Famous voiceover man and host of the “The Way I Heard It” podcast Mike Rowe shot a scathing message to a man who accused Rowe of being a white nationalist for promoting vocational education and blue-collar work instead of four-year degrees.
On Tuesday, Rowe posted a negative message he received from a man named Chuck Atkins. Atkins accused Rowe of falling in with white nationalists based on Rowe’s initiative to promote blue-collar work to Americans:
One of the tenants of white nationalism is that college educated people are academic elitests. Comment? No? I’m not surprised. You never take a political stand because you don’t want to alienate anybody. Its 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.
The post angered Rowe enough that he fired back at Atkins. Rowe told him his tone was smug, his grammar was bad, and Atkins brought no evidence to support his claim:
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.
Rowe agreed that he had been silent on political matters as of late. He noted he currently works for several companies and has various interests that political expression could jeopardize. Rowe gave several examples of people who suffered professionally due to “opening their big fat gobs,” such as Gilbert Gottfried, Kathy Griffin, and Colin Kaepernick.
“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 wrote. “So, rather than blow myself up, or chime in with all the obvious observations about the cowardly scum in the pointy hats, 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 dismantled Atkins’ unsubstantiated accusation that Republicans and white nationalists are one and the same because — as Atkins claimed — Republicans promote “anti-intellectualism” and white nationalists say college graduates are “academic elite”:
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.
Rowe pointed out that Atkins’ connection between Republicans and white nationalists was a “logical fallacy” and gave him a few examples of what a logical fallacy was.
“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,” Rowe stated.
Rowe provided one more example for Atkins in the form of an imagined MSNBC report:
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!”
Rowe explained that his initiative, mikeroweWORKS, isn’t “anti-intellectual” or anti-college. Rowe said the initiative is simply there to help Americans find good blue-collar work, with good pay, and without a costly four-year degree.
Rowe also explained that many people today look skeptically at higher learning simply due to the troubles universities are currently bringing to students and the country:
Millions of reasonable people — Republicans and Democrats alike — are 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.
“Again — these are not the concerns of ‘anti-intellectuals.’ They are the concerns of people who care about the future of the country,” Rowe said.
What is Rowe’s initiative?
Rowe has used his platform to highlight the fact that more than 5 million blue-collar jobs have gone unfilled in America. In a 2016 article from his site, Rowe blamed the lack of unfilled jobs on a “skills gap” promoted by the belief that expensive four-year degrees and white-collar jobs are the only true path to a good future:
Forget your politics for a moment, and consider the enormity of what’s happening here. Millions of people who have stopped looking for work, are ignoring 5.6 million genuine opportunities. That’s not a polemic, or a judgment, or an opinion. It’s a fact. And so is this: most of those 5.6 million opportunities don’t require a diploma — they require require a skill.
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.” Is it any wonder we have 1.3 trillion dollars in outstanding student loans? Is it really a surprise that vocational education has pretty much evaporated from high schools? Obviously, the number of available jobs and the number of unemployed people are not nearly as correlated as most people assume.
In a 2016 interview with RedState, Rowe said his foundation, mikeroweWORKS, seeks to tackle this “skills gap.” He said the mikeroweWORKS foundation was a result of his experiences during the show “Dirty Jobs.”
The foundation then became a scholarship program to help people obtain the necessary education for good jobs that were freely available, but not heavily discussed.
“It was an attempt to shine a light on jobs that were available in the industries that had allowed my show to prosper,” Rowe told RedState. “Eventually it evolved into a scholarship program, and the reason I do it is because most scholarship programs — most good ones anyway — they all reward the same basic thing. They reward academic achievement, or athletic achievement, or talent, or are just need based. No one seems to reward work ethic, or the ability, or willingness to learn a skill that’s in demand.
“So our scholarship program was designed specifically for people who want to learn skill trade and pursue opportunity that actually exists,” he said.
According to the mikeroweWORKS Foundation website, the scholarship program has provided more than $3 million in aid for vocational schools across the country.
(H/T: Daily Caller)