The good news is that our political elites from both parties are highly educated. The bad news is the education that they and their progeny receive.
“Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits,” Angelo M. Codevilla writes in the July/August 2010 issue of The American Spectator. “These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints.”
“Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters—speaking the ‘in’ language—serves as a badge of identity.” Codevilla is a professor emeritus at Boston University.
Yet Codevilla would disabuse those content with this state of affairs of the notion that we are somehow getting the best and brightest in this strata. “The most successful neither write books and papers that stand up to criticism nor release their academic records,” Codevilla observes. “Thus does our ruling class stunt itself through negative selection.”
“But the more it has dumbed itself down the more it has defined itself by the presumption of intellectual superiority.” Elena Kagan comes to mind.
“American secondary schools are generous with their As,” Codevilla avers. “Since the 1970s, it has been virtually impossible to flunk out of American colleges.”
“And it is an open secret that ‘the best’ colleges require the least work and give out the highest grade point averages.” At BU, one of Codevilla’s students alleges on ratemyprofessors.com, that he “has launched his own campaign against grade inflation.”
Codevilla, who served as an advisor to President Reagan, indicates that this widespread indoctrination has been going on for some time. “In 1963-64 for example, I was assigned Herbert McCloskey’s Conservatism and Personality (1958) at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics as a paradigm of methodological correctness,” Codevilla remembers. “The author had defined conservatism in terms of answers to certain questions, and run a survey that proved ‘scientifically’ that conservatives were maladjusted ne’er do well ignoramuses.”
“(My class project, titled ‘Liberalism and Personality,’ following the same methodology, proved just as scientifically that Liberals suffered from the very same social diseases, and even more amusing ones.)”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.