Such contempt for one who presumes to cut in on the thought leadership perquisites of professional pundits, believing themselves secure in their insular worlds of opinion, only to find upon lifting a moist rock that COMPETITION exists. Shame on you David, I would have expected this more readily of the unchained, potted liberati: they're the ones who argue by pillory and contempt, while the true conservative revels in the clash of competing ideas, secure in his ability to emerge unscathed from the lists.And you actually have it wrong. The term "thought leader" emerged in the corporate world as a focus for synthesizing a brand's or a product's value to those who might consider lending some loyalty to it. For instance, in a legal firm, a thought leader might be a partner who authors a piece discussing the strategic advantages to Cook Islands trusts allowing a Ponzi schemer to protect assets that might otherwise be attached to compensate victims; or, in a consumer products company it could be the executive who explains why eating cereal made of oats causes men to be more attractive to women than those who eat cereal made of corn.Important stuff.What's more, "thought leaders" don't start young but require years of layered evil to be effective. And, as they approach their final rewards they couldn't care less about reverence, cruel or otherwise, so long as they can afford their gated communities.Whatever got you started on this? Some pre-pubescent penster with an attitude?
I don't take much solace in libertarianism, which I believe is a dangerous trend. If anything, as the young "own" things, they tend to get more conservative. In my generation, the hippies into sex, drugs and rock and roll became Reaganites once they owned a house and paid taxes. They still distrusted government, but from the opposite side of the political spectrum.The nature of libertrianism is that it can be unmoored. How can one predict where it will go therefore? However, I can say that as the right has embraced it, we have seen the general welfare of our society get worse for most Americans and wealth and power grow more condensed. The solutions of the past such as the social contract and social activism of religious groups is nothing compared to what it once was. I am far from "my country right or wrong". But I am very much a partisan for my country and our society. I tremble for both should all most Americans care about are "me, myself and I". There was a famous book that referred to "Entertaining Ourselves to Death". That is a sad substitute to engaged citizenry which our founding fathers knew was the basis for both a fully functioning democracy and a healthy society. "Leave me and everyone else alone" may push the right away now. It could push the left away later if the demands upon the self to belong to something bigger than self become unwelcome from that corner as well. Self-interest may not always be enlightened. The last 35 years have proven that one.
I am in total disbelief having read some of the comments here. So, 3 things:1) People say that Putin is ex-KGB in a somewhat derogatory manner.George H.W. Bush was ex-CIA (the same thing) and no one saw a problem with that. What's the deal?2) It would make no sense for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons when it's WINNING the war. This would give other countries the excuse to intervene on the side of the rebels. The numerous commenters who don't see this simple fact should crawl from under the ideological rock. 3) The new anti gay propaganda law in Russia is basically this: saying "I'm gay" is ok, saying "You straight guys should become gay too" is not. While you can debate its qualities, it is nowhere near to the "crackdown on gays" that has become the shining beacon in the hands of anti-Russian propaganda.It is very encouraging to see a sizable number of well-reasoned and thoughtful comments here. A lot of other people, however, seem fervently stuck in uninformed bias.
Surely a characterization of Bill Clinton that is not shared by many millions of Americans. There is no doubt that Bill Clinton stood out from past Presidents; one can choose from a variety of personal traits, good or bad. But to idolize Bill Clinton because of crowd adoration is grounded in false and sloppy reasoning...a rock star mentality.Mr. Bruni's words drip with Bill Clinton's outward appearances; his personality. It is what got President Obama elected twice; Obama's personality. The art of deception is the Obama and Clinton key. to their political rise in a nation, that is vulnerable and extremely forgiving. On a serious matter, that is forefront and on the minds of almost every American today, is the threat from radical Islamic terrorists. Yasser Arafat the leader of the PLO, a terrorist organization back then, was at the White House meeting with President Clinton, more times than any other world leader; it was the time of negotiating a peace agreement between Israel and the Arab Palestinians. Good intentions but wrought with false motives from Arafat. The lengthy talks failed and months later the PLO attacked Israel.President Bush never met with Yasser Arafat.So today the likes of Bill Clinton is still the one that some Americans admire and again would follow...even if it would take him back to the White House. We live in sobering times; a world that is shrinking with our questionable involvement; it is not a time for the American Idol game.
The universities cannot teach any moral lessons because we live, especially in academic settings, under the sign of Post-Modernism. All documents are deconstructible, all truth subjective, and all morality relative. Any attempt to pin down any moral stance will be met with an objection. And there is no agreed-upon sense of man's duties, rights, or essence. The primary question with which higher education was once tasked with posing and answering was, What is Man? For a very long time, the academies taught that Man was a created being in the image of God, thus rational, thus free-willed, above the animals, but below the angels. In this understanding, we can see man in the middle of a known universe with pure good (God) at one one end and evil (absence of God) on the other. And man's duty was to eschew the evil and grasp for the good: order, good deeds, good thoughts, family, security, fairness, moral truth, scientific truth, artistic truth, etc.Long story short, those beliefs have lost the ability to hold court at the universities. Nothing has replaced them.Nowadays, we ask not What is Man? but b.s. a post-Modernist guess that man is just atoms organized into self-replicating units, and we're mere chemicals with a quirky illusion that makes us think we are conscious.How can you expect a 19-year old with that understanding of humanity to forge his own character? It answers nothing. They understood Man more through teen rock lyrics. They know less after college.
Thank you, Mr. Putin, for writing an essay that contains far more reason, logic, and goodwill than anything to come out of the bowels of the US government in ages. It is highly unlikely, unfortunately, that the USA will be able to give up its corrosive addiction to militarism, its narcissistic belief in American exceptionalism, or the temptations of power. As history shows, empires continue to overreach until they collapse, bringing the disorder they originally sowed overseas back home. Considering the pathological lack of interest most Americans have in the rest of the world, whatever happens vis a vis Syria or our foreign policy will continue to be driven almost exclusively by domestic politics. America will likely be unable to change her ways - she's like an alcoholic who once in a while hits rock bottom so bad she promises to stop drinking, but she never does: death is the only way the addiction stops.Thanks for trying, though, Mr. Putin, and thanks for thinking that we are actually able to take constructive criticism. I can't wait to read the hyperbolic, irrational, crybaby, thuggish comments to your opinion piece after I click "submit." If there are at least a few comments that don't excoriate you, I will at least not feel like puking.