The state of Massachusetts understands what it means to fight tyranny better than most, and yesterday the “Cradle of Liberty” broke out its biggest, 350-year-old cannon for the second year in a row. Yes, for 2013, Harvard University has once again announced that students coming from families making under $60,000 a year will pay no tuition, and no student loans. While Harvard has traditionally been seen as the literal definition of the elitist, ivy league school, the school’s President Drew Faust reminded us all of the university’s proud tradition of public service as she said on Friday, September 20th:
“When only ten percent of the students in elite higher education come from families in the lower half of the income distribution, we are not doing enough. We are not doing enough in bringing elite higher education to the lower half of the income distribution.”
Let THAT “elitist” message sink in for a moment. Of course, even Harvard has bills to pay…and let’s face it, rich people don’t do anything without some kind of return on investment.But some investments are longer term than others, and when you’ve been around for 350 years, the term “long term investment” can take on a whole new perspective. Harvard knows better than anyone what will happen if the corporate GOP is successful in reducing our nation to a mob of slobbering idiots, devoid of all potential for innovation or success. Harvard isn’t Wall Street…it doesn’t think in micro-second trades, short-term gains or quick returns. They know that today’s mistakes mean tomorrow’s closed doors. Or, as Bill Nye might put it:
“Innovation is what’s going to make the United States economy grow. And in order to have innovation, you have to have scientifically literate students.“
A few years ago, we might have been able to convince ourselves that the GOP’s war on education was just a case of greed…maybe even relatively benign neglect. But history suggests otherwise. The GOP’s corporatism is nothing more than tyranny and slavery reborn; from the Koch Brothers’ “More Mexicans equals cheaper labor” immigration policy, to the GOP’s rabid support of parochial indoctrination, to the Tea Party’s general deification of proud and utter stupidity. Education is a threat to domination; it causes us to question by what right we are dominated, and provides us with the tools to mount a revolution. Boston style.
“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. I believe it [the human condition] susceptible of much improvement, and most of all, in matters of government and religion; and that the diffusion of knowledge among the people is to be the instrument by which it is effected.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1816“