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April 27, 2015

TNR piece: Elite colleges these days get you to Bourgeoisieville.

Here's an imperfect but ballsy article in The New Republic I wish I had written. "Elite Universities Are Turning Our Kids Into Corporate Stooges" by 30-something 2002 Duke grad Bryan Williams, a Washington, D.C.- based economist. Williams asks all the right questions about what our best colleges and universities should be making a priority. Encouraging and developing outlaws (my term, for lack of a better one here)--doers, thinkers, artists and writers with genuinely new big ideas--is one. No, getting to be CEO of a pre-built GM or Apple, which mega-talented Duke grads Rick Wagoner and Tim Cook have recently done--is not what I had in mind here.

It's weird that most of these, say, 30 to 40, 'elite' schools in America, have a reputation for free thought or leftist thought. Duke, where I went as well, and I do still love, is the perfect poster boy here. Duke graduates top talent straight into the bourgeois inner sanctums. This is okay with me folks--but you do need more. A good liberal arts education ought to fire the imagination. Produce more Dalis, Buckminster Fullers, Updikes, Styrons, Demings, Heideggers, Sartres. It may not be happening as much. I see the lower standard in Duke grads, in other grads and on resumes. And it's upsetting mainly because hardly anyone is disappointed by it. Except for Williams, the 2002 Duke grad who wrote the TNR piece. Bravo.

Gothic Wonderland: Duke's West Campus

Posted by JD Hull at April 27, 2015 02:30 PM


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