he is a former UW System regent, said lawmakers will also ensure the UW System prioritizes on efforts to grow the economy.

“[We need] to ensure that people who are in the UW System are actually teaching and they’re not using their time for purposes that don’t directly impact the lives in a positive way of students,” Vos said. “Of course I want research, but I want to have research done in a way that focuses on growing our economy — not on, you know, ancient mating habits or whatever.”

I understand the need and desire to be sound fiscal stewards with tax dollars.  One can disagree over what the University of Wisconsin surplus really meant, and how the pacing of tuition increases should be handled.    We can debate and agree to disagree until the cows come home.

But what we should never accept as responsible debating points is the undermining and dismissive remarks about higher education in the context that Vos made them.

The role of education is not simply to create jobs or strengthen the economy.   Consider the joy of sitting in Mills Hall and listening to a violinist who can create moods that inspire and cheer the soul.  How about sitting in a lecture hall and better understanding the plight of polar bears as it relates to climate change.    Neither event is creating jobs, per se, but they enrich us with beauty on the one hand and knowledge on the other.

That is what education is all about.

Finding one’s passion should be part of the educational process at the university allowing for the ability to then follow that passion into the work world.  But making money from education is only one part of that process.  Learning how to think and further examine the world is the larger aim of a liberal arts education.  And filling in all the blanks about the world around us–such as the cheap throw-a-way line from Vos about ancient mating habits–is one of them.

Perhaps had the UW spent more time on understanding mating habits Vos might have found the perfect life-partner with his first wife.

One thought on “Assembly Speaker Robin Vos Proves Republicans (Again) Are Anti-Intellectual

  1. I’m sure all Republicans appreciate the intellectual joy associated with a fine concert or interesting lecture. Perhaps Vos isn’t the sophisticated intellectual who can make witty jokes about the failed marriage of his rivals, but he certainly schooled the assembly Democrats, didn’t he?

    And as someone who spends a lot of time with students worried about how they will afford to attend Madison and dream in Mills Hall, I can tell you the Republican tuition freeze makes a big difference.

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