"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Saturday, October 27, 2012

If You're College Bound in Florida

Be ready for sticker shock. Via Tristero at Hullabaloo, comes this report on HuffPo:
Highly distinguished universities, such as the University of Florida and Florida State University, could charge more than others. Tuition would be lower for students pursuing degrees most needed for Florida's job market, including ones in science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as the STEM fields.

The committee is recommending no tuition increases for them in the next three years.

But to pay for that, students in fields such as psychology, political science, anthropology, and performing arts could pay more because they have fewer job prospects in the state.

"The purpose would not be to exterminate programs or keep students from pursuing them. There will always be a need for them," said Dale Brill, who chairs the task force. "But you better really want to do it, because you may have to pay more."

So Florida is recommending that students who go into the liberal arts and fine arts, who, after all, can't really expect six- or seven-figure incomes after graduation, subsidize the education of doctors, engineers, and other professionals, who can. This is the Christian fundamentalist/corporatist idea of higher education: trade schools to train people to make a lot of money at jobs that are going to be shipped off to China and Brazil anyway.

Mind you, these are the very people who have been trying to get rid of the National Endowment for the Arts since it was created.

And it's worth noting that psychology and anthropology (among the rest of the social sciences, I presume) are included in the disfavored category. (Because that's exactly what it is -- the areas in demand have now received official preference.)

Tristero's summation hits it pretty accurately, I think:

This is the logic of Puritans. It's all of a piece with the attraction the MSM and many "serious" economists have for austerity programs to the bizarre movement that would force a woman to give birth to her rapist's child,

It is a worldview that privileges a dreary bleakness over joy.

It's even worse than that. I'm convinced that the strain of anti-intellectualism in our country has deep roots in a truly Puritan world-view: the arts give us pleasure, and so they're sinful and to be avoided at all costs. And what's even worse, they teach people to think for themselves.

Can't have that, now, can we?

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