Latest update: September 4th, 2012
Are the American voters idiots? What do you think, readers?
I still say no, even after 2008, when it took very little effort to find out everything you needed to know about Barack Obama. Steeped in ‘60s-era radicalism, a “community organizer,” and a close associate of everyone in the political-guilt shakedown industry in Chicago. This guy was everything my leftist college professors thought of as a hero.
His associates, political thugs, pried open sealed divorce and child-custody records to embarrass his opponents in the 2006 Senate race. Yet his own records – e.g., college transcripts – have remained firmly sealed. His political record, other than his years in community organizing, was of a hard-left voting pattern (coupled with a lot of “present” votes), and a recorded interview in which he decried the U.S. Constitution’s marvelous provisions to keep government from doing things to the people.
There were so many reasons to know in advance that Obama would be a poor president. Yet many of the voters were taken in by the media hype surrounding Obama. The president’s associations and recorded statements were played down. The record was there for a number of investigative authors to find, from Michelle Malkin to Stanley Kurtz and Aaron Klein. But the mainstream media presented a very selective picture of the Democratic candidate.
The MSM, in fact, has embarrassed itself to a near-fatal degree with its remarkable coverage of the Obama administration, whether it is amplifying the cries of “racism!” that erupt whenever there is criticism of the president, or credulously reporting whatever the administration puts out, word for word, as if there is no previous record or any set of facts to be counter-checked. (The latter pattern is especially strong when it comes to reporting about defense and national security. Reporters have regularly retailed administration talking points about the unprecedented “shows of strength” the Obama administration is making, when a little research would reveal that the US had already been doing whatever the “unprecedented” thing is, for 5, 20, or even – in the case of North and South Korea – 60 years.)
There has been a tremendous growth in vague, elliptical, and/or tendentious narration of what’s going on in the nation and the world. The people can be pardoned for being tired and confused.
But the inability to distinguish fantasy-news and talking points from reality is a product of the American education system. That system has taken millions of people with plenty of native smarts and indoctrinated them with a set of ideological trigger-concepts, all while declining to teach them to think critically. Developing judgment through critical thinking is one of the hallmarks of adulthood, and the U.S. education system has been making that harder for Americans, rather than fostering their abilities.
But has this actually made Americans stupid? I don’t think so. One reason is that my experience with sailors in the last 10 years of my active-duty time was that an awful lot of them were coming in “stupid” – a noticeable difference from previous years – but most of them quickly learned discipline, responsibility, and the acquisition of knowledge, once they were challenged to. Lazy, whining kids who had never before been required to actually meet a challenge found it invigorating and rewarding to do so. (New sailors who came in from disciplined backgrounds like sports or music had an advantage, even though their store of knowledge was lacking, because they had already been challenged to perform to a standard along the way.)
Indeed, throughout my life, people’s hunger for challenge, and their adaptability when they are given opportunities to learn and improve themselves, have been in strong evidence. People aren’t happy as dependent creatures, supervised and fed but never rising to challenge or opportunity. People aren’t happy in any of the pathologies so prevalent today, whether in welfare dependency, “job” dependency – having to wait for someone else to create a job, with the government’s say-so, so you can have rewarding work – or drug use or sexual excess, or constant obsession with ideas of victimization and despair.
Only the most foolish of the young can think that these things make you happy and fulfilled. Americans used to know better, and I believe we want to again. It doesn’t make anyone happy to live in a network of these pathologies – not even the politicians and advocacy professionals who make their living from exploiting them
It does make us happy to take responsibility, exercise discipline, work hard, accumulate wealth, marry and raise children, and give our families a bright future. Some people are unhappy in any circumstances, but no one is happy trapped in the modern American pathology-network.
There is a lie in our minds that it has become economically feasible for lots and lots of us to live in this pathogenic manner, but the evidence is all around us that we can’t. Our unfunded federal obligations now total more than 8 times our entire annual GDP. Most of our federal budget every year goes to entitlement programs. But the problem is larger than that. How many young men and women have been squeezed out of productive life by the pathologies of welfarism? How many abortions and STDs, how many lives ruined by drugs and alcohol, how many gang killings do we need, before we will acknowledge that it is not a good idea for government to subsidize pathogenic living?
I believe Americans are waking up to reality. Perhaps it took the Obama presidency to reveal to enough minds the ugly deceptions behind the talking points of the left. The now nearly mindless and painfully predictable shrieking of the left’s most unseemly pundits – and even of some of its politicians – comes off as a death scream. The MSM will continue its fantasy-narrative generation, but the public has seen what Obama the Savior has wrought, and it’s collapsing businesses, dying jobs, and crony-tending with the taxpayers’ indenture, as far as the eye can see.
People do seek the truth. They do want to live well, by their own efforts and according to the moral code of God, in ways that are satisfying and rewarding. They respond with overwhelming capacities to challenges. We aren’t cut out to live the way the 1960s-era radical left has been determined – for nearly 50 years now – that we will. It doesn’t work. The inconsistencies and invalid propositions have us bursting at the seams.
I think Americans are waking up to that, and will recognize that the first step is changing presidents in January. No, the voters aren’t stupid. Too many have been misled for too long, but we still have what our Founders endowed us with: a public square in which we are free to encourage and persuade each other. I believe more and more Americans are listening, and thinking critically again. I don’t know if we will have a universally honest and fair vote in November, but I do believe we won’t have a stupid one.
Visit J.E. Dyer’s blog, the Optimistic Conservative.J. E. Dyer
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