Henry Rollins: Education is the Cure to “Disaster Capitalism”

We’ve already fea­tured for­mer Black Flag front­man and cur­rent spo­ken-word artist Hen­ry Rollins explain­ing why, to his mind, only edu­ca­tion can restore democ­ra­cy. He also believes it can cure some­thing he calls “dis­as­ter cap­i­tal­ism,” and you can hear more from him about it in the Big Think video above. He address­es, in his char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly straight­for­ward man­ner, the ques­tions of what exact­ly ails the Amer­i­can econ­o­my, how that ail­ment might have come about, and how the coun­try can edu­cate itself back to health. We may indi­vid­u­al­ly get our edu­ca­tions now, he grants, but “how long will it be until Amer­i­ca fis­cal­ly turns itself around” to the point of repay­ing “the risk of the invest­ment on that stu­dent loan to get a per­son through four years of col­lege? Will that per­son get a job where pay­ing off that loan and get­ting a house and afford­ing a fam­i­ly, will that be a pos­si­bil­i­ty? In the present Amer­i­ca, it doesn’t look like it is.”

See­ing a dire nation­al sit­u­a­tion, Rollins rec­om­mends doing like Chi­na, but not in the way you might assume. He sug­gests look­ing “500 years at a time,” much far­ther up the road than we have of late. “I’d be look­ing up the road so far my eyes would fall out of my head.” He wants the coun­try to become “like Europe, where they’ll edu­cate your kid until his head explodes,” pro­duc­ing “three doc­tors per floor of every apart­ment build­ing” and doing so by mak­ing “col­lege tuition either free or real­ly low.” Gen­er­al­ly thought of as lib­er­al, Rollins sums this up in a way that might appeal to his ide­o­log­i­cal oppo­nents: “If you have a coun­try full of whip-crack smart peo­ple, you have a coun­try the rest of the world will fear. They will not invade a coun­try of edu­cat­ed peo­ple 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. We will kill you so fast because we are so smart and we will have for­eign pol­i­cy that will not piss you off to the point to where you have to attack us.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hen­ry Rollins Pitch­es Edu­ca­tion as the Key to Restor­ing Democ­ra­cy

Hen­ry Rollins Tells Young Peo­ple to Avoid Resent­ment and to Pur­sue Suc­cess with a “Monas­tic Obses­sion”

Hen­ry Rollins Remem­bers the Life-Chang­ing Deci­sion That Brought Him From Häa­gen-Dazs to Black Flag

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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