The dominant mood of contemporary American culture is the self-celebration of the peasantry.
A college education is these days a mere rite of passage, a capstone to adolescent party time.
- The dominant mood of contemporary American culture is the self-celebration of the peasantry.
- Ultimately it is the yearning to believe that anyone can be brought up to college level that has brought colleges down to everyone's level.
- No longer a mark of distinction or proof of achievement, a college education is these days a mere rite of passage, a capstone to adolescent party time.
- In my mind, partial failure is always better than delusory success.
- It is a commonplace observation that liberals believe in the perfectibility of man while conservatives believe in the endurance of original sin. Superficially, that would suggest that conservatives take a more understanding and indulgent view of individual lapses, while liberals take a more harshly judgmental one. In fact, we know, quite the opposite is the case.
- One's worth and self-regard ought to come from individual competitive performance, not from group identity. Pride based on clan or tribal connections is atavistic. It appeals to people who fear they cannot succeed as individuals, and by diverting their energies it all but ensures they will not succeed as individuals.
- Where a generation ago people felt entitled to a chance at education, they now feel entitled to the credential affirming that they have completed a course of study regardless of their actual mastery.
- In the unexamined American Dream rhetoric promoting mass higher education in the nation of my youth, the implicit vision was that one day everyone, or at least practically everyone, would be a manager or a professional. We would use the most elitist of all means, scholarship, toward the most egalitarian of ends. We would all become chiefs; hardly anyone would be left a mere Indian.