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Ralph Waldo Emerson was Right…

May 19, 2014 in Economics

By Jeff Deist


And so is Arthur Brooks: College graduates today cannot afford to be “City Dolls”!

“A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always like a cat falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls” (from Self Reliance).

But why is Mr. Brooks, head of the (ahem) American Enterprise Institute, making this case in the New York Times- the bastion of overgrown, immature, utterly provincial city types?  It’s hilarious when milquetoast conservatives like Brooks try to curry favor with the supposed intelligentsia.  Note that he’s savaged in the comments by NYT readers who are utterly hostile to the mere suggestion that young people work hard and take responsibility for their actions.

Here’s a bold claim: if you work in a DC think tank and/or consider the NYT a serious outlet for news, commentary, and culture, you’re probably a City Doll (albeit perhaps an aging, Baby Boomer version).

By the way, how long has it been since AEI had any interest in actual business “enterprise”?   I guess building bombs and invading countries counts?

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