19 October 2009

Elitists And American Exceptionalism

Academic elites reject American Exceptionalism. This topic just won't go away.

"An interesting paradox. Last year, America elected a president who, in attitudes and policies, is closer to the elites of Western Europe than any of his predecessors . . . The late political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset, who wrote a book on American exceptionalism, long noted that Americans are more individualistic and less collectivist than Western Europeans (or Canadians). The election of a president who in many ways seeks to push America in a European direction seems to have increased rather than decreased those differences." More of this interesting and obvious (to most) perspective here.

And here we have the full roster (as December 2008) of Academic elites in the current administration (By that bastion of right-wing, anti-intellectualism. The Washington Post):

"They are almost exclusively products of the nation's elite institutions and generally share a more intellectual outlook than is often the norm in government. "

But here's the most applicable little nugget from the piece:

"The libertarian University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein, who is not related to Joseph Epstein, worries that the team's exceptionalism [not American] could lead to overly complex policies. "They are really smart people, but they will never take an obvious solution if they can think of an ingenious one. They're all too clever by half," he said. 'These degrees confer knowledge but not judgment. Their heads are on grander themes . . . and they'll trip on obstacles on the ground.'"

More here.

As an aside, many of these intellectuals supported (and still do) economic and social policies that do nothing but cause new problems and exasperate current ones. But hey, they're the ones with credibility. Right.

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