Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The "Educated Class": As Seen From The NY Times

I thought a bit about writing this but after reading David Brooks column several times today, in between other real things that got done, I found myself back at it again. It was an upsetting piece because it defined the "educated class" by what they believe in as a group rather than what they have accomplished as "educated" people. This is the typical New York left wing view of intellectuals. Unless one lines up with a predefined belief set then one is not "educated" no matter how many PhDs, MDs, etc you may have from Tier 1 universities.

Yes, Mr. Brooks, an educated person may have differing ideas from you and from me. You and I , Sir, may readily differ and frankly I cannot say whether you are educated or not. I do not know. You write for the local newspaper, you get paid by our tax dollars for talking on the PBS stations, and you opine on things which may or may not be important or even correct. But educated, Sir, I really do not know. You, Sir, appear to have but an undergraduate degree from Chicago, and Sir, you appear to be minimally "educated" as such would be defined in common use or practice.

Brooks states in his article today:

"The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year.

The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.

The story is the same in foreign affairs. The educated class is internationalist, so isolationist sentiment is now at an all-time high, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The educated class believes in multilateral action, so the number of Americans who believe we should “go our own way” has risen sharply.

A year ago, the Obama supporters were the passionate ones. Now the tea party brigades have all the intensity.

The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy — with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation."

Now to Brooks, the educated class "believes" in global warming. That is truly baseless. A significant section of those with some education may "believe" in it but if one were to be truly educated then one would not believe in it, like, for example, one believes in Peter Pan. For Mr Brooks, Sir, the educated would have a factual basis upon which they present their arguments., and after having a factual base they would apply logic, Sir, logic and reasoning, Sir, and from that reach a conclusion.

For Sir, that is the essence of an educated person. They use facts and logic., not belief. Even Aquinas took such an approach, for his philosophy, Sir, combined facts and logic, and logic for his time, Aristotelian, building on Abelard and his predecessors. There is a method to the understanding and analysis of the educated class, Sir. The problem, Sir, is that you said what you meant, they believe. Perhaps, Sir, they also believe in the tooth fairy, yet that belief does not make it exist, nor does that belief make those who hold that belief educated. The contrary is the fact Sir.

You continue, Sir, to state that the educated are internationalists and are seekers of multilateral action. Frankly, Sir, many of the educated like it very much in this country the way it is, Sir, and they may be seekers of open markets subject to certain equities but are far from internationalists. As for multilateral action, there are times when a nation is attacked that unilateral action is mandated, and then let one see who else is in line. Pre-emptive attacks, however, may be a totally different issue, so I do differ with the Bush doctrine. But Sir, to state that anyone who is not an internationalist is uneducated is itself prima facie proof of being uneducated.

And the tea party, well Sir, one need look no further than Andrew Jackson, he of the battle of New Orleans and of the duels and other manly acts, not to mention the atrocities to the native Americans, for he was in many ways part of a similar movement, yet the educated hold him dear, just look at Schlesinger.

Thus to Mr. Brooks I say, define what you mean by "educated", for that is the first step of any educated person, and look to determine that your definition has merit, and then go from there. Positing the way you do Sir, well it is just, how best to say it, uneducated!
Is big business, banks, government and the like merging to create a single oligarchy to deprive mankind of their rights. Shades of Galbraith, Sir, shades of Galbraith. Except this time they threw the true culprit in the mix, the government.