Monday, August 1, 2016

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

In a recent editorial piece in the NY Times states:

Stupidity is not an accusation that could be hurled against such prominent early Republicans as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root and Charles Evans Hughes. But by the 1950s, it had become an established shibboleth that the “eggheads” were for Adlai Stevenson and the “boobs” for Dwight D. Eisenhower — a view endorsed by Richard Hofstadter’s 1963 book “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” which contrasted Stevenson, “a politician of uncommon mind and style, whose appeal to intellectuals overshadowed anything in recent history,” with Eisenhower — “conventional in mind, relatively inarticulate.” The John F. Kennedy presidency, with its glittering court of Camelot, cemented the impression that it was the Democrats who represented the thinking men and women of America. Rather than run away from the anti-intellectual label, Republicans embraced it for their own political purposes. In his “time for choosing” speech, Ronald Reagan said that the issue in the 1964 election was “whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant Capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.” Richard M. Nixon appealed to the “silent majority” and the “hard hats,” while his vice president, Spiro T. Agnew, issued slashing attacks on an “effete core of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.”

Now Hofstadter is a well know left wing Communi9st supporting Catholic hating pseudo intellectual from Columbia University, and I will let you know how I really feel later. But Regan had a point. It is the very distinction between Individualism versus Progressivism. Progressivism is fundamentally a belief that there is a small select group, often the Public Intellectuals, who single-highhandedly have insight and that the people are clueless sheep and need to be guided. Individualism is a belief that we are all equal, with equal rights under the law and can participate in our political life equally.

The Progressives seem to have the singular belief that they are the High Priests of our Government, and that their insight must be accepted as if it were ex-catherdra.

Hofstadter's book Anti-Intellectualism is a rant against anyone who does not accept his almost dive view of how people should live. From high upon Morningstar Heights he condemned all Catholics, as well as any and all Republicans, and those not agreeing with him. Frankly anyone who examines the facts of Eisenhower and his contribution to the survival of this Country during both the 40s and 50s and then compare it to Stevenson, there is no comparison. The irony of course was when Hofstadter was screaming Eisenhower was President of Columbia!

The left, as exemplified by the Russian author of this article, seem to have a total and in a sense malignant detachment from what has made the US a formidable bastion of individual liberty. Perhaps a scan of Toynbee. Or better look back to Aristotle and his three types of good Government and three types of bad.

For Good Aristotle states:

1. Monarchy
2. Aristocracy
3. Polity, namely a representative Government of the people

For Bad Aristotle said:

1. Tyrant
2. Oligarch
3. Democracy

We left the top two of Good for the third. We should abandon all the bad, for the top two there is what appears to be the case in Russia. Thus one should ask; is a Progressive elite Intellectualism an Aristocracy or Oligarchy, or just another form of Tyranny?

Well I guess it is election time again.

For those intellectuals, I provide Aristotle's Politics Book 3 Chapter 10:

There is also a doubt as to what is to be the supreme power in the state:—Is it the multitude? Or the wealthy? Or the good? Or the one best man? Or a tyrant? Any of these alternatives seems to involve disagreeable consequences. If the poor, for example, because they are more in number, divide among themselves the property of the rich—is not this unjust? No, by heaven (will be the reply), for the supreme authority justly willed it. But if this is not injustice, pray what is? Again, when in the first division all has been taken, and the majority divide anew the property of the minority, is it not evident, if this goes on, that they will ruin the state? Yet surely, virtue is not the ruin of those who possess her, nor is justice destructive of a state; and therefore this law of confiscation clearly cannot be just. If it were, all the acts of a tyrant must of necessity be just; for he only coerces other men by superior power, just as the multitude coerce the rich. But is it just then that the few and the wealthy should be the rulers? And what if they, in like manner, rob and plunder the people—is this just? If so, the other case will likewise be just. But there can be no doubt that all these things are wrong and unjust. Then ought the good to rule and have supreme power? But in that case everybody else, being excluded from power, will be dishonoured. For the offices of a state are posts of honour; and if one set of men always hold them, the rest must be deprived of them. Then will it be well that the one best man should rule? Nay, that is still more oligarchical, for the number of those who are dishonoured is thereby increased. Some one may say that it is bad in any case for a man, subject as he is to all the accidents of human passion, to have the supreme power, rather than the law. But what if the law itself be democratical or oligarchical, how will that help us out of our difficulties? Not at all; the same consequences will follow.

Perhaps my Russian emigre may want to reconsider his intellectualism.