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Monday, September 12, 2011

On-Air with the Pseudo-Intellectual Elite

When poetry represents historical scholarship, a Hollywood film is hard science and Wikipedia becomes the final arbiter of fact, one should be careful about saddling up their high horse and denouncing the intelligence of anyone.  Yet time and time again, the leftists in the media rush to rebuke conservatives as unintelligent buffoons.

In June, while speaking in Boston Sarah Palin mentioned that Paul Revere had warned the British that "they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms by ringin' those bells and by makin' sure that as he's ridin' his horse through town to send those warnin' shots and bells that we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free … and we were gonna be armed."

Naturally, the liberal left began reciting the Longfellow poem and thought to themselves, "Hey, there's nothing in there about Revere warning the British or warning shots and bells."  Using all the knowledge they had garnered of Paul Revere from their childhood, they felt safe to openly mock her.  From Mediate:
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, who was covering the story this afternoon, could barely contain her contempt as Palin described Paul Revere “sending those warning shots and bells” to tell Americans that “the British weren’t taking away our arms.” 
Palin strung together an off-the-cuff explanation of the famed Midnight Ride for those listening that seemed to involve a ton of noise, bells, gunfire, and a warning that the British were out to take away Americans’ as-yet-nonexistent Second Amendment rights, which Baldwin couldn’t help but react to with deer-in-the-headlights confusion. “History lesson from Sarah Palin on the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” she deadpanned.
I can just hear her saying, "That stupid Sarah Palin.  Revere didn't warn the British.  Duh!" 

The following is an excerpt from Brandeis University professor David Hackett Fischer's book Paul Revere's Ride entailing the events that took place following Revere's capture on the night of his famous ride:
At last the [British] officers began to feel the full import of what Paul Revere had been telling them. His words of warning took on stronger meaning when punctuated by gunfire. The sound of a single shot had suggested to them that surprise was lost. The crash of a volley appeared evidence that the country was rising against them. As they came closer to the Common they began to hear Lexington's town bell clanging rapidly. The captive Loring, picking up Revere's spirit, turned to the officers and said,"The bell's a'ringing! The town's alarmed, and you're all dead men !"

The media was so ignorant of the actual history, that they didn't even comprehend what Palin was saying.  If they had been smarter than a 5th grader, they would have remembered that Revere was captured during his ride.  Revere (and Loring) used the shots and bells to warn the British regulars it was a sign the citizens were prepared to fight.  As Palin correctly points out, the pretense for the British mission was to confiscate guns.

Another kerfuffle developed earlier this year when Michelle Bachmann hailed the "different cultures, different backgrounds, different traditions" of the European settlers who formed our nation to highlight the diversity and tolerance of our founding.  She also noted that the founders, notably "men like John Quincy Adams... would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country."

The criticism came immediately from the talking heads that Bachmann was a "bubblehead" for believing the founders ended slavery.  But that is not what she said.  I can say that I will not rest until I've extinguished stupidity, but if stupidity should outlive me, that would not invalidate what I've said.  It just means I failed.

If only they had bothered to check their research library - I mean - Wikipedia on John Q. Adams,
...he was famous as the most prominent national leader opposing slavery....Adams vilified slavery as a terrible evil and preached total abolition.

In 1841, Adams had the case of a lifetime, representing the defendants in United States v. The Amistad Africans in the Supreme Court of the United States.   He successfully argued that the Africans....should be considered free.  [His] speech was directed not only at the justices of this Supreme Court hearing the case, but also to the broad national audience he instructed in the evils of slavery.
Adams repeatedly spoke out against the "Slave Power"...
You would think the left would have known this already.  After all, Amistad was a movie.  But when the founders and slavery are found in the same story, the Constitution's 3/5th clause is used to disparage the document and the men who wrote it.  What many don't realize is that this was an anti-slavery clause. 

All free men, no matter their race or ethnicity were held as equals in principle, if not in  practice.  The Northern founders wanted to limit the slave trade and didn't want slaves (considered property with no right to vote or citizenship) to count towards a state's population for the purposes of apportioning representatives to the new national legislature. That would have given the Southern states, whose framers were insisting on a full count, a voting advantage. (before parties, political power often came from geography)  So, the delegates to the Philadelphia convention of 1787 agreed to the three-fifths compromise.

While certain statements by Bachmann can be considered controversial, that doesn't make their substance incorrect.  Too often the media elite considers anything it finds contrary to their world view baseless, and attack it out of ignorance.

In last week's speech, President Obama made a small error when he said that Abraham Lincoln had started the Republican Party.  Unlike when a Palin or Bachmann make such a gaffe, there was no outcry against our "bubblehead-in-chief" getting history wrong.  In fact, PBS (government funded television) edited out the remark in their transcript of the speech. (nothing to see here, move along)

Also seemingly washed away was the president's 57 states, speaking Austrian and "corpse-man" gaffes along with many others.  But of course it would be wrong to expose those, because Obama is obviously so much more intelligent than conservatives that there is no reason to question it or even release his collegiate grades.

For the media, the "he's dumb" schtick only applies to politicians on the right.  Recently, the MSNBC team took offense when Texas governor Rick Perry  described Social Security as a Ponzi scheme during a Republican debate.  Chris Matthews said that was crazy talk and Lawrence O'Donnell quickly googled the term to explain a Ponzi scheme was named after Charles Ponzi, a fact that we already knew and noted that it was a criminal endeavor, which we all also knew.  

A Ponzi scheme, according to O'Donnell's research database(Wikipedia) is an
...operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors.... The perpetuation of the returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going.
And Social Security is so very different.  Why just listen to Noble prize winning economist Paul Samuelson gush about the wonders of our Social Security program in 1967.
The beauty of social insurance is that it is actuarially unsound. Everyone who reaches retirement age is given benefit privileges that far exceed anything he has paid in....
How is it possible? It stems from the fact that the national product is growing at a compound interest rate and can be expected to do so for as far ahead as the eye cannot see. Always there are more youths than old folks in a growing population. More important, with real income going up at 3% per year, the taxable base on which benefits rest is always much greater than the taxes paid historically by the generation now retired…
Social Security is squarely based on what has been called the eight wonder of the world — compound interest. A growing nation is the greatest Ponzi game ever contrived. And that is a fact, not a paradox. [Emphasis mine]
Naturally, he doesn't know what he's talking about.  Let's check back with Chris Matthews, who we last saw wondering how Perry could appeal to independents with such crazy talk about Ponzi schemes.  The next day on his own show HARDBALL, in a discussion with former Speaker Tip O'Neill, Matthews said this,
Today, lots of people fortunately make it past 65. They live into their 80s and 90s. They’re still getting checks. The system doesn’t work that way anymore. It’s not as healthy as it once was. So, how does a Republican deal with the fact it is a Ponzi scheme in the sense that the money that’s paid out every day is coming from people who paid in that day? It’s not being made somewhere.[Emphasis mine]
As Samuelson noted, Social Security's fiscal soundness is reliant on an expanding youth population.  But as Matthews explained, what we actually have now is an expanding retiree population.  In a Ponzi scheme, "once investment slows down, the scheme will begin to collapse under its own weight as the promoter starts having problems paying the promised returns .

An investment scheme that seems too good to be true in the beginning yet turns into a bad deal as the number of new investors (taxpayers) dwindles?  Well, maybe Perry is not quite so off base now, is he?  In fact, Governor Perry is simply a realist who knows we need a solution that can overcome the basic fallacy inherent to the program.

During the same debate Perry, in defending his stance that a scientific consensus does not necessarily equate to good science on Climate Change, mentioned that Galileo was on the outs with consensus too.  He analogized that Galileo had been outvoted in the past.

In the immediate post-debate coverage on MSNBC, Al Sharpton spoke up to show how he felt about Perry's "anti-science" stand by saying he didn't understand all this talk of "Galeo".  The viewer was left to ponder whether he was disagreeing with Perry's statement,  whether he was unaware of Galileo's history or whether he just had no idea who "Galeo" or Galileo was or why Perry mentioned him or her or whatever a "Galeo" was in the first place.

Can you imagine how hard it must be to jump into that void on a national TV and begin talking, when you have absolutely no knowledge base to speak of?  For too many in the media, Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth is as close to hard science as they get.  What they may not realize is that a British court ruled that this movie contained factual errors and could only be shown in schools with a set of guidelines.

Our psuedo-intellectual elites in the media mock conservatives as anti-science, yet they have no idea who Richard Lindzen, or Jasper Kirby or Hans Svensmark are despite the fact that they each have been a part of important research that contradicts the "consensus" on Climate Change recently.   Instead, Chris Matthews likes to ask conservatives if they believe in evolution, then laughs at whoever answers incorrectly.  For the longest time I thought Chris was doing a homage to IDIOCRACY with this bit.  The irony that a question of belief substitutes as a statement of scientific merit obviously escapes him.

Are there intelligent leftist in the media?  In my heart, I believe there are.  But for now I have no empirical evidence of it.  But despite the facts, I will continue to believe they exist on faith.  It's the least I can do for a group of people who have such utter faith that they are right, even when all evidence is to the contrary.

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