Saturday, October 23, 2010

None Dare Call it Conspiracy - Redux

Angelo Codevilla is a professor of International Relations at Boston University.  In the August issue of the American Spectator he did an article (which was an abridged version of his book - at the left) where he argued that the people who run America have some common characteristics - regardless of their political beliefs.   I had this on my iPad but finally got around to reading it today.

His article reminded me of Gary Allen's classic None Dare Call It Conspiracy.  Codevilla asserts that a vast majority of the "ruling class" come from a small number of elite institutions.  He also argues that their values and the values of what he refers to as the "country class" are fundamentally different.  Included in those values of the latter are things like a belief in American exceptionalism (the understanding that the history of America is exceptional in many ways), support for religious beliefs and belief in the adage that the bigger the state the smaller the individual.  

He points out the the ruling class is distinguished by a number of characteristics - opposition or indifference to all of the things above plus an incompetence in coming up with solutions that make sense and a demand that they use "science" to trump any opposition to their point of view.   From Codeville's perspective,  people who raise questions about whether global warming a real are dismissed as kooks even though some of the opponents of the theories propounded by the allies of Al Gore have been torn apart by many in the scientific community with superb credentials.   He also argues that the economic solutions proposed by the ruling class are a) silly and ineffective (witness the effects of both the Bush and the Obama stimulus packages which raised debt and which most of the American public recognized were mostly bollix). Arrogance describes their MO - but as Churchill once said about Chamberlain - he is a very modest man with a great deal to be modest about.  Codeville also argues that the Obama health plan is a pure example of the roughshod way that these elites deal with opponents.  Few people who voted for the bill knew what it actually did - although outside sources recognized that the bill would raise not lower costs and diminish not increase the range of care options.  He argues that they make up for their incompetence by making their proposals complicated.   Remember (hopefully soon to be former) Speaker Pelosi saying (like good children) we did not need to know what was in the health care bill.

Where he lost me was whether this is a "conspiracy."  There are some valid criticisms of our most elite universities - he suggests it is impossible to fail there.   Also descriptions of the contempt that many elected officials have for individual opinion are quite accurate.  Even if all of those things are true, I am not convinced that this is an organized conspiracy.  Did all of the elite universities conspire to dumb down their curricula?

What Codevilla's article got me to think about was whether movements like the Tea Party (which most of the establishment has spent a lot of this year criticizing) are the beginnings of a way for the rest of us to fight back.  Seriously, even if you admit that the Delaware Senate candidate for the GOP is probably not up to the job of discussing policy intelligently - could you have watched the Senate debates with Barbara Boxer or Harry Reid and concluded that they were any more competent?  

Let's see in a little more than a week what happens.  The real test, as I stated earlier in the week, will the newly elected GOP members understand their role in governing?  Will they take it seriously and propose ideas which could role back the excesses of Obama's first two years and yet at the same time suggest ideas which are cognizant of the unique aspects of our history and culture.  We threw them out beginning in 2006 because they forgot what they were hired to do.

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