Article By Stuart Schwartz
Ignorance. You gotta love it, because “ignorance” — as seen by elitists — is what will save the United States. Washington needs citizens of average intelligence who can take back government, a horde of drooling dimwits — the kind that needs to be “nudged” into officially certified behavior by government dictate, says Obama’s regulation czar and Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein — to save it from the “smart” people. We’re talking here of outside-the-Beltway dimwits that Time magazine columnist Joe Klein calls “too dumb to thrive” without the guidance of government-sanctioned behavior and policies such as carbon taxes, internet content restricted by regulation, and laws governing what and how much to eat.
Are you out of your mind, you ask? You want to turn Washington over to ordinary people, the stupid people “with short attention spans,” as the sage of Yale — also known as Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts — sees them? Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yes, because those considered dimwitted by our elites — ordinary people with ordinary lives and ordinary education — are savvy enough to defy what passes for wisdom in the New York-Washington corridor and recover both the soul and sense of a nation.
In other words, it is time to chase Harvard and Princeton and Berkeley out of the public square. It is time to realize that our educated elites have brought about an upside-down nation, the bulk of which slides into stagnation while they live large and lament, as did the president, the “modest” salary of $172,000 paid by taxpayers (whose average family income is less than a third of that sum) to one of his White House aides. You see, they are smarter than us; they deserve to be rewarded for the hard work of “transforming” our behaviors, attitudes, and values. Obama marched into Washington with 22 of his first 35 appointments from Ivy League and other elite schools, vowing that the greatest collection of smarts ever to hit the executive branch would transform a nation deserving of little but serial apology until his Million-Brain-Cell March on Washington.
Sounds good, in theory: “So the first shall be first, and the last shall be last” — straight from the Harvard Living Bible. Never mind that every program put in place by the Obama intelligentsia fails the common sense test first offered by Ronald Reagan in his campaign against Jimmy Carter: Are you, the target of these policies, better off than you were when President Carter…er, Obama was elected? Only 17% of the nation said “yes” last month, Gallup reported, which means that the other 83% are not employed by the White House, the New York Times, or network news divisions.
So the solutions of Obama’s intellectual elite don’t work. Why, then, do they keep their jobs? Because in Obama’s America, membership in an official elite trumps commonsense solutions, fact-based knowledge, and Judeo-Christian respect for individuals. Our elite universities and those who aspire to elite status have failed us, as one Pajamas Media blogger put it, by building an educational culture “obsessed with xenocentrism, multiculturalism, and a politically correct brand of social consciousness.” They have strayed from the foundation that has made the United States what Reagan (whose Eureka College degree would disqualify him from any Obama White House job that doesn’t involve applying shoe polish) reminded us has been a “shining city on a hill” to the world.
The result: failed schools, sciences polluted by political correctness, and a centralized government regulating entrepreneurialism out of the economy and freedom out of the culture. Even Russia shakes its head at what it calls an “American descent into [the] Marxism” that destroyed lives and dreams for generations in the Soviet Union. From education to culture to government, what has pushed us to crisis? Commentator Victor David Hanson points out that the “constant here is equating wisdom with a certificate of graduation from a prestigious school.” He compared the “huge and diverse” experiences of the majority of Americans to “the world of our credentialed experts,” which “is quite small, warped[,] and monotonous.”
And remarkably prideful. For almost a century, the academics who inherited great educational centers have steered them onto the shoals of hubris. Arrogance: We know what’s best for you because we’re certified intellectuals. And so the world-class Harvard Medical School turns to policy and produces the “death panels” of Obama health care policy; the same academics who turned the rigorous strengths of Duke University in the humanities into “political correctness and radical academic programs” are now using taxpayer dollars to promote an “ant-covered Christ, nudity, [and] gay incest” as fine art; and a century of science expertise at Princeton University has morphed into policy that views handicapped infants as socially undesirable, a stance that shapes the Obama White House push to cut back on medical care to those who contribute less to “the common good” (the words of health policy czar Ezekiel Emanuel). These are just a few examples from an administration that prides itself on intellectual heft, beginning with a president who — as American Thinker’s Larrey Anderson notes — doesn’t include humility in his definition of “smart.”
The Obama presidency has mashed down the accelerator on a half-century of national drift toward a tyranny of the intellectual, a soft dictatorship of the officially “intelligent.” What now? Needed, perhaps, is a return to the spiritual roots of a nation that, from the beginning, recognized that all individuals — even those who didn’t go to college or attended less-than-elite schools — are “endowed by their Creator” with rights and abilities. Perhaps it is time to return to the wisdom of the officially “ignorant.” Instead of the Harvard Living Bible or the Saudi-financed Yale Talmud, pull from the divine wisdom that inspired our founders: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
In practice, this means that instead of returning ROTC to prestigious schools, former Republican defense department undersecretary Jed Babbin suggests that the military should look to the “thousands of great colleges around the nation” that are not part of the Ivy League and whose students are not “indoctrinated in contempt for your nation, its history and values[.]” In health care, return responsibility to the millions of practitioners on the front lines, the overwhelming majority of whom have not been trained at the “best” schools. Obama’s Washington views them as ignorant, but in the real and local world of health care professionals and patient relationships, that “ignorance” has built the best health care system in the world.
Stuart Schwartz, a regular AT contributor, is on the faculty of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.