Bill Schubart


Bill Schubart lives and writes in Hinesburg. His latest book is Lila & Theron.

I love photographs. I have several thousand photographs of family and places from 1868 to the present. I grew up in a family of photographers.

Among the common frames through which we view the quality of our lives are health, knowledge, ethics, wealth, beauty, and spirit. A life well lived uses all these frames to assess and understand wellbeing. When one frame becomes dominant - or the only frame by which we judge - our decisions and our lives become distorted. We lose sight of who we are.

The danger in believing we are special is that it can blind us to what’s right under our noses. We mix and drink our Kool-Aid and then bask in our self-esteem. Vermont is a wonderful place. It is not, however, special or immune.

This is the kind of question that causes people to stare at their shoes during Town meeting.

“Does the greater Burlington area, from Milton to Richmond and Charlotte really need ten police, fire and rescue departments?”

We can’t know the future. We can, however, try to understand how the future will evolve by studying trends. Take college for example. We know tuition costs are rising too fast and filtering out many who can’t afford it or doubt its debt-to-value ratio.

Governor Shumlin appears to be crafting a legacy like most of his Republican and Democratic predecessors that is at once socially progressive and fiscally responsible. But his credibility falters though when he turns to the old canards of fleeing wealth, tax burden and “job creators.”

I’m generally suspicious of prognosticators and gurus, whether they’re predicting the end of books or the end of the world. I don’t worry about things ending, nor do I fear change.

UVM was kind enough to admit me to its junior class in 1966 after I explained my abysmal record at Kenyon College and the life lessons I had learned in the intervening years of work and marriage. I graduated in 1968, at 23, with a degree in Romance languages and two fine sons, and began a brief career teaching French at Mt. Abe in Bristol. I liked UVM, but I especially valued the outstanding teachers I met there. They changed me. Education is about people not institutions.

Vermont and America have always been inspired and governed by a political spectrum spanning conservative and liberal values. Party names have changed - Whigs, Bull Moose, Tea Party - and who'd recognize Lincoln's Republican Party today? Power shifts and labels change but the dynamic tension between conservative and liberal philosophies persists and that continuum is good for the nation. Nations and communities are all in a perpetual process of becoming and political work is never done - either at the leadership level or at the citizenship level.

Schubart: EB-5

Mar 26, 2013

Schubart: Orthodoxy

Mar 11, 2013

(Host) Retired businessman, former VPR chair and commentator Bill Schubart has volunteered since the age of 26 in the non-profitsector. In this commentary, he imagines the collaborative opportunities open to 26 Vermont's colleges and universities in America's shrinking student marketplace.

(Schubart) Competition works pretty well in the business sector if it's fair and business plays by the rules. Competition in the non-profit arena is a problem, as it puts enterprise value over mission.

(Host) Commentator Bill Schubart offers a brief and satiric summary of the history of mankind on earth to perhaps better explain how we've become the arrogant species he believes us to be.

(Schubart) Sometimes I worry that we're at risk of succumbing to our own arrogance as a species. A quick history ...

Photo: Herb Swanson Brunch Sampler_122612_Schubart.mp3

Schubart: Work

Nov 19, 2012