Don’t Think: Just Feel the Bern
Political candidates who prey on anxieties have succeeded in exploiting the ignorance of all too many Americans. It is frightening that such candidates could rise to prominence in this country. We need better education to prevent the appeal of such demagogues.
This is the sort of stuff we hear every day from leftist pundits who are convinced that their side has a monopoly on intelligence and education. Anyone who has been to even a halfway respectable college will become a leftist Democrat. The connection between education and leftism is something like the law of gravity. Just as we know that an object tossed in the air will return to the ground, we know that as a person's education level rises, he will become more left-wing in his views.
If Albert Jay Nock were alive today, he might be suprized to learn that the deep pessimism of his 1931 lectures on education fell far short of American reality in the new millennium. Nock, a classicist and elitist, decried the anti-elitist mentality that had taken hold in America by his time. He expected standards to continue to fall, but he might have been surprised by the paradoxical arrogance ot today’s anti-elitists who seem proud of their own low standards.
Which brings us to the Bernie Sanders movement. Mr. Sanders' base consists of white college students and their white professors. In fact, the Bernie Sanders movement could possibly be the whitest political movement in America during the past 100 years. It is entirely a product of leftist indoctrination through the system of mass education, and it nicely illustrates the shoddiness of our schools. The ideas of the movement come straight out of the leftist playbook of American curriculum designers.
So where can we start in diagnosing this mental disorder known as "Feeling the Bern"? One place could be this insight from Nock in his 1931 Page Barbour lectures:
"The popular idea of democracy is animated by a very strong resentment of superiority. It resents the thought of an elite; the thought that there are practicable ranges of intellectual and spiritual experience, achievement and enjoyment, which by nature are open to some and not to all. It deprecates and disallows this thought, and discourages it by every available means."
This "popular idea of democracy" is central to the Sanders movement and carries not only its well-documented economic socialism, but also its message of cultural Marxism. How dare Donald Trump refer to some illegal immigrants as rapists and suggest building a wall to keep such people out! How dare Trump suggest that Muslims are more likely to carry out terrorist attacks! This might imply some degree of inequality among groups that we as leftists favor. Is Trump suggesting that American citizens are more likely to be law-abiding than "the undocumented"? Is Trump suggesting that Christianity is superior to Islam in producing peaceful adherents?
Of course, Nock’s reference to a "resentment of superiority" was made in an intellectual and educational context. Today, however, this "resentment of superiority" would extend to a degree that opposing the presence of illegal alien felons in one's country would be considered racism, or that questioning aspects of Islamic doctrine would be viewed as a sort of bigoted Christian elitism. The 'resentment of superiority' has now gone well beyond the realm of debates over classical education. It now extends to anyone who hints at opposition to the leftist political agenda. The targets now include Americans who stand for that brutally inhumane policy known as border control as well as Christians who think their religion is superior to Islam. All of this is considered elitist, lacking in empathy, and prejudiced.
But this is not where the menace ends. In our time, the mediocrities, charlatans, economic dependents, and proletarians who are animated by the egalitarian spirit of resentment are under the delusion that they are members of the morally and intellectually superior class. America’s system of mass education has produced hordes of knowledge-free brainwash victims who think that they are the most enlightened generation in the history of mankind and that their duty is to fight ignorant primitives who cling to non-leftist attitudes.
Here is the irony. American education has got so much worse in the last half century that most universities are mere diploma mills; nonetheless, those who make it through the system think that they are the best educated and most enlightened generation in human history. “Everyone will accept gay marriage once the old people die off,” they say. Indeed. As if condoning gay relationships is an indication of knowledge, intelligence, cultivation, serious study, or productive work. The younger generation of Americans is so ignorant that they usually are not even aware of the serious disciplines they know little about, and, of course, they think historical study is useless. Who cares about the life of Muhammad? Why should I read about it if I have Muslim friends who join me in voting for the Democrats to combat rightwing extremism?
The thorough degradation of American education helps to explain why the Bernie devotees parade around with such arrogance and self-righteousness. They have been taught to believe that they are well-informed merely for holding certain views it takes all of ten minutes to learn. The importance of actual knowledge or skill as measures of educational worth has never been impressed upon them.
To be continued…..