Liberal Propaganda


By Matthew Edwards

The road to success is always under construction. I was at a good friend’s 21st in January and found myself immersed in a conversation with a very inebriated middle-aged woman. She asked me what I was studying and when I replied that I was in the Humanities faculty she promptly slurred: “I don’t know why you do that to yourself. Do you think you’ll ever be successful with that degree? When my children go to varsity, they’re not even getting a choice…” Now I don’t want to have to finish that last sentence because I definitely don’t want to make this into a ‘my degree is better than yours’ argument, and the sentence does end with the word “BCom”. But what struck me about her comment is how this blonde, upper-class, ‘prime of her life’ woman attempted to undermine my choice of lifestyle because of her idea of success. She obviously subscribes to the age old notion that achievement is measured by the amount of money you have, and therefore lack of an amazing income would deem you a dismal failure in life. But surely, to me at least, success is a completely subjective state. Everyone for his own and all that. I know I sound like a complete hippie, but why is money always used as a judging factor? Let’s be honest with each other, money is a nice thing to have and an awesome bonus for someone who is successful, and if you really want to get down to the nitty-gritty then yes, it very well could buy you happiness if you invest in the right areas. But I also wouldn’t want to be successful if success means sitting in a grey room punching numbers from nine to five. Everyone has their own ideas about what would make them successful. I’ll admit that to many, their ideas involve a wealth of bank notes, and some academic departments at Rhodes seem to think the road to success is paved with bright red Vegas-style show boards (someone had to comment on it), but I know of others that would be perfectly happy living on a farm in the midlands with a herd of alpacas, and that is success enough for them. The middle-aged blonde lady touched on what I think the key to all this is. Her kids aren’t getting a choice, but is that choice not the very thing that would make one successful? If you’re not doing something you want to do, can you ever really do it properly? On the brightside, though, the drunken forty-something has at least contributed to our own achievement in her own small way, as Mark Twain so aptly put it: “Let us be thankful for fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.”


One Response to Liberal Propaganda

  1. Megan says:

    I think this is an excellent article as it addresses the stigma that a BA degree is worth less than a BCom, which is not the case at all. I took Science, Biology and Maths at school and despite excelling in those subjects I realised that taking a BA would give me more fulfilment than a BCom or a BSc ever could. I’m currently studying Journalism, Legal Theory, German and French and I could not be happier – and it’s that passion and enjoyment that will result in not only personal fulfilment but success in a work environment.

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