- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 8, 2001

Visionary CEOs

"Businessmen used to disdain genius. Arthur Schlesinger called anti-intellectualism 'the anti-Semitism of the businessman.' In traditional capitalism, the hero is utilitarian and practical… . But today, CEOs are no longer just chief bureaucrats. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and the like are auteurs visionaries, philosophes, charismatic leaders. Their stock prices rise and fall on their reputations… . They have to go to tech conferences and make big, 500-year predictions about the sweep of history… .

"More broadly, in this economy, a company's value is measured less by its fixed capital in plants and equipment and more by the talent of the people who temporarily work for it. As the modern cliche goes, the company's chief assets walk out the door each evening and go home. That means that the workplace is supposed to become a creative workshop, where the masters help their underlings stretch their minds."

David Brooks, writing on "The Clothing of the American Mind," in the March 12 issue of the Weekly Standard

TV glut

"A typical first grader has seen 5,000 hours of TV programming which is enough cumulative time to earn a college degree… . 'Parents can no longer control the atmosphere of the home,' wrote Allan Bloom, 'and have even lost the will to do so.' …

"For good reason, anthropologist Margaret Mead once referred to television as the 'Second Parent.' Many children currently spend more time with television than with their fathers… .

"We must limit our children's exposure to the media, and monitor carefully what they are exposed to. Otherwise, the distractions of electronic entertainment and the consumer mentality will take them away from others and themselves and their family, impose on their psyches scattered images that seldom have any direct relation to who or what they are as individuals, and leave them with no time or incentive to look within or reach out."

Dale Salwak, from his new book, "Faith in the Family"

Pregnant cadets

"In the VMI case, women's groups advanced the standard line of feminist reasoning claiming that gender is no different from race; that the characteristics that make good soldiers, such as bravery and courage, are as readily found in women as in men. But this ignores the more important, more difficult, post-feminist question of whether equality means sameness. This riddle how to balance the civic equality of women and the natural differences between the sexes, including the obligations those differences impose, is the very thing most feminists refuse to confront.

"Instead, we're left treating pregnancy as a temporary disability and preparing pregnant women for the frontlines.

"Feminist writer Naomi Wolf argues that pictures of women in combat have helped Americans get over their stuffy and traditionalist ideas about feminine aggressiveness. About this important fact she is right: Women have made great contributions to the military; they can, should, and will continue to do so.

"But are we really better off as a nation if we see photographs of pregnant rats (as VMI upperclassmen refer to first-year cadets) doing push-ups while their superiors stand over and scream at them? …

"The irony is that the role of generals and mothers alike is to put the good of the other the state, the child ahead of the desires of the self. In this case, neither is served, only the imagined good of the equal and empowered cadet. Such frivolities are the luxury of an affluent nation in peaceful times. Perhaps, tragically, it will take some real hardship to restore our sanity."

Eric Cohen, writing on "Our Pregnant Soldiers," Monday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com


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