Monday, July 19, 2010

Victor Davis Hanson on the Postmodern Cultural Elites

Victor Davis Hanson offers a meditation on five things about our self-appointed, so-called cultural elites that are just so irritating. It boils down to their lack of ability to separate truth from their fantasy world or to see the logical conclusions that must flow from their preferred policies, especially as they are so far removed from the realities of how things are made, how their food finds its way to their tables, etc. They don't even appear to suffer from any form of cognitive dissonance at all from the contradictions that they must deal with in their daily lives.

Professor Hanson on number five, the logic deficit:


There is little logic among the cultural elite, maybe because there is little omnipresent fear of job losses or the absence of money, and so arises a rather comfortable margin to indulge in nonsense. The idea that taxes cause scarcity, and subsidy abundance is a foreign concept. The notion that entitlements create dependency is considered Neanderthal. Tough penalties supposedly do not deter crime. Abroad, military preparedness or deterrence pales in comparison to “soft” diplomatic power and clever talking. Borrowing trillions is “stimulus” and need not quite be paid back. In other words, take a deep breath and imagine the opposite of everything you know by experience to be true, and you have mostly the worldview of the sheltered cultural elite, who navigate in rather protected channels and not in the open seas of the real world.

Read the whole thing, of course.

Update: From the comments, Mike McDaniel has some excellent insights along the same lines. PIO: Practical. Industrious. Optimistic. These are the characteristics of the kind of Americans that get things done. Not those who govern us right now. He calls this the PIO loop, like John Boyd's OODA loop (getting inside your opponents decision cycle and acting faster than he can).


Here are a few examples: Problem: Spending too much money. PIO solution: Quit spending money(!), perhaps work extra hours to make more and save more, know that this will reduce debt. Of course, for the elite, such as liberal economist Paul Krugman–he’s a Nobel laureate you know, if you don’t believe it, just ask him or the New York Times–such solutions are too pedestrian. Taxing, spending and borrowing previously unimaginable sums is the only solution. Why can’t the rabble see that? Problem: Oil spill in the Gulf. PIO Solution: Get people who know what they’re doing and plug the damned thing, fast. Work around the clock to do it. Pull out all the stops to waive any obstructing rule, obtain whatever equipment and personnel are required to contain the oil and clean it up. Worry about assigning blame later. Once that’s decided and the right people are working, there is every reason to believe it will get done, done right and done fast. But for the elite, action consists of endless talking, appointing commissions comprised of people who have no specific knowledge applicable to the task like Dr. Chu–he won the Nobel prize too!–press releases, and engaging every niggling, pencil-necked federal agency possible to dissemble, obstruct and hamstring the people who are actually trying to do the work. Blame and threaten everybody in sight, act macho and threaten to put your expensive, dainty little boots on the well-muscled necks of people who know what they’re doing. Travel to the Gulf and set up photo ops of you, looking concerned while touching and staring at apparently oil soiled sand. Send your wife to the gulf. Be sure that she’s wearing a dress that looks as though it has been soiled with oil (style and theme are important!), and set up a press conference on a beach so the dumber folks understand all the work your advance people went to for the proper, symbolic setting. Then go on vacation and be sure to provide a separate jet for your dog. And the well is finally capped, apparently through the insights of a plumber, a guy who, every day, lives PIO.

That's not all. Go and read it.

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2 comments:

Harry said...

For the left it is never about reality, logic, or common sense. They know this and don't care. Because the entire philosophy is based on acquiring and exercising power, they don't need to rely on anything but a well executed marketing plan. An emotional appeal in favor of a plan (to acquire power) and an equally emotional appeal to denigrate an opponent is all that is needed.

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