Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Best. Comment. Ever.

Wretchard has posted an 'open thread' on the Kyoto Climate negotiations. In the comments he writes:
Many of President Bush's policies are not particularly brilliant. Many of them are obvious responses that any ordinary person could come up with. The real mystery is not 'why is President Bush so clever' but rather why are apparently clever and well educated people, like the 'Win Without War' and the 'Kyoto Protocol' people so dumb? When you observe President Bush you see what you expect: a normal man muddling along. But when you see the other set you are confronted by the almost an unaccountable spectacle of dumbing down.

To which Tigerhawk (his blog is here) responds:
Wretchard - re your comment (the strange dumbing down of the anti-Bush left):

The affluence of the last thirty-five years (roughly), has created a new phenomenon in the world: a class of highly educated people who do not aspire in their careers or in business, but in their activism. Cities like New York and Washington (especially Washington) are filled with people doing menial jobs to support themselves sufficiently so that they can do the non-remunerative activity that most interests them. A lot of these people are "social change" advocates. The result is that they are smart enough to be aware of the broader world in a detailed way, but utterly unschooled in everyday things that any ambitious accountant learns on the job, such as how organizations make decisions or react to stimuli.

Ann Coulter, who is a very witty woman whether you agree with her or not, was once asked why "talk radio" was so conservative. "Because people listened to it when driving to their jobs. The activists are so "dumb" because they are not ordinary people. They have structured their lives in a very unordinary way.

And don't forget the role of resentment. Many of these activists might have gone on to become lawyers or doctors or successful "symbolic analysts" of one sort or another, but affirmatively chose to save the world instead. This gives them an almost fatal sense of superiority. It is reflected both in their contempt for the common man (hence their lack of interest in economic growth and their hatred of mass consumer culture) and their hatred of the very ordinary George W. Bush.

How very insightful. The success and wealth of our liberal democratic society has created such insulation, such a false sense of the End of History, that many forget that there are still wolves out there. The "Win Without War" crowd is the hallmark of this, as articulated by Lee Harris' forgetfulness.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe....

They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish....

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the enemy. That, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn't done enough for yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part--something that we could correct....

Our first task is therefore to try to grasp what the concept of the enemy really means. The enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the enemy always hates us for a reason, it is his reason, and not ours.

(From the preface of his book Civilization and Its Enemies)

UPDATE: A reader emails:
And these social activist while dumb in reality of business and growth are smart in media use; the media is either 1) so blinded by their own bias or 2) so lazy that their reports heavily rely upon what the social activist are protesting.

Unfortunately, very true.


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