Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is an extreme right-wing authoritarian demagogue whose radical, reactionary policies – including his war upon education – recklessly threaten to destroy America
Definition of DEMAGOGUE. 1 : a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has gained minor national political visibility in past weeks, and along with it has come a reckoning for his authoritarian belligerence. In a series of recent gaffes his profound assault upon education – really a shocking indifference to knowledge, science, and truth – has come to the fore.
I knew Walker well in college and have been a constant critic of his after his assault upon me in college, after which he later dropped out in shame. Walker’s cheating and lying in college were a foretaste of his later authoritarian assaults upon workers, the environment, schools, and women and children.
Walker’s “big and bold” agenda ends up to be little more than an anti-science dropout seeking to dismantle any institution or other source of power – be it women, schools, workers or the environment – that stands in the way of theocratic corporate oligarchy. I intend to examine his christian extremist war upon nature, workers, and women at another time. For now let’s see how this college dropout seeks to uneducate a state and a nation, to radically diminish us in his image.
College dropout Scott Walker never cared much for fancy book learning – as shown by his taking four years to complete three years of college before he dropped out. Yet in an overpopulated, inequitable, conflict-ridden, and ecologically collapsing world; education has never been more important.
At a time when technology and science are vital for jobs and environmental sustainability, college dropout Scott Walker is an anti-intellectual demagogue who has cut billions from education and local governments, wants to open up teaching to non-professionals, and for political reasons refuses to comment upon basic scientific principles such as evolution and climate change understood by virtually all educated people for generations.
Successful societies revere their scholars. Not Walker’s Wisconsin, where teachers are "union thugs", research professors are "lazy”, and huge education cuts are being foisted upon the University of Wisconsin system to balance incautious tax cuts made to win reelection. Walker went so far as to surreptitiously seek to eliminate UW-Madison’s vaunted 100-year-old “Wisconsin Idea” mission to seek truth and serve the community, declaring it a “drafting error” when caught. Walker is simply unable to comprehend that there are personal and societal benefits to an educated citizenry that go beyond being trained for a job. Walker's UW policies will weaken educational standards while making college more expensive and ultimately unattainable for more people.
Recently another Marquette classmate of ours called Walker to task for fabricating facts to support his victimization of teachers and assault upon schools. In his well-received speech to the right-wing zealots gathered in Iowa, Walker told of a Wisconsin teacher of the year laid off due to union seniority rules. Scott Walker's laid-off teacher story turns out to be a craven lie, the latest in his long history of falsehoods and cheating to gain power at the expense of teachers and students.
This issue is not just that Scott Walker is a college dropout. His vilification of teachers and professors, anti-science policies, and gutting of public education funding reveal he doesn't value knowledge. Governor Walker has further shown himself in recent weeks to be an uneducated, authoritarian man who seeks to radically destroy schools, workers, women and environment to appeal to the tea party faithful.
Either America firmly resists Walker’s brand of extreme right-wing, anti-intellectual, anti-science politics, or else the nation and world face economic stagnation and growing inequity and social unrest, followed by prolonged international conflict and inevitable global ecological collapse. And it will be because of the dimwit self-fulfilling policies of ignorant despots like Walker. Our one shared global ecological system is collapsing and dying as a new wave of anti-science authoritarianism threatens science-based solutions and thus our very being.
|In true McCarthyite form, Walker unsuccessfully tries to |
impeach me and one other person after all those responsible
for misallocating student funds had already resigned
It is well known that first and foremost college dropout Walker has risen to power by race-baiting, as he manipulates and feeds fears of suburban Milwaukee and right-wing hate radio for black urban Milwaukee. Yet it is not as well understood that in a classic case of demagoguery, Walker has repeatedly won election by skillfully using the envy between upstate Wisconsin citizens without a degree and those college graduates who have better employment opportunities. Having lived in past years in both worlds, I see how he has stoked resentment – not entirely without merit – of the snobbish intellectuals in Madison.
However elitist Madison may be, the fact remains that the path to economic mobility in Wisconsin remains at least a bachelor’s degree and that graduate degrees help. The changing world is more complex than ever before, and college teaches you how to constantly learn and readjust. That is why my friends from high school near Green Bay who never went to college profoundly regret not having done so and are nearly all sacrificing tremendously to put their own kids through college, as they vote for Walker after being falsely made to feel inferior.
Having not run on gutting unions, within days in office Governor Walker threatened to call up the National Guard if unions didn't drop all demands in routine contract negotiations. Walker has threatened to arrest political opponents. This dangerous man has imprisoned singers protesting in the public state capitol and has signed legislation to have the state probe women's vaginas. Walker accepted over $700,000 from an out-of-state mining firm, and proceeded to gut environmental laws to allow his cronies to place the world's largest iron mine in the hills perched above the Great Lakes, which contain 20% of the world's freshwater. Every year Walker’s electoral cheating worsens.
As he did with unions, Governor Walker is again now creating a false budget crisis to further victimize teachers and defund the state's still preeminent but declining university system. He incautiously cut taxes without cutting spending to win reelection and is now balancing the budget by slashing university funding by $300 million, something which he clearly planned. This comes after a nearly billion dollar cut to Wisconsin's education in his first term.
In right-wing extremist Governor Walker's world there is no truth, knowledge, or science; he is only beholden to the voice of god he says he hears in his head – and to donor money.
The message of Governor Walker’s life is that if you embrace my authoritarian anti-intellectualism you too can drop out of college, cheat in elections, gain power, and victimize workers, classmates, women, and children as by night your god whispers the name of your next target. In Walker's Wisconsin there is no governance or minority rights, just electoral wins and autocratically ramming through policy that profoundly hurts those who are less fortunate, while garnering rock-star status and acclaim from your acolytes. And increasing your power; policy is always about more power.
Anti-science college dropout Scott Walker has set out to systematically destroy any institution or individual seeking to limit or balance corporate power. When Earth continues to be ravaged by climate change and ecosystem loss, with our biosphere hanging on the brink of collapse, and while billions live in grinding poverty, America's middle class becomes a distant memory, and perma-war and injustice rage – scientifically based factual and reasoned policy matters more than ever.
It's certainly time that those who benefit from science – such as owners of a cell phone, a computer, or those dependent upon natural ecosystems – learn to respect the process of peer-reviewed discovery of knowledge by highly educated experts who spend their life doing science. Politicians like Governor Scott Walker, who deny scientific truths such as evolution and climate change for electoral gain, profoundly threaten all of our survival. Pandemic response, adaptation to climate change, the need for widespread restoration of natural ecosystems, battery technology to store renewable energy, feeding seven billion people without petroleum, and innumerable other policy matters depend upon a firm grasp of science, something college dropout Scott Walker doesn’t have, doesn’t care about, and doesn't want you to have either.
You can bet your life Asian countries are focused upon education, science, and technology as the engine for their continued well-being and advancement, not undercutting their educational institutions. Unless America leads with continued financial support for unfettered scientific research universities, supported by and drawing upon a widely well-educated citizenry – the cornerstone of America's generations of global leadership – other nations will do so. All nations and their peoples must come together to seek truthful knowledge as the basis for the human family's continued thriving and survival.
I certainly hope that the humiliation Governor Walker repeatedly underwent during his college years – being shunned and losing to a write-in candidate after victimizing classmates in a bogus impeachment, being caught cheating as he ran for student body president, and skulking off as a dropout after being too dumb, lazy, and lustful for power to finish (which I have recounted several times to the media, most recently here and here) – was not the seed of his hatred of education. Frankly, I thought him a better man after having suffered and learned from these indignities, as we all do when we make mistakes and take responsibility for them. I have been proven wrong by his continued and worsening authoritarian intolerance and continued victimization of others for personal gain.
Wisconsin has always been a pleasant (albeit self-satisfied, and parochial) sort of place. But despite our mediocrity, we had a world-class research university that fueled our advancement as a state. I have a master’s degree and PhD from the University of Wisconsin and never saw any lazy professors or wasteful spending. But because of previous gutting of education spending (beginning under Walker's icon, President Reagan), I will almost certainly be paying college loans until I die. The Wisconsin Idea allowed me to spend a lifetime of study on threats to humanity and Earth's survival, enabling me to recently publish a groundbreaking peer-reviewed ecological study on terrestrial ecosystem loss and biosphere collapse (since confirmed by a much larger study in Science) as I worked two other full-time jobs.
|Until such time as nuclear bombs are banned|
from the Earth, only educated, caring and ethical
people should hold the codes for their launch
Scott Walker is a terrifyingly dangerous man – an anti-intellectual, uneducated demagogue and an egotistic charlatan liar and cheat – bent upon destroying Wisconsin and the nation in the quest to impose his twisted vision on America. Local media have fawned upon Walker, and it is refreshing to see his authoritarian assaults upon education getting the national media coverage they deserve.
As first written by the student newspaper at Marquette over 25 years ago, Scott Walker remains – by virtue of his temperament – "unfit" for office.
Few things are more terrifying than the thought of college dropout Scott Walker engaged in an international crisis with fellow authoritarian Vladimir Putin (a Walker supporter and classmate glowingly compared him to Putin at a recent college reunion). Given Walker's lifelong record of belligerence in pursuit of absolute power, under no circumstances must Wisconsin’s uneducated demagogue have access to nuclear bombs. Trust me, he will use them.