Wednesday, January 05, 2005

What Killed Accountability ??

It must be a function of living an extra year too long, but do I see an erosion of accountability in American society?

Where did it come from, this Kleenex disposability of responsible behavior?

Okay...I realize that opening question is almost puerile. I man, where have I been? Helooooo! Earth-to-Allen !!!!

Yes, I know. My mother was a flapper in the twenties. My Dad had a Valentino haircut, widow’s peak on his forehead, and a flask on his hip and he took me to speakeasies in New Jersey and New York when I was five or six. Roaring Twenties. Scotty and Zelda Fitzgerald irresponsibility.

But that’s not exactly the non-accountability I address here.

What I am zeroing in on here is the blase’ attitude of the oddly and oxymoronically identified "intelligentsia" Say Dr. Madeleine Albright, who "discovered" her Jewishness, but coddled the Islamic terrorists, counseling against nabbing them when they were offered to us.

And, how about that darling of the intellectuals, Howell Rains, who embarrassed the New York Times, promoting a shameless liar and fictioneer over long laboring newshawks in the name of affirmative action? Again, achieving mediocrity.

I have the seed of an idea about whence came the subversion of high-level responsibility for thought and research cam from...the etiology of-- the "who cares?" Plague.

It began when the first ill-prepared, worthless teacher got what they call "tenure".

Tenure is an incestuous, mechanism once limited to only the most rarefied heights of academe...the lofty Universitas. Bestowed by sychophantic colleagues.

Now it is everywhere...even in public–beg, pardon–government schools. Next, HeadStart, pre-school and kindergarten. Maybe even day care.

A tenured instructor can not be fired. In some places, not even for moral turpitude or larceny.

Tenure was once a badge of excellence, bestowed on great professors like George Santayana, John Dewey, A.A. Brill, Alfred North Whitehead, Enrico Fermi, Albert Einstein and their ilk.
I believe that JRR Tolkein, C.S. Lewis and A.E. Housman were examples, at Oxford, in the UK.

Tenure was an endowment of the intellect that allowed free rein to inquire, expand and exploit discoveries without a full burden of course-teaching. Tenure was a reward for intellect—not for calling oneself an "intellectual" and claiming, as the late Susan Sontag did, that you always read at least ten (10) books every day.

At any rate, tenure, scraping as it is nowadays, the bottom of the high school sophomore’s barrel, has had its day of decay, and the rot is all around us. In "media" celebrities, editorialists, magazine egos, and staffers in the CIA, Senate and House committees, pollsters and think tanks galore.

These influential entities that mean to shape America’s culture are all products of "tenure", where no teacher is held accountable for the "product" or the integrity of research and blathering, biased doctrinaire lectures.

The operant word is:

"What ever...." ( I’m untouchable.)

But—and this is another function of living long:
The reckoning will come. I feel the tremor now. And it will be disastrous.

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