There are many occasions for us to wonder how or why people in positions of authority make the decisions, adopt the policies or say the things that they say, without their advisers offering forceful objections beforehand or anyone offering criticism at the time or after the fact.
There are many reasons for this. It is not easy to speak frankly to people who hold and use power. Few leaders follow Abraham Lincoln’s sound policy of having as his Cabinet a team of rivals who naturally viewed issues differently than he did and said so. It is also hard to dig down to underlying assumptions or to see hidden implications.
Palaima is a classics professor at the University of Texas.
Published on-line: 6:25 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 print edition Thursday, August 23, 2012 p. A 6
I recall a conversation I had with Professor Paul Woodruff, a close friend and colleague at the University of Texas at Austin, about a dozen years ago. In retrospect I know that one person can make a difference.
Woodruff was then serving as director of the Liberal Arts Plan II Honors Program, a position he held from 1991-2006. He was more than the director of this rigorous program in the humanities and sciences. Woodruff was what Socrates was to his pupils, a resident “genius”, the guiding spirit who embodied the values and ways of teaching, learning and living Continue reading →