“We’ve frankly got enough psychologists and sociologists and political science majors and journalists. With all due respect to journalism, we’ve got enough. We have way too many,” McCrory said to laughter from the audience.
He said we have too many lawyers too, adding that some mechanics are making more than lawyers.
“And journalists, did I say journalists?” he said for emphasis.
My favorite neocon friend/mentor/correspondent wrote me to ask:
What say you to your Governor about this? In fact, he is always partly right. In fact, your Univeristy [sic] Entitled Ones are always more wrong than right.
Here’s my answer:
First, the fact that Governor McCrory conflates majors with occupations is the Freudian slip — the Lacanian fragment of the real, if you will — that reveals the unstated assumption: that the sole function of college education is employment, and more specifically training for specific jobs. Neither the North Carolina Constitution nor the UNC Charter contemplates this instrumental view; instead,
it is the indispensable duty of every Legislature to consult the happiness of a rising generation, and endeavor to fit them for an honorable discharge of the social duties of life, by paying the strictest attention to their education: And … a university supported by permanent funds, and well endowed, would have the most direct tendency to answer the above purpose
In other words: McCrory is asking the wrong question. Even if “we” (meaning North Carolina, I guess) are in greater need of truck drivers than social scientists, lawyers, and journalists, it does not follow that access to high-quality four-year college should decline. I would assert that North Carolina will be better off if its truck drivers, HVAC technicians, and technicians are well-educated because the public has an interest in all of them “honorabl[y] discharg[ing] the social duties of life.”
Second, The Honorable Governor McCrory is probably wrong about the need for occupations in the future. BLS suggests that the growth in social science occupations by 2022 will be roughly that of truck drivers, as will that of lawyers. Journalists, granted, are plummeting, but they are apparently being replaced by dramatic growth in other kinds of “Miscellaneous Media and Communication Workers” (Oy!).
I can imagine why the Governor prefers fewer journalists, lawyers, and social scientists, and why he prefers his truck drivers and mechanics minimally educated. But he’s wrong as a matter of public policy and the long-term good of the state.