Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Education and experience, part 1

Back here: http://rantsand.blogspot.com/2008/10/ivy-league-elitism-some-observations.html

I mentioned my personal conviction that, "Beyond a certain minimum you have to have to establish credibility, more experience is almost always better than more formal education."

Yesterday I was reading a columnist I don't like much (doesn't matter who) making an assertion I thought was just flat-out wrong about economic policy, with no corroboration.

So OK, a newspaper column is by necessity short, there really isn't a lot of space to provide all the supporting pillars to the edifice of your argument.

What I really objected to, with him and a lot of the intelligentsia who run this country was, he makes his living at a business pretty far removed from the production and distribution of what I'll call primary goods. By which I mean, stuff people eat, wear, and use to live on a day-to-day basis.

Of course, so do I these days, I'm a reporter and an opinion columnist too. I'm in the business of providing secondary essential service. Meaning, if production stopped, life would be poorer and maybe without it civilization would run down in the long run - but people wouldn't start dying en masse within days.

So how the hell does he get off pontificating on how the economy should be run? And how did he reach the calm assumption that the complex economy of a nation should be "run," and by whom?

A story: During my last stint as a student, I had one class with a hard-core Leftie PC-type professor. To give you an idea of how PC, he mentioned once that he told one of his little girls, "When you grow up and have a boyfriend, or a girlfriend..."

I'm not discounting the possibility that one of his daughters might grow up to be gay, and need the loving acceptance of her family. I was just wondering why the hell he'd start the process when she's five? Isn't that one of the bridges you cross when, and if, you come to it?

And he was, by the way, openly contemptuous of the Christian mythos ("If you believe a 33-year-old carpenter died and came back to life...") oblivious to the sensibilities of a young woman who quietly let him know that she was a Christian on more than one occasion.

Oddly, there was a Muslim woman in class, and though I kept waiting, never once did I hear him say, "If you believe a semi-literate camel driver, who got rich by marrying his boss, had a book of all truth dictated to him by an angel..."

But I digress.

At any rate, this prof once made a scornful reference to the conservative opinions of "Bubbas."

Well, what I thought (later unfortunately, I wish I could tell you it rolled off my tongue, but hindsight is 20/20) was, "Prof, you've got a PhD, but Bubba has something you don't. A garage full of tools he can use - that you don't even know the names of."

And that's not a Platonic ideal example, I was thinking specifically of my oldest friend in Oklahoma.

This is what is bothering me. More than ever before in our history, at the highest levels our government and academia is run more and more by people who have never, or only briefly: worked with their hands, run a business of any size, grown or raised food, served in the military, been in a serious fight... you get the picture.

Damn it, how many of them could lift the hood of their car and tell you what the parts of the engine are, and what they do?

And I'm not singling out either side. President Obama worked in the private sector for a year, which he described as "being in the enemy camp."

Since that's where most of us work, are we the "enemy"?

George Bush's experience in the private sector was brief, heavily dependent on family connections, entwined with government largesse to the point that "private sector" becomes meaningless, and a financial failure.

He was a fighter jet pilot, for which he never got any significant credit. It's not a trivial accomplishment.

So until next time, ask yourself how many of our elected officials, and tenured professors fall into this category?

And ask yourself, what is wrong with this picture?


  • At 4:51 PM, Blogger Ted said…

    If I may distill your column, it sounds like you're saying hardly any of those Old-Money, Filthy-Rich bastards ever did a day's honest work in their lives...Go figure!
    We have not recently become "the enemy camp", to those lusting after absolute power, we always have been - at best - expendable plebescheithe/proles (Hence TWOT).
    I dined a couple nights ago with some local upper crust with the mindset that enables and empowers such, one of whom had the unmitigated gall to say "As long as I'm getting a check from the government, it's not welfare or bribery. I'm entitled!" Not surprisingly, the individual is an investment banker; another degreed professional from Ignorance University, who also had the audacity to claim he was a conservative Republican.
    Ronald Reagan wept!

  • At 5:07 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Not quite.

    Book keeping/accounting is honest work. As is stock broking (well, in theory at least...)and any number of other jobs you do sitting down.

    Nor am I complaining about Upper-class Twits and Trust-Fund Idiots (yet.)

    I shouldn't like to live in a society which had no liberal arts teachers and courses. (As a matter of fact, I have lived in one such, Saudi Arabia. I thought quite a number of my better students would have been happier in liberal arts - or the Arabic equivalent, than the Vo-Tech courses we were preparing them for.)

    What I'm wondering about is the effect of having so much of our adult population in occupations that are so far removed from the original factors of production of food and primary goods that they have only the vaguest idea of where the stuff comes from.

    Or as I like to say, "Americans think food comes from a supermarket, water comes from a tap, and sewage goes - away."

    This kind of ignorance makes for a lot of anti-capitalist idiocy, but also makes it difficult to have an intelligent public discussion on infrastructure building, maintenance, and repair, with all the government spending issues entailed.

  • At 5:10 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    P.S. A conservative Republican... heavy sigh.

    Now go over to the National Review Online website, or any of several other conservative sites. Scroll down and look at the ads.

    Down among them you'll find an ad for "Free government grants for Republicans."

  • At 11:56 AM, Blogger Ted said…

    "Americans think food comes from a supermarket, water comes from a tap, and sewage goes - away."

    And THAT my friend is a much bigger problem than all the political boogymen under the bed we're being sold by idioTVision and the fish-wraps.


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