About a decade ago, in my younger and more vulnerable years, i read a quote from. I can"t think of a more worthy ideal for american society nor one that america"s subsequent history simultaneously has rendered so moot. I fear the plutocracy of wealth as do tens of millions of my fellow americans. I respect the aristocracy of learning as do tens of millions of my fellow americans. Bryan said that in 1907, at a time when only 6 percent of americans graduated from high school. You get smart : you apply yourself to education. Faith in the salvific power of education is an old story among democrats. Lyndon johnson, his white house aide george reedy recalled, I believe he even thought it would cure chilblain. Now i better understand why: often, the cult of. In lbj"s time, to believe in it was abnormal. now, that belief is collective quite nearly unanimous.