Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Inside-The-Beltway "Smart" Set

They're all smart: High IQ, well educated, 99th percentile, well motivated and hard charging. They may be liberal (Brookings) or conservative (Cato), but they're from the same intellectual class. They have the same blind spot.

Fred has a very thought provoking essay on these people:
The tendency of the Beltway 99th to live in an imaginary world, of conservatives to think that everybody can be a Horatio Alger, of liberals to believe that inequality arises from discrimination, guarantees wretched policy. Those who can do almost anything need to recognize the existence of those who can do almost nothing. Few of the latter are parasites. The waitress has worked all her life, as has the truck driver. They ended up with nothing.

Which is easy to do. A girl marries her high-school sweetheart in Busted Hump, Tennessee and he goes to work for the local pickle-bottling plant, which switches to hiring people as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits. Neither of the pair is real bright, just ordinary Americans trying to make a living. They live paycheck to paycheck because they don’t know how not to. Neither is lazy. They just don’t know how to start the next Microsoft. He dies of a heart attack at 45, she can’t make the mortgage, and…she is well and truly screwed.

It's not a poverty of compassion. While the left sprains its shoulder patting itself on the back for their compassion, the right has no shortage of it. Yet both sides is entirely ignorant of what real people's lives are like. And so the wretched policy, from both sides.

I'm not sure I believe all of this, but it sure made me think.

Aretae to Isegoria to Fred. Nothing but 'net.


NotClauswitz said...

Nuke the Beltway. I lived in Arlington for a while, it was no different than Perfect Palo Alto except the weather.

SiGraybeard said...

While I think there's a lot of merit in what Fred says there, I think a bigger problem is that they are not the 99th percentile, but they think they are. Remember Kevin Kline's character, Otto, in "A Fish Called Wanda"? "Don't call me stupid". That sounds more like them.

They can't accept evidence-based reality, or they wouldn't be advocating state-ism as much as they are. State-ism in any of its various forms has never been as successful as the market. I mean to include big government republicans in here as well as the current regime.

Look at Van Jones. Jones is a fairly slick speaker, but is a commie to the core. How high an IQ does it take to see communism never works? He's responsible for shutting down the jobs at solar panel factories and getting them given to prison inmates. In what universe does it make sense to raise unemployment while giving handouts to felons? Only if you believe you are returning wealth to its rightful owners.

OTOH, Fred is absolutely right that some people are doing all they can to get by in the world now. Partly that's because all of us are not equal and partly because of the failure of our educational system; the failings of that system in the broad sense are legion and well documented.

On the other other hand, people are virtually always capable of more than they think they are.

Actually, I could keep ranting, but I don't want to abuse the privilege of commenting to your blog. Just food for thought...

Borepatch said...

Graybeard, your comments are always welcome here. Rant away, if you want to!