There wasa wonderfully telling juxtaposition of articles on the New York Post "Opinion"page last Tuesday. At the top: an edited transcript of George W. Bush's June12 speech in which he announced his presidential candidacy. At the bottom: aThomas Sowell column in which the conservative commentator discusses the institutionalchanges that have recently occurred to "water down" the rigorous academicclimate at the University of Chicago-the core curriculum of which is often praisedby conservatives as a bastion of Great Tradition integrity against the leftist/poststructuralisthordes. (Chicago, by the way, is where Post editorial page editor John Podhoretzattended college.) The juxtaposition of the two articles reminds you that thesort of Great Books education that conservatives like Sowell glorify contributesto exactly the sort of intellectual and political meaninglessness embodied bypoliticians like Bush.
To start,here's Bush, whose campaign-kickoff platitudes are familiar by now, but thatare worth repeating here: