Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving not for America, but for Harvard?

David Ignatius is a fully-certified member of our national elite. He’s a columnist for the Washington Post, the son of Paul Ignatius, Navy Secretary under Lyndon Johnson, and a graduate of Harvard.

On Thanksgiving, Ignatius presented his ruling class perspective on where we stand at Thanksgiving 2010.
Maybe not in such a good spot:
you'll hear revelers worrying about national decline. Certainly I've heard it a lot lately, from departing Obama administration officials, global leaders and my family and friends [all pretty much the same crowd, eh David?—GF]. There's a sense that something is torn in the national quilt.
But Ignatius then offers “some hope that the American essentials are still in place:”

➢ Harvard. It was founded in 1636, just 15 years after that desperate first Thanksgiving. It said something about the people who created our nation [oh, the Pilgrims “created our nation”? What about Virginians, colonizing America 13 years ahead of the Pilgrims?] that they gave education such a prominent role: Even in the wilderness of the new nation, knowledge and reason were to be the guides. [emphasis added]

➢ [While] the Sarah Palin set [attacks] Harvard and treat[s] its graduates as elitists. . .if you spend any time on campus you see students drawn from all over the world . . . whose chief assets are brainpower and hard work. You can't "fix" a Harvard degree the way you can most things in life. The reality of the place is brute meritocracy. [emphasis added]

➢ [The] universal human dream [is] that brains, not brawn, will rule -- and the fact that America has the world's finest institutions of higher education may be our greatest single national asset. So be careful, Sarah Palin, when you trash the Ivy League. This is a national-security issue. [emphasis added]

➢ the triumph of the '60s [is] that they loosed . . . movements for the liberation of women, gays, blacks and Hispanics. We all benefit from the new freedoms that were embraced in those years. The president of Harvard. . . said of the [‘60s] turbulence we saw all around us that it should give us "a restraining awareness of the dubiety of all human ends."

➢ history tells us that -- if we keep our wits and hold tight to sweet reason, freedom and creativity -- we always seem to prove the naysayers wrong.

Harvard + the ‘60s movements Harvard helped produce have given America the ruling class it needs, as long as Sarah Palin doesn’t take it away.

You can't make this stuff up.

Here’s the difficulty with Igantius’ perspective. For two years, our Harvard law review president president, the “smartest man in the room,“ has had all the power, with much of that period even with a filibuster-proof 60-vote Senate majority. His job: get the economy moving. He failed, and the midterm election results awarded him his deserved “F.” We tried the “knowledge and reason” way, the “brute meritocracy,” the “brains will rule,” top-down government (Obamacare whether we wanted it or not) of Plato’s philosopher kings, and it didn’t work.

Let’s be clear. We need our brains. We need our Harvards. But what a mistake to think that the American economy works best if Harvard runs it! If “the vanguard of the proletariat” is in charge. Better by far to spread the decisionmaking around, to use all our brainpower and experience, to go bottom up, as recommended here. America, the America for which we are genuinely thankful, is the anti-aristocracy, freedom for everyone to succeed and fail America created in 1776 (not 1620), not the America of the new elite constructed in Harvard’s admissions office.

1 comment:

Mr Lonely said...

nice blog... have a view of my blog when free.. http://www.lonelyreload.blogspot.com .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...