Victor Davis Hanson: "What is Wisdom?"
Victor Davis Hanson writes:
There is a report today (I think first offered in the Huffington Post) that David Brooks, the gifted New York Times columnist, has described Sarah Palin as a "fatal cancer" and part of a larger pernicious conservative trend:One of the best lines in Hanson's piece is this response to Brooks' admission to having a Matthewsesqe tingle in his trousers over Sen. Obama:But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I'm afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices. I think President Bush has those prejudices.Brooks then praised the logorrhea of Joe Biden in his interview with the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg as the proper antidote to Palin...
But Brooks' reflections about Biden, at least according to the reported transcript, are telling. We had a debate between the two Vice Presidential candidates. Biden was superficially the more impressive with his recall of facts, anecdotes (most of them not mysteriously with Biden at the heroic center), and broad assertions.
In contrast, Palin was direct and perhaps repetitive in her focus on lower taxes, less government, and individual responsibility (especially for personal debt) — and I suppose what Brooks would call populist in her vocabulary, tone, and Fargo-mode of expression. But when they were through, Palin proved the more truthful and pragmatic, inasmuch as the glib Biden turned out to have misled in almost everything he professed, from our own Constitution to Hezbollah's presence in Lebanon. Even the folksy reference to his hometown diner was inaccurate. And that raises the age-old Euripidean question, "What is wisdom?" or maybe those general Hesiodic warnings about the dangers of moral regress that sometimes can accompany intellectual progress...
This is sad — since everything from the faux-seal with its vero possumus pretensions, the Greek temple backdrops, the efforts to speak at the Brandenburg Gate, the mantra "we are the change we've been waiting for," the messianic idea that the seas and planet will likewise heel to His wisdom, and the inane 'hope and change' banalities do not suggest real wisdom at all, but a dazzling veneer that overlays a great deal of megalomania.Read the whole thing.