Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Establishment and Me

Matt Yglesias's view of his relationship to the foreign policy establishment could also describe my views on education policy:

To me, though, this is the point. My ideas really are basically the ideas that were at the core of the bipartisan, establishment consensus throughout the Cold War years. And they're ideas that could and should have been the key ideas of center-left think tanks in the post-9/11 world. But that's not what actually happened. Instead, a set of ideas that originally existed as a fringe right-wing position wound up being espoused not only by nearly the entire Republican Party but by a huge swathe of the broader establishment. The kind of institutions that you would expect to try to put the country back on an even keel -- The New York Times's foreign affairs columnist, The Washington Post's editorial page, the top foreign policy officials from the second Clinton administration, the Brookings Institution, etc. -- instead hopped aboard George W. Bush's madcap adventure.

Like everyone else, I do enjoy a bit of anti-establishment posturing now and again. But on another level, I'd really like my ideas to be espoused by the establishment. I think they're good ideas! I'd like them to be implemented! And as Kurtz-Phelan says, I think they've traditionally been espoused by the establishment.

The main difference is that education is much more diffuse than foreign policy, being more local than national (at least in this nation), so I can't say that "my ideas" were once implemented all across the country at the same time, as a coherent set, but as ideas, they've at least each had their own turn in the establishment sun over the past 50 years.

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