"Why are liberals so condescending?"

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Domino
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Joined: 08/17/2005 - 12:01am
"Would you be in favor of

"Would you be in favor of amending the mandatory seatbelt law to exempt such persons?"

If there were a whole bunch of very stupid wealthy people that could prove that they can afford the insurance, and had it, yes, I wouldn't see a problem with it. I am saying that wouldn't be AGAINST it. Would I go out of my way for it? Probably not. As long as I don't have to pay for it, I don't care what other adults do to themselves. :D I also support the idea that if you are terminally sick and want to die, you should be able to.

Economike
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Joined: 11/28/2006 - 9:09am
Thanks, Domino. Following

Thanks, Domino.

Following the principle that self-sufficiency should enable you to risks if you're not going to burden the taxpayer, suppose that a person could prove that he could support himself in disability or old age. Would you allow that person to opt out of the Social Security system?

mainemom
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Joined: 03/09/2004 - 1:01am
Domino wrote: Were not our

Domino wrote:
Were not our FOUNDING FATHERS the brightest of the bright? I suppose they should have been unschooled and perhaps they would have had the same insights?

But who's saying they want our leaders to be unschooled?
I hear people saying they trust the average guy to make decisions for himself and deal with the outcomes.
I know that people who think this way also have a big place in their hearts to help their fellow man in hard times, without being forced by the state to do so.
I hear people saying they think liberals, on the other hand, do not trust the average guy to make decisions for himself and deal with the outcomes.
I'd say both "sides" want bright people in leadership positions.
But maybe for different reasons.
Maybe the liberal wants the bright bulb in there to tell people what to do and how to live; maybe the rest of us want the bright bulb in there for the wisdom to restrain government from meddling in the people's business.

So, Domino, do you trust the average guy to make his own decisions and be in charge of his own life, beyond seatbelts and helmets?

wv_republican
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Joined: 11/23/2004 - 1:01am
Quote from above: Were not

Quote from above: Were not our FOUNDING FATHERS the brightest of the bright? I suppose they should have been unschooled and perhaps they would have had the same insights?

Considering the foolishness I hear from "educated" fools, I'd far more trust a self made man/woman who learned from the school of experience.

Economike
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Joined: 11/28/2006 - 9:09am
I hear people saying they

I hear people saying they trust the average guy to make decisions for himself and deal with the outcomes.

A famous quote from William F. Buckley, Jr. is (I'm quoting from memory) "I'd rather be governed by the first two-hundred names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty."

His point, of course, is that the political wisdom of average people is more modest and practical than the extravagant politics of the highly intellectual Harvard faculty.

johnw
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Joined: 03/11/2009 - 10:06am
I think O'Riley may read AMG.

I think O'Riley may read AMG. His question to Miller last night "Why are liberals so condescending?"

Vikingstar
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Joined: 01/04/2003 - 1:01am
"His point, of course, is

"His point, of course, is that the political wisdom of average people is more modest and practical than the extravagant politics of the highly intellectual Harvard faculty."

There is another implicit point here: that if "average people" screw up, they are held accountable; when liberal politicians and professors have their policies and politics crash and burn, they get reelected and they get tenure at prestigious universities. "Average people" live in the real world, with real world responsibilities and accountablility--the lofty souls that Domino wants to run our lives are not held to such a standard. Were such to live in the "real world", they would probably starve to death.
Consider, for example, how many Marxist professors still exist on collage campuses. In the real world, Marxism is a hideous bloody failure ("bloody" because Marxism practiced on a national level has led to the deaths of about 100 million people in the 20th century); yet these professors can be Marxists because they live in the isolated bubble of 'higher learning', which amounts to an virtual world where Marxism is a liberating philosophy instead of a repressive disaster.
I think I'll take "average" people like Ronald Reagan, who was considered stupid by most liberal intellectuals, over the brilliance of a Barak Obama any day.

francisz
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Joined: 03/10/2005 - 1:01am
In response to Vikingstar's

In response to Vikingstar's post, #127:

Ideally, we wouldn’t quarantine the highly intelligent people on academic campuses – we don’t need them to be over-represented in the political arena, I agree, where representative leadership should reflect the general population – but we do need (or should want) them in our schools, courts of law, academies, think tanks, and research institutes – private as well as public. I believe an article was linked to recently – on the motivation factors of seriously intelligent people, which often aren’t met in the private sector where the gold standard of reward has been monetary, and the display of success had been measured by consumption. The government –academic sector is positioned almost as a counter weight to the private sector, and it draws from an increasingly large population of people for whom material comfort and wealth is not the driving motivation, but interesting work and professional prestige is. I’m not so sure this is a negative for the country, but I can see the implied threat to the private sector. However, an economy that is disproportionately finance-driven may have lost its creative-destruction mojo – it does, however, provide the capital to drive the creativity of the academic and government sectors. I think that is the shift that has taken place.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
johnw - I'm positive that

johnw - I'm positive that O'Reilly (or a staffer) reads AMG. The reason being that after several threads on O'Reilly, he suddenly started using the word "codswallop" on his show.

I'm still waiting for the checks.

Watcher
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Joined: 03/23/2008 - 12:32pm
When he starts using -

When he starts using - Gobsmacked, you know he is listening to Maine.

Islander
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 12:16pm
Or codswallop.

Or codswallop.

Economike
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Joined: 11/28/2006 - 9:09am
"Average people" live in the

"Average people" live in the real world, with real world responsibilities and accountablility.

As in the example helpfully (Thank you, Gerald, wherever you are!) provided by Gerald Weinand, underlying the social liberal condescension toward ordinary people is a belief that ordinary people are unable to recognize their own interests. This is a theme:

So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

In the leftist narrative, ordinary people vote against their interests because "clinging" to traditions, as [url=http://tcfrank.com/books/whats-the-matter-with-kansas-2/]identified by Thomas Frank[/url] - patriotism, religion, devotion to family - renders them irrational: ...they deliver up a landslide for a candidate whose policies will end their way of life...

The leftist believes himself the intellectual superior of ordinary people because he favors rational policies, and he knows these are rational because they are free of the distorting influence of tradition. Tradition, by definition, is irrational.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that liberals possess above-average intelligence. Are they therefore better qualified to govern?

No. Intelligence is not equivalent to information. Even if all liberals are policy wonks, efficiency experts, and/or professors of rhetoric, they remain unqualified to direct the political fortunes of ordinary people because they simply can't know what individual ordinary people know about themselves, however irrational they might be. Coordination requires information, and no directing authority - no matter how rational - can comprehend the information known to individual ordinary people.

Note that this doesn't imply that ordinary people are - or should be - predisposed to vote against intelligent politicians or reasonable policies.

The nature of knowledge in society was the subject of a 1945 [url=http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/hykKnw1.html]essay by Friederich Hayek[/url]. This is well worth reading in its entirety.

The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate "given" resources—if "given" is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these "data." It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.

This thread begins with a link provided by Vikingstar, in which Gerard Alexander writes that, as a rule, conservatives aren't found "portraying liberals as systematically mistaken in their worldview."

But "liberals are systematically mistaken in their worldview" and that's why liberals so often and so habitually condescend.

francisz
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Joined: 03/10/2005 - 1:01am
Economike, as you’ve noted in

Economike, as you’ve noted in this and other discussion threads, rationality isn’t the single or even the predominant determinant in a person’s worldview – rational self-interest is tempered by two irrational forces: tradition (predominant in conservative orientation) and ideology (predominant in liberal orientation).

With regard to Hayek (very good essay, thanks), I don’t think he anticipated that what were once economies of industry would become an economy dominated or almost solely financed by capital versus production. That shift changes the equation, fundamentally, and also calls into question – legitimately, I think – the benefit of dispersed planning model via the free-market private sector, as Hayek envisioned it, as counter to the centralized model of the public sector. I think it interesting to see where the academic sector fits in – it can and does shift the balance, increasingly (with regard to planning) towards the public sector – leaving the private (now dominated by finance capital) as the source of financing, alone. I’m not sure this is a conflict of competition, or a natural (inevitable?) and evolutionary success of capitalism. As you can see, I still think Schumpeter got it right.

Economike
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Joined: 11/28/2006 - 9:09am
francisz - You've lost me. I

francisz -

You've lost me.

I don’t think he anticipated that what were once economies of industry would become an economy dominated or almost solely financed by capital versus production.

I can't imagine which economic developments over the past sixty years might have altered Hayek's conclusions.

Does [url=http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/10347.html]this[/url] shed any light on the subject?

But in this case, I think they are seriously overestimating the newness of the importance of knowledge in the economy.

Vikingstar
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Joined: 01/04/2003 - 1:01am
I think, in order to clarify,

I think, in order to clarify, I need to say that I think that "average person" and "intelligent and educated" are by no means exclusive catagories. A big part of the condescension of the Left is an implicit (or sometimes explicit) assumption on their part that they are the educated and intelligent ones, and that conservatives are less intelligent and uneducated. Look at many of the posts from the Usual Suspects here on AMG, for example, as they post what they think are "gotcha" arguments on religion--they act like this is the first time any relgious person has ever been confronted with a alleged contradiction or inconsistancy, and that in our path to faith none of us have ever had to intellectually wrestle with our respective faiths. They assume that "faith" means "not being allowed to doubt, or having no intellectual curiosity"--that faith means brainlessness.

JustaMainah
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Joined: 02/02/2010 - 9:51pm
I'd like to pose an

I'd like to pose an interesting question to all of my fellow philosophs... do elitists seek office to further indulge their own self-importance, or does an "average" person get involved in politics then become an elitist who thinks he's the smartest guy in the room/state/universe? It's the old chicken/egg debate in a slightly different form...

Also, I'd urge caution when asserting that all educated people are entrenched academes with no common sense or pragmatism. I agree it is difficult to get advanced degrees in anything other than perhaps engineering without swimming in a sea of liberal intellectual diarrhea, but it IS possible. I'm not bragging at all here, but I have two Bachelor's degrees and am half way to my Master's and still cling to my conservative values and ideals... It can actually be very amusing to be the only voice of dissent in a classroom full of whiny liberals! Remind me sometime to tell you about the fun times I had taking Philosophy of Feminism!

Bob MacGregor
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Joined: 12/13/2003 - 1:01am
And what, pray tell, would

And what, pray tell, would you define as condescension on the right (aside from your post itself)?

Vikingstar
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Joined: 01/04/2003 - 1:01am
Well, seeing as we're all

Well, seeing as we're all just a bunch of right wing (extra-chromosone, according to Al Gore) religionist dolts who burn books instaed of reading them, I guess we're too dull to answer that question.

Edit: Oops--I forgot there are some right-wing athiests here. My apologies to them.

francisz
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Joined: 03/10/2005 - 1:01am
Economike wrote: I can't

Economike wrote:

I can't imagine which economic developments over the past sixty years might have altered Hayek's conclusions.

They may not have altered his conclusions, but they inspire me to consider other arguments. The link you provided does shed some light, and I’m not disputing Hayek’s preferred model of bottom-up, dispersed knowledge – however, as the Chicago Boyz link notes – the nature or form of the knowledge has changed:

“What is probably is to say is that–across the economy–tacit, experience-based knowledge has tended to be replaced by theoretically-derived knowledge. While Rolt’s hammer smith used his lifetime of experience to select the optimum billet for forging, that selection might now be done by an software “expert system” based on mathematical optimization techniques.

But while the form of knowledge may have often changed, knowledge has always been the key factor in business and economic success.”

Theoretically derived knowledge is the purview - actually, the product - of the academic and research institutes. Where they align - or better yet, how they are engaged, and funded - will shift the balance or equilibrium of the economy.

Economike
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Joined: 11/28/2006 - 9:09am
Theoretically derived

Theoretically derived knowledge is the purview - actually, the product - of the academic and research institutes.

Just a hasty thought about this, francisz.

The processes by which theoretically-derived knowledge is produced are becoming increasingly less formal and less centralized by advances in the processes themselves.

francisz
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Joined: 03/10/2005 - 1:01am
The processes by which

The processes by which theoretically-derived knowledge is produced are becoming increasingly less formal and less centralized by advances in the processes themselves.

Yes, I'd agree - but it is happening increasingly within the academic and research sectors, and less frequently within the private sector. Hayek's "man on the spot" is less likely to be an industry man producing something, but more likely to be an academic/theorist/policy wonk providing theoretically derived knowledge. The Schumpeter angle is this: when acting as government-broker, the political class secures the political capital of these sectors, while the private sector is still the (real, actual, or originating) source of financial capital.

Mike G
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Joined: 02/17/2000 - 1:01am
There is a problem with

There is a problem with capital in this country and it is mostly that many Americans consider it means money, a credit card. We have plenty of money, they print it every day, and they don't even have to print it anymore they just have to put a couple of zeros on the end of the ledger.

True Capital is what we are sorely lacking in this country, something that we have outsourced to other countries, in can I say, our empire. So financial capital is more important to US now and that is about to hit the fan. Financial capital is what has brought us to our inevitable crisis, and the lack of real capital.

The condescending tone, whether of liberal vs conservative may be debated, but I really don't see the value of the debate.

The common man, which I am surely a member, wonders how long that the financial capital and the political capital thieves will continue to ignore America's deficit of real capital.

As many have said this does not come out of Pelosi's and Obama's or Palin's ass or by government edict, but by us little peoples slow climb or not from being bamboozled by those with power and with a lock on our wealth and future direction.

Quit being condescending to the few people who produce something in this country and capital might come.

Economike
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Joined: 11/28/2006 - 9:09am
Thanks for setting us

Thanks for setting us straight, Mike G. Everyone is grateful, no doubt, for your generosity in joining a discussion that is valueless to you.

May I pose a few questions, now that you've dropped in?

What is the "problem" with capital in this country? What is true capital? (Is there fake capital, as well?) Why are "we" sorely lacking in true capital?

And how are your comments relevant - even remotely relevant - to the topic whether liberals are condescending?

Mike G
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Joined: 02/17/2000 - 1:01am
I'm sorry Mike. I'll go away

I'm sorry Mike. I'll go away now

Mike G
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Joined: 02/17/2000 - 1:01am
"And how are your comments

"And how are your comments relevant - even remotely relevant - to the topic whether liberals are condescending?'

:)

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