Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Document of the Week: A Letter to Mark Steyn

From Mark Steyn's mailbox:
Re "The Credentialed Society":

In days of yore, you would not be considered "uneducated", Mark, because you went to a good public school. And of course you do know a lot; in particular about Middle Eastern history and things which are not widely known in North America. I would assume that your teachers suggested readings, you found others on your own, and that you then rubbed shoulders with people who also knew such things. (But no credentials!)

If any single idea marked Obama as a stupid and reckless incompetent, it is the idea that every American should go to college. An advanced society needs— absolutely needs— electricians and plumbers, various other specialized mechanics, computer technicians, truck drivers, aircraft pilots, etc. Indeed, it is only a nasty snob who will look down on supermarket checkout clerks, who are also essential.

Also, most of the skills needed for oilfield work are not taught in any university; offshore oil adds further skills necessary for the marine environment, and these skills are uncommon and justly very well remunerated. Some of the most intelligent and capable men I have ever met work in the offshore oil patch.

Nor can we overlook the military trades.

My enumeration is so incomplete that it is almost ridiculous; I would suggest that Obama might watch such TV programs as "Ice Road Truckers" and "The Most Dangerous Catch" to get some idea of what is necessary in today's world.

You will notice that I have not included "theoretical physicist" in the above list. Try as I might, I cannot get my own profession into the list of essential trades, crafts, and professions.

John Lewis
St John's, Newfoundland