Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘elitism’

Sen. Hirono: “We Democrats know so much”

Posted by Richard on December 6, 2018

Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

Sen. Mazie Hirono suggested Tuesday that Democrats have a hard time connecting with voters because their breadth of knowledge tends to turn people off.

The Hawaii Democrat made the comment during a discussion at the “Bend Towards Justice” conference in Washington when she was asked by Slate editor Dahlia Lithwick how to make the judicial system a top campaign issue for voters.

“One of the things that we Democrats have a really hard time is connecting to people’s hearts instead of here,” Ms. Hirono responded, pointing at her head, according to a clip flagged by the Republic National Committee. “We’re really good at shoving out all the information that touch people here [points to the brain] but not here [points to the heart].”

R-i-ight. Because calling everyone who disagrees with you a racist or fascist is such a cerebral way to resolve policy disagreements. Because shouting “you’re starving children” and “you’re killing old people” is such a cerebral way to resolve budget battles involving less than 1/2% of federal spending. Because fleeing to safe spaces with coloring books, rainbows, and unicorns is such a cerebral way for college students and faculty to cope with the threat of hearing ideas that challenge them. Because trotting out “victims” with tear-jerking tales of woe is such a cerebral way of debating the merits of proposed legislation.

“We have to kind of tell everyone how smart we are, and so we have a tendency to be very left-brain,” the senator added.

Add Ms. Hirono: “We Democrats know so much” it can alienate voters.

I turn to the wisdom of Ronaldus Magnus:

It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.

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Researchers discover climate change skeptics aren’t ignorant

Posted by Richard on June 4, 2012

Everyone knows — at least among the liberal elite — that the people who question or reject the “settled science” of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are ignorant yahoos, right? Well, no. Not according to Yale University researchers who examined the “science literacy” and “numeracy” of climate change skeptics and true believers. It turns out that climate change skeptics are pretty scientifically literate and able to understand quantitative information.

The published information doesn’t reveal just how skeptics and true believers compare in their knowledge of science and ability to reason with numbers (a telling omission), but it’s clear that the results don’t conform to the prejudices of the cognoscenti. And the statements of one of the researchers suggest that (oh, the horror!) the skeptics may be more scientifically literate than the true believers (emphasis added):

“The aim of the study was to test two hypotheses,” said Dan Kahan, Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School and a member of the study team. “The first attributes political controversy over climate change to the public’s limited ability to comprehend science, and the second, to opposing sets of cultural values. The findings supported the second hypothesis and not the first,” he said.

… The results of the study were consistent with previous studies that show that individuals with more egalitarian values disagree sharply with individuals who have more individualistic ones on the risks associated with nuclear power, gun possession, and the HPV vaccine for school girls.

“In effect,” Kahan said, “ordinary members of the public credit or dismiss scientific information on disputed issues based on whether the information strengthens or weakens their ties to others who share their values. At least among ordinary members of the public, individuals with higher science comprehension are even better at fitting the evidence to their group commitments.”

So does the same reasoning apply to the scientists who’ve created the “consensus” about AGW — could they also be “fitting the evidence to their group commitments”? Could that explain the faking of the hockey stick and the fudging of data revealed in the leaked Hadley CRU emails? Of course not:

Kahan said that the study supports no inferences about the reasoning of scientific experts in climate change.

As for us “ordinary members of the public,” the “consensus” scientists have an explanation for our troubling insistence on doubting the “scientific consensus” despite our scientific literacy and numeracy (emphasis added):

Researcher Ellen Peters of Ohio State University said that people who are higher in numeracy and science literacy usually make better decisions in complex technical situations, but the study clearly casts doubt on the notion that the more you understand science and math, the better decisions you’ll make in complex and technical situations. “What this study shows is that people with high science and math comprehension can think their way to conclusions that are better for them as individuals but are not necessarily better for society.”

So if you’re scientifically literate and numerate and you accept the “consensus” view of AGW, it’s because that’s what’s best for society. But if you’re scientifically literate and numerate and you reject the “consensus” view of AGW, it’s because you’re a selfish bastard.

Glad we got that straightened out. I thought I was just an ignorant yahoo.

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Kansas farmer puts former crackhead NYTimes columnist in his place

Posted by Richard on June 29, 2011

If you've been cruising the interwebs, by now you know about New York Times columnist David Carr's contemptuous reference to those of us in flyover country as people with "low-sloping foreheads." You may even know, thanks to Ann Althouse, that the supercilious Carr is an admitted former crackhead.

But you may have missed, in that Althouse post, the response of Kansas farmer Bart Hall. It's a doozy, and here it is (emphasis in original):

< rant > The essence of his position is that anyone voting Republican is subhuman. It's even worse when, as I do, the cretins farm for a living, or reside anywhere you actually have to drive in order to move around.

This particular "slope" of a farmer is completely fluent in three languages, quite comfortable in three more, and able to be polite in several others. How about you Mr. Carr?

I am part of a family which has brought forth officers for the defense of this nation in every generation since 1701. How about you Mr. Carr?

One of my closest neighbors (also a farmer) has two Ph.Ds. Another worked for many years as an engineer. He could even calculate the median slope of our foreheads out here.

I can grow truckloads of vegetables from a few handfuls of seed, or design and build a house from scratch. Or, for that matter work as an analytical chemist should I choose, or explore for valuable minerals. Mr. Carr wouldn't even know a monazite if it came up and bit him in the arse.

Yet Carr and his colleagues consider themselves the "creative class". Yet what do the really create apart from putrid puddles of petulant pig piffle? < /rant >

I can assure you, the chief political goal out here in the heartland is simply to be left alone. In order to achieve it, however, we must find ways of restricting the intellectual left's political power and influence to something like the 15% of society they actually represent.

And the biggest difference of all? Mr. Carr could show up at my door next week and I'd be very polite to him, feed him well, show him around, and if he got into a serious problem … do my utmost to help him out of it.

Any of my neighbors would do the same, but I doubt it would be reciprocated should circumstances be reversed.

Bravo, Mr. Hall! Mr. Carr, you obnoxious little elitist turd, you've been pwned!

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Contempt for the people

Posted by Richard on September 29, 2010

Item: Senator Kerry blamed the waning fortunes of Socialist Democrats on clueless, ignorant voters who don't know what's best for them.

Item: Vice President Biden told his supporters to quit whining, suck it up, and work harder. 

Item: President Obama accused Socialist Democrat voters of being lethargic, irresponsible, and not serious. 

And that's just in the last few days.

I'll give the Socialist Democrat leadership this: Their arrogance and disdain for the common people is even-handed, showing no favoritism. They're just as contemptuous of the rabble who support them as they are of the rabble who oppose them.

The Wall Street Journal said these outbursts were from "the Chris Farley school of political motivation."

As their support ebbs and the adulation fades into history, our Socialist Democrat overlords seem less and less capable of hiding their contempt for the citizens subjects they consider themselves ordained to govern rule. Unfortunately for them, they need the support of these ingrates who don't sufficiently appreciate venerate them.

Fortunately for us lovers of liberty and for the country, their increasing arrogance, peevishness, and condescension seem more and more likely to translate into a great big electoral comeuppance. While calling your opponents names can sometimes pay off if it fires up your base, calling your base names seems to me to have no upside.

The Enthusiasm Gap by William Warren, GetLiberty.org

"The Enthusiasm Gap" by William Warren, GetLiberty.org

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Not even an adequate communicator

Posted by Richard on February 26, 2010

James Taranto's Best of the Web Today offered a brilliant commentary on the President and his performance in the health care debate entitled "The Great Condescender." Taranto quoted the New Republic's Jonathan Chait, who defended Obama against the charge of being condescending thusly: 

Podhoretz calls Obama "startlingly condescending at moments." How can that be avoided when you're trying to have a high-level discussion with people who reply either on debunked claims at best and talk radio-level slogans at worst?

Hmm. The brilliant Mr. Chait needs an editor/proofreader as badly as I do after a couple of adult beverages: "reply … on"? "either … and"?

Taranto responded: 

Actually, describing that as a defense of condescension is too charitable, isn't it? It's an example of condescension. If we didn't know better we'd think Chait was exaggerating in order to illustrate Podhoretz's point.  …

Chait actually makes two distinct claims about Obama: that he has a superior intellect and that he is a superior "communicator." The first claim could be true, although it is far from indisputable. But the second claim is so absurd as to be delusional.

Obama has spent the past year trying to sell Americans on ObamaCare. He has failed utterly, as Podhoretz notes. Now, maybe Chait is right that opposition to ObamaCare is a product of stupidity. Maybe ObamaCare would be popular if a majority of Americans were as brilliant as Jonathan Chait. But in a democratic republic, elections are not limited to the elect. Shockingly, half of all Americans have below-average IQs. They vote too.

By no imaginable standard can a politician be considered a great "communicator," or even an adequate one, if he is unable to persuade voters of average-or-below intelligence to back his policies.

Further, is there any evidence that Obama is especially good at communicating with those on the far right of the bell curve? Chait is persuaded, and we're willing to stipulate that Chait is brilliant. But Chait was persuaded before, and we know lots of brilliant people who oppose ObamaCare.

Obama is very good at making smart liberals feel superior. That is a communication ability, but not a terribly useful one for a politician in a democratic country.

Game, set, match.

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Bureaucrats party on our dime

Posted by Richard on July 16, 2009

The financial situation of Social Security has dramatically worsened recently. A few years ago, it was expected to run a surplus until 2025. That was recently revised to 2017. Now, thanks to the recession, it looks like the fund will go into the red this year.

So what's the Social Security Administration doing to cope with this grim news? Well, they just treated hundreds of SSA executives and managers from all over the country to three days in Phoenix at the posh Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa and a nearby casino. It was an "essential" conference for helping these bureaucrats learn how to relieve stress. 

Remember a few months ago when the Prez, Congress, and their PR mouthpieces (AKA the mainstream media) were chiding corporations for their "unseemly" conferences at lavish resorts and "junkets" to Las Vegas during these grim economic times? Apparently, the same standards that apply to private businesses and investors don't apply to government bureaucrats. 

They're not "public servants" anymore. They're the ruling class.

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Obama’s bitter roots

Posted by Richard on April 16, 2008

Last Saturday, one of our breakfast group said something along the lines of "can you believe Hillary's trying to make a big deal out of Obama saying some Americans are bitter?" This was news to us, but we agreed it seemed silly and not exactly important news.

Days later, it's still news. I've since read the complete Obama quote and gotten the whole story (including his non-apologies and the "clarifications" from his staff that just made it worse). Now, Clinton's criticism no longer seems as silly as it did when I'd only heard the short, Obama-sympathetic (probably NPR) version of the story.

Obama was speaking to an audience of rich liberal San Franciscans when he characterized the working-class people of fly-over country as bitter, gun-toting, Bible-thumping, bigoted yahoos. He thought his remarks were off the record, so it's likely that either (a) he was being candid and this is what he really thinks, or (b) he was saying what he thought these rich liberal donors wanted to hear.

Knowing something of Obama's background and ideology, I lean toward explanation (a). There's a decades-old joke that goes, "I love humanity. It's people I can't stand." This mindset is endemic in leftist circles, especially among the many in the socialist and far-left intelligentsia who come from an upper or upper-middle class background, attended prestigious schools, and are certain that the average American is an ignorant bumpkin who doesn't know what's best for him.

Tom Sowell addressed this phenomenon in his latest column:

Like so much that Obama has said and done over the years, this is standard stuff on the far left, where guns and religion are regarded as signs of psychological dysfunction – and where opinions different from those of the left are ascribed to emotions ("bitter" in this case), rather than to arguments that need to be answered.

Like so many others on the left, Obama rejects "stereotypes" when they are stereotypes he doesn't like but blithely throws around his own stereotypes about "a typical white person" or "bitter" gun-toting, religious and racist working-class people.

However inconsistent Obama's words, his behavior has been remarkably consistent over the years. He has sought out and joined with the radical, anti-Western left, whether Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers of the terrorist Weatherman underground or pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli Rashid Khalidi.

Obama is also part of a long tradition on the left of being for the working class in the abstract, or as people potentially useful for the purposes of the left, but having disdain or contempt for them as human beings.

"The working class," said Karl Marx, "is revolutionary or it is nothing." That is, they mattered only insofar as they were willing to carry out the Marxist agenda.

Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw included the working class among the "detestable" people who "have no right to live." He added: "I should despair if I did not know that they will all die presently, and that there is no need on earth why they should be replaced by people like themselves."

Similar statements on the left go back as far as Jean Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century and come forward into our own times.

Think Sowell and I mischaracterize Obama's ideology by comparing him to socialists and Marxists? If you haven't read Obama's Dreams For My Father (and I haven't; only excerpts), read this PrestoPundit post. According to Greg Ransom, Obama made it clear in the book that "his father's ideals were a driving force in his life," but never described those ideals. So Ransom did some research into the political life and writings of Barack H. Obama, Sr. This was one hard-core socialist dude — a man who railed against "weak-tea" African socialism and in favor of "scientific socialism" (a.k.a. communism), who was allied with communist Oginga Odinga against moderate socialist Jomo Kenyatta.

As I've learned more about Obama's history, friends, mentors, and associations, it's become clear that he's the most radical leftist presidential candidate of any stature since Henry A. Wallace. He's also charismatic, articulate, and able to speak in airy generalities that appeal to many people. That's a frightening and dangerous combination.

UPDATE: One of the really amusing ironies of this affair is that Hillary Clinton, a hard-core anti-gunner and liberal elitist par excellence, has been defending Christian gun owners. It was almost enough to make me tune in tonight's Democratic debate to see if she'd defend gun ownership. … Almost.

Instead, I settled for Stephen Green's drunkblogging of the event. Which included this profound observation: 

I’m an atheist and Obama is a churchgoer, and yet I get the feeling I have more respect for Christians (at least white Christians) than Obama has.

Amen.

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