New Sherwood

Liberalism, Education and Affluence

When I first became politically aware back in the early ’80s, the Republicans were the party of wealth and privilege, while the Democrats were the party of the common man. The educated and affluent were expected to be “conservative”, while the working class and underprivileged were expected to be “liberal”. Such were the stereotypes, anyway, and they usually held true.

As any student of American sociology and demographics could tell you, these old stereotypes no longer hold much water. Liberal political and social views are increasingly aligned with education and affluence. This new reality is stark in California, where the wealthiest counties voted against Proposition 8 last year. The most liberal cities in the United States are also bastions of education and affluence. Seattle, for example, boasts the highest percentage of residents who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. The ten wealthiest counties in the United States all voted overwhelmingly Democrat in the 2004 election. So what’s going on here? Has there been a major ideological shift? Perhaps. What remains consistent, however, is the ideological gap between rich and poor, between the highly educated and the working class.

THE DILEMMA OF THE ELITE

Wealth and education should really be treated as two separate variables. Education tends to be a prerequisite to acquiring wealth, but not always.  In the ranks of the wealthy, there is some division between the intelligentsia and the commercial/entertainment class. Nevertheless, the policy views of Warren Buffet, Ted Turner and Bill Gates do not differ substantially from the faculties of Harvard, Yale and Stanford universities, so for our purposes we’re going to lump them together.

In the United States, it is wealth and education – not heredity, birth, race, religion, virtue, intelligence, knowledge or worldly achievement – that determines social status.  I will call this ideological coalition of the wealthy and educated “the elite”. The voluntary racial segregation that still exists in some places is far less important than the near-universal segregation between the elites and everyone else.  Don’t get me wrong – in a culture committed to radical egalitarianism, I am very happy to have at least one reminder that there still exists a social hierarchy, that human society still requires an aristocracy of sorts. I’m in favor of aristocracy. I’m in favor of elites. The danger is that, having forbidden other forms of hierarchy, the determinants of wealth and education take on a greatly exaggerated social importance, and the elites become captive to the intellectual currents that happen to dominate modern universities.

Now, here comes the twist. Our contemporary elites tend to be egalitarians themselves – a potent psychological combination. This egalitarianism is a function of indoctrination by our institutions of higher education. Let’s think about this. We have a minority class which is clearly superior in some ways to the majority – they live a much more comfortable material existence, are usually better educated, generally more intelligent (see the link between IQ and other forms of inequality), and always more influential. Their very existence is an affront to their egalitarian ideals. This presents a psychological dilemma of sorts. The world is not an egalitarian place: to the elites, nothing could be more obvious. Therefore – either something is wrong with their own class, or something is fundamentally wrong with everyone else. (It does not usually occur to them that something might be wrong with egalitarianism.) Human nature being what it is, most people do not regard themselves as parasitic or dispensable. So the obvious conclusion is that egalitarianism should be achieved by bringing the great mass of non-elites into line with elite standards.

THE SUFFERING MAJORITY

The world of the elites is an impressive one. The estates, condominiums, hotels, board rooms, offices, universities, resorts, beautifully landscaped neighborhoods, expensive restaurants, frequent traveling, easy access to every kind of pleasure and diversion – all of this make it easy to avoid the gritty reality of the outside world. To someone living in this environment, an intimate confrontation with poverty and material hardship can be shocking. The idea of large families eating macaroni and cheese for dinner several nights per week in a small rented home is horrifying. The thought that someone, somewhere, does not have health insurance is an outrage. But it gets even sillier. It should be recalled that suffering, for many liberals, is defined simply as not having one’s desires met. That is why same-sex marriage is such a priority for them: homosexuals desire to marry, and if this desire is not fulfilled, homosexuals will suffer, which is injustice by definition.

Part of the problem is that our contemporary elite class is lonely and bored. Very often the members of our elite have failed – whether by design or neglect – to forge those close human connections which are the preoccupation of the majority. Personal attachments and loyalties can impede the kind of “success” our elites tend to value.

My former boss once asked me why I wanted to have more than two children. He said that every family he knows with more than two children has invited suffering into their lives – a child gets sick, a child dies, a child fails in school, a child becomes a drug addict, a child ends up in jail, etc., etc.. My response was that yes, love is always a risk, and the more you love, the more you risk. Should we therefore stop loving, or love only “moderately”, in order to avoid the pain that often comes with it?

Our elites are therefore motivated by a fear of suffering and deprivation – first their own suffering, and then the suffering of the majority (who are assumed to suffer terribly because their desires are not fulfilled), which for them is also intolerable. The thought of suffering does not leave them alone. They are haunted by the knowledge that they are the “haves” and the majority are the “have nots”.  Strangely, this “liberal guilt” usually translates into political and social activism rather than personal acts of charity towards their family, neighbors, and community. The attention they might otherwise have given to people whom they know and love is converted to an obsession with the suffering of the world, in the abstract.

THE CURSE OF INTELLIGENCE

On the whole, our elite class is blessed with above average intelligence. This really cannot be disputed. Intelligence, of course, can be used for good ends or bad, and can be cultivated or neglected, but the fact of superior intelligence exists apart from what is done with it. The economist F.A. Hayek wrote a book titled “The Fatal Conceit” which, among other things, attempted to explain why intellectuals tend to be socialists. In a nutshell, the reason is that intellectuals tend to overvalue intelligence, preferring to err on the side of infinite perfectibility. No system is too large or complex to be managed and perfected by human intelligence.

The intellectual has experienced the power of high intelligence, but he tends to disregard its limits and to deny that intelligence is unequally distributed. He disregards its limits, because if intelligence can be used to solve all problems, the intellectual is always in demand. He denies that intelligence is unequally distributed – against all evidence – because that violates his egalitarian dogma. Therefore the intellectual has boundless confidence in grandiose schemes of social organization and “equality of outcome” scenarios.

Most intellectuals do not sufficiently appreciate the human capacity for evil, believing that men would use their intelligence for the good if only they were freed from superstition (religion) and the oppression of certain institutions (church, family, nation).  Some intellectuals deny the importance of virtue altogether, assuming that an intelligent act is also a virtuous act, and that a virtuous act cannot be unintelligent. Conflating the two qualities, intellectuals often consider lesser intelligence as though it were some kind of moral fault.

And so our elites believe that intelligent, well-planned, universal solutions exist for all problems. The liberation of human intelligence eliminates the need for traditional, parochial institutions which limit the scope of human activities. Hence the liberal’s indomitable belief in the power of education to transform society and create “world citizens”. Grand liberal initiatives ranging from universal pre-school to universal healthcare, from world population control to eliminating poverty or terrorism, tend to be the result of a conceit which radically overestimates the power of human intelligence.

CONCLUSION

To summarize, education and affluence can certainly be isolating, but these can’t be blamed exclusively for creating the liberalism of our contemporary elites. Rather, liberalism predictably arises from the combination of affluence with 1) the dogma of egalitarianism; 2) fear of suffering and deprivation; 3) loneliness and boredom; and 4) intellectual conceit.

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May 31, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

22 Comments »

  1. I think much more could be said about the role of desire. Liberals are intensely frustrated when their desires are not met. They also have an authentic compassion and empathy towards others who suffer because their desires are not met. With respect to abortion, the liberal can empathize with the pregnant mother who desires to further her education before having a baby. But there is no empathy for the unborn child simply because the liberal cannot imagine a baby having “desires” of any kind. Perhaps the liberal thinks it is desire which makes us human …

    Comment by Blogmaster | May 31, 2009 | Reply

  2. I think you have something here. You have put into words something I’ve been thinking for a while, but I couldn’t quite get it right. No doubt my liberal friends would disagree, but I think wants and needs are severely misunderstood nowadays. I think also, a lot of depression comes from navel-gazing, instead of finding one’s purpose in the quest to help others, to make family or community a better place.

    Comment by annaberri | June 1, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hi Jeff, I wanted to just say that I started reading your blog again and really appreciate you being here. I don’t know if you remember me. I was “the voyage” on my own blog (which no longer exists). We occasionally commented on each others blogs. Since then I’ve “reverted” back to Roman Catholicism and I’m ever glad I did. It took the work (oddly enough) of a Jewish doctor and a nasty public school administrator. God works in mysterious ways.

    Comment by Margaret | June 1, 2009 | Reply

  4. Annaberri, I’m not sure I got it right either. But I think it comes pretty close to explaining one species of liberal. And you’re absolutely right about depression and navel-gazing. Not that I’m above that sort of thing. Thanks for the comment!

    Comment by Blogmaster | June 1, 2009 | Reply

  5. Margaret! Of course I remember you! What wonderful news … I was terribly worried about you. And this news on the feast of Pentecost – just beautiful. I hope you and your family are doing well. If you have the time, I’d like to know more about your reversion. Send me an e-mail if you can find the time. God bless and happy feast day!

    Comment by Blogmaster | June 1, 2009 | Reply

  6. I hope you had a happy feast day too! My reversion story is very very simple. My thinking was all over the place. I talked to a shrink (the Jewish doctor). I told him about wanting to be modest and thinking of turning to Islam. We had a long long talk and he made me realize that wanting to be modest like Islamic women and to have conservative values #1 did NOT mean that I should turn toward Islam, #2 did NOT mean that I couldn’t find what I was looking for elsewhere and in a place that made more sense. As for the nasty public school admin. I had gone to the local public school to register my kids for the fall. And, well, they turned us away, telling us to come back and register the next day. I walked out of the school with the kids and headed for home when I realized that just a few blocks in the other direction was St Clare of Assisi RC Church. I decided to give it a shot. Well, they were very happy to have us! They signed us up as church members on the spot. At first I didn’t know how I would fulfill my obligation to return to church. I went that Sunday and realized how beautiful the Mass is and what a privilege it is to be there. Can you imagine I now look forward to Church every week? Amazing!

    Comment by Margaret | June 1, 2009 | Reply

  7. I will dispute one thing. The elite of our society do think themselves more intelligent than the lower classes. They are not more intelligent. Unless you are speaking specifically about the upper echelons of the academic and political activist communities, most of the upper class got where they are through family connections, and a certain shrewd ruthlessness, not through intelligence. Take a look at a typical congressperson. My own Senator, Patty Murray for example, is one of the dumbest clucks to ever achieve political office. Oprah, despite her wealth and influence, couldn’t think her way out of a broom closet. Even the president, God bless him, appears to have no ideas of his own, and seems unable to see the direct effects of his policy decisions even a few months down the road.

    Positions of influence in this country are given to those who can make people feel good about themselves. Intelligence has virtually nothing to do with it. Of the top twenty-five intellectual talents I went to High School with, all are middle-class, spread fairly evenly from lower (me) to upper (Chuck, who designs lasers in Arizona). Two are dead, one from a drug overdose. Of the people who became influential, (a Prosecuting Attorney, suburban Mayor, a high-profile lawyer) all were of above average intelligence, but definitely NOT the top of the class. They were all, however people who I would not, and did not, consider trustworthy.

    As Scott Adams points out in a Dilbert strip, intelligence has a lot less practical application than you might think.

    Comment by Danby | June 1, 2009 | Reply

  8. Hello Mr. Culbreath,

    This is an excellent post, one of the only ones I’ve ever seen to address this counterintuitive situation–that the best educated and most intelligent among us embrace moral insanity.

    I sometimes think that the less educated are protected by their ignorance more than by actual counter-beliefs. Liberalism is the reigning ideology, and very few have ever heard its basic principles challenged. Most members of the lower classes would tell you they believe in “sexual equality”; they don’t realize that this position logically commits them to endorsing sodomy and deconstructing the family as we know it. Ask them, and they’ll agree that acts are morally permissible if “nobody gets hurt”, but they are less adept than our college-educated sophists in seeing all the wicked things that can be justified by such reasoning.

    Comment by bonald | June 2, 2009 | Reply

    • The “deconstructing of the family” is not due to two people having sex with each other. There are other social factors at work than just homosexuality.

      Your personal desires should not politically have any affect on any one else. There seems to be an elite here also. Your feeling that a smaller group should mandate morality and the decide the good for everyone is exactly what this blog just argued against. Sounds like this blog’s definition of “liberalism”. Contradiction?

      Comment by Derrick | December 30, 2009 | Reply

  9. I would imagine that if we just sheerly use IQ as a measure of intelligence, it is true that the upper half of the bell curve is disproportionately liberal. I assume this shows that Gramsci’s “long march through the institutions” was a success beyond his wildest dreams.

    I think, Jeff, that Thomas Sowell’s _Vision of the Anointed_ goes very well with your post.

    Comment by Lydia | June 2, 2009 | Reply

  10. An April 2009 Pew Forum poll showed Americans making over $75,000 a year were most likely to favor legal abortion over making it illegal. The margin was 59-34. Respondents were split or even slightly pro-life in the two lower income brackets.

    Equality of opportunity for the most talented generates vastly unequal results. The talented are “strip-mined” from their communities and gathered into a few major urban centers. So their communities lose smart people, while the intelligent themselves lose the restraining effects of the community.

    Did you happen to catch Jeremy Beer’s essay on Meritocracy?

    http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/?p=3038

    (It especially gets going at the end of the first section.)

    Comment by Kevin J Jones | June 2, 2009 | Reply

  11. I suggest you read Jacque Ellul’s masterpiece, Propaganda. In it he notes two propaganda techniques, each targeting a different audience.

    The first technique is the traditional kind. It feeds on the hatred and envy of large numbers of poorly educated people, often those best described as ‘losers.” It deals in emotion and, because of its audience, has no need to pay attention to even the most obvious of facts. For an example, think of John Edwards’ “two Americas.” Edwards didn’t need to show that he cared about the unfortunate. His entire life demonstrates the opposite, that he is a peculiarly selfish and greedy individual. All he needed to do was stir up hatred for a shadowy group that (like him) were enormously rich. Obama’s pastor was the same. He spent his pastoral life slandering white people, and then retired to an exclusive and almost all-white enclave. He knew what he was saying was lies. His black church members were too full of the ill-will he created for whites to see that.

    It’s easy to see how stupid such people are. It takes a Jacque Ellul to point out a different sort of gullibility to propaganda, one that works best with those who regard themselves as intelligent and informed.

    This second technique is most effective among the educated or, as I like to put it, those “educated beyond their intelligence.” Someone who has been to college, who has a professional degree, and in particular someone who’s been to an elite university is indoctrinated to believe that he has a superior understanding of the world. He’s not really clever enough to do that–most people aren’t–so he comes up with the English like to call cribs, ways of cheating on life’s exams. That means collections of dogmas about the world that Orwell termed “smelly little orthodoxies.” Marxism was one of those dogmas, as is the current global warming hysteria. (Note how each wants to silence opponents.) Each is a prism that allows well-educated people to believe that they understand the world, that they can answer questions about which they really know nothing.

    Keep in mind that these people aren’t stupid in the usual sense. They may have gone to Yale and have higher IQs than an out-of-work coal miner. It’s the scope of what they claim to understand that gets them into trouble. The coal miner doesn’t pretend to understand global climate trends or the complex politics of the Middle East. He centers his beliefs on his personal experiences and some common sense maxims about like terrorism being wrong rather than the product of abstract ‘root causes.’ These educated people think they understand more than they do and develop a complex of traits to decide what is “true,” as well as to readjust their thinking when their dogmas are utterly discredited, as for instance when the war in Iraq turned around.

    Unfortunately, you display precisely that response in your split between Democrats representing ordinary people and Republicans being the party of the rich up until the 1980s. But what are the facts? The 1960 election pitted JFK, the son of one of the richest men in the country, with Nixon, whose family was too poor to send him to a prestigious university. Admitting those sorts of complexities would have destroyed the crib sheet by which you view the world, in this case one of rich versus poor. You may now be a critic of liberals and democrats, but you betray the same tendency they have to fit the world into wrong-headed boxes.

    Finally, keep in mind that both forms of propaganda become self-reinforcing. The suspicions that Obama’s pastor inflicted on his church members kept them away from whites and–important for him–multi-racial churches. In much the same fashion, the dogmas that the educated use to make sense of their world lead them to avoid anything that challenges their dogmas. Those who oppose global warming, for instance, are regarded as being paid off by oil companies. And when a dogma becomes impossible to defend, they don’t merely abandon it, they forget that they ever held that point of view. Because they define what they believe as superior, what they believe can’t be wrong. The central dogmas of white supremacy in American thought, for instance, were Darwinian and were formalized by a history professor at Columbia University.

    Of course, there are a few people who are able to make sense of the world. In my Chesterton on War and Peace, I describe how Chesterton was able to make sense of European politics and warn that they’d be a Hitler and a new war before Nazism existed. He also shredded the very same ideas you find in abundance today about Islamic terrorism.

    For instance, well-educated, highly intelligent people in his day regarded it as undeniably true that the world could create a League of Nations that would prevent war. In the early 1920s, Chesterton pointed out that their belief was denied by contemporary events. In the heart of Europe, Poland was in a desperate struggle with the Soviet Union, and yet the League was doing nothing. If the League couldn’t end a war in its own backyard, how could it stop all wars everywhere? Highly intelligent people never asked those sorts of questions because they didn’t fit with their dogmas about the world.

    One of Chesterton’s most useful techniques was to look for facts behind the events that spoke to the motives of those involved. Understand motives and inner drives, and you understand the future. He knew the Germans, so he knew they would start another war if not sternly resisted by an organization not like the League but like NATO.

    The same is true of our conflict with radical Islam. The coal miner in his simple but concrete world watching the Twin Towers fall on 9/11 understands the struggle we are in better than most of the faculty of Harvard. His mind isn’t as cluttered with contrived dogmas and he has no need conceal the growing array of facts that contradict those dogmas.

    I know this is a rough approximation of what Ellul was saying, but I hope you get the main point. Highly educated people are often foolish in how they view the world because they assume they aren’t foolish, that they have a magic key that explains everything. “Professing to be wise, they became fools,” is how Paul described them in Romans during a sexually debauched era much like our own.

    –Michael W. Perry, Seattle

    Comment by Michael W. Perry | June 3, 2009 | Reply

  12. “Unfortunately, you display precisely that response in your split between Democrats representing ordinary people and Republicans being the party of the rich up until the 1980s. But what are the facts? The 1960 election pitted JFK, the son of one of the richest men in the country, with Nixon, whose family was too poor to send him to a prestigious university. Admitting those sorts of complexities would have destroyed the crib sheet by which you view the world, in this case one of rich versus poor.”

    Who’s denying complexities? Revolutionary ideas have long been promulgated by disaffected members of the elite.

    I don’t view the world by a “crib sheet” of rich versus poor. The data is what it is. I even provided some links for you. Because the data is consistent with my own experience, I think it’s probably accurate. But if you have contrary information – by that I do not mean “complexities” or exceptions that prove the rule – bring it on. I’m not married to any particular set of statistics.

    I will admit that my conclusions are non-scientific. This is only a blog. I had some thoughts derived from 20+ years of relationships with people who fall into the liberal-educated-affluent category, and decided to blog them. I don’t claim to have a comprehensive explanation of the phenomenon.

    I’ll keep an eye open for Jacque Ellul’s book “Propaganda”. Sounds very interesting. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Comment by Blogmaster | June 3, 2009 | Reply

  13. I’d like to back up Jeff regarding the stereotypes in play about Republicans as the “party of the rich” vs. Democrats as the “party of regular folk and the underdog.”

    Now, that may not have been backed up by analysis of actual economic data, but those were most certainly the narratives and stereotypes I observed in action during the ’80′s as well.

    In fact, I found some amusement in them — everybody I knew growing up was a Republican, and we sure weren’t rich!

    peace,
    Zach

    Comment by Zach Frey | June 4, 2009 | Reply

  14. “Faith Like A Child”. Simplicity. Simple living. Gospel Poverty. Never taught at the “elite” institutions of “higher learning” due to the fact that generally, pursuit of the Narrow Path via Gospel Poverty is in direct contrast to the path the elite need us to travel in order to both control us and drive economic growth through consumerism. They are lonely and bored because they choose to fill what is, indeed, a spiritual void with toys, careers, time shares in Vail, lofty ambitions not rooted in Christ… and so forth. The reality is that they are not really discovering who they are – Children of God, made in His Image… tasked to be both obedient to His Law whilst dropping the their collective knees to give thanks for His Sacrifice. Pride is the source of this phenomenon. Not to mention the elimination of leisure as discussed by Josef Pieper (read “Leisure, The Basis Of Culture” – brilliant). The elite have created a culture where there is no time for reflection, no time for proper discernment. Their communities lack anything spiritual – just look at the modern churches being built all over the world – modernism and liberalism have combined to poison the pool of Catholic Culture. I strongly recommend both books by John Senior – “The Death of Christian Culture” followed by “The Restoration of Christian Culture”.

    Comment by james | June 5, 2009 | Reply

  15. “Strangely, this “liberal guilt” usually translates into political and social activism rather than personal acts of charity towards their family, neighbors, and community. The attention they might otherwise have given to people whom they know and love is converted to an obsession with the suffering of the world, in the abstract.”

    Wow, does that describe my parents exactly.

    Comment by today-anonymous | June 19, 2009 | Reply

  16. Jeff:

    I think it was Alice Von Hildebrand who noted once that the difference between the physically blind and the morally blind is that the man who is physically blind KNOWS he can’t see, while the morally blind man KNOWS he sees better than the rest of us poor pond scum. She may have been quoting someone, so if I’ve not attributed the comment properly, please forgive my addled brain. I wonder if something similar can’t be said of the so-called elites which you describe. They don’t see the obvious contradiction in their own actions:

    1) Sympathetic to environmentalist causes and sincerely wanting to reduce global warming, they nonetheless drive gas-guzzling SUVs (Sub Urban Visigoths, I call them).

    2) Believing sincerely that Americans over-consume, they have two children and two homes. Each child has his own car, his own cell phone, his own television,.etc., and no friends who aren’t connected to fast-buzz internet.

    More examples abound.

    Comment by Chris Garton-Zavesky | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  17. hmmm. i think the dudes pretty much right. however if the libererals are so intelligant (which they are since they have risen to the level of elitism) then how come they dont see that basic liberal values and systems have failed every time it has been tried up to this point in history? 1, they either realize this and blame problems outside the system for its failure, and sincerely believe that successful of socialism is possible
    2, they do realize this and desire to gain power and influence among piers by rising to prominance in this gargantuan liberal movemnt sweeping over civilized western society, disregarding the responsibility of doing the greatest good they can for the world or at least for their country
    or 3, they dont really think about the ramifications of their political beliefs and go along with the flow of other intellectuals supposing that since these intellectuals are more involved than they, they must be right. this alieviates them of their liberal gulit. this i believe is the case with most rich super stars (actors popstars, eetc).

    i have sympathy for group 1 if they are truly honest in their believes and are willing to change their view if they see the liberal system’s inevitable falicies. it is when group 2 and 3 come together as it has in todays america, that serious problems arise and if the system is supported and inherintaly wrong, we will see a demise if not an earthshaking crash into poverty and subserviance to another systme/power that actual has its shit together. america in its time of power has screwed multiple countries over in its realpolitic and oppurtunist capatalistic practices. countries such as jamaica who suffer from real poverty and hurt (and we think we know poverty). but thats a whole nother territory. the point is that humans having a capacity for great evil will, when practicing unrestrained capitilism, hurt other humans in order to maximize profits. so capatalism while absolutely beneficial for an individual country can be hoffirfic for another country and extreme success in one country often translates into extreme poverty in another or others. while liberalism which is detrimental to a country only weakens itself and takes its country out of ability to do anything but survive until it gets crushed by a more powerful country.
    So in conclusion, if regarded in a utilitarian standpoint (point of view which says we should do the most good for the greatest number of people) Liberalism sucks pond water (as my old history used to say), Capatilism is neutral, since it generates much good and much bad, and perfect benevolant autocracy is the ultimate in political systems of the world….. at least until someone comes up with something better than perfect autocracy (which is impossible unless conducted by the perfect being – which is the basic theory of eternal heaven in the christian doctrine o – God, of course, being the perfect being)…
    haha so theres my thoughts – hope they make sense. i actually did some writing myself on intelligance today but on a much grander scale than measly politics. who knew such a stinky thing could affect so many people, and why oh why is the world politics so close to the word politic.i mean seriously, anything but

    Comment by Wingspan | September 29, 2009 | Reply

  18. What’s wrong with the idea of ALL people being equal/having equal opportunity?

    I know this blog is your opinion but are you seriously saying that it is alright to not allow everyone the same rights? America is based on that principle that all are created EQUALLY. No one should be given rights that others are not. That has nothing to do with education, that is just plain common sense.

    Comment by Derrick | December 30, 2009 | Reply

  19. What a shame. Your blog begins with admirable humility and objectivity, then descends into a conventional morass of right wing stereotyping. Having characterized society’s elites as above average in education and intelligence, you assert that these qualities are irrelevent and that good old fashioned, “gritty” common sense conservatism provides better outcomes. One would think that the failure of thirty years of “Ronald Reagan” conservatism would have elicited more caution.
    I might have continued reading anyway, hoping for occasional nuggets of rationality and perceptiveness. You do have a pleasant way with words (unlike many of those posting comments here). Unfortunately you can’t resist creating imaginary foils for your arguments. You portray liberals as naive, emotional dilettantes, who base their worldview on feelings and wishful thinking rather than the hard-headed realism that informs conservatives. “Our elites,” you summarize, “believe that intelligent, well-planned, universal solutions exist for all problems.” No, this is not the case. We liberals believe that intelligent, well planned action can be used to address every problem and that, in general, this is preferable to doing nothing or allowing self-serving provincialism to determine events. Case in point: history shows unequivocally that private, voluntary charity is an inadequate response to poverty, while cooperative initiatives like Social Security can achieve notable success. The reason that Social Security has been a reliable “third rail” of politics is that it works!
    Have fun with your blog. I notice that there were no comments from liberals other than my own. Wonder why?

    Comment by AJ Hill | March 26, 2010 | Reply

  20. The author of this article has definitely proved that he is not an ‘elite’ when it comes to intelligence. Stay happy in your little Christian conservative world and stop psycho analyzing the ‘elites’. Your little brains are not built for that. The other comments have also re affirmed my observation that intelligence and conservatives just cannot exist together.

    Comment by Amanda | February 22, 2012 | Reply

    • Amanda,

      Please take this as a serious question: what in the responses you have read here, and in the original post, do you sa evidence that intelligence and conservatives can’t exist together?

      Comment by Chris | January 17, 2014 | Reply


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