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May 10, 2004

Hard and Soft America

An interesting article from George Will that I missed yesterday:

Michael Barone, America's foremost political analyst, wonders why America produces so many incompetent 18-year-olds but remarkably competent 30-year-olds. The answer is in his new book, "Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future." It illuminates the two sensibilities that sustain today's party rivalry.
One answer to Barone's question is schools. In 1900 only 10 percent of high school-age Americans went to high school. Subsequently, schooling became universal, and then schools became emblematic of Soft America, suffused with "progressive" values -- banning dodge ball and other games deemed too competitive, attempting personality adjustment, promoting self-esteem and almost anyone with a pulse.
In contrast, Barone says, "Hard America plays for keeps: The private sector fires people when profits fall and the military trains under live fire." Soft America depends on the productivity, creativity and competence of Hard America, which protects the country and pays its bills.

Maybe we should be looking at his book as we try to remodel our failing schools.

- Cassandra

May 10, 2004 at 08:13 AM | Permalink


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Cass, if you want to be Krauthammer when you grow up, I want to be Barone.


Posted by: Armontone En® at May 10, 2004 2:02:36 PM

Well, Krauthammer's job is safe because I'm not planning to grow up anytime soon. If I were Barone, I wouldn't be too worried either...

* running away *

Posted by: Cassandra at May 10, 2004 5:03:41 PM

Good point, no need to run, and that isn't the only reason he has nothing to fear from me.

Posted by: Pile On® at May 10, 2004 7:14:32 PM

It's no fun sniping at people who don't get upset, you know.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 11, 2004 8:35:19 AM

Michael Barone was interviewed on Dennis Miller last night. While the book seems right on and I like the analysis and thesis, it seems that once you have a two paragraph explanation of his conclusion, you don't really need to read the book. But I might buy it anyway.

Posted by: KJ at May 13, 2004 7:22:42 PM