Friday, June 13, 2014

The David Brat Victory Has Produced Good Results

The Brat victory and some reactions to it have led to this Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry column "It's Urgent To Put The Liberal Arts Back At The Center Of Education" in  Forbes. Contra South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, Gobry asserts that education ought not exist solely to crate workers:
Nobody stops to ask what education is for, because the answer is implicitly accepted by all: an education is for getting a job. It is, in other words, for being a cog in the giant machine of post-industrial capitalism. It is, in other words, for the opposite thing that our forefathers wanted for us. I do not use these words lightly, but it is against–in the sense that a headwind is against a ship–the very foundations of our liberty and our civilization.
Before reaching this conclusion, Gorby runs through a brief primer on a liberal education and virtue. Did I mention this post was on the Forbes website?

Back to David Brat, apparently he wrote an academic paper asserting that the state retains a legitimate monopoly on violence. At the National Review Charles Cooke runs down the outraged reactions (PNR is off to other duties this week, so it falls to me to be the member of the South Dakota blogosphere who posts an NRO quotation .)
“Unusual” and “eye-opening” was the New York Daily News’s petty verdict. In the Wall Street Journal, Reid Epstein insinuated darkly that the claim cast Brat as a modern-day fascist. And, for his part, Politico’s Ben White suggested that the candidate’s remarks “on Neitzsche and the government monopoly on violence don’t make a whole lot of sense.” As is its wont, the progressive blogosphere lost its collective marbles too: One contributor sardonically described Brat’s claim as a “doozy,” while another contended that such opinions were sufficient for “one to question his, shall we say, cognitive coherence.”
Cooke then goes on to take these reporters to task for not understanding a relatively basic concept enunciated by Max Weber. Cooke also rightly faults both ends of the political spectrum for using language imprecisely:
To refuse to subordinate language to politics is the first and most important duty of the free man. Alas, both Left and Right too often lean toward imprecision and pretense when it suits their ends, shooting sharpened daggers at plain-speaking sorts who dare to express the less pleasant truths of our society in harsh and unlovely language. The Left reacts with particular exasperation when one observes that taxation is forced confiscation of property; the Right when one points out that firearms are lethal weapons whose purpose is to kill.
Brat's candidacy has brought about a column discussing the nature of government and a column explaining that education ought to create citizens not workers. Apparently, he also defeated an arrogant ass. If only he could just get rid of that Ayn Rand fetish.

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