Peter Berkowitz on Elites
By Arnold Kling
today more than ever conserving liberty and maintaining democracy require an elite whose members possess advanced learning, professional expertise, and wisdom born of extended experience.
…To obtain the elites we deserve, nothing is more urgent than redoubling reform efforts at all levels of education — returning to the fundamentals in K-12; renewing science, engineering, and liberal education at our colleges and universities; and replacing the inculcation of progressive shibboleths in graduate and professional schools with assiduous study of craft…
Neither the return to common sense nor the reclaiming of constitutional essentials will solve the vexing and complex public policy challenges we confront. To put millions back to work, control runaway spending, re-reform health care, meet our growing energy needs, protect the homeland, find the right course in Egypt, check Iran, compete with China, and foster an international order ever more favorable to freedom calls for the cultivation of excellence in a new generation of leaders.
If you detect a difference between his viewpoint and mine, you are not alone. As Jonah Goldberg says, there are two major varieties of conservatism. On the one hand, there are those who do not care so much about the size of government but care a great deal about the mindset of those who run it. On the other hand, there are who do not care so much about the mindset of those who run government but care a great deal about its size. Berkowitz’s essay represents the first perspective, and my book Unchecked and Unbalanced represents the second.
Berkowitz is also the person who solicited me to write Unchecked and Unbalanced and saw to it that it was published.