Validation By Defeat
Will has some excellent points in this column.
MSNBC – Validation By Defeat: “Nov. 22 issue – A small but significant, because articulate, sliver of the Democratic Party seems to relish interpreting the party’s defeat as validation. This preening faction reasons as follows: the re-election of George W. Bush proves that 51 percent of the electorate are homophobic, gun-obsessed, economically suicidal, antiscience, theocratic dunces. Therefore to be rejected by them is to have one’s intellectual and moral superiority affirmed.”
This behavior is just obnoxious and reprehensible.
“Belief in the infantilism of the American public has been an expanding facet of some “progressive” thinking for 50 yearsâ€”since the explosive growth of advertising, especially on television, in the 1950s. Then it began to be argued (see, for example, John Kenneth Galbraith’s 1958 book “The Affluent Society”) that Americans are a bovine, manipulable herdâ€”putty in the hands of advertisers who can manufacture demand for whatever products manufacturers want to produce.
This new theoryâ€”that the economy is powered not by the consumption of production but by the production of consumptionâ€”made a mockery of the idea of consumer sovereignty. Consumers, it was said, could no longer make up their minds because their minds were made up for them by irresistible forces beyond their control or even their cognizance.”
Do we give people the benefit of the doubt, that is do we trust them to think for themselves or do we expect that since so many cannot we must do it for them.
“They are dismayed that political spending on the presidential race (including spending by the independent 527 groups) and on all House and Senate races totaled $3.9 billionâ€”less than what Americans will spend on chips this year. One reason the money in politics is supposedly “too much” is that most of the money goes for advertising, and we know how powerfully it controls voters.
Actually, we don’t know. For the record, John Kerry and groups supporting him spent more on advertising than Bush and groups supporting him didâ€”nationally, and in Florida and Ohio.
It is passing strange. As the American public has become more educated, American intellectuals have become more disparaging of the public’s intellectual incapacities and moral shortcomings. In 1940, more than half of the U.S. population had only an eighth-grade education, or less. Now that 85 percent are high-school graduates, 53 percent have some college education and 27 percent are college graduates, it is an article of faith among the progressive intelligentsia that the public is becoming increasingly obtuse, bigoted and superstitious.”
I am willing to bet that most people were unaware of this. There is a lot of food for thought here.