Thursday, February 02, 2006

Don't miss

the piece of the day. Here's a sample of Gabriel Leeden's excoriation of Joel Stein, but you definitely should follow the link:

For Stein to advocate opposition to American soldiers while nonchalantly admitting his own lack of service is a remarkable display of arrogance — a "wussy" thing to do, one might say. To one who comes from similar circumstances as Stein, but has chosen to serve his country, the thought of such a spineless argument provokes disgust. As noted elsewhere on the web, Theodore Roosevelt wrote an exceptional response to Joel Stein in The Atlantic in 1894.

"It is proper to demand more from the man with exceptional advantages than from the man without them. A heavy moral obligation rests upon the man of means and upon the man of education to do their full duty by their country. On no class does this obligation rest more heavily than upon the men with a collegiate education, the men who are graduates of our universities. Their education gives them no right to feel the least superiority over any of their fellow-citizens..."

Stein is one of many pseudo-intellectuals who feel that their education and socio-economic status excuse them of the responsibility to serve. They act as if they were entitled to freedom's blessings, just in order to indulge themselves.
Roosevelt does not let Stein and his ilk go easily:

"For educated men of weak fibre, there lies a real danger in that species of literary work which appeals to their cultivated senses because of its scholarly and pleasant tone, but which enjoins as the proper attitude to assume in public life one of mere criticism and negation; which teaches the adoption toward public men and public affairs of that sneering tone which so surely denotes a mean and small mind."

The sneering tone of which Roosevelt speaks is readily apparent in so many of our leading intellectuals and politicians. It bespeaks a condescension born of elitism, which is only fostered by an isolated and privileged upbringing, untouched by the weighty ideals of duty, honor, and selflessness.


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