★ The Anti-Intellectual Intellectual

As I sit here at my keyboard, wracking my brain as I attempt to put into words all of the disparate thoughts surging through my neural pathways, I find myself coming back to the vague hope that one day there will somehow, some way emerge a positive correlation between intelligence and wisdom. It may be an empty hope, but those seem to be in fashion these days, so I have no trouble indulging it. As I approach the end of my tenure in Middlebury, Vermont, I can only marvel at how so many intelligent, articulate, well-educated people can be so utterly wrong about so many things. Economics students spend their time trying to defy the laws of economics. History majors ignore history. English majors attempt to project their fictionalized fantasies onto the real world. Others proudly profess their ignorance in between their Ancient Agrarian Pottery and Organic Feminism classes. And they all smile and nod as our government and our culture foolishly repeat the same mistakes that we made thirty years ago. As our president flails in Washington, desperately trying to convince the country that we're on the brink of the apocalypse so that we might nod politely as he and other liberals force their socialist agenda down our throats, our best and brightest are taking less and less interest in events, content that merely by electing the Chicago Superman, we've already solved all of our major problems, and that any remaining details can be ignored for now. They are willfully checking out of the system, lowering their guard, and in many cases, welcoming the newly-revealed but long-gestating wave of socialism that is washing over our nation, in defiance of everything that history has taught us.

Many of them are simply missing out on one or two important details. For example, they cannot see that the events that supposedly necessitate greater government regulation are in fact the result of previous federal intervention. For evidence, look no further than the Community Reinvestment Act, a federal program designed to create "affordable housing" for all, it inadvertently spawned a situation in which private business had to respond to excessive regulations by issuing unsafe loans and severely inflating the value of the housing market. When that bubble burst and the market collapsed last year, near-unanimous blame fell on the market, with few noting that the market's actions were only in response to unwise regulation. Or take for instance the state of the American auto industry, where United Auto Works Union members demand more than $60 more an hour than non-union members working in foreign-owned automobile manufacturing plants around the country. Legislation designed to protect the unions have kept them in power for decades, but to hear liberals tell it, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the CEOs who "just should have done their jobs better." But the actions of these CEOs were determined largely by the restrictions placed upon them by the politically-backed unions, against whom they just couldn't fight. Having to cut corners elsewhere, they found themselves trapped inside business that couldn't sustain themselves.

Most liberals, I like to think, simply make the mistake of not seeing that sort of causality. But there are clearly still those who have deluded themselves into thinking that despite the repeated failure of their philosophy throughout American history to make the positive mark they've intended, all they really need to do is care a little bit more. These are the folks who think that all of the world's problems can be solved with a chat and a hug, who rush to accept blame for things in which they have no stake or responsibility, who embrace so-called "progressive" politics not because they make logical sense, but because they just feel so right.

From a society that has wanted for nothing for the last fifty years, that has been relatively economically and socially stable for an extended period, have sprung generations of people who quite simply do not understand the sources of prosperity, the necessity of individuality and entrepreneurship, and the simple concepts of right and wrong. They have trapped themselves and this country in a never-ending cycle of self-flagellation, desperately seeking to make amends for uncommitted sins. They have condemned and taken steps to destroy the very foundations of the society that made them possible by attacking capitalism, democracy, individualism, and the concept of natural rights.

It was not by the sweat of the common man that this country was made; it was by the vision of the exceptional individual. But don't tell this to the anti-intellectual intellectual that has come to dominate our society, because no matter how true it might be, it doesn't fit with the prevailing dogma that the innovators that have driven our society upward were and are at best lucky fools and at worst the vilest humans to ever walk the face of the earth. The man who designed the steam engine has been ignored in favor of the men who laid the railroad track. In this society of ours, which once claimed to value its minds, the brain has been pushed aside, to be replaced with the all-feeling, all-loving heart of soft liberalism, where exceptionalism is declared unfair and mediocrity is praised as virtue.

As a result, young affluent people who were raised wanting nothing and being given everything, who were taught how to read poetry and analyze literature and study multicultural history but not to think, who were never made to understand the nature of individual responsibility or the way the world actually works, have rallied to the flag of liberalism, not because of what they know, but because of what they feel. And now, as we find ourselves faced with a crisis of liberals' making that liberals insist on resolving using the very methods that brought us here in the first place, all of the intelligent people are incapable of asking, "Why?" because they've been taught to listen to their hearts. Until we break ourselves from this cycle and start thinking logically about the problems we face, until we learn that we cannot expect to prosper without knowing from where prosperity comes, we cannot hope to resolve the issues we face.

It is time for us to realize that sound action derived from sound thought is the only way to succeed.