Wednesday, September 29, 2004

High Praise Indeed!

After reading these letters, it's easy to see why John Kerry is so weird. It rubbed off on him:

Yale's ethic of service to others, discussed in both "For Country" (May/June) and "Quarrels with Providence" (March 2001), was eloquently set as a challenge by Dean Georges May, whose welcoming speech to freshmen in 1968 focused on Andre Malraux's question, "Que m'importe ce qui n'importe qu'a moi?" [If it matters to no one but me, why should it matter to me?]

This challenges us spiritually, to transcend the ego or "smaller self," and materially, as we face unprecedented global environmental and sociopolitical problems that are largely of our own making. To not only survive but thrive, we must realize our greater selves and selflessly apply knowledge rigorously wrought -- or is that too Arminian for an institution rooted in Calvinism?

All the more reason to vote for Bush, he's largely immune to that kind of nonsense (though I do appreciate the plebian touch; translating from the French). I imagine he lives in Crawford, Texas, because it's about as far away from New Haven as he can be, and still qualify to be President.

However, the letter that actually bears on the substance of this election is this:

...I knew Kerry at Yale and was profoundly impressed with his intelligence, both extracurricular and academic. He was an eloquent public speaker; I partnered with him on the three-man team that defeated Harvard in the 75th annual Triangular Debate in 1966. He was also a brilliant essayist. As research assistant to political science chair Herbert Kaufman, I had occasion to read Kerry's senior comprehensive exam. Quite frankly, I was astonished by its intellectual maturity and its analytical rigor -- and I was not unfamiliar with what passed at Yale for academic excellence.

...."And was FDR, who took gentleman Cs at Harvard, truly less than highly intelligent?"
Kerry at Yale impressed me as having all of these qualities -- leadership, integrity, determination, and high intelligence -- the makings of the next great American president.

Bradford Snell '67,

Well, Bradford--may I call you Bradford? I feel I know you so well--I'm not unfamiliar with what (with the benefit of thirty years hindsight) is knee-slapping, roll around in convulsive, laugh til you cry, humiliation. In front of a Senate committee, no less:

A Proposal for Restructuring the Automobile, Truck, Bus & Rail Industries

What were you in 1974, about 28?

Part III presents a proposal designed to restore competition in the motor vehicle industry. In brief, it recommends reorganization of the automobile and truck industries into smaller, more competitive units. More specifically, it assumes the wisdom of the decentralized method of operations adopted by the automakers. Motor vehicle assembly, engine production, body stamping and dozens of other major automotive functions are currently undertaken in hundreds of physically distinct plants located throughout the country. This proposal would not interfere with this arrangement. It would, however, suggest a change in ownership: Each group of plants now separate in law as well. Reorganization along these general lines, it concludes, would allow for a greater degree of competition and technological flexibility at every level of motor vehicle production. In short, a competitively structured industry would be better able to anticipate and adapt to a changing world.

Too bad no one took your advice and created Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Subaru, Kia, Isuzu, Mitsubishi....

Damn barriers to entry!

So, how do you think your advice about November's election will fare?

No comments: