Here’s a post about politics.
We all know who Sarah Palin is, after this last election cycle. The Republicans nominated her for Vice President. She’s an evangelical Christian and the governor of Alaska. Personally, I think she’s great.
Many liberals seem to hate her. If you look around the internet at liberal blogs and at comments made by liberals under news stories at places like Fox News and CNN, you can see that. They basically seem to think that she’s an extremist, she’s dangerous, she’s a hypocrite, she has no “intellectual curiosity”, she’s stupid, blah, blah, blah. None of this is fact-based, by the way. It’s all based on inaccurate, biased reporting by the mainstream media, and on their own preconceptions about conservative Christians.
So, this is about an article that appeared in the online Wall Street Journal not long after the election. (Not sure if it appeared in the print edition or not). Here’s the link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122610558004810243.html It was written by Mark Lilla, and titled “The Perils of Populist Chic.” Basically it said that the conservative intellectual tradition is dead, implying that Palin and her supporters are dumb. I thought it was a pretty stupid article. I felt like I’d stumbled onto some liberal blog.
Then I read the comments, a lot of which disagreed with the article. They were much better. There’s one that I want to copy and show on this site. Here it is:
As a pro-Palin ‘intellectual’, I would have to seriously disagree. ‘Intellectualism’ on both the left and the right has become an end in itself, an arrogant competition in who can spin the most complex webs. The end result of that is already visible in the market; look up what the Nobel Prize winners of Long Term Capital Management wrought a decade ago, or the the current disaster of ot he GSE’s aided and abetted in large part by Harvard Law grads Frank and Dodd. Go through the list of failed investment banks; most were led by people with advanced degrees in that softest of sciences, economics, while advanced degrees in mathematical sciences were a prerequisite for the geniuses that created toxic debt instruments.
Intellectualism to be useful needs to be grounded in reality – that somewhat forgotten notion of common sense. This is especially true in any field that has to do directly with assessing risk, because risk itself is not quantifiable, it is subjective. The Wall Street brain trust forgot that; people like Palin, or Joe the Plumber, have to live with it every day. Unlike the professorial class, there’s no job tenure for for your average person. Palin was able to articulate it very well, but unfortunately that message – through a rather dark MSM filter – was seen as ignorant, provincial, demogogic.
But just how true is caricature? I would suggest, not very, and in fact I would suggest that those who subscribe to that belief ask themselves on just what real evidence they do so. There’s very little to support their claims; if you sit down and trace the most egregious complaints about her -particularly with respect to abortion, or drugs, or education, to her actual political stands, and her accomplishments in office and in her family, you’ll find more often than not that what the public is being shown is what the media has chosen to project upon her. This is just bad partisan reporting, and in itself is not unusual. Reporters are not paid to think. Her actions in office indicate a person that – while strongly committed to her own view – are both open and tolerant to others, and flexible enough to generate real, political consensus. The failure of the self-annointed intelligensia to use that fundamental tool – doubt – supported by independent research to clarify issues for themselves and others stands in far greater condemnation of academia than of those they oppose.
It’s a very dangerous precedent for the US, where, on the whole, history has been more balanced. There have been slips (like Kennedy’s ‘Best and Brightest’, who brought the US into Vietnam, or FDR’s economic revolution, that kept unemployment well above 10% until the advent of WWII). But on the whole, the US professoriat stayed away from the hard partisanship one found, say, in 1931 Germany, in which academics led suport for National Socialism by a two-to-one margin relative to the working classes. It should be worrisome to anybody that they seem to be slipping back into that mode now, particularly with regards to the manner in which they are doing so.
So, there it is. Hope you weren’t too bored with it.
Here are some more pictures of her, followed by a couple videos.