The Left’s Presumption of Superiority

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An exceptional article that explains why many on the left are the way they are. Have a pleasant day.

Written on March 16, 2012 by David L. Goetsch (Published on PatriotUpdate.com)

Conservative economist Thomas Sowell once wrote: "People are never more sincere than when they assume their own superiority." I could not have said it better. Having spent 36 years in that bastion of presumed superiority-higher education-I am accustomed to people who simply assume they are superior, and then act accordingly. I once debated a fellow professor whose academic background was philosophy. My field was business. He was decrying the fact that so many college students now choose to pursue degrees in professional fields such as engineering or business rather than the traditional liberal arts (i.e. Humanities, Philosophy, and Art). This professor wore his presumed intellectual superiority like a badge of honor and virtually dripped righteous indignation as he spoke.

After listening to my snooty colleague repeatedly refer to business majors as "baby capitalists" and engineering majors as "glorified auto mechanics," I interrupted and asked him two questions: 1) What is wrong with capitalists and auto mechanics? and 2) Next time your car breaks down, why don't you call a philosopher? The audience enjoyed the intended humor in my questions and laughed accordingly. But my colleague was greatly offended that someone would dare question his obvious superiority. He responded that I was "stupid" and stomped off the stage in a huff.

This debate took place in an academic environment where righteous indignation permeates the very bricks and mortar. College professors and their liberal counterparts outside of the academy are what Thomas Sowell once referred to as the "perpetually indignant." When liberals cannot rebut conservative ideas with logic or reason, they simply brush them aside and call them "stupid" or "unworthy." When a conservative gets under their skin with an argument based on those inconvenient little things known as facts, liberals quickly resort to name calling. For example, make a cogent, well-reasoned argument against any of President Obama's misguided economic policies and see how long it takes before liberals call you a "racist."

In discussions and debates, liberals seldom attempt to explain themselves or to offer more viable ideas. To liberals who are blindly invested in their own intellectual and moral superiority, explanations are not necessary. To them, the viability of leftist opinions should be self-evident, a convenient defense for those who cannot justify their opinions on the basis of logic, reason, or facts. This is why colleges and universities are such comfortable places for liberals.

On most college campuses in America, liberals know they are among like-minded colleagues who share the same presuppositions. By associating exclusively with fellow travelers, liberal professors eliminate the inconvenience of having to defend their opinions. Hence, they quickly become intellectually flabby. On the typical college campus in America a conservative is about as welcome as a roach in the punch bowl, and a business leader is welcome only if he is there to make a substantial donation. In this type of environment a liberal is free to pontificate without any fear of being challenged by logic, reason, or facts.

In his book, The Thomas Sowell Reader, Sowell summed up the left's presumed superiority in these words: "It would never occur to people with academic degrees and professorships that they are both ignorant and incompetent in vast areas of human life, much less that they should keep that in mind before they vent their emotions and wax self-righteous. Degrees show that you have knowledge in some special area. Too often they embolden people to pontificate on a wide range of subjects where they don't know what they are talking about."

As he typically does, Sowell hit the nail on the head. He too has spent years in an academic environment surrounded by intellectual elites who believe so fervently in their own superiority that they brush aside conservative arguments like annoying flies at a picnic. To his credit, Sowell never dons the armor of presumed superiority. He does not need to because, although in a league of his own compared with most professors, Sowell's arguments are always backed by logic, reason, and facts. Unlike liberals, Sowell knows that it is his logic, reason, and facts that must be superior. There is a lesson here that liberals would do well to learn.

both sides feel superior to the other, this how human beings and the world works. the left choose to feel superior by claiming to be progressive. the right feels superior by believing they know better then the left.

Meh, I see both sides try to assume a superior attitude on regular occasions. I mean, just look at this article. This guy's going on about how liberals are all smug and superior, never willing to accept the validity of any kind of conservative viewpoint, despite the fact that he himself is generalizing an entire group of people and implying the superiority of his own group over them.

The irony makes me want to go and lie down.

Also, I've decided not to come back to this post now. That way, I can pretend that a reasoned and polite discussion took place after I left, rather than the inevitable flamewar :/

So...basically all "Liberals" are arrogant because they are university educated and don't know anything about the "real world"?

I think the entire article is one big ad hominem. It doesn't even bother to define "Liberals", taking them to be an identical homogeneous mass of arrogant individuals because as we know all "Liberals" are university educated apparently. Basically it's saying being university educated automatically makes you arrogant and this personality traits discredits the validity of your arguments. This articles so presuming and generalising it's mentally painful.

Are you trolling, OP? Because if you are, then this is pretty damn funny if you ask me.

The OP has some truth to it. If the right-wing are offensively stupid, then the left-wing are infuriatingly smug and self-assured.

In "polite" and "inoffensive" parts of the internet - this forum included - the moral high-ground always seems to lie with the person who manages to take the most liberal viewpoint. You've heard the observation that "antisemetic" used to describe somebody who hates Jews; these days it's a label used by Jews to identify people they dislike. The Internet Left have appropriated a lot of language in exactly the same way, meaning that whenever you see "bigot" or "X-phobe" thrown around in a discussion you can be pretty sure it's meant more as an insult than an accurate descriptor.

*shrug*

Wait, since when is the left defined by only its academic members? The left is largely comprised of unionized workers, labourers, blue collar folks, the people who keep the machines of the capitalists running and who need to stick together and employ their synergetic power in order not to be screwed over.

And didn't you just recently have a movement called Occupy? Weren't they decried for being too unorganized, too hippy, too dumb, dirty no good lazy and unemployed leeching folks? Why aren't they mentioned in this article?

This sounds much more like the "liberal elites"-talking point than any kind of actual analysis of the left-wing and its involvement in practical economic policy-making and regulation.

in which a conservative college professor presumes superiority over liberal college professors by virtue of their presumed superiority.

the intellectual content of this article can be summed up as "read Thomas Sowell, because he's the one actually making my arguments for me."

ye smart people are dumb ? am i doin it right ?

you know what my actual response to this is ? its just anti-intellectualism and the worst thing is the political rights plan for completing with BRICS and the new global economic reality is to tune all the people who swallow this crap into direct economic competitors to the Chinese peasants who are all moving in just the opposite direction.

but it won't work. because A. there are plenty of Chinese peasants and replacements to take over from them in the long term pipeline and B. you don't actually want to be the economic equivalent of Chinese peasants.

the ONLY way advanced economies were going to survive in a globalized free market was to stay ahead, to stay advanced and to make, invent and sell the things the others can't make, invent and sell and the only way to do that was to stay on top of and value education and not just eduction but high end and economically productive eduction.

but the unfortunately the US is rampantly anti-intellectual, anti-science and anti-public eduction and so ultimately its heading for a massive fall when it will no longer be an advanced nation compared to those who will ultimately overtake it simply on the basis of numbers.

long term right wing politics in the US is a "race to the bottom" for the working man combined with a social narrative that makes you reject even having the critical wherewithal to examine where you are actually heading as a nation.

basically the people who will always be rich want you to be stupid so you don't realise where you are headed on their economic behalf.

they want you to compete directly with Chinese wage slaves (and those in the still "emerging" nations who will follow them in turn)

have a good, long hard think about for a while and decide if that's actually something you want.

and if you dismiss that offhand simply because you think it's the utterances of someone who is your political enemy, i really, seriously urge you to reconsider.

at this point the majority of postdoctoral scientists and engineers in the US who are actually producing the "products of tomorrow" that drive your economy are foreign nationals.

on top of this the majority of science PhDs now granted in the US go to foreign-born students who are there taking up the places on courses your indigenous youth won't and don't.

that's how far you've come along this road to real cultural idiocracy.

and have no mistake they are there for the money and when the money moves so will they because they know what's coming and aren't laying down permanent roots in the US.

and you ? you'll be left with people who "don't believe in science" not that it'll matter because the best work they'll be able to find will be something akin to factory making washers for a Bazillion eco friendlily car manufacturer for the equivalent of a few Yuans a day.

time's change and if you think the US had a handle on the realities of the globalization of worldwide free trade you are sorely mistaken.

American exceptionalism is backslapping bullshit. you can fall down the worlds pecking order just as easily as all those great nations of history before you.

by all means be right wing, democratically pursue you ideal vision of small government or whatever, i don't really care but don't do it with the morons who are guiding you atm.

those people are simple not up to the task at hand, they are engrained in a broken record of a politick that does nothing to actually address the realities of the real situation at hand and are leading you in entirely the wrong direction if you want the US to stay one of the "advanced" nations where people actually enjoy a decent quality of life.

but hey as long as you can slag off university professors and "the enemy" its all fine right ?

i mean lets not let a little thing like the fact social mobility (the de-facto measure of the success of "the American dream") has stalled for the last 30 years during which you've raised generations of kids to revel in their ignorance get in the way of some good ole fashioned...no actually fuck that...you really need to "screw the heid" and change things around in a major, major way.

you have a decade or two. three at the most.

after that the Chinese middle class will be bigger than the entire population of the US and the peasant jobs will start drifting off to the rest of the BRICs and you'll simply never catch up.

TL;DR all lefties are educated scumbags and inferior to righties. So apparently one has to be uneducated to be a true right winger. Are there any more people you wish to offend? Maybe if we dig up a corpse we can put a turban on it and I can film you piss on it while you laugh?

Here, let me throw some content behind this.

I, as a conservative, am constantly treated like I'm selfish or unsympathetic. The more left-sided arguers tend to not often acknowledge what they want and need because that would make them selfish and unsympathetic as well, so instead they argue for the lowly and downtrodden. It's not about them, it's about the diseased, impovershed, rape-victim children that we need to be thinking about.

There's nothing wrong and everything right with considering those who have less than you, but there's a hitch in here. I'm sure everyone's been around arguements claiming something will turn the US into a third world country or drag the world back to the industrial revolution, conjuring up some image of dirty, miserable children on the street. The thing is, people aren't miserable. People can be happy in almost any circumstances. It's not like you go to sub-Saharan Africa and everyone is crying themselves to sleep. People I know who have been there were not moved to tears by the dreadful conditions, but by how positive children with AIDs can be. There may be many people less fortunate than you or I, but they aren't miserable because they don't have our lives.

Equality and prosperity are not everyone having the life you want. Caring for the less fortunate is good, but wishing on them the life you desire is not selfless and sympathizing, and everytime someone behaves that way it is abundantly clear that they care more about claiming the moral high ground than the people they are claiming to care for.

Do you really think only the left has presumptions of superiority? Presumptions of superiority exist everywhere. Right wing people think they're chosen by god, console gamers and pc gamers both think they're better than each other simply based on gaming machine choice, dog owners think they're better than cat owners and probably vice versa, hell, I wouldn't be surprised if someone assumed superiority because they drink coke instead of pepsi.

Your professor was a total douche, though. I'll grant you that.

Skeleon:
The left is largely comprised of unionized workers, labourers, blue collar folks, the people who keep the machines of the capitalists running and who need to stick together and employ their synergetic power in order not to be screwed over.

I'm not to sure about that, and that may be the case in Germany, but most liberals I have met are middle class, while most poor people are conservative.

I always thought of it as this, the left are too pretentious while the right are too patronizing.

If we are to play the stereotype game, I rather have smug educated intellectuals running things then uneducated bigots...

But it's never that simple.

Is this a textbook case of the pot calling the kettle black or what?

This doesn't really seem important enough to respond with a long thought out post but here's a few small things.

Hop-along Nussbaum:

This debate took place in an academic environment where righteous indignation permeates the very bricks and mortar.

Given that he's invoking the liberals v. conservatives fight I find it hilarious he brings up righteousness. To overgeneralize as he does, absolutely every single conservative without exception is "perpetually indignant" by assuming their faith should run the country.

Hop-along Nussbaum:
When liberals cannot rebut conservative ideas with logic or reason, they simply brush them aside and call them "stupid" or "unworthy."

I usually perceive it as the arguments have been said, published, or shown so many times that it is ridiculous to have to explain then again. For example, regarding the trickle down theory someone supporting it should by default have arguments regarding the marginal propensity to consume or save. They should by default explain why the rich who have a ridiculous excess would spend the extra money they should arguably be given rather than saving it. In opposition an upwards proponent should counter the common rebuttal that welfare discourages employment.
Similarly someone arguing against gay marriage should by default address the concept of informed consent without the necessity for it to brought up in rebuttal. On the flip side proponents of gay marriage should by default address the common rebuttal that families will be affected negatively. It simply shows that you have made an honest effort to learn as much information as you can from both sides and have prepared for it.

Hop-along Nussbaum:

As he typically does, Sowell hit the nail on the head. He too has spent years in an academic environment surrounded by intellectual elites who believe so fervently in their own superiority that they brush aside conservative arguments like annoying flies at a picnic. To his credit, Sowell never dons the armor of presumed superiority. He does not need to because, although in a league of his own compared with most professors, Sowell's arguments are always backed by logic, reason, and facts. Unlike liberals, Sowell knows that it is his logic, reason, and facts that must be superior. There is a lesson here that liberals would do well to learn.

None of which is shown in this article, but trust us, this book has it. Available at your local bookstore. Absolutes are fun by the way, no exaggeration here.

Hey, Hop-along Nussbaum , are you ever going to explain just what the hell you posted?
People from all ideologies are uniting against that piece of trash article of yours.

And did you somehow expect a different result? What is going on in your miiiiind?

What's that? The upper class, hypereducated intelligentsia are arrogant and in love with themselves and can't relate to people who disagree with them or those living below the ivory tower? Stop the presses!

keiskay:
both sides feel superior to the other, this how human beings and the world works.

Actually, from what I see, both sides get along pretty well. I almost never hear such sentiments in real life because the people I know in real life are mostly sane. When I do hear such sentiments in real life, the general conclusion people come to is that the person expressing them is either a total failure at human interaction or that they probably genuinely have a psychological problem.

It's only in partisan political propaganda channels that such thoughts get routinely expressed. And if you're listening to partisan political propaganda, that pretty well demonstrates your problem.

I do have to say though, I am distressed by a movement among right-wing partisans that attempts to claim superiority to anyone who has knowledge- that claims merely possessing education makes one inferior, arrogant, or untrustworthy.

It's a dire sign for our society when people are proud of being uninformed.

I really hope this is a joke or something, because the presumption of superiority isn't something that only liberals have. It's something people of all political stripes have, and it's not something that is only in the realm of politics. Almost anyone with an ideology has a sense of superiority on some level. There is a lot more wrong with this article but I have a feeling I will just be repeating what's been said.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get a college degree and your vote goes straight to Obama.

Istvan:
So apparently one has to be uneducated to be a true right winger.

Of course.

Liberal/Conservative isn't black & white, except in massively reductionist terms. Very few people who identify themselves as conservative agree with all conservative policies, and the same is true with liberals. Things can also be a sliding scale - i.e., privatising all roads could be viewed as highly conservative, privatising unimportant ones less conservative, and taxing everyone for 50 new highways could be seen as highly liberal. Not exactly a brilliant analogy, but the point is there.

And as a biased liberal, I'd say that more often than not, liberal policies on core issues tend to be more sensible. Public healthcare is a nobrainer in terms of cost, but this is heresy to a considerable proportion of conservatives in America. Equalizing income disparity also reduces mental health problems in the general population and is just fairer.

While I agree with the general sentiment that leftists tend to be snobbish that is a generalization and when you start trying to apply the qualities of part of a group to all members of that group you run into problems.

Esotera:
And as a biased liberal, I'd say that more often than not, liberal policies on core issues tend to be more sensible. Public healthcare is a nobrainer in terms of cost, but this is heresy to a considerable proportion of conservatives in America. Equalizing income disparity also reduces mental health problems in the general population and is just fairer.

If the people want a healthcare system run by the government and are willing to pay taxes for it and the government can afford to provide that then sure thats great. In America though none of the things in that last sentence are true (people don't want government run healthcare, they don't want higher taxes in general or to pay for something they dont want, and the government cant even afford to pay the salaries of all its workers let alone pay for health insurance for all 300 Million+ citizens of the United States).

Also the whole gap between rich and poor thing seems like an invented problem. I think fighting poverty should be the main focus as they is the bigger problem. Let the rich get richer who cares. I'm more concerned with people having enough to meet basic needs.

Published on PatriotUpdate.com

Yeah, no. There is no way in hell I am reading that. PatriotUpdate? I'm good.

Seekster:
While I agree with the general sentiment that leftists tend to be snobbish

Anyone who has strong feelings on a subject is going to come across as snobbish. Goes for both sides in equal measure.

Captcha: been there.

Also, someone post that study that shows right wingers are of inferior intelligence. Quick.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Published on PatriotUpdate.com

Yeah, no. There is no way in hell I am reading that. PatriotUpdate? I'm good.

Seekster:
While I agree with the general sentiment that leftists tend to be snobbish

Anyone who has strong feelings on a subject is going to come across as snobbish. Goes for both sides in equal measure.

Captcha: been there.

Also, someone post that study that shows right wingers are of inferior intelligence. Quick.

"Anyone who has strong feelings on a subject is going to come across as snobbish."

Ok even I find it ironic that I agree with that. ^_^

Bassik:
Hey, Hop-along Nussbaum , are you ever going to explain just what the hell you posted?
People from all ideologies are uniting against that piece of trash article of yours.

And did you somehow expect a different result? What is going on in your miiiiind?

I'm moderate and I don't disagree with what he had to say.

Esotera:

liberal policies on core issues tend to be more sensible.

Liberal policies on illegal immigration and the latest issue with having women provided free birth control seem far from "sensible".

Volf:
I'm not to sure about that, and that may be the case in Germany, but most liberals I have met are middle class, while most poor people are conservative.

Yeah, I mean... these folks don't look like academia to me...


Germany has, of course, a long and strong history of unionized work and the labour-oriented groups are usually considered left-wing, although I certainly won't claim every member to be. Then again, if you go to the streets to fight for labour, that's kind of a given.

And, again, what about Occupy? Those folks weren't particularly richie-rich.
I think whoever this guy is, he overgeneralizes to repeat the oft mentioned "liberal elites" talking point, little more.

See, academia may tend towards the left, but the basis of the left-wing is much broader and much more often found among the simple workers than among academia.

Seekster:

If the people want a healthcare system run by the government and are willing to pay taxes for it and the government can afford to provide that then sure thats great. In America though none of the things in that last sentence are true (people don't want government run healthcare, they don't want higher taxes in general or to pay for something they dont want, and the government cant even afford to pay the salaries of all its workers let alone pay for health insurance for all 300 Million+ citizens of the United States).

If the people want it, then I'd let it be, but it's still an inefficient system when you compare the cost to the quality, and then compare it against that of other nations. Just getting rid of the insurance salesmen in the middle would be effective at making this affordable, which is sort of what Obama's doing. Basically there's no sense in paying less taxes, but having to pay more on insurance.

Seekster:

Also the whole gap between rich and poor thing seems like an invented problem. I think fighting poverty should be the main focus as they is the bigger problem. Let the rich get richer who cares. I'm more concerned with people having enough to meet basic needs.

http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/why/evidence/mental-health
Not exactly the best source, but there's a fair amount of evidence out there if you look that massive income disparity isn't good for society. It's the sort of thing that causes revolutions. I believe income disparity is a very good thing as without it there isn't any motivation to work hard, but just believe the rich should be taxed more and the poor taxed less, as this stops families getting permanently trapped at this level. Obviously some social welfare is a given in pretty much any society.

Bassik:
Hey, Hop-along Nussbaum , are you ever going to explain just what the hell you posted?
People from all ideologies are uniting against that piece of trash article of yours.

And did you somehow expect a different result? What is going on in your miiiiind?

No explanation is necessary. I didn't write the article. I read it, found it interesting, and posted it here for consideration. Not unexpectedly, everyone on these forums is suddenly in a tizzy and accusing the other side of the same superiority or even outright stupidity.

In truth, and in the interest of full disclosure, this was an experiment (for a political science class) to show the volatile separation of political ideologies that divide us. My experiment worked. Better than expected actually. The premise is simple. Observe a group of apparently like-minded people, insert an unpopular idea, and watch what happens. In just under 2.5 hours, I have 30 responses almost all of which are angrily opposed. The response (thus far) to the article in question has been not unlike the introduction of a bee from a foreign hive. It is identified, and attacked without thought or conscience. It's a hive-minded mentality of "It's different! Kill it."

Like I said, not unexpected.

Thanks. You have all performed quite well.

How is providing medical care to women free of charge non-sensible, Volf?

Esotera:

Seekster:

If the people want a healthcare system run by the government and are willing to pay taxes for it and the government can afford to provide that then sure thats great. In America though none of the things in that last sentence are true (people don't want government run healthcare, they don't want higher taxes in general or to pay for something they dont want, and the government cant even afford to pay the salaries of all its workers let alone pay for health insurance for all 300 Million+ citizens of the United States).

If the people want it, then I'd let it be, but it's still an inefficient system when you compare the cost to the quality, and then compare it against that of other nations. Just getting rid of the insurance salesmen in the middle would be effective at making this affordable, which is sort of what Obama's doing. Basically there's no sense in paying less taxes, but having to pay more on insurance.

Seekster:

Also the whole gap between rich and poor thing seems like an invented problem. I think fighting poverty should be the main focus as they is the bigger problem. Let the rich get richer who cares. I'm more concerned with people having enough to meet basic needs.

http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/why/evidence/mental-health
Not exactly the best source, but there's a fair amount of evidence out there if you look that massive income disparity isn't good for society. It's the sort of thing that causes revolutions. I believe income disparity is a very good thing as without it there isn't any motivation to work hard, but just believe the rich should be taxed more and the poor taxed less, as this stops families getting permanently trapped at this level. Obviously some social welfare is a given in pretty much any society.

Makes more sense to pay less in taxes and let a private company handle your insurance than trust the government with your healthcare. First thing you have to realize about how American's view government, we really do not trust government much.

"Not exactly the best source, but there's a fair amount of evidence out there if you look that massive income disparity isn't good for society. It's the sort of thing that causes revolutions. I believe income disparity is a very good thing as without it there isn't any motivation to work hard, but just believe the rich should be taxed more and the poor taxed less, as this stops families getting permanently trapped at this level. Obviously some social welfare is a given in pretty much any society."

I have to raise an eyebrow about the whole "income inequality causes mental health problems" thing. I would ask if its not more likely that living in poverty is involved more with mental health problems. Also keep in mind that no society in history ever achieved true income equality.

My view is that government does have an interest in making sure people have enough money to feed themselves, clothe themselves, and put a roof over their heads, and take care of other basic needs (no that does not include cable). Its in everyone's interest not to have people begging for food on the streets all over the place (and no you can't eliminate all poverty but you can bring it down to a level where it only effects an extremely small minority with rather unique situations). My problem is with the idea that welfare should go further than just basic needs.

mdk31:
How is providing medical care to women free of charge non-sensible, Volf?

Wait you are contending that providing women with free birth control is sensible?

Hop-along Nussbaum:
Observe a group of apparently like-minded people, insert an unpopular idea, and watch what happens.

Since when have the attendents of this subforum been considered "apparently like-minded"? The entire point of it was to move us out of the offtopic section because we kept clogging it up with disagreements and angry, sometimes flame-ridden debates.

...almost all of which are angrily opposed.

Ooh, where did mine fall? I think I mostly just disagreed with it with my point about unionized labour and Occupy without going into a tirade, but I'd like a professional opinion.

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