Obamacare architect and Administration consigliere Jonathan Gruber came under fire recently when video surfaced in which he called the American body politic ‘stupid’. At about the same time, the post-election edition of Willamette Week reported that one of its editors Tweeted during Election night, as Democrat candidates were being ejected from office left and right, that “The tree of Liberty must be watered from time to time with the drool of people too stupid to vote in their own interest.” It occurred to me that the two events were related.
Leaving aside snarky allusions to the intelligence of people who willingly vote Democrat, Dr. Gruber and the WW editor illustrate a point.
Once beyond Maslow’s Hierarchy, humans exhibit a wide range of talents, abilities, ambitions, and morality. The fact is that some people are more capable of providing for themselves than others. Prior to the establishment of complex civilization, life choices were limited. If you couldn’t hunt, gather, or provide some service essential to the performance of the first two, you didn’t live long. One of the benefits of civilization was the expansion of the envelope of viability for the less capable members. And overall, this has been a positive outcome. Even the meanest intellect can find a place, along with dignity and self-worth, among the thousands of jobs a complex society requires to function.
The Progressives, or the Left, have probably been around since time began, or at least the time when the Earth’s human population was greater than two. The Progressive’s political marketing position has been as the Everyman’s Party. The party for ‘The Little Guy’. The party for the ‘vulnerable’, the ‘disadvantaged’, the ‘marginalized’. All of which is really another way of saying they purport to represent the less capable.
Except Progressives can’t say that. Nobody is going to vote for you if you call them stupid. This creates a cognitive dissonance among the Progressive leadership manifesting itself as contempt for the very people they claim to represent. So when Dr. Gruber characterized the American electorate as ‘stupid’, he was describing, albeit in bald terms, the Democrat base. Harsh, sure. Relatively accurate, yes. The term ‘useful idiots’ wasn’t coined for nothing.
Which brings us to the WW editor’s comment. If you are a Progressive True Believer, it’s literally inconceivable that you would vote against the Party That Gives You Stuff. If someone struggles to make a living in Western society (an admittedly low bar), they have every reason to want someone else to take away from producers and give to them. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, though, a bare majority of people do want to make it on their own: a concept seemingly lost on that particular editor. Not everyone is content to accept whatever someone else gives them. There is no dignity in hand-outs, no self-esteem in charity.
I watch a fair amount of sports, and with sports on TV comes commercials. If it weren’t’ for beer, cars, and erectile dysfunction medications, I don’t know where American sports leagues would get their money.
A few months ago Nissan had a spot for its Rogue, and I was amused whenever it aired. Not for the content, but for the disclaimers that appeared under each scene in the commercial.
If I recall correctly, the commercial showed a young woman driving the product with a carpool full of people, and apparently impatient to get to work (or wherever), she takes some shortcuts. She weaves through traffic, ramps a train, rides on top for a bit, then jumps off onto the street, arriving at her destination. Her passengers seem relatively unfazed by this ride, as if jumping on trains in a car were a common occurrence. I do not want to live where these people live.
Professional driver. Closed course. Do not attempt.
Fantasy (ramping the train). Do not attempt.
Fantasy (riding the train). Cars cannot jump on trains. Do not attempt.
Still professional driver on closed course. Do not attempt.
Perhaps I am easily amused, but I found the disclaimers more entertaining than the commercial.
At some point the National Football League decided that October would be ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’, and players during the month would wear pink shoes, towels, socks, what have you. But I don’t recall a single feminine hygiene product commercial during the month during a game. If you’re going to be down with the struggle, man, get down.