The Personalist Project

Comments (2)

Teresa Manidis

#1, Aug 4, 2009 4:23pm

Nice column, Katie, thanks for the link.  I, for one, do not want to live in a nation sapped of its gumption, its heroism, its guts; let’s keep our spontaneity and our spirit - and our independence.  It’s easy to say which was our nation’s ‘greatest generation’ (if time travel were possible, I’d zap myself to 1941 in a heartbeat); but let’s stand up for ourselves and for each other before we are (appropriately?) labeled its worst.

Scott Johnston

#2, Aug 9, 2009 4:01pm

Yes, good article. This makes me think as well of the (related, perhaps) “expertification” of America and the Western world. More and more it seems, we can’t be expected to do anything more complicated than tying our shoes without consulting an expert. Especially in academia, this is rampant. Heaven forbid a theologian do any exegesis of Scripture—or a Scripture scholar do any theology (unless it is in a non-academic publication or setting). “That’s not my expertise,” the saying goes.

Yes, expertise is a good thing, and we ought to be able to recognize when we are stepping further outside our boundaries than we should. But, this doesn’t have to mean we can’t use basic common sense and just general life experience and wisdom to have opinions and make judgments on things about which we are not expert.

I like to think there is something in the American spirit (still strong in the mid-20th century) that is more willing than other cultures to take calculated risks to accomplish extraordinary things. “Going out on a limb”; “going beyond our comfort zone”, etc. The American “can do” attitude that has brought about so many accomplishments does require a certain courage and boldness, and I wonder if we might be gradually losing it.

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