What is a Professional Philosopher, Anyway?

This guy is not a philosopher.  Or a welder, for that matter.

This guy is not a philosopher. Or a welder, for that matter.

Marco Rubio got predictably big applause during last night’s debate for making the following [relatively meaningless] comment: “For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education.  Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”

What the hell is Rubio talking about?

First, I’m not sure what he means when he says “we have stigmatized vocational education.”  Who’s “we,” dude?  The government?  Because I don’t think the government has stigmatized vocational education.  In fact, any government project aimed at developing infrastructure employs a whole helluva lot of welders, plumbers, electricians, etc.  Maybe “we” is referring to society as a whole.  Well I’m just not sure that society as a whole has stigmatized vocational education.  A lot of members of society as a whole have vocations.  Even if we have stigmatized such pursuits, you don’t have to be Rand Paul to know that any good Conservative doesn’t want Washington politicians telling us what we can or can’t stigmatize in the privacy of our own homes, damn it.

Second, what does he mean when he says that “welders make more money than philosophers”?  How much money do philosophers make?  What is a philosopher?  He can’t be talking about philosophy teachers, because philosophy teachers make decidedly more money than welders.  If he’s not talking about philosophy teachers/professors then [for the life of me] I just don’t know who he’s referring to.  The homeless, maybe?

I really want Rubio to answer this because if there’s a way to make money purely by philosophizing I need to get in on that.  Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, even if I would make less than a welder.

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