The perils of exaggeration
How to apologize

Proud to be humble

David Brooks started teaching a class on humility at Yale today.

Brooks_AFAccording to the Yale course catalog, the class will examine the "premise that human beings are blessed with many talents but are also burdened by sinfulness, ignorance, and weakness."

In an interview with New York magazine, he admitted that he chose the course title to "provoke smart-ass jabs."  If so, he chose wisely. 

Rolling Stone magazine, for one, accused the "notorious diploma-sniffing aristocrat-apologist douchebag" of committing "one of the most pretentious moments ever."

The web editor of the Washington Monthly opined that the course was "particularly questionable, given that Brooks is known in some circles for his arrogance (to say nothing of, well, Yale itself)". 

Even USA Today joined the melee, with a thoughtful exegisis that traced Brooks' thinking on the subject through his past columns and speeches. Having to choose between "those who see human nature as fundamentally good and those who see humanity as inherently fallible," the newspaper observes, "Brooks places himself on the side of the pessimists." 

That sounds right to me. But even though I disagree with Brooks on that dichotomy, he's still my favorite conservative.

And whichever side you land on, the syllabus for his course could guide a year or more of thought-provoking reading. If you're humble enough.




The comments to this entry are closed.