I’m seeing too many memes railing against the idea of student debt forgiveness. Never mind the predatory nature of the system. We’re supposed to tap into the supremacy of personal responsibility. But we can probably tell more about the person saying such things than the ex-students being called on the carpet. Things like economic privilege. Things like anti-intellectualism and the constant psychological threat of people who sometimes are, in fact, smarter than them. It’s like high school all over again, except some never grew past it, and it shows.
Let me be even more clear: I don’t worry about deadbeat graduates. I worry about a compassionless society that prefers ignorance to education and measures a mind’s worth by its marketability.
I also find it ironic that we’re judging a generation regarding financial decisions we pressured them into making based on an economic condition that no longer exists.
Coming from a place of economic privilege and an early education that afforded me the ability to obtain a scholarship — zero student debt — I will say this: If I had to go into debt for the rest of my life to get my Philosophy degree again, knowing what I know now, I WOULD.
I add much more value to society and its progress in so many ways far more than I would have without my “useless” degree. I’m a better father, husband, and citizen, even if I’m not rich or have job security. (The benefit to myself as a human being in my own skin is not a small thing either.) People like me might not keep the counters manned or the roads paved, but we create the inventions, arts, and sciences for the next generation of workers and citizens. We should be thankful for all those who have essential jobs, but there is more to human progress. You can’t pave a road to the moon or ride to Mars on a cash register.
More importantly, we counterbalance all the voters out there who can’t think beyond memes and soundbites to save their own lives — or our Republic. Some of the people most upset over the idea of this “handout” are the best examples of why we need a better-educated public. So … to those who get it, you’re welcome.
As far as personal responsibility, I wouldn’t demand taxpayers cover it. But frankly, they are getting a great deal if they do, even if someone doesn’t have the sense to see it or the humility to accept it. Relieving educational debt is an after-the-fact investment in something that should have always been funded to begin with. Some societies do just that, and it shows. We don’t, and it also shows.