An ideal that must be largely relearned in our quantitative age.
There's an auto manufacturer - my favorite in fact - that came up with the slogan "Quality is job 1!" They clearly made it a philosophy, as they didn't go for the quick fix of government handouts and prospered when the other domestic producers failed; they always sought a cooperative balance between design and workmanship, instead of sacrificing one to the other. At the beginning of the last century, this attitude was commonplace. At the beginning of this one, it's discouraged, anathemized and punished. For a better grasp of where I'm headed with this, read this absolutely enlightened bit of brilliance.
During the Days Of Grace, Galt-in-Da-Box told his son something like "Don't be ashamed of being better than me; that's the way it's supposed to be!" We should be honored and inspired when we see a custom-made tool or furnishing, an athlete that runs the 100-yards in less than 4 seconds, or a prodigy who developed a method to recycle CO2 into fuel. Innovation is as rare these days as inspiration and genuine intellect. These are mediocre times: Those who should be encouraging U.S. to go out and accomplish something are demanding we subsidize - for want of a more accurate term - the "statist quo", and the affliction goes way beyond mere politics. There's too much concern with quantity (disguised as "equality" and "fairness") and too little appreciation for excellence. It reminds me of the Soviets, who would boast of producing a hundred thousand automobiles in a six-month period, oblivious to the fact less than half of them worked properly. I used to think daytime soap operas were the worst form of entertainment, before Jerry Springer became the median norm and game shows moved to prime time. I never thought The Young & The Restless could look so good!
Then come the un-educators and de-motivators: The fine folks university-trained to assure you "there are no wrong answers". The "enLIEtened" administrators who want no dolt left behind, so we must dumb everyone else down to make them feeeeeel smart! A process that brings up pseudo-students who take cinch college courses, because the real and substantive ones would mean they'd have to think. Instead of becoming an architect or an engineer, Johnny takes "African-American studies" which will teach him less than he already knows. Presto, an easy A+ and a piece of paper suitable for framing...wrapping fish or training puppies! I realize you can't build Albert Einsteins on an assembly line...that's no excuse to settle for Jethro Clampett.
It does no good to teach Johnny to read if you're not going to guide him toward what's best to read...unless you really want him to piss his mind away on the National Enquirer!