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December 19, 2012 2:03 PM David Brooks to Teach Yale Students Humility

By Daniel Luzer

New York Times columnist David Brooks (below) apparently plans to teach an ethics course at Yale next semester. More specifically, he will teach a course in “humility.”

BrooksEverSoHumble

According to this article in The Bulldog:

Brooks will be bringing his famed self and his less-well-known teaching credentials (?) to our very own campus.
And what’s he teaching? It would only make sense for this course to be called “Humility.” Brooks is not only a real big name in general but also kind of an expert on the topic—a quick Google search reveals that he’s written on it in the NYT and discussed it at the Aspen Ideas Festival—so we can pretty much agree that this is fitting. As if the irony weren’t already enough, this class is also a Global Affairs seminar, so, like, humility, guys. Perfect. Especially recommended if you were tempted by Grand Strategy but really just don’t have the ego for it.

It’s a little unclear if any course, no matter how well organized, can really teach a modest or low view of one’s own importance. This is particularly questionable in this case, given that Brooks is known in some circles for his arrogance (to say nothing of, well, Yale itself) . Brooks, however, assures the world he can do this. He explained to New York magazine that,

The title of the Humility course is, obviously, intentionally designed to provoke smart ass jibes, but there’s actually a serious point behind it. People from Burke to Niebuhr, Augustine to Dorothy Day, Montaigne to MLK and Samuel Johnson to Daniel Kahneman have built philosophies around our cognitive, moral and personal limitations. The course is designed to look at these strategies as a guide for life and politics and everything else.

Life, politics, and everything else. Setting the bar kinda high, aren’t we?

Read the course description here. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer