Mike Rowe tore into a Facebook user that accused him of being a racist because he promotes the skilled trades.
“One of the tenants of white nationalism is that college educated people are academic elitists. Comment? No? I’m not surprised. You never take a political stand because you don’t want to alienate anybody. It’s bad for business. I get it. But there is a current of anti intellectualism in this country – promoted by Republicans. Those people love you, and they think your initiative is their initiative. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is kickin our ass academically,” a man named Chuck Adkins wrote to the “Dirty Jobs” host.
Rowe used his platform on Facebook to lace into the man and his accusations.
“Since we’re being candid, allow me to say how much I dislike your post. Everything about it annoys me – your smug and snarky tone, your appalling grammar, your complete lack of evidence to support your claims, and of course, the overarching logical fallacy that informs your entire position. What really bugs me though, is the fact that you’re not entirely wrong. It’s true; I haven’t shared any political opinions this week, in part anyway, because doing so might very well be ‘bad for business,'” Rowe wrote.
“What can I say? I work for half-a-dozen different companies, none of whom pay me to share my political opinions. I run a non-partisan foundation, I’m about to launch a new show on Facebook, and I’m very aware that celebrities pay a price for opening their big fat gobs. Gilbert Gottfried, Kathy Griffin, Colin Kaepernick, Milo Yiannopoulos…even that guy from Google who just got himself fired for mouthing off. There’s no getting around it – the first amendment does not guarantee the freedom to speak without consequences. And really, that’s fine by me.”
Rowe said he had no intention of opining on the president or the effort to remove the statues of Confederate soldiers, not because it is “bad for business” but because he finds it “annoying.”
“I’m going to talk instead about my belief that comments like yours pose a far greater threat to the future of our country than the existence of a memorial to Thomas Jefferson, or a monument to George Washington. Ready? Let’s start with a closer look at your claims.”
“You say that White Nationalists believe that everyone who goes to college is an ‘academic elite.’ You then say that Republicans promote ‘anti-intellectualism.’ You offer no proof to support either claim, but it really doesn’t matter – your statements successfully connect two radically different organizations by alleging a shared belief,” Rowe said. “Thus, White Nationalists and The Republican Party suddenly have something in common – a contempt for higher education. Then, you make it personal. You say that Republicans “love” me because they believe that my initiative and ‘their’ initiative are one and the same. But of course, ‘their’ initiative is now the same initiative as White Nationalists,” he said.
“Very clever,” Rowe said. “Without offering a shred of evidence, you’ve implied that Republicans who support mikeroweWORKS do so because they believe I share their disdain for all things ‘intellectual.’ And poof – just like that, Republicans, White Nationalists, and mikeroweWORKS are suddenly conflated, and the next thing you know, I’m off on a press tour to disavow rumors of my troubling association with the Nazis!”
“Far-fetched? Far from it,” he wrote. “That’s how logical fallacies work. A flaw in reasoning or a mistaken belief undermines the logic of a conclusion, often leading to real-world consequences. And right now, logical fallacies are not limited to the warped beliefs of morons with tiki torches, and other morons calling for ‘more dead cops.’ Logical fallacies are everywhere.
“As I type this, a Democrat on CNN is making an argument that says, ‘because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, those Republicans now opposed to tearing down his memorial are ‘pro-slavery,’ and therefore aligned with the modern day KKK.’ That’s a logical fallacy.
“Yesterday, on The Science Channel, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, a noted astronomer, tweeted that the ability of scientists to accurately predict the solar eclipse, was proof that predictions of global warming were also accurate. That’s a logical fallacy,” he continued.
Then he imagined a scenario happening on MSNBC.
“‘Good Evening, America, our top story tonight… Chuck Atkins is a racist! Why? Because he can’t spell. Just look at his grammar! In a recent post on Mike Rowe’s Facebook page, Mr. Atkins, while bemoaning America’s global academic standing, not only misspelled ‘elitist,’ he used ‘tenants’ when he meant ‘tenets.’ He neglected to use a hyphen in ‘anti-intellectual,’ and he misplaced several commas and apostrophes! But why is he a racist, you ask? Simple. Because everyone knows racists are ignorant. Chuck Atkins is clearly a poor speller. Poor spelling and grammar are signs of ignorance. Ergo – Chuck Atkins is a racist! Boom! The matter is settled!” he wrote.
Rowe said there wasn’t much that could be done about that type of distortion in the mainstream media, but he believed that they could “do better” on Facebook.
The host went on to explain that both parties were concerned about the current state of higher education.
“They’re worried about activist professors, safe spaces, the rising cost of tuition, a growing contempt for history, and a simmering disregard of the first amendment. These people are concerned that our universities – once beacons of free speech – now pander to a relatively small percentage of students who can’t tolerate any political opinion that challenges their own. And they’re concerned – deeply concerned – that millions of good jobs are currently vacant that don’t require a four-year degree, or any of the catastrophic debt that comes with it,” he said.
Rowe ended his rant with some levity.
“PS. Ok, I’ve just re-read this, (in a desperate search for typos,) and I want to apologize for pointing out that you’re a lousy speller. This is probably not the time to trot out The Grammar Nazi, but your tenor and tone pissed me off, and I responded in my own snarky way. Sorry,” the host said.
“PPS Maybe this is how political correctness begins? Maybe we start by correcting each other’s grammar, and then move on to the business of correcting everything else? Today a missing hyphen, tomorrow a missing monument. Or, maybe not,” he wrote to end the rant.
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