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Monday, September 6, 2010

Ponzi Was an Amateur

the 44th President of the United States...Bara...Image by jmtimages [off] via Flickr
Read related » We Are Ruled by Professors
[This related article is recommended in its entirety.]
“Living in rural Selma was a sort of vaccination against the academic virus of self-importance and collective timidity. […] First was the false knowledge — odd for an institution devoted to free inquiry. The university runs like a 13th-century church in which the heliocentric maverick is a mortal sinner. So too on campus the Rosenbergs never spied. Alger Hiss was a martyr. Mao killed only a few who needed killing (see Anita Dunn on that one). Che was not a murderous thug, but a hair-in-the-wind carefree motorcyclist. Minorities supposedly died proportionally higher in Vietnam — as they supposedly do now in Iraq and Afghanistan. Women are underrepresented as both undergraduates and as humanities graduate students. Anyone with an accented name obviously had picked grapes or was denied voting rights. Adlai Stevenson was an American saint, even more so than George McGovern. Only the unhinged even discussed doubts about global warming. Don’t question any of the above; it was all gospel — as we see now in D.C., from Keynes to Gorism to Cordoba as the beacon of Islamic tolerance during the Inquisition. (Doubt any of that, and that laid-back elbow-patched joking prof who told the class “Call me Bill,” in a flash, Gollum like, turned into a snarling jackal, screaming, “I am Doctor Jones, with important publications on climate change and a doctorate from Berkeley! How dare you question me!”) […] To be blunt, there are an inordinate number of cowards in academia. Why did so many vote “present” at meetings, run out of personnel hearings to leak what you said to someone, boast about their heroics to captive student audiences in class, and in general walk about in abject terror of being thought illiberal? Are not they tenured with lifetime jobs, automatic pay raises, 20 weeks off a year? So why the cowardice? […] In an era in which university people proliferate in this administration and seem to make things far worse for the rest of us, we need to be reminded why we should not look to the university for answers. What I hear coming out of Washington reminds me a lot of what I once heard coming out of the philosophy or English department. And that is a scary thing indeed. You see, that tribe is more likely to embody the illness rather than the cure, and this time 300 million are paying the price.”
— Victor Davis Hanson, September 6, 2010 (

Having myself spent fully eleven years at the two Ivy-league Universities in New York, I know whereof Prof. Hanson speaks, albeit only from an undergraduate- and graduate-student's perspective. As usual, Dr. Hanson speaks the truth. Those insufferable academics who manipulate much more than inform their students are now governing in accordance with their enormously distorted view of their intellectual prowess. As is their wont, they are inclined to think that an expertise in some narrow field of study can be effortlessly parlayed into polymath status by tacit fiat.

In The Obama's case, He seems to have persuaded, by virtue of an ability to speak in stark contrast to the stereotypical mannerisms often attributed to African Americans, that He is not only an eloquent speaker but also an infallible being. Now that we have become familiar (and bored) with His limited repertoire ("Let me be perfectly clear ...", etc.), however, it becomes obvious, even to His legions of Kool-Aid drinkers, that the ability to sell snake oil does not, necessarily, translate into an ability to execute the Office of President of the United States.

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