Phi Beta Cons

Glenn Reynolds on Walker’s Horrible Lack of College Credentials

Of late, the progressives, who always say that they’re against discriminating against people over irrelevant things, have been having a field day with the fact that Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker, never finished his degree at Marquette. Howard Dean tut-tutted that this obviously made Walker unsuitable as president. (Never mind that a majority of voters in Wisconsin have now chosen him over properly credentialed liberals three times.)

This prompted Glenn Harlan Reynolds to comment on the college degree obsession in his latest USA Today column. “An America that once prided itself on real-world achievement and practical good sense now runs largely on credentials,” he writes.

Exactly. So what if Walker left Marquette a few credits short of the number required for a degree? Would he have done any better in governing Wisconsin if he had gotten those credits? Would his outlook on, say, the damage that public unions were doing to the budget have been different if only he’d managed to graduate?

Reynolds observes that college degree holders completely dominate in the White House, Congress, and the federal bureaucracy, then asks, “All this credentialism means that we should have the best, most efficiently and intelligently run government ever, right? Well, just look around. Anyone who has ever attended a faculty meeting should recognize that more education doesn’t produce better decision makers, and our educated mandarinate doesn’t seem to have done much for the country.”

Quite the contrary. People with college degrees are more apt to fall into Hayek’s “fatal conceit” that they know how to reorganize the world with their plans. Exhibit A would be MIT professor Jonathan Gruber.

Paraphrasing Bill Buckley, would you rather be governed  by a thousand college dropouts, or the MIT faculty?

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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