No, I Don’t Want To Be Like Europe, Paul Krugman

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

No, I don’t want to learn from Europe. And this is why:

5. Although Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark are among Europe’s wealthiest countries, as U.S. states they would be between 14.5% and 18% below the U.S. average.

Go read the whole thing. Also this.

These are just financial, quality of life reasons I don’t want to learn from Europe. There are also cultural reasons I don’t want to learn from Europe.

When I visited Washington, D.C. and saw the mind of Thomas Jefferson writ large in the Library of Congress, I knew that I would never be embarrassed about American culture ever again. The Library, along with the D.C. architecture holds knowledge and learning and ideas that vestiges of European monarchies can only dream about.

Go to any major American city and take in the opera or the orchestra. Hell, go to any church in America. You’ll hear the sounds that make up the music of a free life.

Visit New York City and see what upward mobility means. Travel through the rolling, vast plains of the midwest and see the neat farmers fields that feed the world.

I’m not knocking Europe. Paris is the most romantic city in the world, bar none. Britain has history going back thousands of years. I get it.

Still, America’s elites need to stop foisting this b.s. about what America can learn from Europe. The only thing America should be learning is what happens when socialism comes knocking at the door. Europe should be a warning about what NOT to do when you have wealth and prosperity.

Are you sick of being lectured by these guys yet?

Elites, Pseudo-Intellectualism, & Language

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Wow, Washington, D.C. is filled with preening, sanctimonious a-holes. Drunk on their own intellectualism and stunned into self-reflective absorption, the only thing that matters to this collective Narcissus is vainglory. This assessment includes conservatives and Republicans, by the way.

I read Andy McCarthy’s dissent from the National Review Online editorial about Sarah Palin and “death panels” and thought: they still don’t get it. “They” being the Conservative Intelligentsia which includes Think Tank leaders, Congressmen and Senators, etc. First, here’s what Andy concluded:

I think Palin was right to argue her point aggressively. Largely because she did, a horrible provision is now out of this still horrible Obamacare proposal. To the contrary, if the argument had been made the way the editors counsel this morning, “end-of-life counseling” would still be in the bill. We might have impressed the Beltway with the high tone of our discourse and the suppleness of our reasoning, but we’d have lost the public. I respectfully dissent.

Well, Andy is being far more respectful than I feel at this point.

You know, you can be intelligent, possess intellectual subtlety and a Webster-esque vocabulary, and still be ignorant and unwise. Conversely, just because a person speaks plainly and uses common language does not mean the person is stupid.

The smartest guy I have ever met attended Chiropractic college with me. He was a genius. He has a photographic and audio memory, but more than that, he can integrate the information in a meaningful way. And most impressive, he could teach what he knew simply without ever making the student feel stupid. He was my peer and a friend and he’d tutor a group of us (he was a semester ahead) from time to time. He was patient, never condescending and spoke plainly.

Who likes being treated like an idiot? No one. And yet, the Left and Liberals in general, speak to the American people like they’re morons. The absolute worst is Al Gore. The most insulting thing is the guy ain’t that smart and he comes across as a doltish buffoon and still has the nerve to lecture stupid Americans. It’s annoying.

And so, rather than engage Sarah Palin on the merits, even the editors at the National Review get lost in what they consider hyperbole. Elites hate hyperbole (except when they’re employing it to chastise the masses into using fluorescent lighting). The form-police ignore the substance because the messenger doesn’t have an air of hauteur and the Ivy league parchment required to engage in the “conversation”.

Oh blech.

Intellectualism is not on trial here. Pseudo-intellectuals who discredit valid opinions because they find the form bothersome is on trial. Also, the inability to write or talk plainly is on trial here.

Chief Justice John Roberts possesses a few admirable traits: He has a towering intellect. He has humility. He has grace. His opinions are straight-forward and written plainly. He makes his opinions understandable. This all demonstrates his intelligence rather than diminishing it. It also demonstrates empathy. He could, easily, write using complex language and arcane vocabulary, but that would serve only to aggrandize himself at the expense of the understanding of those with whom he communicates.

Too many in Washington, D.C. desire to sound smart over being smart. So laws and bills are convoluted, pages long, and complex. Editorials are snark-filled, eviscerating vanity [hello Maureen Dowd].

And through this wordy haze, the substance is lost.

The American people are not stupid rubes who need to be guided to enlightenment by their betters. The American people do recognize that there are experts in diverse fields in the government and media. They want those experts to speak plainly and argue the substance understandably. This is not too much to ask.

I hear D.C. insiders sniff about populist impulses. Their fears are laughable. These very same insiders condescend to those whom they ostensibly serve, treating them like no more than dull-witted peasants. This is a Republic not a constitutional monarchy. The representatives actually are supposed to represent people not command them. If there are populist embers burning, the insiders should spend some more time doing what they love: looking in the mirror. Any populist impulses are a reaction to obnoxious elites, not the other way around.

So, Congressmen and the press react in horror at American outrage. Why is everyone so angry? Well, this question just demonstrates dull-wittedness. How long would you, Mr. Smartypants Inside-the-Beltway person like someone to call you stupid overtly or imply it through your arts (Hollywood’s dystopian representation of American culture), your opinions and your laws? Yeah, you’d be pissed off, too, to use the common vernacular.

Enough, already. Americans deserve better than this from their leaders. By being too smart by half, the insiders end up sounding all stupid. Perhaps a return to more straight-forward actions, simpler language and respect for the voter will mend the relationship that is broken. It’s going to take a while, though. And it’s probably going to take new leaders who aren’t so far removed from those whom they serve.


Sunday, March 8th, 2009

On David Frum: Stop Base-Baiting
Frum is a tool. Ace makes easy work of him.