The Elite and Their Idols

The leftist media, along with the Democrat Party, never tires of analyzing the Presidential election results of 2016. How could the “impossible” have happened against all major media prognostications? How could the wildly unqualified, irritating, and impulsive Donald J. Trump have won the election and walked into an office for which he is wildly unqualified ethically, temperamentally, and experientially? These questions have become the obsessive backdrop to the endless dissection of every statement made by President Trump and/or his family members and those in the White House inner circle. Again, these questions are not a matter of journalistic integrity, the news cycle so-called, or even public demand. The questions are obsessions. The endless dissection and negative take on all that happens in the Oval Office partakes of the irrationality that any neurotic behavior does.

Recently, in knowing fashion, Fareed Zakaria stated that Trump’s election was “a rebellion against educated professionals like us [himself and the CNN interviewers] who live in cities and have cosmopolitan views...” In stating this, he was drawing from Pew election results analysis which note that 67% of non-college educated whites voted for Trump, the largest percentage in a Presidential election since 1980.

Yet, why infer that this implies enmity towards educated professionals who live in cities? The white noncollege educated voter turnout for Ronald Reagan in 1980 did not imply a rejection of the urban, Ivy educated intellectual class.  Jimmy Carter, who lost in 1980, hardly fit the East Coast “cosmopolitan,” Ivy educated stereotype. Was their vote for Reagan a vote against nuclear engineering or peanut farming or against the U.S. Navy? In making his claim about a rebellion against “educated professionals,” Zakaria is overgeneralizing in a hasty, overly-simplified way.  The Democrat Party and the mainstream media have been overgeneralizing and oversimplifying this way for a long time, and one does not need Ivy League degrees to see this subterfuge and illogicality.

Further, he interprets the election of Trump as an expression of antagonism towards the advancement of blacks (read: racism and bigotry), antagonism towards homosexuals (read: homophobia), and antagonism towards immigrants (read: Islamophobia and xenophobia). What is his basis for concluding this?  All these points can be inferred or deduced from his main point that the voters voted against their “betters.” The educated voters in urban centers and dominating in our colleges and universities clearly know better who is or is not fit for office, and what legitimate sociopolitical goals are or are not. Reject them, and one’s agenda can be seen clearly as unwise or even, in many cases, deplorable.

Clearly, his supposedly self-evident observation of this rebellion is not self-evident. The self-evidence is an egoistic assertion that comes from a distorted understanding of American life, from a biased perception of how we think, and from a nonphilosophical account of what constitutes a true explanation of events. Let’s consider each of these false assumptions made by Dr. Zakaria.

First, what is his presupposition that distorts his understanding of American life? It is a misunderstanding made by many Marxist and neo-Marxist egalitarians. It is a mentality that sees economic equality rather than liberty as the fundamental goal of society, and economics as the chief determinant of an individual’s and a society’s identity. On the contrary, America has been built with the emphasis on liberty-with-equality-of-opportunity as the essential value to be protected along with life and the responsible pursuit of happiness. However, sincere care for the needy has been a secondary but necessary ingredient since colonial times.

Under Marxist and neo-Marxist dogma, the economic themes foster the need for an intellectual avant-garde which will conceive and lead the new regime into implementation of the classless society. Woodrow Wilson encouraged increased reliance upon “experts.” This view was expanded by FDR with his “Brains Trust.” And now, Zakaria is expanding the idea further to include urban, educated, cosmopolitan types like himself and his CNN interviewers. This is the only valid class distinction. All other distinctions are bogus. All other distinctions lead to bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, racism, sexism, poverty, ignorance, intolerance, animosities, and even nation-state conflict and war. Thus, a vote against the urban, educated, cosmopolitan types is a vote for all these other negative and hateful outcomes. We can now begin to see how much contempt is packed into his words.

 

Second, he views this observation not through the eyes of Marxist theory, but as a self-evident proposition. In doing so, he fails to take into account the great philosophical wisdom of Francis Bacon writing in the 16th and 17th centuries. Bacon realistically cautioned thinkers against what he called the Four Idols. The idols are Idols of the Tribe, Cave, Marketplace, and Theater. These “idols” are fixed patterns of our thought that give rise to pervasive misunderstandings and biases. Two of the Idols are especially relevant here. Idols of the Tribe apply to all men. These obtain when our “imaginings gain dignity and are mingled with the facts until the compounds become inseparable.” For Zakaria, the abilities of the urban educated have become mingled with imaginings of their omniscience, and that the vote against their views is a “rebellion” against the true leaders with the true vision. The Idols of the Cave belong to man qua individual who sees all things through his own experience of learning. The biologist might tend to see all events through the lens of biology, the accountant might have a predisposition to a balance sheet mentality, etc. Thus, for Zakaria, all is seen through a global, universal frame of reference typical of the schoolman who deals primarily with conceptual realities rather than real world struggles, suffering, and sensibility.

 

Third, Zakaria offered his analysis of last November’s presidential election based on a sociological explanation. For him, the analysis is all about identity politics. The election results can be analyzed by considering the opposition or agreement of various subgroupings within society. You have the white educated, and the white noneducated. You have men and women. You have various minority subcultures. You have old and young, and registered Republicans and Democrats. You have nonreligious, Roman Catholics, Jews, and Evangelicals. The list multiplies, and this has become an avenue into election analysis for him, and for most of the urban, cosmopolitan, educated persons he identifies with.

However, there are philosophical parameters to this election and to every election that do not lend themselves to this way of thinking. Is it not possible that the white, noncollege educated group sees the U.S. with eyes of gratitude as a land of opportunity rather than a land of exploitation as is taught in so many college classrooms? Further, even in the Pew analysis, 43% of the white, college-educated group voted for Trump, thus demonstrating that the Trump vote was assuredly not to be seen as a vote of the ignorant as the pathetic elitist Zakaria implied.

In short, it is likely that those who voted for Trump were motivated not by their identity with a specific group interest or self-interest, but by an ongoing belief in natural rights, liberty, personal autonomy, and responsibility, and a gratitude for the USA that exceeds that of any other sociopolitical entity.

The leftist media, along with the Democrat Party, never tires of analyzing the Presidential election results of 2016. How could the “impossible” have happened against all major media prognostications? How could the wildly unqualified, irritating, and impulsive Donald J. Trump have won the election and walked into an office for which he is wildly unqualified ethically, temperamentally, and experientially? These questions have become the obsessive backdrop to the endless dissection of every statement made by President Trump and/or his family members and those in the White House inner circle. Again, these questions are not a matter of journalistic integrity, the news cycle so-called, or even public demand. The questions are obsessions. The endless dissection and negative take on all that happens in the Oval Office partakes of the irrationality that any neurotic behavior does.

Recently, in knowing fashion, Fareed Zakaria stated that Trump’s election was “a rebellion against educated professionals like us [himself and the CNN interviewers] who live in cities and have cosmopolitan views...” In stating this, he was drawing from Pew election results analysis which note that 67% of non-college educated whites voted for Trump, the largest percentage in a Presidential election since 1980.

Yet, why infer that this implies enmity towards educated professionals who live in cities? The white noncollege educated voter turnout for Ronald Reagan in 1980 did not imply a rejection of the urban, Ivy educated intellectual class.  Jimmy Carter, who lost in 1980, hardly fit the East Coast “cosmopolitan,” Ivy educated stereotype. Was their vote for Reagan a vote against nuclear engineering or peanut farming or against the U.S. Navy? In making his claim about a rebellion against “educated professionals,” Zakaria is overgeneralizing in a hasty, overly-simplified way.  The Democrat Party and the mainstream media have been overgeneralizing and oversimplifying this way for a long time, and one does not need Ivy League degrees to see this subterfuge and illogicality.

Further, he interprets the election of Trump as an expression of antagonism towards the advancement of blacks (read: racism and bigotry), antagonism towards homosexuals (read: homophobia), and antagonism towards immigrants (read: Islamophobia and xenophobia). What is his basis for concluding this?  All these points can be inferred or deduced from his main point that the voters voted against their “betters.” The educated voters in urban centers and dominating in our colleges and universities clearly know better who is or is not fit for office, and what legitimate sociopolitical goals are or are not. Reject them, and one’s agenda can be seen clearly as unwise or even, in many cases, deplorable.

Clearly, his supposedly self-evident observation of this rebellion is not self-evident. The self-evidence is an egoistic assertion that comes from a distorted understanding of American life, from a biased perception of how we think, and from a nonphilosophical account of what constitutes a true explanation of events. Let’s consider each of these false assumptions made by Dr. Zakaria.

First, what is his presupposition that distorts his understanding of American life? It is a misunderstanding made by many Marxist and neo-Marxist egalitarians. It is a mentality that sees economic equality rather than liberty as the fundamental goal of society, and economics as the chief determinant of an individual’s and a society’s identity. On the contrary, America has been built with the emphasis on liberty-with-equality-of-opportunity as the essential value to be protected along with life and the responsible pursuit of happiness. However, sincere care for the needy has been a secondary but necessary ingredient since colonial times.

Under Marxist and neo-Marxist dogma, the economic themes foster the need for an intellectual avant-garde which will conceive and lead the new regime into implementation of the classless society. Woodrow Wilson encouraged increased reliance upon “experts.” This view was expanded by FDR with his “Brains Trust.” And now, Zakaria is expanding the idea further to include urban, educated, cosmopolitan types like himself and his CNN interviewers. This is the only valid class distinction. All other distinctions are bogus. All other distinctions lead to bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, racism, sexism, poverty, ignorance, intolerance, animosities, and even nation-state conflict and war. Thus, a vote against the urban, educated, cosmopolitan types is a vote for all these other negative and hateful outcomes. We can now begin to see how much contempt is packed into his words.

 

Second, he views this observation not through the eyes of Marxist theory, but as a self-evident proposition. In doing so, he fails to take into account the great philosophical wisdom of Francis Bacon writing in the 16th and 17th centuries. Bacon realistically cautioned thinkers against what he called the Four Idols. The idols are Idols of the Tribe, Cave, Marketplace, and Theater. These “idols” are fixed patterns of our thought that give rise to pervasive misunderstandings and biases. Two of the Idols are especially relevant here. Idols of the Tribe apply to all men. These obtain when our “imaginings gain dignity and are mingled with the facts until the compounds become inseparable.” For Zakaria, the abilities of the urban educated have become mingled with imaginings of their omniscience, and that the vote against their views is a “rebellion” against the true leaders with the true vision. The Idols of the Cave belong to man qua individual who sees all things through his own experience of learning. The biologist might tend to see all events through the lens of biology, the accountant might have a predisposition to a balance sheet mentality, etc. Thus, for Zakaria, all is seen through a global, universal frame of reference typical of the schoolman who deals primarily with conceptual realities rather than real world struggles, suffering, and sensibility.

 

Third, Zakaria offered his analysis of last November’s presidential election based on a sociological explanation. For him, the analysis is all about identity politics. The election results can be analyzed by considering the opposition or agreement of various subgroupings within society. You have the white educated, and the white noneducated. You have men and women. You have various minority subcultures. You have old and young, and registered Republicans and Democrats. You have nonreligious, Roman Catholics, Jews, and Evangelicals. The list multiplies, and this has become an avenue into election analysis for him, and for most of the urban, cosmopolitan, educated persons he identifies with.

However, there are philosophical parameters to this election and to every election that do not lend themselves to this way of thinking. Is it not possible that the white, noncollege educated group sees the U.S. with eyes of gratitude as a land of opportunity rather than a land of exploitation as is taught in so many college classrooms? Further, even in the Pew analysis, 43% of the white, college-educated group voted for Trump, thus demonstrating that the Trump vote was assuredly not to be seen as a vote of the ignorant as the pathetic elitist Zakaria implied.

In short, it is likely that those who voted for Trump were motivated not by their identity with a specific group interest or self-interest, but by an ongoing belief in natural rights, liberty, personal autonomy, and responsibility, and a gratitude for the USA that exceeds that of any other sociopolitical entity.

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