The Problem with the Skool of Hard Knoxs


The right wing Republican members of the Idaho Legislature take pride in their lack of formal education.

Ask a good portion of the Idaho Legislature about their alma mater, and they’ll give you a stock answer that could resemble a school fight song.

“I went to the school of hard knocks,” said Sen. Shirley McKague, R-Meridian, one of Idaho’s legislators without a college diploma.

She isn’t alone.

Nearly 20 percent of Idaho lawmakers don’t hold four-year college degrees, according to interviews with legislators and the Idaho Blue Book, a 400-page guide to government published by the state.

Here are a few courses that were not available to the graduates of the University of Hard Knox: Natural Science 101, thus, they know nothing about Evolution; Physical Science 101, thus, they don’t understand climate change; Economics 101, thus, they don’t understand Kenynesean economics; History 101, thus, they fail to learn from the past; American Government 101, thus, they fail to understand the role govenment should play in a participatory democracy.

The unfortunate irony is that when times are good, we can survive the incompetence of the Hard Knox grads. But when times are really hard, the Hard Knoxers have no answers. They fall back on the “take a bite out of govenment” and “no tax increases ever” ideology that makes for good rhetoric to the folks back home, but is disastrous in a crisis that demands real leadership.


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