Friday, November 21, 2008

The Best and the Brightest, redux

Tyranny of the grinds:
The next administration will be a valedictocracy -- rule by those who graduated first in their high school classes. If an enemy attacks the United States during a Harvard-Yale game, we're in trouble.
A couple of days ago, someone asked me why I so disdain Harvard alumni. There are many, many reasons, mostly having to do with the belief that an aptitude for apple-polishing -- i.e., eager participation in the whole "gifted"/honors/NMS/valedictorian rigamarole -- does not represent genuine merit. Being a teacher's pet and being smart are not the same thing.

Perhaps there should be a bumper sticker: "My Angry Populism Beat Up Your Arrogant Meritocracy And Stole Its Lunch Money."

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin detests David Brooks and his "Ivy League ejaculations" over the Obama administration:
Barack Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law) will take the oath of office as his wife, Michelle (Princeton, Harvard Law), looks on proudly. Nearby, his foreign policy advisers will stand beaming, including perhaps Hillary Clinton (Wellesley, Yale Law), Jim Steinberg (Harvard, Yale Law) and Susan Rice (Stanford, Oxford D. Phil.).
The domestic policy team will be there, too, including Jason Furman (Harvard, Harvard Ph.D.), Austan Goolsbee (Yale, M.I.T. Ph.D.), Blair Levin (Yale, Yale Law), Peter Orszag (Princeton, London School of Economics Ph.D.) and, of course, the White House Counsel Greg Craig (Harvard, Yale Law)…
First, I wish to express my appreciation that Malkin (a graduate of selective Oberlin) would take sides with us Jacksonville State slobs against this "meritocratic" snobbery. Second, why do I suspect that Brooks is the father of a teenager whom he hopes to see admitted to Harvard? Excuse my populist cynicism.

UPDATE II: A commenter at TNR:
Not only are such credentials no guarantee of competence or insurance against disaster, they may actually increase the risk. The Harvard and Yale grads and faculty members, from McGeorge Bundy to Donald Rumsfeld, who drove the country into the ditch in Viet Nam and Iraq thought they were so smart that they never considered the possibility that they could be wrong, even after disaster was apparent to everyone else.
Brainiacs tend to disregard common-sense objections on the grounds that common sense is so . . . common. If anyone with a high-school diploma can get the point, your argument will inevitably suffer from a lack of intellectual prestige. A thing can be both simple and true, but simple objections tend to annoy intellectuals who delight in the belief that they possess a degree of enlightenment that no ordinary mortal could ever obtain. When David Brooks sneers at "populists," what he's really saying is, "How dare you refuse to genuflect before your superiors?"

UPDATE III: Linked by Michelle -- thanks!


  1. Makes you wonder what ever happened to the left's admonition to "Question Authority" and their disdain for "The Establishment." Weren't we supposed to fear the Skull and Bones secret sects and the entire "legacy admissions" set.

    This collection of old school ties rivals anything seen in the mid 20th Century - That hell of conformity and intellectual suppression. I don't know that 19th Century Britain could claim a more uniform education of its ruling class.

  2. All I can write is that The Great Man, Ronald Reagan, received his undergraduate degree in ECONOMICS at Eureka College, a Christian college. So, to take the Crooks, er BROOKS model, I guess that is the automatic disqualifier for the presidency, hell even the White House janitor, right?! Remember, these brain surgeons perpetuated the Great Depression, and got us deep in the quagmire known as Vietnam. PALIN in 2012!