Monday, November 08, 2010
It's a couple of years old, but its author has clearly overcome many of the very limitations he describes about his educational background. Among these limitations are: a sense of entitlement, an inability to relate to ordinary people, a lack of passion, little persistence in the face of difficulty, intellectual docility, social conformity, and a grasp of the concept "solitude" that is tenuous at best (along with any appreciation of its merits).
No. We're not ripping the public schools again. We're ripping the Ivy league.
[T]he world that produced John Kerry and George Bush is indeed giving us our next generation of leaders. The kid who's loading up on AP courses junior year or editing three campus publications while double-majoring, the kid whom everyone wants at their college or law school but no one wants in their classroom, the kid who doesn't have a minute to breathe, let alone think, will soon be running a corporation or an institution or a government. She will have many achievements but little experience, great success but no vision. The disadvantage of an elite education is that it's given us the elite we have, and the elite we're going to have.The article is very long, but makes many worthwhile points. My main criticism of it is that it overestimates the power of entrenched cultural institutions and underestimates the power of philosophical ideas. However, given the mutually reinforcing effects of these two things on one another, such errors are quite understandable.
That said, does it not make sense that the many limitations of an elite academic background would be most pronounced in the very places from which bad philosophical ideas have been transmitted to the culture? The great value of this article is that it provides an insider's perspective of the problem.