Two bits 11/6/11

  1. Rise, recklessness and ruin.
  2. Reprise of great little video.

1

Ross Douthat at the NYT has a wonderful, truly thought-provoking column on how our meritocracy has led us over the cliff again and again:

[John Corzine’s] rise, recklessness and ruin are all of a piece …

Robert McNamara and the Vietnam-era whiz kids thought they had reduced war to an exact science. Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin thought that they had done the same to global economics. The architects of the Iraq war thought that the American military could liberate the Middle East from the toils of history; the architects of the European Union thought that a common currency could do the same for Europe. And Jon Corzine thought that his investment acumen equipped him to turn a second-tier brokerage firm into the next Goldman Sachs, by leveraging big, betting big and waiting for the payoff …

In place of reckless meritocrats, we don’t need feckless know-nothings. We need intelligent leaders with a sense of their own limits, experienced people whose lives have taught them caution. We still need the best and brightest, but we need them to have somehow learned humility along the way.

There’s a political swipe in there, too, and it’s well-enough placed, but in the GOP field’s “outsiders” (“It will do America no good to replace the arrogant with the ignorant, the overconfident with the incompetent.”), I not only see ignorance and incompetence, but plenty of hubris. That smart hubristic meritocrats lead us astray is hardly grounds for thinking that ignorant hubristic outsiders will do better.

2

This great video needs to be replayed at regular intervals:

(HT Fr. Stephen Freeman)

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Bon appetit!

Having become tedious even to myself, I’m Tweeting more, blogging less. View this in a browser instead of an RSS feeder to see Tweets at upper right.

I also have some succinct standing advice on recurring themes. Maybe if I link to it, I’ll blog less obsessively about it.