“We need more welders than philosophers.”
I find this a very interesting statement. And as a philosophy major, I can’t necessarily argue it to be completely untrue. Certainly we should get rid of the stigma attached to vocational schools; they teach valuable, marketable skills. College, and sometimes any form of higher education, is not for everyone and certainly philosophy is not for everyone. The academically high-minded have had to hold themselves up by pushing down the people who are less confined to the mind than them. The push to attend college and earn a degree in something, anything, has destroyed plenty of people and left a lot of us with skills that we can’t make a living off of. While not true for everybody, overall it is a sad truth. And it is wrong.
I just don’t see how you are in a position to say this.
The statesman and the philosopher have been at odds since the time of Socrates, when he struck upon the nasty forms of rhetoric utilized by statesmen to control the people. So it’s no shock that the conflict continues. Though my question is: what is the difference? Really, what is it? You stand there, pontificating at a podium, shouting about what is right and wrong. You decide for yourself and for other people what you can and cannot do. You shout about your ideas and ideologies. You discuss at length how you’re going to change the world and create something new. The “New American Century” as you like to call it. You think you can define and shape the world through your words and ideas. You speak so fondly of rekindling the American Dream. What an interesting philosophy.
What separates us then? A law degree? Well, then, it should be fair to point out that statistically speaking, philosophy majors are some of the most likely to get into law school. What separates us, you and I, sitting around thinking about how best to change the world?
A paycheck? Is that it then? Welders make more, yes. Politicians even more than that. There perhaps we’ve struck at something. But you couldn’t possibly be in it for the money could you? That would be horrendous. You’d be an awful, corrupt politician. Comfortable. But awful. There then, we are different in the amounts that we make, but still no different on the ideology of that money which we may make. I certainly didn’t choose to be a philosophy major or a writer due to the amount of money I might make. If money were the only thing driving me to action in this life, I would lead either a horrendously sad one, or a vastly different one. No, I chose this path because I thought I might change the world. Or at least, one small aspect of it. In that regard, you and I are alike.
I did not decide to major in philosophy just to make a career out of it. I did not decide to major in philosophy that I might one day become a “philosopher” as you see it, prancing around in a toga and doing nothing but talking at people all day. I chose this path so that I may view the world and all of its many complicated issues and be able to think deeply and critically of them. I chose this path so that I may learn about the world around me and reach a deeper understanding of it. There you and I may differ, as you seem to deeply misunderstand so many aspects of those people whom you strike at. You, like many politicians, only seem to skim the surface of the multiple problems we face. Problems of moral, economical, societal, mechanical, theological, and cultural proportions. Problems which will certainly require welders. But other problems which will require deep and critical thinking. In this frightening and complicated world that we all live in, there is most certainly a market for both.
I’d like to reiterate that I don’t think you’re wrong. Not necessarily. I’m simply asking that you think before you speak. Think critically about the similarities we share, philosopher and politician. Think of the realities of what we do and are capable of doing. Think. Just think.
Does the world need more welders than philosophers? Perhaps. But alongside that, perhaps we could say that the world needs more philosophers than politicians. Just perhaps.
Best to you, Marco Rubio.
ROBERT COCANOUGHER / Editor in Chief