Robert Scheer comments on Obama’s State of the Union speech (italics mine):
His references to education provided a convenient scapegoat for the failure of the economy, rather than to blame the actions of the Wall Street hustlers to whom Obama is now sucking up. Yes, it is an obvious good to have better-educated students to compete with other economies, but that is hardly the issue of the moment when all of the world’s economies are suffering grievous harm resulting from the irresponsible behavior of the best and the brightest here at home. It wasn’t the students struggling at community colleges who came up with the financial gimmicks that produced the Great Recession but rather the super-whiz-kid graduates of the top business and law schools.
What nonsense to insist that low public school test scores hobbled our economy when it was the highest-achieving graduates of our elite colleges who designed and sold the financial gimmicks that created this crisis. Indeed, some of the folks who once designed the phony mathematical formulas underwriting subprime mortgage-based derivatives won Nobel Prizes for their effort.
Let’s revisit how our elite educational system fails. First, it creates a system that enables the banality of evil. Second, there has been a complete failure in terms of any ethical instruction by these institutions:
But Henderson’s outburst does represent a complete abandonment of personal responsibility by the elite (and he is elite, both in terms of educational status and income). It demonstrates a galling lack of concern for others and society as a whole that borders on the narcissistic. It also demonstrates that our ‘elite’ institutions not only fail to inculcate ethics, but that they seem to equip their graduates with the mental flexibility to override personal responsibility. When there are no checks, external and internal, on those with power, corruption follows (and I mean corruption in the broad sense, not just the legal one).
Technical training is not the problem. It’s the misuse of power.