Focus Point - The Burden of Bad IdeasCommentary by Pete du Pont
February 21, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Much of the intellectual elite still buys the outdated '60s idea of radical liberalism. Unfortunately, they're in positions to make policy, a problem chronicled in Heather Macdonald's splendid new book, The Burden of Bad Ideas.
She explains how foundations for the poor have changed from giving a helping hand, to helping bring down the "racist, sexist establishment" - hardly what their founders had in mind. Or what the poor need.
In the essay "Why Johnny's Teacher Can't Teach," she shows teachers aren't taught anything except "student-centered learning." What matters isn't intelligence, just "empowerment,"
The elites genuinely believe in the victim philosophy. Even places where you'd never expect to find their ideas are now infested with them, like public health, where professors rail that living in America is dangerous to women's health.
If these people stayed in the Ivory Tower, it would be bad enough. But their ideas are making things worse for everybody. This is an important book.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, fixing California.