March 24, 2017

"Why had I dragged my family — my wife and our Snapchatting 12-year-old daughter and our longhaired, talkative 9-year-old son — away from work and school to see, of all places, Mount Rushmore?"

Asks Sam Anderson in a NYT Magazine article with a title that caught my attention, "Why Does Mount Rushmore Exist?/This gargantuan shrine to democracy has never felt so surreal." How does anybody know the how surreal Mount Rushmore has felt over its close-to-one-century existence? Whose feelings have counted and why does Sam Anderson — speaking of feelings — feel that he should behave as if he's the arbiter of surrealism?

But now I'm wondering why he's taking his children out of school to go on a trip? Is truancy just some concept relevant to other classes of people than those who write for the NYT?

Here's Anderson struggling with the question in the post title:
I couldn’t say, exactly. All I knew was that I seemed to be suffering a crisis of scale. America was taking up a larger part of my mind than it ever had before. It was dominating my internal landscape, crowding out other thoughts, blocking my view of regular life. I couldn’t tell if it was reaching its proper size, growing the way a problem tends to grow just before a solution is found, or if it was swelling the way an organ does before it fails and bursts.
Is this about Trump? Wait. I get it. America, growing way beyond its proper size and failing and bursting. Big President heads carved out of a South Dakota rockscape in the 1920s and 30s are showing us the horror of Donald Trump's dangerously swelled ego that's about to blow.
And it began to seem foreign to me, our American obsession with size. We are born a fantasy of bigness. We are tall and strapping, with big hats and big hair and loud clothes and booming voices....
We are? 
Why does goodness have to be huge? It is a dangerous belief....
But who believes it?

72 comments:

Chuck said...

Lol. Great post, Althouse. The guy never saw "North by Northwest."

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Is truancy just some concept relevant to other classes of people than those who write for the NYT?

Truancy involves unauthorized absence. Generally schools will authorize absence for a family trip, based on the assumption that there is value in traveling with your parents.

Having read Sam Anderson's article, I would have to question that assumption in this case.



hombre said...

AMERICA! The horror!

Todd said...

"Why Does Mount Rushmore Exist?/This gargantuan shrine to democracy has never felt so surreal."

It feels surreal NOW cause TRUMP of course.

America with Trump is so surreal. Oh, and he managed to work in the KKK too so bonus points.

Ann Althouse said...

"Truancy involves unauthorized absence. Generally schools will authorize absence for a family trip, based on the assumption that there is value in traveling with your parents."

I.e., class privilege.

That's my point.

St. George said...

Taking a 9- and 12-year-old to South Dakota in February!? On a driving trip? There's a recipe for misery.

St. George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

They got to stay away from school because of all the stay home from school ailments their parents are suffering since Trump was elected.

My tummy hurts, I'm dizzy and can't see straight, I'm gonna throw up...

Chuck said...

Incidentally, Theodore Roosevelt's somewhat unlikely presence with Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln (why not Adams? why not Madison? why not Grant?) would have been thought nutty in 1912, when TR fucked up the election that Taft might have won, and gave us Woodrow Wilson.

It was the end, for a century, of TR's populist brand of Republicanism.

Ann Althouse said...

There are lots of articles on the subject of whether it's good to take your children out of school to go on a trip.

My tendency is to think of the children who don't go on a trip. What if the child without the travel-capable parents has some enriching things he'd like to do rather than submit to compulsory schooling?

Is compulsory schooling bullshit or isn't it?

Achilles said...

This guy is a part of a group that held themselves up as the aristocracy America has never really had. A bunch of wealthy people who went to the right schools and hung out with the right people in the right places. They all believed the right things and knew what the little people in the country needed. All the people in government and media were from people like them. They never had to listen to an outside point of view.

The constitution was being worn down and Obama had pretty much salted it away as an anachronism. He had gotten away with using the IRS on political opponents. He got away with using intelligence services to spy on reporters, opposing members of congress. He lied repeatedly to institute a government takeover of healthcare. Government had sizably expanded and the EPA was on the verge of taking over the economy via CO2 fossil fuel regulations. He even blatantly lied to congress in order to give Iran a shitload of money and political cover for their nuclear program.

Then Trump won.

Now he is being forced to deal with a different point of view and he doesn't like how hollow and amoral and hypocritical his side looks. His world is falling apart and this article is the sort of meandering crap you would expect from someone who has no center. His Wa has been completely disrupted.

In the end it is the best thing for him.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, I followed the link and read the article. Can't say you didn't warn me but still -- he pulled his kids out of school, did I read that? Why? If I'd been teaching the kids I'd have given an exam and made it worth at least 25% of the final grade, maybe more. That's something I saw a lot of back when I was living in the Washington, DC, suburbs -- this notion of the wealthy and privileged that it was okay to pull their kids out of school at random intervals for random lengths of time for ski vacations ("Junior will learn so much from spending a week in Switzerland!") or jaunts like this one.

No one in an allegedly educated family that included a middle schooler knew who was on Mt. Rushmore??? I'd be too humiliated to write that paragraph.

Bill Peschel said...

How did this avoid the "narcissism" tag?

At least, just from the description. My wife brings home the NYT Mag from the library, so I'll read it in a week.

I will add that when my children were growing up, I decided to never subject them to a car trip. I remember my own: long stretches of boredom on the interstate (I never brought enough books) followed by stops at weird places (a dam in Kentucky), a campground with walking trails in Michigan). My younger children couldn't get too near without fighting, and my wife had a tough time dealing with them.

We took eight hour trips to spend the week with the grandparents. That was enough.

When they reached 13-14, I'd take one of them to DC or Philly, where we'd walk around, eat, and see the sights. At least then they were capable of conversation.

Sam's 12 and 9 year olds are too young, by my lights.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
There are lots of articles on the subject of whether it's good to take your children out of school to go on a trip.

As you say in the following graph:

My tendency is to think of the children who don't go on a trip. What if the child without the travel-capable parents has some enriching things he'd like to do rather than submit to compulsory schooling?

This guy as I said before is one of the right people. He is wealthy and went to the right schools and he is a part of the right group of people. He is one of the people for whom it is right to take their kids on a trip.

Is compulsory schooling bullshit or isn't it?

If you are poor you are not in the right group. You did not go to the right schools nor do you live in the right places or have the right kind of job. For those people they must go to public school so their betters can keep them in the right place.

gadfly said...

Talk about super-sized, Crazy Horse Memorial features the mountain carving of the Oglala Lacota warrior astride his stallion. The single carving of sculpture, if ever finished, would be the largest sculpture in the world. It is bigger by far than all the Presidents together on Mount Rushmore, just 17 miles away.

tcrosse said...

If this guy thinks Mt Rushmore is Surreal, what must he think is Real ?

Expat(ish) said...

We took our very young children (9, 7, 5) to Australia to live for a year when my wife got a PostDoc in Brisbane. But we'd taught them how to sit in a car and amuse themselves without digital entertainment - we may have had the last set of "car bingo" cards manufactured in the world.

It's a good skill to develop in your kids.

Things seem to have changed a bit between kid 1 and kid 3. Kid 1 got free passes to go on scout trips that started on Friday, including test makeups. Kid 3 gets dinged for attendance if he goes to visit a college. Very strange.

-XC

Yancey Ward said...

I know what will fix Rushmore for him- putting Obama on it.

TosaGuy said...

"Taking a 9- and 12-year-old to South Dakota in February!? On a driving trip? There's a recipe for misery."

Rapid City on the immediate east side of the Black Hills is similar to Denver with regard to climate. The hills moderate the winter climate and Rapid City is often 20-50 degree warmer than eastern South Dakota. It is only about a 30 minute drive from Rapid to Mt Rushmore.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Althouse wrote:
"We are born a fantasy of bigness. We are tall and strapping, with big hats and big hair and loud clothes and booming voices.... We are?"

When liberals talk about public policy, the pronoun "we" means "people other than me."

Todd said...

Expat(ish) said...

Things seem to have changed a bit between kid 1 and kid 3. Kid 1 got free passes to go on scout trips that started on Friday, including test makeups. Kid 3 gets dinged for attendance if he goes to visit a college. Very strange.

-XC

3/24/17, 2:42 PM


It is all about the Federal $s. Kid out of school for a day and the school losses some money. Kid out of school too many days and school losses ALL of that child's money.

That is why a kid can pass all of the tests and still fail if he is out too much. School wants to make sure there is a price to be paid for them loosing out on the bennies...

Fernandinande said...

I hope Sam "Rub Some Syrup on the Angst" Anderson got paid for writing that.

n.n said...

Americans recognize goodness, or its potential, from a single cell proto-human life form to a complex, cohesive entity referred to as "person", to large, expansive civilizations. We go both big and small. In the fullness of time and space, and a proper religious/moral philosophy, they are not mutually exclusive.

MadisonMan said...

Taking a 9- and 12-year-old to South Dakota in February!? On a driving trip? There's a recipe for misery.

We drove across SD in July 1977. That was misery. I recall it was 114 or something like that in Kadoka.

It goes without saying that the car had no a/c.

buwaya puti said...

Anyone who has taken a cross country flight (across the USA), and looked down, should know that bigness is not a fantasy. A little thought about what's in view, and implications, and extrapolations, and the conclusions seem obvious.

For that matter someone who has driven his kids to North Dakota...

This man has a problem seeing what's in plain sight.

MadisonMan said...

I hope they watched National Treasure II before going on the trip.

I agree with what was said upthread. Learning how to be bored, and what to do when you're bored, is a great skill to force on kids.

Stacy M said...

I live in Rapid City and I love Mt. Rushmore. The hills that surround it are beautiful and serene and I know it is sometimes hard for people in big cities to understand, some of us like a slower paced life where we can stop and feel the sunshine and smell the pine trees and enjoy the moment.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My father wrote many published books about traveling and retiring in various areas of the world. Mexico was one of the more popular ones. Others were Costa Rica, Portugal, Spain, France, Argentina, the US Southwest etc. He has long since retired from this activity due to age and other reasons.

A routine task was to retrace the steps, areas of the various books. Do research, update costs and other pertinent information as well as take new photos and find new locations. All part of the process.

When my daughter was in 5th grade,(about 1988) he asked if she could go with him and my stepmother on a 4 month trip around Mexico and Baja to do the updating on this one book. They would be in a larger RV/motor home with a VW bug being pulled behind. I thought this was a fabulous opportunity and she wanted to go. I had to convince the school that she would be able to keep up with her school work and made a good case for it. She was already an A+ student and they really didn't have much concern in that area. One of her teachers (a former hippie who is a free spirit and would have loved to take this trip too!) put in a good word for this as well.

All of this was before the advent of internet, laptops and being able to be as connected. So...her task other than to take all of her books and assignments with her to turn in when she returned, was to write a daily journal of her experiences and take photos if possible.

We still have the journal and photos. It is really funny, the things she felt were important to observe. Especially the part where one of the other RVs caught on fire (no one was hurt) and all the "old" men were running around in their underwear trying to put it out. Her extremely detailed descriptions of the underwear (some with hearts on them) and the dewlapping physiques of the men is really quite hilarious.

I wouldn't have had her miss that opportunity for the world. The school could take a flying leap if they had said no.

You learn more, often, being out of school and traveling than you do just sitting on your butt in some boring class being taught by a substandard ill educated teacher anyway.

Known Unknown said...

Big is America because America is big. It's not that complex to understand. We have a lot of usable space in this country.

Russia is big but a lot of it is uninhabitable. Same with Canada. China is large but has been, thanks to their choices of rule, extremely poor.

We have room for eight-lane highways and eighteen wheelers and big-ass refrigerators (our hostess knows a little something about those) We always get shit on for selling big things but look at Europe: It's infrastructure is old and frankly, tiny. Delivery trucks are smaller. Stores are smaller. Shelf space is more valuable. Houses and apartments are mostly smaller, and thus kitchens are too. Refrigerated space is smaller. Thus, you can't preserve that much food. So fresh food is more in demand so the supply (in smaller markets) accommodates. It's not because Europeans are wiser, or more intelligent, or somehow savvier about cuisine (although they invented most of the best of it) -- It's because they don't really have the room in their world to be as big as America.

If France was as new and wide-open as Texas, they'd have Stouffer's Hungry Man dinners in their extra garage freezers, too.

I love how geography itself is so often overlooked for the why of something or how humanity develops. (See also: Sowell, Thomas The Geography of Race)

Nancy Reyes said...

Actually, if he objects to huge presidents, maybe he should go to the nearby huge statue of Crazy Horse. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Horse_Memorial

more informataion here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korczak_Ziolkowski

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Big is America because America is big.

People who come from Europe to visit have no comprehension of the size of America. How far it is from place to place. The miles and miles of open and to them desolate landscapes.

We think nothing of driving hundreds of miles to go shopping. We can drive for 500 miles and still be in the same State. In Europe, on the continent, you would have gone through several countries. The concept is hard for them to understand.

We are BIG, open and have much area that is still wilderness. Europe is old, cramped and constipated.

traditionalguy said...

I blame Paul Bunyon and his ox.

The idea that the USA was a special City on a Hill was a Plymouth Plantation Pilgrim ideal that took off after the Revolution in the USA and soon thereafter in France. The reason Lincoln got northern support to defeat the Confederacy was to keep that dream alive. It finally morphed into Abolitionist reasons after the War was won.

Today that idea is derided as Populism by the devotees of the Empires of Europe, so the NYT has no idea why it ever existed.

Sebastian said...

"why does Sam Anderson — speaking of feelings — feel that he should behave as if he's the arbiter of surrealism?" Why, oh, why? But, he's writing in the New York Times, isn't he? And doesn't conventional assholian anti-Americanism entitle anyone to become an arbiter of culture?

rcocean said...

Writers for the NYT think Mount Rushmore is somehow "patriotic" so therefore they "don't understand it" or have to subvert it.

I'll wait for the NYT news article about some guy taking his kids out of a school in SF, flying to DC to see the "Holocaust museum" & not understanding why he did it.

And special credit to anyone who thinks I'm comparing the Holocaust museum to Mt. Rushmore!

JohnGalt said...

I immediately thought of the Carl Sandburg line
City of the Big Shoulders

and the contrast in visions between pre-1970 USA and now.

Peter said...

Imagine the terror if trump were to build a giant Trump head on top of a Trump-owned building in Manhattan! With orange beams of light radiating out of the eyes!!

Angel-Dyne said...

One thing that struck me about Mt.Rushmore was how much of a landscape-raping eyesore it wasn't. At least from the direction we approached. Now, the Crazy Horse monument...hmmm. Wonder what Crazy Horse would have thought of that.

The Black Hills are beautiful. Hope to re-visit on this summer's eclipse road-trip.

chuck said...

It takes a small man to really appreciate a big country.

Angel-Dyne said...

Known Unknown: ...but look at Europe: It's infrastructure is old and frankly, tiny.

The highways and related infrastructure in France, at least, are modern, excellent and up-to-date. A driving tour anywhere in la France profonde is a pleasure. An entirely different experience than a glorious American road-trip, but quaint, tiny, and old the infrastructure ain't. (I assume our extremes of climate make highway upkeep more difficult than it is the mostly more clement hexagon.)

Fernandinande said...

buwaya puti said...
Anyone who has taken a cross country flight (across the USA), and looked down, should know that bigness is not a fantasy


I'm pretty sure the US fits into Mother Russia.

Jamie said...

Angel-Dyne, in the cities of at least western Europe the infrastructure is indeed dinky. The reason, I think, that East Coast American cities (and San Francisco) tend to remind Americans of European cities they've visited is because so much of them predates cars: we used to live in a suburb of Philadelphia just off King Road, which in colonial times had been "the King's road" and, I understand, along which Washington marched his troops in the retreat after the Battle of Brandywine. The road is dark at night and just two lanes wide almost everywhere (about 6" of shoulder on each side), goes all over the place, is only straight when the terrain allows it and follows very old property boundaries.

As to bigness vs goodness: I refer the author to Camelot. The point about Amurrica is that we could go with "might makes right" and make it stick because we are indeed big and strong, but instead we go with "right makes right," "right makes might," and the sanctity of the rule of law, because we are (as a society) good.

David Noles said...

I'm not sure which is more amusing, the guy thinking this is profound or someone blogging about it.

Having lived on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation for six years I was by Rushmore dozens of time on regular trips to the Black Hils. Rushmore is the least interesting thing there. When guest from my home state of Tennessee visited they were amazed at the things to see nd do in the Black Hills. Custer State Park (awesome.) Spearfish Canyon, the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Devils Tower to name only a few.

Martin said...

Typical NYT bilge.

Bad Lieutenant said...


Chuck said...
Incidentally, Theodore Roosevelt's somewhat unlikely presence with Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln (why not Adams? why not Madison? why not Grant?) would have been thought nutty in 1912, when TR fucked up the election that Taft might have won, and gave us Woodrow Wilson.

It was the end, for a century, of TR's populist brand of Republicanism.
3/24/17, 2:26 PM


I wonder if Roosevelt hated Taft half as much as you and your set seem to hate Trump.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

"Go away kids, Daddy's busy making shit up, have to get some money"...

Angel-Dyne said...

Jamie: Angel-Dyne, in the cities of at least western Europe the infrastructure is indeed dinky. The reason, I think, that East Coast American cities (and San Francisco) tend to remind Americans of European cities they've visited is because so much of them predates cars: we used to live in a suburb of Philadelphia just off King Road, which in colonial times had been "the King's road" and, I understand, along which Washington marched his troops in the retreat after the Battle of Brandywine. The road is dark at night and just two lanes wide almost everywhere (about 6" of shoulder on each side), goes all over the place, is only straight when the terrain allows it and follows very old property boundaries.

Oh, certainly that's the case, within the cities. Americans driving in European cities will do a lot of freaking out while adjusting to driving on narrow old roads, traversing old bridges, and squeezing through medieval gates. But the major highways in France, and the roads in between villages in rural areas, are well-maintained and a pleasure to drive on. "Dinky and old" is not accurate. Cruising over the Millau Viaduct, e.g., is pure Fahrvergnügen.

Even the "old, dinky" roads in French villages, and the narrow scarifying (for Americans) roads in city centers are in good repair.

Gerard Grosso said...

What a total waste of time reading this was.
Pathetic.

CWJ said...

"Why had I dragged my family — my wife and our Snapchatting 12-year-old daughter and our longhaired, talkative 9-year-old son — away from work and school to see, of all places, Mount Rushmore?"

So I could pose as a superior human and get paid to write a NYT magazine article. Next.

cronus titan said...

Having grown up in NYC, it would be more surprising if he got anything out of it. There are quite a healthy number ashamed to be Americans, considering themselves to be way, way above the country. It was not until after I left that I started understanding the depths of parochial arrogance and ignorance. Like someone seeing a skyscraper for the first time, they are overwhelmed, dare I say intimidated, by the vastness of open space in the heartland. Mount Rushmore is a display of American pride carved. From a NYC perspective, a vulgar display of ugly Americanism.

Freeman Hunt said...

"But now I'm wondering why he's taking his children out of school to go on a trip?"

My parents always did that. The school would send the work planned for our classes along with us. We would do the work and always come back ahead.

Now I hear that's a big no-no.

traditionalguy said...

The Big No No for being out of school for a vacation is serious at Charter Schools. If you do not have a doctor's note, you are expelled, period.And your siblings black balled if they want into that school. They have an authority complex and use it on parents.

MikeD said...

Sounds like VDH's latest "angry reader"!
http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/10008-2/#more-10008

tim maguire said...

You make him sound like a typical New York-based writer. Spewing deep-sounding yet utterly vacuous garbage he made up. Filling a blank page with equally blank thoughts.

Ron said...

He probably believes in Lichtensteinean Exceptionalism.

urbane legend said...

Known Unknown at 3:25 and Dust Bunny Queen at 3:32 said it very well.

Lewis Wetzel said...

One of the differences between liberals and conservatives:
Liberals believe that bad Americans create bad government.
Conservatives believe that bad government creates bad Americans.

Owen said...

"Swelled" should be "swollen."

He feels some organ about to burst? Would that be his spleen? Or his self-pitying narcissism?

Johnny Sokko said...

Some douche bag from the NYT saying the bigness of America is bad. He lives in NYC.

John Taylor said...

tell it to Christo also, huh?

Kyzernick said...

In Madrid, 2 summers ago, most of the central roads were in great shape. Not all, but most. They were quite tiny, with intersections at odd angles and many narrow alleys that were mixed auto/pedestrian. I suspect one reason the roads were as kept as they were is the prevalence of small motorbikes and tiny cars. A decent sized pothole that most vehicles can shrug off can spell doom for a rider, or cause a supermini Citroen to bottom out, possibly causing ball joint damage.

The highways leading south from Madrid were nice, but I've driven on ones just as nice in the States. The Spanish climate probably helped quite a bit, and maybe some of the majestic views could be viewed as compensation for working to keep them in good repair. The highways from Malaga to Gib were excellent in places and poor in others.

All told my wife and I covered about 500+ miles of Spanish roads in big cities and small, straight up pueblo style villages built into the hills north of the Costa del Sol. In a giant Fiat Freemont Diesel in the land of tiny cars and tiny roads and motorbikes galore. I felt very American, and Spain felt . . . not small, but not BIG. Especially once I realized that even the drive from Bilbao to Malaga is less than the drive from my house in IL to my old hometown in NY.

William said...

Of all the presidents on Mt Rushmore, I'm sure Teddy Roosevelt was the only one who had actually lived, let alone visited, in North Dakota. He claimed that his western adventures had formed him and it is perhaps appropriate that TR's visage should shape one of those hills......My Rushmore is a way for us to claim not that we own the land but that we are of this land.

Tim said...

I grew up,in ND and I'm always amused by the people that say there is nothing there. Endless vistas into the sunsets and waving fields as far as you can see. Great people.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

our Snapchatting 12-year-old daughter and our longhaired, talkative 9-year-old son

This is how we know they are cool....cooler than you; way too cool for Mount Rushmore.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

There are lots of articles on the subject of whether it's good to take your children out of school to go on a trip.

My tendency is to think of the children who don't go on a trip. What if the child without the travel-capable parents has some enriching things he'd like to do rather than submit to compulsory schooling?


I've taken my kids out of school for a few days for trips. Once to Japan; once to New York City. It was for their benefit, for their enrichment, and I admit I did not give two seconds of thought to the other kids whose parents don't take them places. Why would I? How odd. Did you think of the kids who did not go to college when you sent your boys?

Alex said...

Snapchat is the new Mount Rushmore for the Gen Z.

paminwi said...

Misplaced at 11:09: i concur completely. I have never felt guilty about being able to provide "things" for my kids-be it trips or an education. The newest thing that parents are supposed to be ashamed of is reading to your children at bedtime because there are kids that have parents that DON'T do that. The kids that get read to have a larger, more diverse vocabulary and read at grade level or better.

If you've worked hard for your money, lifestyle, whatever you want to call it and your children benefit from it, that's a great thing!

And oh, "is compulsory schooling bullshit or not?" These days, with the garbage they teach in schools, it may be!

virgil xenophon said...

Tosa Guy@2:49pm 3/24/17

LOL! The locals around Rapid City call that area of South Dakota the "Banana Belt" for the very reasons you describe. No loss of subtle humor there! I about fell on the floor laughing the first time I heard it..

virgil xenophon said...

Angel-Dyne@ 3:47PM 3/24/17

Agree on the landscape bit. Notice how the tunnels on the winding trip out from Rapid City always leave one with a view of Rushmore framed in the exit as one emerges. Unfortunately they tore down that beautiful wood & stone structure at the base which blended in perfectly with the surroundings (see "North by Northwest") from whence one could view the Mountain and "improved" it with a more massive Statist (i.e., "monumentalism") Fascist-like structure...ugly, ugly, ugly..

Gahrie said...

"But now I'm wondering why he's taking his children out of school to go on a trip?"

Here in So Cal, I have students miss a considerable amount of time at the beginning of the school year, at Christmas break and spring break...either still in Mexico, or leaving early for Mexico.

About half go on independent study (yeah more work for me!) and about half don't bother.

Crazy Jane said...


"Anything else, he argued, would be too limited, too provincial, not sufficiently star-spangled "U.S.A.!!!'"

The author set out to find a monument to not-NYC America. When he gets there, he is so armored against what he might find that he sees everything through the lens of coastal elitism. He leaves as he arrived, trapped in his own brain.

Compare him with Dian Fossey. When she went to live among gorillas in Africa, she was more interested in understanding gorillas than in exploring how she FELT about gorillas. She wanted to learn stuff.

This guy, not so much.

ALP said...

DBQ: "You learn more, often, being out of school and traveling than you do just sitting on your butt in some boring class being taught by a substandard ill educated teacher anyway."

This is the starting point for a debate I always have with fans of "spend a shit ton of $$$ on a liberal arts degree because its good for democracy" types. I tell them if I had a kid that wanted to go the liberal arts route, I'd offer to fund a year of world wide travel instead. Way cheaper and a hell of a better education for creating smart citizens. And my secret hope would be that they return home ready to go into civil engineering or nursing, or some other actually useful vocation.

aritai said...

If the government didn't build it, it must not exist. Only things the government builds, like iPhones and Aids vaccine can, and well fitting shoes can exist. So our Cuban friends and East Berlin and Stasi and now Venezuela have taught us. Equality of outcome over everything, can't permit innovation in medical care or shoes. Someone's feelings might be hurt. Mr. T. On M.R. How politically incorrect. Can't happen, someone who understand the only ism-that blesses with the wisdom of all of us all and holds out the potential of equal outcomes once regulation disappears, robots can do all, and energy costs nothing mean every human can reach their own potential. Can't happen, then we'll have no pecking order left for the elites to tell us serfs what is good for us, since only they know that by stopping innovation all can be equal by dictat and leveling which has always proven to work in the past.