Mike Rowe, host of the popular Discovery Channel show, Dirty Jobs, was accused of being a, ‘white nationalist” over his support for vocational training programs over 4-year college degrees. How does that make any sense?
Rowe, who frequently interacts with his audience on social media, posted a message he received from a detractor by the name of Chuck Atkins. Atkins argued that, “One of the tenants of white nationalism is that college educated people are academic elitists. Comment? No? I’m not surprised”. The viewer then went on to elaborate, “Tthere 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.”
Mike Rowe responded with characteristic candor and clarity, “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.”
Through his show, Dirty Jobs, and his activism, Rowe has consistently used his platform to champion the dignity and value of blue-collar work, and to draw attention to this vital labor sector where America is falling behind. In an article published on his site last year, Rowe emphasized on the need match the “skills gap: and argued that four-year degrees continue to remain very expensive. “Unfortunately, the skilled trades are no longer aspirational in these United States. In a society that’s convinced a four-year degree is the best path for the most people, a whole category of good jobs have been relegated to some sort of ‘vocational consolation prize,”’ Rowe laments.
While Rowe is an avid cultural commentator, especially as it relates to blue-collar labor issues, however he doesn’t comment on partisan positions – like the sort that Atkins accused him of. “I can’t think of a single celebrity whose political opinion I value, and I’m not going to assume the country feels any differently about mine,” Rowe stated.
Addressing Atkins directly, Rowe refused to take the bait, “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.” Rowe also dismissed Atkin’s claims that members of the Republican Party are promoting “anti-intellectualism” and that “everyone who goes to college is an ‘academic elite.’”
Rowe stated, “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. 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 went on to make fun of Atkins, and put him in his place. “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!” Rowe mockingly intoned.
Rowe concluded his roast of Chuck Atkins, by reiterating his core message, “universities are doing a poor job of preparing students for the real world.” And, people are justifiably, “worried that our universities are doing a poor job of preparing students for the real world. 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 are not the concerns of ‘anti-intellectuals.’ These are the concerns of people who care about the future of the country.”