Gov. Matt Bevin continues his race downward to suck up to the lowest level of his political base. He has somehow concluded that to be a successful conservative, he must pander to the least informed and most angry of his posse.
He can say that Confederate statues erected during the early 1900s are “history” and not a racist attempt to maintain control during the Jim Crow years. He can say that there is no need to “sanitize” history by moving symbols of a lost and treasonous cause, even though he expressed this opinion before he decided that he needed the rebel-flag waver and the Daughters of the Confederacy vote: “It is important never to forget our history, but parts of our history are more appropriately displayed in museums, not on government property,” he said.
Bevin’s ability to trip over his tongue also lowered everybody’s opinion of his business savvy by buying a house from a crony at a discount and then saying that he paid way too much for it.
But when he put down liberal-arts degrees and interpretive-dance majors, he sank to a new level of pandering.
While his attack on education may energize the “Hell, yeah” portion of his supporters, it is impossible to believe that even in the darkest recesses of his liberal-arts-majoring brain that he believes people graduate from college only to get jobs. People go to college to get an education.
Almost nobody who attends and graduates from college, especially at the undergraduate level, gets a job in their major. Why? Because the jobs they get after they graduate often did not exist when they entered college.
If college prepares people for anything, it gives them the basic tools to handle a fast and uncertain future. A college education is not, and should never be, a place where you learn a single skill or job. College exists to give people a firm basis in the past, the tools to handle the present and enough exposure to beauty and art to imagine a great future.
This must be what Bevin really means: Kentucky is so intellectually impoverished, it must eliminate all areas of study that he does not understand and demand that its young people study metal riveting or floor sweeping so they can get an entry-level job at Toyota, instead of excelling in philosophy or the arts.
Bevin wants to leave the hoity-toity “educational” stuff to students at Princeton, Harvard and Rice universities. He doesn’t want Kentucky kids to be thinkers or artists — he wants single-function, ill-informed employees who can take orders from their bosses and betters: graduates of Princeton, Harvard and Rice.
Every year, the federal government surveys 3 million people. This list shows some of the most-often reported careers for people who majored in art history:
▪ Elementary, middle-school and post-secondary teachers, education administrators.
▪ Designers, architects.
▪ Archivists, curators, museum technicians, librarians.
▪ Lawyers, judges, legislators.
▪ Chief executives, managers, management analysts, financial managers.
▪ Journalists, writers, authors, editors, photographers.
▪ Marketing specialists, market-research analysts, sales managers public-relations specialists, fund-raisers.
▪ Accountants, auditors.
▪ Psychologists, social workers, registered nurses, counselors, human resources workers, community health workers, counselors.
▪ Producers, directors.
▪ Computer and information-systems managers, software developers.
The governor is expecting too little of the citizens of Kentucky.
Cutting liberal and fine arts out of the heart of Kentucky’s universities may satisfy the emotions of the baser people in his base for a short while, but Matt Bevin — B.A., East Asian Studies — should know better.
Kevin Garrison of Lexington is an author and retired airline captain. He has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Florida State University.