Do the troubles of the Obama administration point to problems in the way America educates its rising leaders? Over at Real Clear Politics, Peter Berkowitz argues forcefully in the affirmative. After listing way after way the Obama administration has been ignorant of truths that it should have known, or has acted on an exaggerated sense of what it could achieve, Berkowitz looks for an explanation in the kind of education our elites receive today:
The president and the officials around him are the product of the same progressive version of higher education that simultaneously excises politics from the study of government and public policy while politicizing education. This higher education denigrates experience; exalts rational administration; reveres abstract moral reasoning; confidently counts on the mainstream press to play for the progressive political team; accords to words fabulous abilities to remake reality; and believes itself to speak for the people while haughtily despising their way of life. The education President Obama received at Columbia University and Harvard Law School — and delivered to others as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School — encourages the fantasy of a political world subject to almost limitless manipulation by clever and well-orchestrated images. This explains why the harsh exigencies and intractable forces of politics keep stunning the president, each new time as if it were the very first.
Berkowitz goes on to propose some ways schools could reform their curriculum to give rising leaders a better grasp of the skills they will need to govern well. Read the whole thing to get a sense of his proposals. Certainly the need for the kind of liberal education that is deeply rooted in history has never seemed greater than it seems now.
[Image of Austin Hall at Harvard Law School courtesy Wikimedia.]