Monday, January 12, 2004

Dean the Diviner

I watched some of the recent debates among the Democratic candidates leading up to the Iowa Caucus vote next week and I wasn't too impressed with Howard Dean. He reminded me of the students and many of the professors I met when I was studying at Harvard Divinity School ten years ago - a combination of half-witted intellectual and provincial New England upper middle class trying desperately to be a liberal while stumbling all over his complete lack of familiarity with the traditional Democrat working-class and African-American voter. I'm not surprised that Dean attracts a large "educated" group, which is more or less to say he attracts that coterie of pseudo-educated academic illiterate who has collected a few degrees but has no real understanding of the issues involved. This was exactly the kind of person Harvard Divinity School turned out.

I can contrast this with the two years I spent at Boston College. Many of the students there came from an Irish, Italian or Hispanic background. They were far more attuned to the working class mentality, but also far exceeded the Harvard Divinity students in terms of their intellectual abilities and their grasp of the essentials whether the subject was politics, philosophy or theology. Harvard Divinity wannabes struck me as nothing more than inarticulate boobs with a chip on their collective shoulder. Inevitably, most would have no influence beyond the arcane confines of dying New England liberal Protestantism. Howard Dean may find himself in the same boat, and if he doesn't, well, so much the worse for the United States.

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