Notes & Quotes: In Defense of Elitism by William A Henry III

A book that i probably wouldn't typically read, i find it important to challenge myself.  With that said, here are my favorite quotes from William A Henry III's In Defense of Elitism.
  1. A superior culture is one that fulfills all or most of seven basic criteria.  A superior culture:
    1. preserves the liberty of its citizens.
    2. provides a comfortable life, relatively free from want, for the plupart of its citizens.
    3. promotes modern science, medicine, and hygiene and otherwise maximizes the health, comfort, and longevity of its citizens.
    4. produces permanent artifacts that express aesthetic and humanistic principles appreciated by other cultures.
    5. provides widespread, rigorous general education and ensures an essentially meritocratic admissions systems so that the chief talents of each generation will be fully explored.
    6. expands by trade or cultural imperialism or conquest of all of the above and will find its tenants embraced by the erstwhile captives even when the era of expansion is over.
    7. organizes itself hierarchically, tends toward central authority, and overcomes tribal and regional divisions, all without suppressing the individual opportunity for self-expression and advancement.
  2. American Values (a textbook) aimed at high school students, takes the women's lib line so far it is, says the Textbook Council, "less versed in evidence than aligned to contemporary feminist politics and perspectives."
  3. "Compared with top students in other industrialized countries, American students perform poorly on international tests, are offered a less rigorous curriculum, read fewer demanding books, do less homework, and enter the workforce or postsecondary school less prepared." New York Times, 1993
  4. The practical effect of affirmative action is to give places to mediocrities while causing white (and, for that matter, nonwhite) colleagues to view with suspicion the talents and credentials of all blacks newly given authority.
  5. Affirmative action breeds racial resentment on both sides.
  6. The measure of a just society is not whether a demographically proportional share of any group succeeds, but whether any individual of talent can succeed regardless of what group he belongs to.
  7. One's worth and self-regard ought to come from individual competitive performance, not from group identity.  Pride based on clan or tribal connections is atavistic.  It appeals to people who fear they cannot succeed as individuals, and by diverting their energies it all but ensures that they will not succeed as individuals.
  8. It does not take much imagination to trace a clear hereditary line from the injustices of the past to the inadequacies of the present.
  9. The real goal of many in the women's movement, I have come to feel, is not to change the way women think about themselves -- breaking psychological fetters so they can maximize their potential -- but to change the way men think, both about women and about themselves.
  10. How can the very people most apt to say that childbearing is a private matter when the subject is abortion then reverse themselves and insist that it is a societal matter when the subject is their personal need and convenience in the workplace?
  11. Partial failure is always better than delusory success.
  12. Anyone who has ever witnessed the birth of a litter of kittens or puppies knows that distinct differences in personality -- curiousity, venturesomeness, and the like -- are evident from the very moment of arrival in the world.  If that is so in less complex organisms, how can it not be so in mankind, where personality varies so much more widely?
  13. "The good end happily and the bad unhappily.  That is the meaning of fiction."  Oscar Wilde
  14. In a society that seems to have lost its capacity for admiration, we have shifted from having heroes to having entertainers or celebrities.