|Can We Please Stop Labeling Liberals “Elite?”|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 21 2010
In a survey released October 14, 2009 – just three months ago – the liberal-leaning Pew Research Center ran a “News IQ Quiz.”
It probably didn’t surprise the Pew staff to learn that a “partisan knowledge gap” existed between Democrats and Republicans.
But it surely horrified them to realize that the gap favored… Republicans.
On fully ten of twelve “News IQ Quiz” questions asked, Republicans demonstrated deeper basic knowledge than Democrats, with respondents tied on one question and Democrats leading on only one of the twelve.
In other words, the hard survey data confirms what anyone familiar with socio-economic issues already suspected: if anyone earns the label “elite,” it is actually more conservative Americans.
After all, what is “elite” about a liberal ideology that delusionally believes you can “stimulate” the economy by confiscating a dollar from the struggling private economy, watch that dollar slowly evaporate as it traverses through the machinations of wasteful big government, thereby quadrupling our federal deficit to ultimately be repaid through higher taxes or inflationary printing of dollars at some future date of reckoning?
Similarly, what is “elite” about a liberal ideology that believes you can somehow inspire employers to hire by increasing employees’ healthcare costs under ObamaCare, imposing new unionization burdens through card-check and mandatory federal arbitration and suddenly taxing everyday carbon dioxide for the first time in history?
What is “elite” about a liberal ideology that ignores the straightforward lessons of history, and believes that the United States and free nations can bring sudden world peace by embracing murderous dictators, negotiating from a position of reduced American strength, literally bowing submissively to foreign heads of state, sitting idly as rogue nations put us through a Groundhog Day circus of intermittent negotiation and aggression, apologizing for America to foreign audiences and betraying allies like Israel and Poland who rely upon us?
And what is “elite” about a liberal ideology that clings to deteriorating claims of global warming, even while global temperatures have declined since 1998 and climate change activists have been and continue to be exposed for manipulating climate data, persecuting scientists who dared present contrary data and undermining scientific journals that offered contrary points of view?
The preceding fallacies have been repeatedly discredited throughout our nation’s history.
Economically, for instance, the 1970s decade of stagflation and malaise demonstrated that Keynesian borrow-and-tax-and-spend only exacerbated economic difficulties and triggered runaway inflation, interest rates and unemployment. In foreign policy, the 1970s witnessed the catastrophic results of negotiating with foreign enemies from a position of weakness and contrition rather than from strength and American self-confidence. And regarding global warming, the 1970s were also the decade in which “global cooling” was the supposed impending catastrophe that would trigger a new ice age, destroy crops and cause mass starvation.
All of this occurred during the lifetime of Barack Obama, and someone of his supposed intellectual prowess would presumably be capable of processing those simple lessons. More broadly, those and other lessons are within most Americans’ lifetime experience, and therefore readily capable of understanding.
Despite this, the term “liberal elite” persists within the American lexicon.
Conservative writers and pundits often mistakenly use the term, and understandably so. After all, liberals tend to project an air of superiority and sanctimonious condescension, along with their bromides about the “stupidity” of Fox News and other conservative commentators and political figures.
Further, liberals themselves embrace the false label of “elite,” because it only reinforces their sense of self-righteousness. On an unintentionally amusing blog entitled “Latte,” one liberal attempts to triumphantly summarize that sentiment:
But who are the liberal “elite, really? We are the latte-sipping, Mini-driving, Queer Eye-watching, sushi-eating, wine-drinking set. We are more likely to sport Paul Smith than Paul Bunyan. We prefer Corey Flintoff to Rush Limbaugh. We don’t abuse prescription drugs (under Bush, we can’t afford them); our fix is reading publications with “New York” in the title. If spiritual, we are not evangelical. We may speak a foreign language, and we are among the minority of Americans with a passport. We have broadband connections, with which we watch clips from The Daily Show. We do not necessarily, however, live in a so-called “blue state.” Rather, we live in urban areas. Our favorite American cities include San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Seattle, but we could very well be living in Austin, Des Moines, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, or Madison. If you are an American living abroad, you are probably one of us.
As noted above, the only problem is that “elite” doesn’t describe liberals, intellectually or otherwise. It describes their hated enemy – conservatives.
It may be a difficult habit to break for commentators and even conservatives to stop labeling liberals “elite” or “elitist.” But as Rush Limbaugh often notes, “words mean things.”
And in this case, “elite” means conservative, not liberal.
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