A new generation of barbarians

And I’m not talking about the left, people.

Sadly, not.

I wonder if perhaps William F. Buckley did die in vain.

The wealth in Commonwealth

If America — if the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts — need anything right this very minute, it’s what? Above the Law answers:

“A public law program will fill a conspicuous gap in the Commonwealth’s public higher education curriculum,” said UMass president Jack Wilson. “It will give our students the public law option that exists in 44 other states… . This is about students and about educational opportunity. It is not about which private law school may face more competition.”

Oh please. This is not about the students. And it’s certainly not about educational opportunity — unless by “opportunity” you mean the invitation to saddle yourself with tens of thousands of dollars of debt in exchange for a degree from an unaccredited law school in the midst of the worst market for legal jobs anybody can remember.

We all know what this is about: money. Lenders have it, the state wants it, the financial future of citizens of the Commonwealth be damned.

Right, mainly.  I mean, no one is making these people go to law school.  It’s not as if there already enough dummies out there with pigskins, and even we geniuses are barely getting by.

Still, though, the crass cynicism is breathtaking, no?

50 ways to leave your real life

Matthew Moore of Britain’s Telegraph shares 50 things that are being killed by the Internet.  They’re not all bad.  A couple of faves:

2 ) Fear that you are the only person unmoved by a celebrity’s death

8 ) Telephone directories

10 ) Watches

18 ) Authoritative reference works

Regarding the last one, Moore says the jolting truth: “We still crave reliable information, but generally aren’t willing to pay for it.”

Academic freedom a queer notion

David Lat reports that the NYU community is up in arms over the appointment of Dr. Li-ann Thio,

the NYU visiting law professor whose views on homosexuality have made her the legal academic everyone loves to hate. It’s an online petition, addressed to the NYU law school and university administration, expressing “deep dissatisfaction with New York University School of Law’s appointment of Dr. Thio Li-Ann as a Global Visiting Professor of Law.”

The petition concludes by articulating the belief “that the Administration’s decision to appoint Dr. Thio was a grave mistake and her designation to teach ‘Human Rights in Asia’ is inappropriate and offensive.” There’s an additional option, selected by many (but not all) of the signatories, calling upon the administration to rescind Dr. Thio’s appointment.

Not all the signatories are quite that crass, or open, about their limited scope of their tolerance for unfashionable intellections as to that moral “human rights” issue regarding which no dissent is tolerable.

This should be interesting to watch.

Directions to Carnegie Hall

Bruce MacEwen comments on my wasted youth by way of recommending Geoff Colvin’s Talent is Overrated:  What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else:

This book, based soundly in empirical research, delivers the hard message that true excellence depends upon hours and hours (10,000 hours, to be precise) of “deliberate practice”—be it the young Mozart composing, the young Tiger Woods practicing, or any aspiring concert violinist.  The same, by extension, is true of surgeons, mathematicians, CFO’s—and lawyers and writers.  As Colvin puts it, this is good news Henny Youngmanand bad news:

“What would cause you to do the enormous work necessary to be a top-performing CEO, Wall Street trader, jazz, pianist, courtroom lawyer, or anything else?  Would anything?  The answer depends on your answers to two basic questions:  What do you really want?  And what do you really believe?  [Knowing w]hat you want — really want — is fundamental because deliberate practice is a heavy investment.”

Talent is not just overrated.  It can actually be the single biggest factor militating against achieving excellence there is.

From what I hear.

UPDATE:  Yep, it’s even more true regarding kids (via Insty):

Our society worships talent, and many people assume that possessing superior intelligence or ability—along with confidence in that ability—is a recipe for success. In fact, however, more than 30 years of scientific investigation suggests that an overemphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings.

We all know these types, don’t we?  Bright, bitter bums.

Now, ultimately people are not merely clay in the hands of their environments and genes — they do make choices.  But for much of their early lives, they don’t.  Making good choices later in life can be a challenge when the wrong ones are made for you early on.

Did someone say “intellectual”?

Via Glenn Reynolds, it appears that someone is questioning the crammed-down concept of “Obama the intellectual.”  Indeed, that’s one of the themes of the last couple of days, as his Harvard Law Review “experience” is being questioned as well.

Only I already asked that question in a post called, well, “Obama the Intellectual?”  In June.  As I said regarding another fabulously credentialed young Democratic President:

Intellectuals are as intellectuals do. Bill and Barack utilized their credentials, as they had every right to and as almost everyone else does, as stepping stones toward the realization of their grand ambitions. But neither of them can in any way be credited as having demonstrated a genius for anything other than achievement of that ambition. And this is not the same, we should recall, as a genius for leadership or government, with which we might credit a Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan. Neither man can be credited with being the moving or creative force behind the building of any great institution, public or private; of a noteworthy government program, initiative or policy; or a political movement that transcended the political institutions of their time and place.

Attorney Ronald D. Coleman