Monday, October 27, 2008

Reason from the Right

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska on Sarah Palin:

"She knows her audience, and she's going right after them. And I'll tell you why that's dangerous. It's dangerous because you don't want to define down the standards in any institution, ever, in life. You want to always strive to define standards up. If you start defining standards down--'Well, I don't have a big education, I don't have experience'--yes, there's a point to be made that not all the smartest people come out of Yale or Harvard. But to intentionally define down in some kind of wild populism, that those things don't count in a complicated, dangerous world--that's dangerous in itself."

No doubt his decision to not seek reelection is freeing him up to speak his mind, but is there anything anyone could disagree with here? It's fine if you want to be plain-spoken, down-to-earth, and folksy, but can there be a bit of wisdom behind it, too? After eight years of a President proud to be void of intellectual curiosity, can't we have some leaders who read books and newspapers as part of a daily ritual of intellectual enhancement? Valuing intelligence, even your own, is not snobbish elitism. Denigrating is.


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