The Lt. Governor’s comments are short-sighted and ignorant. Students, of course, should choose their careers carefully, but telling students to make that choice based solely on the likelihood of getting a job is irresponsible. The future job market is not always predictable. The prospects for engineering students may look good at the moment, but by the time the students graduate things may look very different.
Students also need to consider their commitment to a career that they may not like or may not be suited to their talents. I have had many students who have returned to college because they hated their jobs (many of them engineers). They had returned to college to do what they actually loved, even though it meant they would have to live with a significantly smaller pay check. Money isn’t everything.
And just because it is difficult to get an academic job in history at this moment it doesn’t mean that there are no jobs or that the market won’t change. We still need historians. There are also many non-academic jobs for those with history degrees. History majors are often desirable employees because of their analytic skills and their informed perspective on the world.
More importantly, she should be encouraging all students, not just history majors, to study history. We desperately need an educated population!
Source: Don’t study history, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton tells students
“Trump is simply the most visible embodiment of a society that is not merely suspicious of critical thought but disdains it. Trump is the quintessential symbol of the merging of a war-like arrogance, a militant certainty, and as self-absorbed unworldliness in which he is removed from problems of the real world.”
In Trump’s success Henry Giroux sees the warning signs of a society ripe for totalitarianism (anti-intellectual, militaristic, authoritarian impulses, self-absorbed, racist, ideological). While I’m not convinced that Trump is the ideal candidate to become the iconic leader of a totalitarian society (even though he has many of the necessary characteristics), I think Giroux’s critique of the current state of society is very valuable. He sets out to wake us up from our current apathy and to prompt us to think critically about the dominant neoliberal agenda in which “time presents itself as a form tyranny, an unquestioned necessity, and in speeding up the flows of work, leisure, knowledge, and everyday life it spawns a new kind of violence in which the flow of capital replaces the flow of thoughtfulness, atomization replaces a notion of shared solidarity, the spectacle undermines historical memory, privatization seeks to erase all notions of the public good, and manufactured precarity replaces any sense of security and long-term planning.”
He goes on, “What is clear in this case is that a widespread avoidance of the past has become not only a sign of the appalling lack of historical consciousness in contemporary American culture, but a deliberate political weapon used by the powerful to keep people passive and blind to the truth, if not reduced to a discourse drawn from the empty realm of celebrity culture. This is a discourse in which totalitarian images of the hero, fearless leader, and bold politicians get lost in the affective and ideological registers of what Hannah Arendt once called “the ruin of our categories of thought and standards of judgment.” Of course, there are many factors currently contributing to this production of ignorance and the lobotomizing of individual and collective agency. The forces promoting a deep seated culture of authoritarianism run deep in American society.”
Read Giroux’s thought-provoking essay here: Donald Trump and the Ghosts of Totalitarianism