What's the Big Idea?
Here's a radical idea from Henry Rollins: let’s make college tuition "either free or really low." What would be the result? You would have a country "full of whip-crack smart people" that the rest of the world will fear. Our enemies "will not invade a country of educated people, Rollins says, "because we are so smart we’ll build a laser that will burn you, the enemy, in your sleep before you can even mobilize your air force to kill us."
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What's the Significance?
Tough problems often demand radical solutions, but Rollins is not necessarily so far from the mainstream here. Voters in California, for instance, took the extraordinary step of raising their own taxes in order to avoid deeper cuts to education.
But tax increases are certainly not the only solution. Technology has already dramatically reduced costs. We simply need institutions to catch up with technology. After all, the present course is unsustainable. The average college graduate has $24,000 in education-related debt. So we have two choices: stop sending as many students to college or make college more affordable. We know that Henry Rollins believes education is good for national defense. Rollins also says a widely educated population would be "the end of disaster capitalism."
In other words, Rollins says that America is narrowing its opportunities to the extent that it shirks its investment in education. It has always been, and will need to continue to be, the main ingredient in shaping our future.