jerryking + intellectually_rigorous   3

John Stuart Mill Showed Democracy as a Way of Life - The New York Times
David Brooks JAN. 15, 2018

John Stuart Mill demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance and a humanistic adventure.....Mill is famous for his celebration of individual liberty. But he was not an “anything goes” nihilist. He was not a mellow “You do you and I’ll be me” relativist.

In the first place, he demanded constant arduous self-improvement. In his outstanding biography, Richard Reeves points out that in “On Liberty,” Mill used the words “energy,” “active” and “vital” nearly as many times as he used the word “freedom.” Freedom for him was a means, not an end. The end is moral excellence. Mill believed that all of us “are under a moral obligation to seek the improvement of our moral character.”

“At the heart of his liberalism,” Reeves writes, “was a clearly and repeatedly articulated vision of a flourishing human life — self-improving, passionate, truth-seeking, engaged and colorful.”.... staged a lifelong gentle revolt against his father’s shallow intellectual utilitarianism.

Having been raised in this way and, as an adult, living in Victorian England, what he hated most was narrowness, conformity, the crushing of individuals under the weight of peer pressure, government power or public opinion.....Mill cures us from the weakness of our age — the belief that we can achieve democracy on the cheap; the belief that all we have to do to fulfill our democratic duties is be nice, vote occasionally and have opinions. Mill showed that real citizenship is a life-transforming vocation. It involves, at base, cultivating the ability to discern good from evil, developing the intellectual virtues required to separate the rigorous from the sloppy, living an adventurous life so that you are rooting yourself among and serving those who are completely unlike yourself.

The demands of democracy are clear — the elevation and transformation of your very self. If you are not transformed, you’re just skating by.
David_Brooks  democracy  Victorian  values  engaged_citizenry  arduous  critical_thinking  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  history  op-ed  profile  philosophy  utilitarianism  liberal  political_theory  John_Stuart_Mill  self-improvement  19th_century  liberalism  indivualized  self-actualization  individual_choice  autonomy  intellectually_rigorous 
january 2018 by jerryking
Newt Gingrich wants you to make him run for president
February 5, 2007 | Fortune | Nina Easton.

Has anyone revitalized or created a bright spot in a flat or declining industry?
At the Tempe conference, Gingrich politely listens to such proposals as applying Toyota-style production-control techniques to the health system - and then slices through them with an alternative mantra of competition, deregulation, modernized information systems, and personal responsibility. ...In other words, in Gingrich's world consumer health care should look more like Travelocity...Instead, the Center for Health Transformation offers policy ideas to companies that want to get health-care costs off their backs but oppose government-imposed, universal-health-insurance plans as costly and burdensome. The center's roster of 75 clients is impressive, including insurers Blue Cross & Blue Shield and GE Healthcare, providers like the American Hospital Association, and employers like GM (Charts) and Ford (Charts). Clients pay fees ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 a year....Gingrich's own epiphany about a presidential run dates back three years, when he picked up Harold Holzer's "Lincoln at Cooper Union." The book tells the story of how Lincoln's lengthy 1860 speech in New York City - an intellectually rigorous rebuttal of slavery's legal grounding - wowed the Eastern establishment and transformed a gawky, badly dressed Western politician into a leading presidential candidate. Gingrich saw himself in this story of the underestimated outsider making good, despite the seeming hubris of comparing himself to Lincoln, and it now underpins his unorthodox quest for the presidency...Gingrich also says things like "If you want to shape history, it's useful to actually know history" without a hint of self-consciousness...Of the other Republican contenders for President he says, "We're not in the same business. They are running for the White House. I am trying to change the country."..."My planning horizons are 17 years. I want to give you a sense of scale," he explains, as if helping me focus on his long view of things. "I also do what I think the country needs. I don't operate under personal ambition." ...."There are 3,300 counties, 17,000 elected school boards, 60,000 cities and towns, 14,000 state legislators, 50 governors, and 535 elected federal legislators," he says.
profile  historians  healthcare  lean  books  Six_Sigma  innovation  best_practices  change_agents  long-term  unorthodox  decline  competition  deregulation  information_systems  personal_responsibility  underestimation  outsiders  Abraham_Lincoln  personal_ambition  intellectually_rigorous 
may 2012 by jerryking
An intellectual with the gloves off
24 May 2003 | The Globe and Mail pg. F.3| by John Allemang.

Tellingly, the former World Bank economist didn't just parade these hard facts as essential truths, but contrasted them with the soft-centred nostalgia felt by academics with a more sentimental education. "There's a tendency on the part of Western intellectuals to idealize rural life, and poor rural life, in developing countries."....His model of a university, which sounds a lot like a roundtable gathering at the White House, is of "a tough-minded place where there's a tough-minded clash of ideas, from which better ideas emerge." It's not an institution for the faint-hearted, and you can see that much of his impatience with the people and ideas he's confronted at Harvard have as much to do with a perceived lack of intellectual rigour as with their positioning on the spectrum of truth.
Larry_Summers  Harvard  intellectually_rigorous  deanships  Colleges_&_Universities  grade_inflation  growth  economic_development  truth-telling  tough-mindedness  developing_countries 
may 2012 by jerryking

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