Henry Rollins Knows What’s Wrong with American Education – and Guess Who’s to Blame

On the heels of a new College Board report that the United States is struggling to compete with other countries when it comes to college completion rates, Vanity Fair's resident straight talker, Henry Rollins, has figured out the problem.  The education system isn't struggling because of possible factors contained within the report, such as:

  • Inadequate funding of preschool programs
  • Poor college counseling programs for middle and high school aged children
  • High school dropout rates
  • A lack of international standardization for curriculum
  • Skyrocketing costs of education

No, Henry has stumbled onto the real, super secret reason why students are failing to finish their college work:  Sarah Palin and George Bush

To be accurate, it's not so much the direct fault of Palin and Bush - rather, it is those of you who support them, their stupid comments, and their intellectually uninterested ways.  Their fans see them as real people and because of that, they feel comfort in an unchallenging environment.

Rollins explains why ‘America doesn't seem to value a college education the way it used to':

"...in America the educated person is often seen as some sissified, fragile know-it-all who looks down at the common man. Every time Sarah Palin says something stupid, she gets more fans. To them, she is "real." It's the same reason why so many Americans loved George Bush. They saw themselves in this intellectually uninterested man and found comfort in such an unchallenging environment."

Worse, Rollins somehow manages to immediately transition into a Hitler reference.  In explaining that Americans seem to express disdain for the educated person (via leaders such as Palin and Bush), he then goes on to say:

"What leaders had contempt for educated people?  Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, to name a few."


"Funny how the very idea of increased education opportunities threatens some Americans.  They will tell you that education is stupid."


"America's abysmal report card, appalling treatment of teachers, and hostile contempt for its young people should be our national shame, the sub-literate albatross swinging from our collective neck.  America No. 1?  Not even close."

Now, before you go accusing Mr. Rollins of being a liar, a liar, a liar, a liar, it is important to note that Henry speaks from experience, having come from a very thorough, college-educated background himself. 

However, in this case anyway, it is apparent that Palin and Bush weren't the cause of at least one American quitting college.   Rollins dropped out of American University following a very brief stint (one semester) in the late ‘70's.  Citing reasons such as boredom, and the fact that his classmates would rather study beer and bongs than read books, Rollins instead pursued his musical career.

Seems he is partially correct.  There are some individuals out there who look at college experience with contempt, threatened by education because it is, in a word, stupid. 

By way of contrast, Sarah Palin earned a Bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Idaho.  Oh, and that intellectually uninterested guy we mentioned earlier?  He earned a history degree from Yale University in 1968, and is the only President to have ever earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Make no mistake, Henry Rollins is an incredibly intelligent, well-read, real-world educated person, and Vanity Fair is wise in giving him an outlet.  But traipsing into the world of liberal lunacy (Palin and Bush Derangement Syndrome) clouds any argument one can make.  In this case, Rollins opines that education suffers because of uneducated people who have a better education than himself.  The result is intellectually dishonest and hypocritical.

In other words, he is the Wrong Man for this debate.

- Rusty welcomes comments/feedback at Weiss.Rusty@gmail.com.

Education 2008 Presidential Culture/Society Conspiracy Theories Higher Education 2012 Presidential Vanity Fair George Bush Sarah Palin Henry Rollins