Friday, September 11, 2009

Who Said This? And What Does This Mean?

Too late for Obama to turn it around?:

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy.


[A]ffluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it's invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled. 

It's Camile Pagila, noted feminist scholar and (almost needless to say) leftist bête noire. She speaks truth to power (you go, grrl!). Valid points, all of them. Elite schools have become the salons of the Left, catering to an aristocracy increasingly out-of-touch with ordinary people. And it's not just the elite schools: a trickle-down effect, if you will (bad when talking about economics, evidently, but good when talking about ideas), has made these influences felt all the way down to local schools and public education. This is my world.

And while she doesn't pull punches talking about Republicans (nor should she --Republicans should harken to
Nietzsche: that which does not kill you will make you stronger), she gives ample evidence to a point I like to make in my classes:

Throughout this fractious summer, I was dismayed not just at the self-defeating silence of Democrats at the gaping holes or evasions in the healthcare bills but also at the fogginess or insipidity of articles and Op-Eds about the controversy emanating from liberal mainstream media and Web sources. By a proportion of something like 10-to-1, negative articles by conservatives were vastly more detailed, specific and practical about the proposals than were supportive articles by Democrats, which often made gestures rather than arguments and brimmed with emotion and sneers. There was a glaring inability in most Democratic commentary to think ahead and forecast what would or could be the actual snarled consequences -- in terms of delays, denial of services, errors, miscommunications and gross invasions of privacy -- of a massive single-payer overhaul of the healthcare system in a nation as large and populous as ours. It was as if Democrats live in a utopian dream world, divorced from the daily demands and realities of organization and management.

Prof. Paglia should come right out and channel Marshall McLuhan. The Right has been effective lately because they understand (for the first time in a very long time) the media --this time, the use of the Tea Party Movement and Facebook and Twitter. And thus it has been since the time of Zwenger and Paine. The faction that best communicates with the common voter is the faction that holds power. McKinley, TR, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Obama: modern Presidents who gained power by understanding how best to use mass media to seize a moment and make it their own. The faction behind the learning curve remains so at its peril --witness the Republican cluelessness viz. the Internet for so long.

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