We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, June 27. 2008
"The disadvantages of an elite education"
One quote from a piece with the above title by William Deresiewicz in The American Scholar:
Read the whole thing (link above).
A photo of the Yale campus, designed to make clever if snot-nosed kids buy into the illusion that they are 19th century aristocrats at Oxford or Cambridge rather than the humble but literate Congregationalist pastors Yale was originally created to produce:
Posted by The Barrister in Education, The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:21 | Comments (18) | Trackback (1)
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In the past an elite education would include a great eduction in the classical liberal arts such as Latin, Greek, the Western canon, philosophy, etc.
Those seem to mostly have deteriorated into pomo political propaganda...so other than the rich connections, not sure what else the elite education now buys you.
Having had an "elite education" myself [B. A. Columbia University/Barnard College 1951] I have found that all too often it makes you an object of suspicion to others. Yes, indeedy, it gave me a great liberal arts foundation, more than a passing knowledge of economics, world history, American history, and the great writings of dead white men [that was the best part] and when I went into journalism it gave me a far better foundation for understanding the stories I was attempting to cover than majoring in journalism would.
But that kind of generalist education is now dead as a doornail at the "elite universities," and most "journalists" don't know much of anything about world history, American history, economics, the free market system or anything else which would help them to do their jobs efficiently and understand the implications of the stories they're trying to write.
So we get Congresspeople who say things like "we're going to have to take those 'excess' profits away from you," [Senator Clinton about oil company profits last fall] and "we're going to nationalize the oil refineries" [ Congressperson Maxine Waters just recently]. Apparently, she doesn't know that oil companies are publicly held, by some of the more than 50% of Americans who buy and hold stock.
And, yes, it's our fault. We elected these people to office, and those of us who didn't elect them have to pay for the foolishness of those who did.
So, we're going to have to go back to basics, and improve our educational system to where it has some faint acquaintance with reality. My white horse is out to pasture, poor thing, and I'm too old to take this on.
My Alma too. (Columbia College - not Barnard). They did a good job with me, altho some might diagree with that.
Couldn't agree more. Too many of our so-called "elites" and politicans are woefully, blissfully, embarassingly ignorant of this nation's history, literature, culture (other than pop), and the other basic knowledge of western civilization required of an educated American citizen and found, for example, in E D Hirsch's landmark volume "Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know"; there are other volumes similar which have been published since the Hirsch book addressing largely the same "core knowledge" issue.
Educators might try using the Hirsch volume as a basic course syllabus beginning in high school, at least among so-called "college prep" students. I spent time in London 20+ years ago and even then was stunned by the literacy level of the average Brit, and the very high literacy level of the average MP, Tory and Labour, when compared to our know nothings in Washington.
Our elites have failed us in so many ways, including their refusal to defend the nation, a sure sign of decline and fall. The elites should be the ones leading the volunteer efforts needed by this great nation, including the military, instead of wondering how they will keep up with daddy's legacy. The middle classes, and those aspiring thereto, need to be the strivers, and leave the volunteering to the elites who can afford it, and in fact owe their volunteerisim to society as repayment for their good fortunes. The way it used to be, as I understand it, when America and Britain were succeeding as great nations.
Barack didn't seem to think that his elite education put him above being a community organizer. I still can't figure out how he thought he was going to repay his student loans (did he have any? Michelle has mentioned how poor they were because of those dratted loans) on that kind of salary.
My heart breaks for their sacrifice. No one made them go to the elite schools. Perhaps she couldn't cut it at the top law firms...but they didn't struggle for too long. Barak managed to sell millions of copies of his fluff pieces (wonder how many of those were purchased in bulk by single individuals) and she managed to secure an incredible salary ($400+) as a community relations functionary at a hospital...coincidentally as Barack was rising politically. Things that make you go hmmmmm.
GM Punter ... great post. [Of course I would say so -- we agree] Nevertheless, you expressed clearly what seems to be wrong with the current generation of 'elites' and politicos and the flaws in their education, and those hangovers from the past, like Robert Byrd, poor thing, who mostly doesn't quite know where he is and what he's saying. I hope I don't sound patronizing in the tone of that comment. I don't mean to. But I hate smiley-face icons and other things similar, and feel that I ought to convey what I'm thinking without them.
By the way, class factotum, would you please define for me what exactly a 'community organizer' is, within the framework of Chicago machine politics? Is it like a 'union organizer' used to be? I was born in Chicago, but moved before I was ten to Milwaukee, where I grew up. We didn't have the Daley machine, or Tammany Hall either in Milwaukee, but we did have our own little grifters, as every large city does, and during the second World War, the German Bund was omnipresent.
Was wondering the same thing. 'Community Organizer' in the context of Chicago politics may be a cover for something else and the bene's might be quite good.
I've never heard of such a thing growing up in Chattanooga and now living in Atlanta.
Might just be a South Side Chicago black thing.
The latest issue of National Review has an article on the man's experience, especially as a 'community organizer'.
Maybe it is generational. In my experience "community organizers" did a great job throwing raves and providing drugs... or pointing out the proper people to drag from large commercial vehicles for the purposes of beating half to death, or worse. Or was it putting up fake nooses and raising a ruckuss about it? Plotting against other "community organizations" who compete for the attention of a fixed number of addicts?.....
Generally "community" is a word thrown around when white journalists want to say "Blacks".
Nonsense. Anyone is entirely capable of living at a lower standard that that of which they are capable.
We have so-called "community organizers" here in the Green Mtn State. When a self-described activist of the left, including not a few state legislators, is described in the VT MSM as a "community organizer", or "community activist", we all know what the code words mean! Something like unemployed trust fund hippie, funded by a government grant or taxpayer paid social service service agency, seeking to organize for any number of left wing causes and elect more Democrats to keep the funding going. In other words, be paid by those the community organziers seek to overthrow. Pretty neat, huh?
I remember hearing the term back in the '60's when I was at BU and had contact with the SDS people on campus as they were in our faces all the time.They were always talking about "community organization" as a means to overthrow what they saw as the totally corrupt status quo. David Horowitz and Peter Collier, two reformed radicals, wrote about such people in their brilliant "Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the '60's". This only scatches the surface- there is an extensive literature on community organizers, Saul Alinsky is one who comes to mind. Wasn't Whitakker Chambers supposed to be community organizing, or overseeing community organizers, during his active Communist days with Alger Hiss back in the '30's?
I have yet to see a Republican in VT, or anywhere else for that matter, described as a "community organizer", or "activist", it just isn't in the genes. By the way, in Chicago and Tammany Hall NY, and in other big cities with "machine politics", these guys used to be called "precinct captains", i.e. get out the vote to keep the Democrats in power. Old Mayor Richard Daley's machine was legendary, or the old Albany County NY Machine run by Dan O'Connor and made famous in Wm Kennedy's wonderful book "O, Albany!".
I grew up in Western Pennsylvania and as a junior/senior in high school and looking at colleges, we were told that the list included: U. of Penn, Dartmouth, Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, Syracuse, Barnard, Mt. Holyoke, Swarthmore, Columbia, Radcliffe, Notre Dame, maybe Duke, and as a last resort U. of Michigan or Stanford.
My kids grew up in California where the attitude was, go to a community college for the first two years for $200 a semester, get all the preliminary classes out of the way and then transfer to the more expensive 4 year schools for upper level work and graduate work.
When I was a junior/senior in high school, everyone was scheduled to take their SATs, in California, the attitude was why bother, the state schools don't require them for admission.
As a business woman who had to do alot of hiring over the years, I never wanted those with the elite educations. They never wanted to do any grunt work or even contemplate learning the job from the ground up. One young lady said to me, I didn't spend tens of thousands of dollars to file and answer phones. She could be the only one in the office and she wouldn't answer the phone because that was a job for a min. wage receptionist not her high and mighty self.
I saw the same thing when I worked for a Member of Congress. It was election day, and all paid staff had the day off, but they were asked to join the volunteers in making sandwiches and coffee to take out to those volunteering at the polls. It was fun and everyone had a good time, except those elitists, one of whom actually told the boss, I didn't get two degrees from Yale so that I could make sandwiches for a bunch of dumb volunteers. The "boss" fired her on the spot, even though she had been the chief legislative aide in her paid job.
"A photo of the Yale campus, designed to make clever if snot-nosed kids buy into the illusion that they are 19th century aristocrats at Oxford or Cambridge rather than the humble but literate Congregationalist pastors Yale was originally created to produce."
You might also want to read Presbyterian pastor Mark Roberts' comments on his alma mater, Harvard, especially the portion where they started omitting portions of the school's motto, which was originallly "Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae" (Truth for Christ and the Church). Now of course you only see "Veritas."
I got a good education at William and Mary, but in many ways it wasn't good for me. I very much did imbibe the myth of superiority and of being destined only for great things. It took years at humbling jobs to unlearn that.
Some would say I still haven't.
Well you know... I graduated from the University of Science Music and Culture. Not a widely recognized school but among those who know of it... in the top tier of such institutions.
And though yes, as you suggest AVI... I have been humbled along the way since then, it is still difficult for me to not think myself somewhat different and above the common man... as my curricular was unique and intensely immersing.
I guess my point is, is that it is a fine line between knowing what you know... and knowing what you don't know. A point often overlooked today in the halls of academia. A point which if properly taught... might convince a few that though they consider themselves capable of ruling the world, they would do much better at just ruling themselves.
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Tracked: Jun 30, 00:11