Very nice article by Steinberg.
That’s not a question to take lightly, given the recent exposure of significant failings of people long-considered as highly trustworthy. Up until ten days ago, even the most ardent Pitt fan would have conceded that Penn State coach Joe Paterno was an outstanding coach. He seemed to embody the best of Bobby Knight, only without Knight’s failings.
Unfortunately, the Jerry Sandusky scandal has exposed Paterno’s own failings. At best, he made an honest mistake that resulted in Sandusky’s continued abuses. At worst, he was knowingly complicit in a longtime coverup of child sex atrocities that were known in Penn State circles as far back as 1995. At best, he deserved termination and an unceremonious departure. At worst, he deserves a penalty larger than our justice system could ever provide.
Still, this post is not so much about Paterno or Sandusky or McQueary or any of the Penn State crew. This is about who you trust to provide leadership. Thomas L. Day, writing an op-ed for the Washington [Com]Post, suggests something I’ve long felt: you cannot look to our recent past generations for leadership in our emerging crises.
While there are small matters with his piece to which I would take some exception, those are minuscule. The larger issue here is that our past generations are overrated at best to downright morally bankrupt at worst. And when situations demand extraordinary action, the best of those generations–and even our generation–are going to come up lacking.
Let’s be honest, folks: Joe Paterno was the last person you would have expected to merely send a credible report of a former coach of his–sexually assaulting a child–up the food chain to his Athletic Director.
While his actions are not those of someone seeking to cover up an atrocity, he clearly failed to understand the gravity of the situation he was dealing with.
And that may be our biggest challenge right now. Before anyone can lead, he must understand the gravity of what he’s dealing with. That is not where leadership ends, but it must begin here.
Today, we have challenges as a nation. Those are materializing, or–more accurately–metastasizing. We have a government that is propping up an economy–inflated by multiple economic bubbles–with unsustainable levels of borrowing. Our ranks of citizens has sent a dual message to our government: we don’t like all the bailouts or deficit spending, but–DAMN IT–we want our entitlements! Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment…
My point is not about what you think of Democrats or Republicans but rather this: when this great house of cards comes crashing down–and trust me, it will–Americans will demand leadership.
But who are we going to trust? Where do we look for the answer? Does ANYONE get it?
The so-called “Greatest Generation” is more accurately-named the Overrated Generation.
The Baby Boomers are the Condom Generation: they gave us a false sense of security while we were being screwed.
Generation X–my generation–is the Deceived Generation: we rode the Baby Boom generation, expecting to gain prosperity, when in fact we were being sucked dry all along.
Generation Y is now the Bankrupt Generation: let’s face it, the end of the Ponzi is near.
Where are we going to look for our answers? Which generation can provide it?
And no, it’s not about one person trying to be a hero. Moses tried to be a hero and spent 40 years in exile before God called him to greatness. At age 80, he was a lot more humble about what lay before him. God instilled in him the moral courage to take action.
Still, after 40 years in the wilderness, Moses understood the gravity of the situation. And he finally understood the way out.
Today, do any of our “leaders” get it?
Thomas Day seems to answer in the negative. He points to Paterno as his last straw. Personally, I think Day was way too optimistic. I had lost faith long before Sanduskygate.
But where do we look? What qualities should we demand?
After all, recent history is littered with powerful, charismatic leaders who had a large degree of support from their people–and even abroad–and who all but destroyed their countries.
Peter Wood is committing heresy! HERESY I say!
Seriously, he is trodding dangerous ground by pointing out what should be obvious to anyone with a semblance of knowledge of history.
Personally, I will drink Guinness…Foreign Extra Stout…to the demise of academia. We should allow student loan debts to be dischargeable in bankruptcies, if only to exacerbate the demise of all that is useless in the academy.
This would be good for everyone: academia would reform and once again become relevant; the dead weight would be gone; and those aspiring to the academy would get a real education, complete with a real economic tradeoff.
Also gone would be the utter nonsense that passes for scholarship,
That Republicans also voted for this terrible piece of legislation only comes to show that both parties are just different sets of whores who tell us that their pimps are less-abusive than the other party’s pimps.
If you want your kid to be healthy, then be a grownup and take that responsibility yourself:
(a) make sure they have good breakfasts in the morning.
(b) Pack their lunch for them.
(c) eat sensibly for dinner.
(d) ensure that they are active and minimize their time in front of the boob tube.
(e) practice good diet and exercise yourself.
(f) educate your kids regarding good nutrition. Do not deprive them of desserts, but encourage their enjoyment in moderation. Educate them regarding soft drinks: don’t avoid them, but keep them in check.
(g) stay the hell away from diet soft drinks.
(h) pay particular attention to portion sizes. Stay away from “large” orders of fried things.
It isn’t that hard. Families did this for decades–without government–and childhood lardassity was hardly the epidemic that it is today.
Al Qaeda is racist. Obama said so. It must be true.
EDIT: HT to Denninger.
Social[ist] Security is paying out more than it is taking in. As the deluge in retiring boomers comes to pass, this situation is not going to improve. This is another monstrosity of debt that the government must borrow in order to finance.
This is because the taxpayer base to fund this, does not exist. The tax increases that would be necessary to support this financial structure, would destroy–and I DO mean DESTROY–the economy.
Oh, and this doesn’t even account for Medicare, which is also on very shaky financial footing.
I’d buy Vox a Guinness for this one:
It was a concert to which a bunch of young adults went 40 years ago. BFD. And yet, the Idiot Generation is still rambling on and on about it as if it was ever actually significant to anyone or anything, let alone history. Gibbon wept. Can you imagine The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire with a long chapter entirely devoted to the seminal importance of a well-attended concert? Actually, I suppose I can, but where was the Belisarius of Woodstock when the world needed him?
The Idiot Generation is the first and only generation to fail to grow out of their teenage years. They don’t drive the rest of us crazy, they have simply caused us to conclude that they are, and have always been, collectively nuts. This goes well beyond the usual parent-child divide; every generation of teenagers believes it invented sex, but the Baby Boomers are the only ones who still believe it as obese, grey-haired, rock-n-rolling AARP members. Instead of going to a concert, my grandfather’s generation went off to war in their teens, kicked the asses of the Nazis and Imperial Japanese, came home to build the richest economy in the world, and never once appeared to worry about being cool, much less what anyone happened to think of them. Meanwhile, we have the inevitable avalanche of “60 is the New 35!” articles to anticipate next year. What a bunch of historical losers.
The 60s generation is the biggest group of reprobates, degenerates, and downright stupid people, to ever walk the planet. They took total depravity to a whole new low, and we will be paying the bill for the tab they ran up on us, for many generations to come.
Woodstock was just a big get-together where these reprobates screwed each other, smoked dope, shat on the ground, listened to 4th-rate musicians who were strung out on drugs, and made complete asses of themselves.
That terrible generation even had the audacity to scream “Ho ho ho Chi Minh” while their fellow citizens were in Vietnam ducking bullets, fighting a war for which they did not ask. Today, they are in all levels of government–in both parties–foisting a fascist albatross on us.
These are the same whiners who demand that we pay for their retirements and health care. I say to heck with that…they can pay for their own freakin’ retirements and health care.
As far as I am concerned, that generation is in no place to make demands of my generation. They should count themselves fortunate that my generation has not euthanized them.
Oh…wait…what was I thinking? Obama is going to do exactly that…
…they are largely referring to the indoctrination of children and youth by the gay lobby and their bitches in our government and public education system. Anyone who dismisses the fact that it is going on, is either stupid or dishonest.
Fact is, if STRAIGHT people were marketing HETEROSEXUALITY in this manner, it would be bad enough.
In the most affluent parts of the Western world, a historic transference of power has taken place that is greater than anything achieved by the trade-union movement, the women’s movement or the civil-rights movement — and it hasn’t even been extended the courtesy of being called a movement. Fathers, who enjoyed absolute authority within the household for several millennia, now find themselves at the beck and call of their wives and children. Indeed, most of my male friends are not fathers in any traditional sense at all; they occupy roughly the same status in their households as the help. They don’t guide their children through the moral quandaries of life — they guide them to their extracurricular activities from behind the wheel of a Dodge minivan…
“Home Game,” Mr. Lewis’s account of becoming a father to his three children, begins promisingly. “At some point in the last few decades, the American male sat down at the negotiating table with the American female and — let us be frank — got fleeced,” he writes…
The poor sucker agreed to take on responsibility for all sorts of menial tasks — tasks that his own father was barely aware of — and received nothing in return. If he was hoping for some gratitude, he was mistaken. According to Mr. Lewis: “Women may smile at a man pushing a baby stroller, but it is with the gentle condescension of a high officer of an army toward a village that surrendered without a fight.”…
American men now find themselves in the same position as Gorbachev after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Having done the decent thing, and ceded power without bloodshed, they are now looked on with good-humored disdain…
“Home Game” ends with Mr. Lewis’s description of getting a vasectomy — at the request of his wife, naturally. Having submitted to metaphorical castration, he decides to go the whole nine yards. It reminded me of the final scene in “The Stepford Wives” in which we see the lobotomized Katharine Ross wandering down a supermarket aisle. Mr. Lewis laughs off the indignities of the surgical procedure, as he does all the other humiliations that his wife and children inflict on him, but beneath all the jokes there’s a sense of loss, a nostalgia for the time when fathers weren’t objects of ridicule. This is a profound and far-reaching change in American family life, and it deserves more serious consideration from one of America’s finest writers.