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Academics and the Obama Administration:
The Washington Post has a front-page article indicating that several Yale Law faculty members are among the many academics who think a job in the Obama Administration might be worth seeking:
  Yale law professor Dan Kahan said several of his colleagues are for the first time considering leaving their perches for Washington.
  "You know how Obama always said, 'This is our moment; this is our time?' " Kahan said. "Well, academics and smart people think, 'Hey, when he says this is our time, he's talking about us.' "
John Smithy (mail):
Isn't Yale that place somewhere in the Northeast that doesn't give out grades in law school?

Or am I confusing it with some other place?
12.6.2008 9:56pm
Cardozo'd (www):
That may be true.

I'm not sure grades matter at Yale Law School anyway.
12.6.2008 10:05pm
MPGA (mail):
I like how he separates "academics" and "smart people".
12.6.2008 10:05pm
zippypinhead:
I think the title of your post is a wee bit off. While Yale Law School is clearly in some alternate and not-quite-parallel universe, political Washington is anything but the "real world."

I would argue that the most significant part of the WaPo article wasn't the Kahan quote you reprised, but the following:
While Obama's picks have been lauded for their ethnic and ideological mix, they lack diversity in one regard: 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.
The next four years could be very interesting, good or bad...
12.6.2008 10:06pm
OrinKerr:
zippy,

Relative to academia, political Washington is the real world. Still, you have a fair point: I have changed the post title.
12.6.2008 10:07pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
A lot of people thought that in 1992 as well.

Yet more evidence that progressives think like some primitive tribe. Wouldn't you think that after all the ink that has been spilled accusing progressives of exactly this attitude, they would try and be a little more circumspect about it? Whenever I think that I'm being too hard on them, something like this pops up.
12.6.2008 10:09pm
wm13:
It's nice to be reminded what professors really think of those of us who don't share their political views. And that is why I threw that solicitation from Boalt in the trash today.
12.6.2008 10:20pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
1960, not 1992

Best and brightest.

Vietnam = Afghanistan

James Jones = Maxwell Taylor

Bob Gates = Allen Dulles

Venezuala = Cuba

Almost eerie.
12.6.2008 10:36pm
zippypinhead:
Bob - one missing from your list:

HRC = Robert McNamara?

...and for the record I'm not exactly dying to see what ends up on the other side of the equal sign from "Bay of Pigs."
12.6.2008 10:47pm
Bretzky (mail):
zippypinhead:

Having an administration full of people who come from the country's "elite" institutions is not itself a problem. The question is: what did these people do once they graduated from these elite institutions of learning?

Every administration needs a healthy dose of "pure" academics (i.e., people who never left the ivory tower) because smart people who sit around thinking about problems often enough manage to come up with some novel solutions. The problem with handing the keys over to these folks is that they rarely have the skill set required to: (1) actually get their solutions implemented and (2) manage them well once they are implemented.

That's where people with more practical experiences come in handy. And it's also why the heads of government agencies and Cabinet posts should always be filled with people who have previously managed large organizations. Much of the work of a government leadership post is dedicated to getting the job done, not to finding the answer to the problem. Coming from an elite institution does not disqualify someone from such a post so long as they've actually been in the trenches in the very recent past.
12.6.2008 10:49pm
Adam B. (www):
Was it perhaps worth noting that Dan Kahan was a colleague of Obama's at Chicago?
12.6.2008 10:51pm
Anderson (mail):
"Well, academics and smart people think, 'Hey, when he says this is our time, he's talking about us.' "

Reading the progressive blogs, I see quite a few people who thought this once but have figured out otherwise.
12.6.2008 10:59pm
Cornellian (mail):
While Obama's picks have been lauded for their ethnic and ideological mix, they lack diversity in one regard: 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.

So now we need quotas of high school dropouts and people with degrees from obscure correspondence schools?
12.6.2008 11:05pm
whit:
cornellian... let's play the "name the logical fallacy you just used".


fwiw, when i think academics in govt. i am reminded of william f buckley's comment about rather being ruled by people chosen from the boston phone book, then by a group of academics... or something
12.6.2008 11:15pm
zippypinhead:
The problem with handing the keys over to these ["pure" academic] folks is that they rarely have the skill set required to: (1) actually get their solutions implemented and (2) manage them well once they are implemented.
Bretzky makes a good point.

Then again, before joining the Kennedy Administration Robert McNamara ran Ford, not a desk in an ivory tower. And look how badly he messed up (as even he has admitted in hindsight).

Having been a bemused observer of executive agency behavior for quite a few years, if given a binary either/or choice I'd rather have the practical fellow in the Deputy Secretary slot. Let the head honcho think big thoughts, not start dictating the caliber and powder type for the G.I.s' new assault rifle. In the public sector the ExO often has a lot more to do with keeping the organization from running off the rails than the person whose picture gets put next to the President's in the agency reception lobby.
12.6.2008 11:24pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Better than people with degrees from Liberty U
12.6.2008 11:52pm
josil (mail):
There is more than sufficient evidence that graduates or faculty of "elite" institutions are no better than any other individuals who lack those "advantages." Moreover, executive experience or lack thereof seems to provide no guarantee of success. The same is true of military or non-military backgrounds. So, it appears we are left with the luck of the draw. History provides no useful guide. Just consider what the media, the intellectual class, and the historians of the time thought of plain old Harry Truman as as FDR's pick for Vice President.
12.7.2008 12:14am
IndependentAcademic:

I like how he separates "academics" and "smart people".

when i think academics in govt. i am reminded of william f buckley's comment about rather being ruled by people chosen from the boston phone book, then by a group of academics.



Anti-intellectualism is still alive and well in America, I see...


It's nice to be reminded what professors really think of those of us who don't share their political views.


Not really. From just my humble experience, what academics think of "those of you with different political views" really has less to do with your views in and of themselves (were they well-reasoned and supported with evidence, we could at least argue over them with you, and we *love* to argue!), more to do with your utter contempt for education generally, for the methods of reasoned inquiry and knowledge-making at the core of academe that seems implicit in your blanket critique of academics and your frequent hero-worship of those who possess or endorse anti-intellectual voices. After a long enough time line, it becomes virtually impossible for us to look out at our opposition and really separate anti-intellectualism from conservativism*; the two basically seem intertwined.


*Yes, I know it's supposedly a libertarian blog and all, but since I read basically the same thing coming from libs on this blog as I do from conservatives elsewhere, and as libs routinely get in bed politically with conservatives, the libs' professed interest in preserving personal freedom loses any meaning and it becomes clear you're basically conservatives for all practical purposes. At least, that's what we academics think of you.... ;-)
12.7.2008 12:35am
OrinKerr:
IndependentAcademic writes:
Anti-intellectualism is still alive and well in America, I see...
Actually, I had the same thought as the commenter you reference. Academia rewards fads and grand ideas, even if gloriously wrong. In contrast, effective government requires constant adjustment to practicalities and the realities of human fallibility. As a result, being skeptical about the ability of academics to exercise government power wisely is not a position that I think of as "anti-intellectual."

IndependentAcademic then writes:
After a long enough time line, it becomes virtually impossible for us to look out at our opposition and really separate anti-intellectualism from conservativism; the two basically seem intertwined.
That seems overly harsh to academics. While some are so small-minded and self-congratulatory as to think this, many are actually pretty self-aware and recognize how weak such a position would be.
12.7.2008 1:03am
Curt Fischer:
IndependentAcademic: Your post seems like quite an overreaction to whit's comment. To whom do you refer when you say "your utter contempt" and "your frequent hero worship"?
12.7.2008 1:46am
Perseus (mail):
Anti-intellectualism is still alive and well in America, I see...

I see liberal academic bromides are still alive and well among my colleagues.

we *love* to argue!

Just so long as no one has the audacity to question left-liberal orthodoxy.
12.7.2008 1:52am
pintler:

Anti-intellectualism is still alive and well in America, I see...


In your view are, say, advanced degrees historically correlated with effective leadership?

I can think of effective leaders who were poor academics (Churchill is one obvious example). Are there any great leaders of history who started as professors?
12.7.2008 3:08am
David Warner:
My sense is that IA needs to get out more. World's too big to wrap a small mind around...
12.7.2008 3:11am
LM (mail):

Are there any great leaders of history who started as professors?

Andrew Shepard.
12.7.2008 7:37am
PersonFromPorlock:
Whatever happened to "Character is Destiny?" Is there some evidence that advanced degrees from elite schools breeds unusual excellence of character? If not, I suspect we'll soon be seeing, not Change, but more ingenious (or anyway, more prolix) excuses for all the old, familiar effects of incompetence and corruption.
12.7.2008 7:55am
NowMDJD (mail):

I can think of effective leaders who were poor academics (Churchill is one obvious example). Are there any great leaders of history who started as professors?

Well, Angela Merkel, Woodrow Wilson and James Garfield come to mind. I don't know if it counts, but John Adams's first job was teaching elementary school.
12.7.2008 8:30am
law clerk:
Orin wrote:

zippy,

Relative to academia, political Washington is the real world. Still, you have a fair point: I have changed the post title.


This epitomizes DC's approach to things. The difference between the real world and political DC is far, far greater than the difference between political DC and academia. Anyone who lives here for too long gets a myopic view of what the real world is like. Orin, although a genius, probably suffers from this.
12.7.2008 8:49am
DiverDan (mail):

Kahan said. "Well, academics and smart people think, 'Hey, when he says this is our time, he's talking about us.' "


I'm thinking of a Venn Diagram which illustrates the comparatively small intersection of the two sets A:"academics" and B:"smart people". I'm very concerned that most of the successful seekers for jobs in an Obama Administration will come from the set "A but not B".
12.7.2008 9:48am
Crimso:

At least, that's what we academics think of you

Please stop speaking on my behalf.
12.7.2008 9:56am
David Warner:
DiverDan,

"I'm very concerned that most of the successful seekers for jobs in an Obama Administration will come from the set "A but not B"."

Well don't you worry your little head. Intelligence they'll have. Wisdom? Only time will tell.

Agreed that some diversity might have been beneficial.
12.7.2008 9:56am
Curt Fischer:

This epitomizes DC's approach to things. The difference between the real world and political DC is far, far greater than the difference between political DC and academia.


I am a Ph.D. student myself, and I can appreciate how the enviornment I live and work in is somewhat cloistered and removed from the daily experience of other types of workers. That said, though, I always wonder what exactly people mean when they say "real world". It seems to be a moving target.

In this thread we have learned that the "real world" is not DC, and is not academe. Fair enough. Can some kind real worlder out there let me know if the following positions/environments make the grade and are "real"?

1. investment banker on Wall St.
2. worker in Toyota plant in Mississippi
3. social worker in San Francisco
4. millionaire corn farmer in Iowa
5. UAW worker in GM plant in Michigan
6. CEO of small Seattle company whose income derives soley from gov't grants and contracts
7. building inspector in Branson, Mo.

Thanks!
12.7.2008 9:57am
jccamp (mail):
"Well, academics and smart people think, 'Hey, when he says this is our time, he's talking about us.' "

Well, darn. guess that lets me out. Must be that iodized salt thing again.

I think I'm just slightly amazed at the arrogance of this person's statement.
12.7.2008 10:02am
Fedya (www):
I don't see any difference between the bigotry that led to Obama's "bitter cling" comments, and the anti-immigrant bigotry spouted by populist politicians. But one, generally spouted by "academic" types, is treated as a subject for serious debate, while the other is considered beyond the pale.

Or, to get this around to a topic that's been discussed on the VC quite a bit recently, the "academic" types are perfectly willing to go off on the Mormons for supporting Prop 8 in California, but have ben much quieter about the anti-gay bigotry of black churches.

And yet, the "academics" treat it as axiomatic that they're tolerant and sensitive, and if you disagree with them, you're a horrible bigot.
12.7.2008 10:15am
dhdcnr (mail):
Fedya,

Set aside the question of whether academics really are more intelligent/wise/judicious/reasonable than non-academics. The point remains that being intelligent/wise/judicious/reasonable is a positive trait. Other things being equal, it's better to be like that than the opposite.

So being "biased" in favor of the intelligent/wise/judicious/reasonable is not bigotry. After all, there's nothing better about being straight instead of gay, or American instead of Mexican. But it really is better to be intelligent/wise/judicious/reasonable instead of the opposite.

So if you have a legitimate beef with the arrogance of academics, it's not on the score of bigotry. It's that they're wrong about being more intelligent/wise/judicious/reasonable than non-academics.
12.7.2008 10:40am
pintler:

Well, Angela Merkel, Woodrow Wilson and James Garfield come to mind.


All good people, but great? Of the same stature as Churchill, FDR, Lincoln, Washington, Marlborough, Ghandi?

I grant there is a statistical problem - few academics rise to positions of great power, so few have the chance to find out if they are great or not. And being bright certainly isn't contraindicated, e.g. Eisenhower's performance in WWII.

Personality is shaped by profession, or alternatively certain personalities are attracted to certain professions. Ask a pilot, police officer, or surgeon for a decision and you will get one immediately - perhaps right, perhaps wrong, but immediate, because they are in careers where a decision delayed is guaranteed to be wrong.

So the question is whether people shaped by or attracted to academia are better or worse than average as political leaders, or more generally, is there some profession or other credentials that are positively correlated with great leadership. I don't know the answer to that.

I have long opined that a degree in history was the best possible preparation for the presidency, but our current one is a pretty strong counterexample to that thesis.
12.7.2008 10:44am
Psalm91 (mail):
"Wm13:

And that is why I threw that solicitation from Boalt in the trash today."

You will miss Professor Yoo. He and Monica Goodling demonstrate that it is not the prestige or rank of the institution that matters; all ranks are capable of producing or tolerating the same sort of amorality.

Re Smokey:

After 8 years of George W. Bush, preceded by 4 years of his father, you are looking for a self-made salt of the earth kind of guy? Like McCain or Romney, I suppose, who made it on their own? Or Chambliss; Mr. Golf, over the real veterans? Are you kidding us again? The R's love the "soft white country club underbelly".
12.7.2008 10:58am
MarkField (mail):

Just consider what the media, the intellectual class, and the historians of the time thought of plain old Harry Truman as as FDR's pick for Vice President.


David MacCulloch describes the media reaction as generally positive (see pages 320-21 of the hardcover edition). I couldn't find any reference to the reaction of "intellectuals" or "historians", and I suspect you don't have any source for a representative sample.
12.7.2008 11:01am
OrinKerr:
law clerk,

As I am using it, the "real world" here refers to "the real world that high level appointees to government office who are not academics will have experienced." In other words, law firm partners, state politicans, party chairs, and the like. You might say that none of these people have experience with the "real" world, as you define "real." But those worlds are a lot more "real" in the sense of connected to the realities of daily life and human limitations than are jobs in the ivory tower. That's not a point about "dc's approach to things," but really a point about how isolated from reality many academics really are.
12.7.2008 1:06pm
trad and anon (mail):
In other words, law firm partners, state politicans, party chairs, and the like. You might say that none of these people have experience with the "real" world, as you define "real." But those worlds are a lot more "real" in the sense of connected to the realities of daily life and human limitations than are jobs in the ivory tower.
What makes the super-rich people the partners at Skadden and Cravath hang out with any more "connected to the realities of daily life" than the people academics hang out with? The life of the tenured academic isn't how the vast majority of people live, but neither is the life of those who earn upwards of $1 million a year and whose clients make even more.
12.7.2008 2:04pm
trad and anon (mail):
Or, to put the same point another way: the life of the tenured academic is a lot more like how most people live than is the life of those who have never had more complain about than their bonuses being cut to a measly $20k.
12.7.2008 2:07pm
whit:

The life of the tenured academic isn't how the vast majority of people live, but neither is the life of those who earn upwards of $1 million a year and whose clients make even more.



it's not "how they live" (iow, their surroundings, pay, job security, etc.).

it's what they do.

academics aren't responsible for real world results, only detached theory.

this is how, for example, academics could embrace efficient market theory. real traders (who actually make their money from the market - iow, have have more than theory, instead have to have actuality... stuff that works in the real world). or how they could embrace absurdly anti-scientific theories about gender, etc. etc.

the point is that academics are responsible for theory. most people in the real world are responsible for RESULTS.

an engineer for example is responsible for a building. it has to actually work - iow, not fall over, be structurally stable, etc.

there are people who DO and who are responsible for what they DO, and there are academics who generally just opine, with no real world consequences when they are wrong.

that is why buckley et al (myself included) treat academics with healthy skepticism.
12.7.2008 2:22pm
whit:

Like McCain or Romney, I suppose, who made it on their own


romney did not make it on his own. however, he's clearly a successful DOER. he has proved that he can run a business, and run large projects with efficiency and results. that record is undeniable.

i would rather have, ceteris paribus, a guy like romney who i know is a capable manager, do'er, achiever, etc. in the real world, than a guy whose claim to fame was "getting published" a lot and receiving praise from his fellow travelers.
12.7.2008 2:25pm
Joe Hiegel:
<blockquote>
Andrew Shepard
</blockquote>
To the extent that they're not the same person, <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josiah Bartlet">Jed Bartlet</a>, too.
12.7.2008 2:52pm
Joe Hiegel:
Well, it seems that that didn't come out quite right. At least it was an entirely pointless comment whether properly formatted or not.
12.7.2008 2:55pm
Ben P:

it's not "how they live" (iow, their surroundings, pay, job security, etc.).

it's what they do.


I'm not so sure. In most of the "working world" Tenure is a very strange concept.

I'm making huge generalizations again, but I don't think many people are really that familiar with the career track of an academic. The only part of they see is that they hear a professor is "tenured" and learn that they can't be fired. To the large class of people who work in corporate and industrial sectors were layoffs are a very real possibility, tenure only contributes to the notion that Academics aren't part of "the real world."
12.7.2008 3:03pm
whit:
ben, that's a good point. and consistent with the dichotomy between those that are paid for being do'ers and those that are academics. tenure kind of adds to that, in that it's not as simple (to put it mildly) to fire a tenured academic, even if they are full of @#$()#$ and don't succeed.
12.7.2008 4:58pm
Jerry F:
I am all in favor of appointing the best and the brightest in positions of power, but Powerline already debunked the myth that Bush did not seek to appoint the smartest people in his administration. To quote Powerline:

"But MacGillis is cherry-picking (to mix my fruit metaphors). Judge Gonzalez graduated from Harvard Law School. And MacGillis chooses to ignore the following examples: Don Rumsfeld (Princeton); Steven Hadley (Cornell, Yale Law School); Elaine Chao (Harvard MBA); John Ashcroft (Yale, University of Chicago Law School); Spencer Abraham (Harvard Law School); Scooter Libby (Yale, Columbia Law School); David Addington (Georgetown; Duke Law School); Mitch Daniels (Princeton); Josh Bolten (Princeton, Stanford Law School); Henry Paulson (Dartmouth, Harvard MBA); Ben Bernanke (Harvard, MIT Ph.d); Cam Findlay (Northwestern University, Oxford, Harvard Law School); Alex Azar (Dartmouth, Yale Law School); Andy Card (Harvard Kennedy School of Government); Paul Wolfowitz (Cornell, University of Chicago, plus Yale faculty); Douglas Feith (Harvard, Georgetown Law School); Jim Haynes (Harvard Law School)."
12.7.2008 5:51pm
OrinKerr:
Jerry F.,

And remember, George W. Bush is an intellectual giant himself (Yale, Harvard MBA).
12.7.2008 8:32pm
NowMDJD (mail):

Well, Angela Merkel, Woodrow Wilson and James Garfield come to mind.

All good people, but great?

I agree. Too good, except for Garfield. But the seusequent sentence about John Adams teaching elementary school should have alerted you that this was an attempt at irony.
12.7.2008 8:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Anti-intellectualism is still alive and well in America, I see..."

What is an intellectual? How do we identify one?
12.7.2008 9:16pm
Fedya (www):
Dhdncr:

You seem to have said nothing while writing a lot. ;-)

So if you have a legitimate beef with the arrogance of academics, it's not on the score of bigotry.

I have to disagree with you here. In my experience it's usually the academia types, and other "chattering class" metropolitan types who go on the most about multiculturalism, and how we have to celebrate "diversity". But "multiculturalism" never seems to include American culture. Why do you think I mentioned the "bitter cling" comments? Obama was commenting on a certain American sub-culture, just as many of the anti-immigrant types talk about the problems they have with the immigrant cultures. And yet, one of this is consistently put up as bigotry, and the other isn't. (At least, not by the people in the media.)

So being "biased" in favor of the intelligent/wise/judicious/reasonable is not bigotry.

Academics, I would argue, don't hold any greater amounts of those last three qualities than the average American. (And when it comes to the first, they may know a lot about their own specialties, but not necessarily so much about areas outside of that.) And yet, they (and again, the rest of the "chattering class" types) consistently treat it as axiomatic that they do.
12.7.2008 10:02pm
Waldensian (mail):

Intelligence they'll have. Wisdom? Only time will tell. Agreed that some diversity might have been beneficial.

Apparently Yoda is posting under the name "David Warner."
12.7.2008 11:05pm
Elliot123 (mail):
It's interesting how much weight some people put on where a 55-year-old guy went to school when he was 18-22. It seems to matter to academics, and my impression is it matters to a lot of lawyers. (I'm open to correction about the lawyers.) But, the rest of the world cares about what a guy accomplished afer he left school, not where he went to school. I really don't care if an accomplished 55-year-old went to Harvard or dropped out of junior college.
12.8.2008 11:39am
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Elliot123. Correct. What is being measured is tribal membership. Degrees from elite institutions are necessary, but not sufficient criterion for membership.

Okay, I exaggerate a bit on that. But not much.
12.8.2008 12:39pm
pintler:
From an interesting Seattle PI article on the performance of academics in the JFK administration.


This, too, is a replay of what happened when Kennedy arrived, beating out the more seasoned Richard Nixon and ending eight years of Eisenhower rule. "Rarely had a new administration received such a sympathetic hearing at a personal level from the more serious and respected journalists of the city," Halberstam wrote. "The good reporters of that era, those who were well educated and who were enlightened themselves and worked for enlightened organizations, liked the Kennedys and were for the same things the Kennedys were for." They couldn't imagine that "men who were said to be the ablest to serve in government in this century" would turn out to be architects of America's "worst tragedy since the Civil War."

Post-Iraq, we're unlikely to rush into a new Vietnam. But we ignore the past's lessons at our peril. In his 20th-anniversary reflections, Halberstam wrote that his favorite passage in his book was the one where Johnson, after his first Kennedy Cabinet meeting, raved to his mentor, the speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, about all the president's brilliant men. "You may be right, and they may be every bit as intelligent as you say," Rayburn responded, "but I'd feel a whole lot better about them if just one of them had run for sheriff once."

Halberstam loved that story because it underlined the weakness of the Kennedy team: "the difference between intelligence and wisdom, between the abstract quickness and verbal facility which the team exuded, and true wisdom, which is the product of hard-won, often bitter experience." That difference was clearly delineated in Vietnam, where American soldiers, officials and reporters could see that the war was going badly even as McNamara brusquely wielded charts and crunched numbers to enforce his conviction that victory was assured.


12.8.2008 3:26pm
LM (mail):
pintler,

Halberstam loved that story because it underlined the weakness of the Kennedy team: "the difference between intelligence and wisdom, between the abstract quickness and verbal facility which the team exuded, and true wisdom, which is the product of hard-won, often bitter experience." That difference was clearly delineated in Vietnam, where American soldiers, officials and reporters could see that the war was going badly even as McNamara brusquely wielded charts and crunched numbers to enforce his conviction that victory was assured.

I forgot. Which ivory tower did McNamara descend from to become Def. Sec.?
12.8.2008 8:43pm
David Warner:
Waldensian,

"Apparently Yoda is posting under the name 'David Warner.'"

Been blown has my cover been...
12.9.2008 12:51am
David Warner:
Oops, I guess I'm not Yoda after all, although come to think of it, I suspect Yoda was actually Grover.
12.9.2008 12:54am
whit:

It's interesting how much weight some people put on where a 55-year-old guy went to school when he was 18-22. It seems to matter to academics, and my impression is it matters to a lot of lawyers. (I'm open to correction about the lawyers.) But, the rest of the world cares about what a guy accomplished afer he left school, not where he went to school. I really don't care if an accomplished 55-year-old went to Harvard or dropped out of junior college.



exactly. the benefits that should matter when talking about how other people judge a person's merits are... what the person has DONE. an "elite institution" should be desireable because it (theoretically) teaches better, and thus imparts more knowledge, is more rigorous, blah blah.

for the attendee, the added benefit of making it easier to get a foot in the door when STARTING OUT IN A CAREER would be part of it, as well as "social networking".

but valuing the locale of the diploma as a thing in and of itself, when you have ample work history to look at is essentially elevating a piece of paper, something that represents theoretical superiority over evidence of actual achievement.

that's what should matter.

show me a brilliant businessman like steve jobs. i could not care less where he went to college, or if he even did.

when he took over Pixar, i jumped on their stock. i did not research where he went to frigging college. who cares?
12.9.2008 4:44am
pintler:

I forgot. Which ivory tower did McNamara descend from to become Def. Sec.?


From wikipedia:
"...graduated in 1937 from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts in economics with minors in mathematics and philosophy, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his sophomore year, ... He then earned a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1939.
...
In August 1940 he returned to Harvard to teach in the Business School and became the highest paid and youngest Assistant Professor at the time."

Of course, following that he was an analyst in the USAAF and later Ford CEO.
12.9.2008 1:42pm
LM (mail):
pintler,

That's right. After a couple of years teaching at Harvard, he spent the next 13 in the Army and at Ford, from where he was plucked for Sec. of Def. In other words, he wasn't the example your quote implied of a stereotypical ivory tower academic who's never worked a job in the real world. Quite the opposite, he was the model Republicans tout for government executive jobs, the CEO of a successful giant industrial corporation.
12.9.2008 5:45pm

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We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.