The View From 1776
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Liberal Intellectuals, Who Dat?
Do liberal-progressives have the credentials entitling them to sneer at the rest of us?
At our elite Ivy League schools, grade inflation has been a scandal for a decade or so. Nearly everybody gets at least a grade of B, and a substantial portion of every class graduates cum laude. That might explain why constitutional law scholar and Harvard Law Review president Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, completely misstated the law respecting corporate free speech.
Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University, doesn’t buy liberal-progressives’ self-portrait as superbly educated, intellectually brilliant, and therefore entitled to rule conservative and traditional dimwits.
Yale University historian Donald Kagan in an article he wrote for Commentary Magazine quotes former president of Harvard University Derek Bok and dean of Harvard College Harry R. Lewis, along with the late Allan Bloom, to opposite effect.
Many seniors graduate without being able to write well enough to satisfy their employers. Many cannot reason clearly or perform competently in analyzing complex, non-technical problems, even though faculties rank critical thinking as the primary goal of a college education. Few undergraduates receiving a degree are able to speak or read a foreign language. Most have never taken a course in quantitative reasoning or acquired the knowledge needed to be a reasonably informed citizen in a democracy. And those are only some of the problems.
For a sample of what passes for critical analysis in liberal-progressive circles, read Frank Rich and the State of Liberal Commentary, by Dennis Prager.