“It is easy enough to say the cultured man should be the crowd’s guide, philosopher, and friend. Unfortunately, he has nearly always been a misguiding guide, a false friend, and a very shallow philosopher.” These words of famed journalist G. K. Chesterton might be hyperbolic in the abstract, but unfortunately, they ring true in America today.
Today, America is governed by left-wing elites who are swiftly losing all touch with reality. While the country reels from record-high prices, the worst border crisis in U.S. history, rampant violent crime, and the threat of an increasingly hostile Chinese Communist Party, the laptop liberals running the Democrat Party are worried about climate change and pronouns in the military.
It’s a disparity that shows just how distorted the elites’ priorities have become. This was on full display in the White House when President Joe Biden met with a small group of historians to discuss America’s future. Instead of addressing things that matter to everyday Americans, like the historic levels of inflation unleashed by Democrats’ spending spree, the Washington Post reports that the scholars spent their time comparing Trump supporters to fascists and fueling paranoia about potential challenges to our democratic system.
Professor Sean Wilentz, who was one of those scholars, accuses me of “fake populism and anti-intellectualism” for taking issue with that meeting. He says I attack the left’s distorted vision of reality to “distract attention from the abuses of corrupt politicians and plutocrats by manufacturing imaginary threats both at home and abroad.” In clinical terms, this is called “projection.” This cisgender white male reeks of privilege. He and his fellow liberals’ peddling of imaginary threats is exactly what Republicans like me are fighting against.
It was Biden, not Republicans, who cooked up a fake voting rights crisis in Georgia. It was congressional Democrats who passed a climate bill and tax hike under the false guise of fighting inflation. And it is people like Wilentz who are intensifying a genuine crisis of partisan polarization and eroding social trust by suggesting that conservatives are planning “an authoritarian takeover” of the United States.
If you’re looking for authoritarianism, look no further than what happened under the watch of Anthony Fauci and his allies in the elite establishment. In California, left-wing Gov. Gavin Newsom used a two-week lockdown to “slow the spread” of Covid as an excuse to seize control of every aspect of society, including the exercise of religion, for nearly two years –– all while repeatedly breaking his own rules — with the blessing of the managerial elite. Meanwhile, in Florida, supposedly a “paradise of authoritarianism,” everyone remained free to live, work, and worship.
Democrat elites think they know what’s best for the country. They think that they can trick, condescend, and bully their way into achieving their goals. But hardworking men and women have something that is absent in New York, San Francisco, and Washington: common sense. This common sense enables everyday people to see through the insanity being fed to them from on high.
Everyday Americans reject the lies that the U.S. is irredeemably racist and oppressive, that offshoring industry to China will reduce global warming, or that the greatest threat to our nation comes from conservatives “clinging to their guns and religion.” And so long as they have common sense, they will support politicians who share their values and stand up for basic truths.
Wilentz may believe otherwise, but I am not against intellectuals or the study of American history, nor am I on the side of “plutocrats.” Anyone familiar with my record can see how ridiculous those accusations are. What I am against are people who take what sounds good in East Coast faculty lounges and Hollywood cocktail parties for real wisdom and expertise.
Institutions like Princeton can be a force for good in America. Some of our country’s greatest and most influential thinkers –– diplomat-strategist George Kennan, theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, mathematician Alan Turing –– hail from that prestigious alma mater. Sadly, Princeton has now gone woke, embracing a radical anti-free speech code that will stifle innovation, research, and intellect. If Wilentz is worried about authoritarians “targeting independent thought,” he should tend to his own house.
There is, and there always will be, a place for scholarship and education in politics. But history teaches that with the right mixture of power and bad ideas, elites will almost certainly lead society astray. Today’s managerial elites certainly have power, and their ideas are becoming downright insane. In this case, I’ll wear criticism and slander from Princeton with a badge of honor, just like I do criticism from the regimes in Beijing, Moscow, Caracas, and Havana.