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Are Liberals Just Stupid or Were They Born That Way?

One of my biggest pet peeves with liberals – the egg head variety – is the association of intelligence with competence for political office. This is very common on HuffPo with Sarah Palin, and we get that now with RoJo with the Feingold loss.

I thought Feingold was a wonderful Senator but that he was a Rhodes Scholar is totally irrelevant. I would argue he was able to maintain his grounded roots in spite of his elitist education. I will miss him dearly for specific policy decisions not that he was or wasn’t smarter than RoJo.

Maybe its because most progressives tend to be the younger side I don’t know, but associating intellect and politics brings up a very strong class frame. Intellect = Education = class membership. The Social Sciences have long – often wrongly – associated education with a class position. So much so that attaining a certain amount of education automatically gives one a membership card to the middle class.

My big point here is intellect always brings forth education which brings for economic privilege. Working class whites are more similar in education attainment to African Americans or Hispanics than middle / upper class whites. The point being a majority of the population does not go to college and when liberals invoke the intellect frame they are alienating many potential voters.

Republicans know this, Republicans exploit this time and again. Liberals like buffoons fall for this time and again. There was Ronald Reagan, that hick from California.  Oh yes, then GW who was perfectly elegant during the Governor debates suddenly had gaffe over gaffe during the 2000 election.

Oh yes, Egghead Liberals had a heyday with this, so much so that they ran an articulate, upper class, Bostonian liberal against him in 2004.    Liberals need to realize that “intellect” is code for elite. When you pull the intellect card you automatically give the rich Republican a free ride.

It allows folks to pretend that the rich guy is a little more like them than the egghead liberal. The intellect slam at the rich is underneath a slam at every farmer, construction worker, waitress, laborer who works their ass off but never had an opportunity to go to college.

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16 responses to “Are Liberals Just Stupid or Were They Born That Way?

  1. Lou Kaye ⋅

    I’ve always felt that my democratic friends were doing Walker a favor every time they attacked him for not finishing college. It’s not the same public committment or character flaw that Sarah Palin has when she outright “quit” on voters in the middle of her term. Not that I disagreed with them in substance, but that the majority of voters could relate more closely to Walker’s education background than to the authoritarian condescension that automatically follows the “didn’t finish school” criticism.

  2. Funny you should bring Walker up. While I don’t care for Walker and was supportive of rail I was a little taken back by Black and Mayor Dave reasoning of the whole two economies – urban, creative class and the relic working class. Supposedly Walker was stuck in the latter at the expense of the former.

  3. I know what I am about to say will fit right into what you are saying, but I thought it was bad he did not finish college personally and that it was not enough of an election issue. Its not mandatory to finish college, and many people who do not go to college, or even high school, can be brilliant. The thing is not having an education would eliminate him from consideration for many top jobs in most companies. So why should we as the state of WI have lower standards? The repubs like to hold companies above all things and yet only when its convenient to them.

    I also think his lack of education is showing in his first month of attempted decision making.

  4. I think you may have been my motivation for the initial post. Most business owners are not necessarily educated in their specialty. I am not sure how relevant education is for a CEO, if it is, its not really a selling point. walker is what he is, but his education is totally irreverent.

    The point is not however that Palin or Walker could not be transformed with some higher education, but rather this is a trap for liberals. When the intellect card is pulled it serves as a transference of sorts where the liberal is positioned as the elitist.

    This of course is the thesis of Franks Kansas book although liberals have totally distorted it with their reinterpretations. Liberals really believe this is simply a situation of competence of governing, but that in itself is an elitist argument, and the defining characteristic of elitism. A small class of educated elites will run government on behalf of all society. The Walker or Palin in this narrative becomes the Lysenko. This is also why the economic conservatives have been slamming Palin as of late.

    Walker may very well be a bafoon, at the very best a WMC water-boy. But its beyond me how a college degree adds or takes away from this situation. I personally see his lack of education an asset, it offers him the potential to understand Working Joe and Jane more than those overeducated bakers for example. Walker’s faults are all ideological, that he is or is not competent in governing on behalf of his ideological interests is a moot point.

  5. Sure many business owners are not “educated” in their business, and I respect that. What I was referring to was an application. Try and apply for an upper level position in a major company without a college education and see where it gets you. Which is basically what Walker was doing. Now apply for the job of top lawmaker without a college degree against a candidate who has a law degree and see who gets an interview. When vying for a position against someone, you have to focus on what sets you apart. Which is why I think Barrett should of made it more of an issue. Whats the point of college then if it matters none in positions like this?

    I do agree that finishing college would probably not transform Walker, I think his blind ambition trumped any knowledge he might have gained. I always say that what I learned in college was getting long and existing with others since my college had a very international flavor. Being a small town Wisconsin farm boy, was exactly what I needed.

    As for being an asset, I think it was because they did not use the difference correctly. The fact that he quit college and spent his whole career in government should of been heavily played upon in the year of the “tea party”. I see no possible way that someone who never had a private sector job would be able to relate to working Joe and Jane.

    All of that being said, the anti – intellectualism, of the last election I find extremely troubling. Not only to me personally but to our nation as a whole. It seemed the less you knew and said the better your chances. thats terrifying to me.

  6. Yes on corporations hiring, but that is primarily a weeding function. McD’s might want a graduate degree to flip burgers but that does not mean its necessary.

    You must then be really supportive of Walker’s new commerce department then. It bypasses most of the vagrancy that comes with democracy.

    You are again making my point. Why is the anti intellectualism – not being an egghead – offensive. Should not a democracy – a peoples democracy – be inclusive of “many” instead of the few. Love that beer commercial of steel workers running congress.

    What liberals do need to understand is the intellectual / anti-intellectual is really a class war and liberals are on the wrong side. They have chosen the side of elitism which allows fools like Walker to take on the mantle of proletariat.

    Come on who do you have to talk class Huffington and Soros. 2010 was a strange year indeed. If you were against a rightist, conservative, Democratic president the only avenue of action was the Tea Party. My only regret is Feingold was an Obama casualty.

    But it seems to me it is democracy that is troubling you more than anything else. You’d be much happier with some central committee selecting the “best qualified” for their positions. We’ll see how it works out Walker seems to think along the same lines – in his own way.

  7. Not at all, not even close. I love democracy and am worried about it. I am not worried about it in terms of we only need MBAs and PHd’s to run our country. I mean it in terms of ” I have a lot of good ideas, I just wont tell you them now because I dont want to be attacked” – Ron Johnson’s winning strategy. Or the “tea party” keep your government hands off my medicare rallying cry, or Sharron Angle using body doubles to avoid reporters who might ask questions, or Sarah Palin telling all candidates to avoid to avoid all questions and only “speak through fox news”, or the birther movement, or Jan brewster in a debate being so uninformed she stared at her hands for five minutes straight then declared there would be no more debates, or when Sharon Angle says “im not racist you all look a little bit Asian to me” and the list goes on and on and on and on…. The fact that these are winning strategies(I know Angle didnt win but she came damm close) is what I fear. Its not about class warfare, by the way we all know there is class warfare and we are losing but its economical not educational.

    Yes in a democracy we have the right to vote for whoever we want, no matter how incredibly unqualified they are. The thing that scares me most is if we do not start holding our elected officials to a higher standard we will lose the democracy that we do have.

    • A breakdown.

      RoJo – tactical

      Brewster – fear of public speaking, tactical

      Teabaggers – Educated, rich boys trying to master populist rage.

      Sharon Angle – tactical, racial

      None of these have anything to do with education. Which is my point you are taking all these negative criteria and applying them to “anti-intellectual” or “un-educated”. Frankly I would label it classist. No different than taking a whole bunch of particulars like lazy, fat, over eater, complainer and generalizing to some ethnic group.

      Teabaggers become your prototype yet they are wealthier, and more educated than the general public as a whole. They embraced a stereotype and liberals ate it up. The Rep fed the monster now they’ll have to live with it. We’ll see what happens when they and the Big O try to do their cutting.

      I have issues with all of the examples above, but I see them as tactical or ideological. You in contrast see it as an example of the “uneducated, peasant class” entering the realm of politics. You are a bigot to put it nicely. You take behaviors of this or that group and apply it to 70% of the population. That is what I am reacting to.

  8. A perfect example in my mind is george Allen. He lost his senate seat a few years ago because of his “macaca moment”, I fear that this year his “macaca moment” would of propelled him to a huge win. In a democracy there is a difference in terms of CAN these people serve and SHOULD they serve.

  9. i think we arent meshing right here. I agree they were tactical and what I fear is not holding our elected officials to account.

    Would you hire someone who wanted to build you a house, fix your car, do your landscaping, etc… if they said ” I can do it i just wont tell you what I am going to do or how.” Hell no, and yet it is a winning election strategy? Its because we arent demanding intelligent thought out positions from candidates….. Tactically those positions should lead to overwhelming defeat not 6 years in the Senate. That is what scares me.

    • Bringing out your inner Walker again. Democracy is about citizenship, not a customer, client, employee relationship. I have no desire to question the peoples will. Milwaukee had a Rep who was denied his seat in congress two times, he was elected again, and finally seated. A similar argument arose as you are putting forward. At the time a war with Germany was going on, and not only was he German but a socialist to.

      You are my poster child. You perfectly express what my post was aimed at. Its elitist, and bigoted.

  10. Annie K.

    Hey Henry, How are ya.

    Well , making it short and not-so-sweet now, I guess this
    http://dekerivers.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/are-college-diplomas-important-in-scott-walkers-government/
    answers the question pretty loud and clear doesn’t it? I guess I really don’t need to add anything.

    I did wonder about your use of the word “intellect” though (I applaud your points here, just curious on some semantics or personal definitions I guess you could say.
    You seem to imply that Intellect is not an inherent condition but “MUST?” be honed by education? I perceive “intellect” as a constant, something that will shine/be a presence regardless of educational opportunity.
    i.e. there certainly were farmers in the late 1800s who had and used their intellect daily with little or no formal education. So could a “lower class” housewife today use “intellect” daily while raising mentally and physically healthy children, navigating highs and lows of the married state, solving family crises, and making the Money last as long as the Month etc? As does that blue-collar spouse as HE navigates a very working-class-hostile world. I guess I would have preferred education be even less emphasized but I suppose that’s understandable in your case if you are employed in that realm. You weren’t offensive (as others ware) but it was a bit…
    Myself,I tend to view the BULK of education as it is today NOT as an Intellect-builder or enhancer but as an elaborate acculturation process. The Kids who swallow it all as dished out yes, they do hold their might positions in the Middle Class, but at the cost of more critical thought. They MUST NOT dare to step on the “Toes That Be” by having BAD or analytical thoughts that might lead to Boat-Rocking or Change of the System.
    So I see school as a Big Drone Factory, not a Hallowed Hall. Having said that, my own kids had high public school GPAs and have finished college in 4 years (not like the upper-middle class kids who can milk it out with Ma and Pa’s cash for ever and a day)@ the UW with excellent GPAs (natch, we had to forgo the obligatory year abroad and the various trips during breaks that the “other kids” all seem to do).
    I recognize the reality and the potential benefits of a “good” education (in spite of low-IQ professors who got tenure who-knows-how), I just don’t internalize the bullshit, Middle class people have to internalize it fully, or be very very good actors. Infidels are not allowed in the Club.

    Secondly, oooppps….LOL I kinda lost my second point in my extended rant there
    Soooo we’ll just have as my second point –
    THESE PEOPLE ARE HOPELESS!!!!!!
    http://dekerivers.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/are-college-diplomas-important-in-scott-walkers-government/

    Keep posting Henry, you may be educated, but you still have a brain. It’s refreshing.

    • No, more like liberals trying to equate intellect and education. Or competence = intellect = education. It seems what the liberals won’t to is bring back the old poll tax. Wasn’t that its function a test where a degree of “intellect” was demonstrated in order to have the right to vote. i have books of reasons to dislike Gw, Palin, and Walker but their intellect or lack there of is not one of them.

  11. Annie K.

    btw – if some blogging idiot sees my remarks about my own kids going to college as (since word-twisting is mostly ALL they know how to do) tries to put various constructs on that, “proving” I am a hypocrite, that’s not at all the case. Many of the variables that led to the kids going to a 4-year are personal and I’m not giving details but it was originally not what we thought would happen. Nor have those college degrees been any kind of “ticket” to anything NOR HAS IT MADE THEM SMARTER.
    In any case, I am not a college graduate, like many of the people I know, some of whom are dumb, some of whom are blindingly smart.
    I have faced insults, put-downs, unfair assumptions about my personality and brain-power all of my life and had NUMEROUS doors slammed in my face when…..ohh…..really? you don’t have a degree? oh well, we have to.. it’s just…I’m really sorry” etc.
    As pleased as I am that my kids met and succeeded the “challenge of college” they were already great, They would have been great if they didn’t go. The main benefit of college for them in my eyes was now THEY will NEVER feel any self-doubt when some pampered Doctors’ kid plays social head-games. They will know they are “as good” and “as smart”. Put-downs and snobbery, (i wish this were not true) DO wear on a person’s self-respect. I wanted them to be )at least partially) immune to that crap. It’s everywhere.
    I told my kids (who also figured out the lay of the land by Grade 1 in public schools) that most of college (and HS) is jumping thru hoops. Just do the jumping, do it the best you can, then you’ll know without reservations you’re just as good as any moron who ever has the ignominy to be your Manager or supervisor for the rest of your life or some financially better off twit sits there telling themself that they ARE better off “because I made the right choices and YOU didn’t”
    (LOL so many retards really think that in their private hearts. Just a watered version of divine-right-kingship IMO Lulz) .
    Middle class do-gooders who “support social programs” sure play a lot of socially competitive cultural games of “better than”. But of course they CAN’T be snobs, they Vote Democrat.
    That proves it, they’re really populist, roll-up-the-sleeves, march with Dr. King types.
    ;P

  12. Yes, education becomes an entitlement of a class position. It is interesting though how quickly a bunch of HB visas can make them card carrying members of the proletariat.

  13. Annie K.

    okay, got it, and LOL

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