sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Friday, May 05, 2006

......Interesting N&R editorial page this morning.....

Starting off, George Will has a less than flattering perspective on the life and work of John Kenneth Galbraith:

"......The Affluent Society, published in 1958, was a milestone on liberalism's transformation into a doctrine of condescension. And into a minority persuasion.

"In the 1950s, liberals were disconsolate. Voters twice rejected the intelligentsia's pinup, Stevenson, in favor of Dwight Eisenhower, who elicited a new strain in liberalism -- disdain for average Americans. Liberals dismissed the Eisenhower administration as 'the bland leading the bland.' They said New Dealers had been supplanted by car dealers. How to explain the electorate's dereliction of taste? Easy. The masses had been manipulated, mostly by advertising, particularly on television, which by 1958 had become the masses' entertainment.

"Intellectuals, that herd of independent minds, were, as usual, in lock step as they deplored 'conformity.'.........Galbraith brought to the anti-conformity chorus a special verve in depicting Americans as manipulable as clay. Americans were what modern liberalism relishes -- victims, to be treated as wards of a government run by liberals. It never seemed to occur to Galbraith and like-minded liberals that ordinary Americans might resent that depiction and express their resentment with their votes."

Right next door, Clarence Page discusses the poster boy of liberal resentment and condescension, Al Gore:

"If ever there was a time for the author of 'Earth in the Balance,' Gore's powerful 1992 book on global warming and other environmental threats, to say ' tried to warn you,' this is it."

I loved the next line:

"Gore's book drew ridicule from George H.W. Bush, who called Gore 'Ozone Man' in 1992 and in 2000 from George W. Bush, who admitted without embarrassment that he had never read it."

Without embarrassment? OK. Page should know by now that showing embarrassment is not President Bush's strong suit, never mind the implication that 'Earth in the Balance' is required reading.

I guess 'Earth in the Balance,' like 'The Affluent Society' 50 years earlier, is on the list for the enlightened book club. Personally, I'm gleaning quite a bit of enlightenment reading Namath, despite the fact that Broadway Joe's life of booze and broads is in stark contrast to my life of beer and wife.


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