BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

(I am putting this short essay up here because "Conservatives are dumb" is one of Leiter's themes)

Leftists are great projectors (tending to see their own faults in others) so to know what is true of them, you just have to look at what they say about conservatives. They even accuse conservatives of projection! So they are always trawling for utterances by conservatives that they can characterize as "hate speech", even though they themselves can hardly open their mouths without pouring out hatred of all those who oppose them.

One of their most constant ploys is to accuse conservatives of being stupid and they have done it so often that conservatives seem to be somewhat abashed by it and rarely treat it as the projection it is. For the record, the ONLY adult general population survey I know of that obtained both IQ scores and a record of political attitudes was Martin's study (which I helped write up for the academic journals). And that study showed that it was LEFTISTS who were most likely to be dumb.

One reason why the accusation that conservatives are dumb gains some weight is the great preponderance of Leftists among professors. That overlooks, however, that the situation was not always thus. Up until the 1960s, the professoriate was in general politically moderate. There were of course exceptions. The elite universities have always tended Left. The best known examples of that are England's two great universities, Oxford and Cambridge. We have all I think heard of the Cambridge spies (Philby et al.), and the Bloomsberries were far Left too. Such leftism can perhaps most economically be described as a "spoilt brat" syndrome. Less well known is the prewar fascination of Harvard with Nazism -- which was a popular form of socialism in its day.

The general moderation of the pre-1960s professoriate was however its undoing. Precisely because of its moderation, it came under ferocious attack from the 1960s student radicals and it responded in a typically moderate way -- apologetically. Curricula were revised in response to the radical demands and more and more Leftists were hired and promoted. And when in the course of time the radical academics so appointed rose in seniority and power, they behaved in a typically unscrupulous way and used their power to squeeze out as many conservatives from academe as they could. So smart conservatives these days go on to get rich in business while the Leftist academics fume away in their ivory towers!

Perhaps most amusingly, however, it should be noted that the Dems and the GOP split the college-educated vote about equally in the last Presidential election. In other words, about half of the people whom the Leftist professors themselves have certified as academically able in fact vote GOP!

The intellectual poverty of the Left shows itself very clearly in their lack of ideas. The only way that they can ever think of for bringing about their desired utopias is the brutishly simply one of FORCING people to behave in the "right" way, by way of legislation in democatic societies or on pain of death in Communist societies.

We have an excellent example of such brainlessness in a recent article which argues that the U.S. Left needs to become more socialist. The article consists of nothing but one long wail about the injustices of the world and simply ASSERTS that socialism is the answer -- with no supportive reasoning at all about HOW socialism might fix things -- which is all the more remarkable given the known FAILURES of socialism to fix anything. A few illustrative quotes:
"With corporate capitalism everywhere in command, the outlook is for increased poverty, more environmental degradation, ever more uneven distribution of resources and the undermining of traditional societies and ways of life... Doing battle against the prevailing inequality means invoking the idea that we all belong to a community, as opposed to the illusion, voiced famously by Thatcher, that "there is no society, only individuals." ... On the road to shaping an alternative, the left might respond with a time-honored socialist insight, namely that "I" only exists within a "we," and that unless we look out for everyone, no one is secure.

Note the non sequitur in the last sentence. It is reasonable enough to say that "I" only exists within a "we" but such a statement is only trivially true. Our socialist friend, however seems to think that the truth concerned also implies that "unless we look out for everyone, no one is secure". But England and early America existed in excellent security long before there was any welfare legislation! It is true that private charity at that time looked after the less fortunate but I don't think that private charity is what our socialist friend is advocating!

And another counterfactual assertion above is that capitalism will increase poverty. Since capitalism is provably the the best and surest way of increasing wealth, the statement is deliberately wrongheaded. And it is of course the advanced capitalist societies that have done most to clean up their environment and prevent further degradation of it. You have to be devoid of all knowledge and understanding of how the world actually works (and has worked) to spout the nonsense that our brainless socialist does.