Archive for August 11th, 2009

Most people who read this blog regularly know that I am addicted to Blog Things, which I get through my now-defunct blog at Xanga (I can’t remember my password anymore).  Today’s was an eye-opener:

You Are Reed
You love learning for its own sake, even more the most people.
You believe that education is all about the experience… not about the degree.

You prefer to go to an institution with other serious students and accessible professors.
You rather be with people who are truly interested in ideas, not in showing how smart they are.

Not because I’m not like this, but because until today, I’d never heard of Reed College.  Now, before I annoy my lone Pacific Northwest reader no end, I should note that this is not East-Coast snobbery — more like working-class cluelessness.  In my background, people had as much chance of going to Harvard as of going to the moon (actually, going to the moon was probably more likely, especially if you were a devotee of The Honeymooners, with Jackie Gleason).

So it seems I am a “Reedie” at heart.  I looked up this college on Wikipedia, and at first I was enthralled — you mean there’s actually a college that doesn’t stress sports over academics?! — but as I read, I wondered if I would be such a good fit after all:  apparently, Reed has always been something of a radical-left campus.  (No, it wasn’t named after the John Reed in Reds, though probably many people think so.)

That’s disturbing because, thanks to the aforementioned working-class background, I have always thought of myself as a conservative.  Of late, I’m willing to admit to being a “crunchy con,” the phrase coined by Rod Dreher, who wrote a whole book about it; but the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that what I actually am is a socialist conservative.  I actually do support publicly-funded healthcare, in principle, anyway, though practically, I don’t see it working in the US.  (I did see it working, and very well, in Germany.)  I’m fairly pro-life; capital punishment gives me the heebie-jeebies, though there are some instances where I think it’s probably a kindness to all concerned — imagine being a prison guard and having to live with the likes of Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer.  I don’t have a problem with capitalism in general, but Reaganomics sends me into the stratosphere — the current economic crisis can be traced directly to the loosening of socially-responsible mandates placed on business back in the 1930s.  And of course, I am fanatically conservative when it comes to the preservation of the traditional family, and on that subject I have no qualifiers.

So I’m not sure I would have fit in at Reed.  But it’s nice to know that there is one college in this world that does uphold stringent academic standards — left-wing though they may be.

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