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October 31, 2013

Obamacare Is The Apotheosis of the Progressive Mindset

First, some quotes. Josh Barro, a minor writer for a minor webzine, was recently declared one of Obama's favorite thinkers because he always praises Obama. So here's Josh Barrow on the wonders of elitism, rule by a self-declared elite:

"Vast swathes of policy are based on the correct presumption that people don't know what's best for them. Nothing new."

When this was challenged as elitist, Barrow was actually flattered. Why, of course he's an elitist. He is elite. After all, he's a minor writer for a minor webzine.

"I'm baffled when people call me an "elitist" and think I will take that as an insult."

He then prattled on a bit longer about the wonders of the New Elite:

"Elitist technocrats are also the ones making you buy pasteurized milk and buy cars with seat belts."

"I can't figure out if the people acting outraged at me about this are stupid or disingenuous. Or both. Probably both."

Now, here's another quote, from a very high-ranking member of the elite that is now controlling one fifth of the US economy. From John Ekdahl's earlier post:

"Neither he or I are technology geeks and we assumed it was up and ready to run," he told HLN.

...

When asked why it will still take a month for the the glitches to be fixed, [the card-carrying member of the Media/Governmental New Elite] didn't have an answer.

"I don't know the technical reasons," he said. "I don't know, I wish I could tell you. that's why I became a lawyer."

That, of course, is certified member of the New Elite, Vice President Joe Biden, expressing bafflement at how one of these web-cites could fail. Heck, they're so easy to use when you're shopping on Amazon for Matlock DVD sets.

Which brings us to Matt Lewis' take on what I'll call Self Esteem Progressivism.

For those looking to draw grander conclusions, this is a teachable moment. The hubris necessary for this kind of vast undertaking — impacting nearly 20 percent of the economy! — is patently unconservative. And I don’t need to trot out some fire-breathing or controversial conservative to demonstrate why this sort of chutzpah is a fundamental affront to basic conservative philosophy.

As I’ve noted before, my favorite definition of conservatism comes from David Brooks, who defined it thusly: “The essence of conservatism — from Burke to Hayek — is epistemological modesty — an awareness of how little we can know about ourselves, and how little we can plan. Because life is so complicated."

Liberalism operates under a fatal conceit that is fundamentally immodest. The ObamaCare rollout is a prime example of why such hubris is dangerous and costly.

It isn't just that life is complicated-- though it is. What is going on here is that a cadre of people who have a very narrow skill-set -- primarily law or some public policy degree which featured very little math, and that math was Math for Liberal Arts -- have decided that they can comprehend the workings of everyone else's job in America, simply because they went to a Good School.

Well, actually, most of them didn't go to a Good School (by which I mean a truly elite school like Harvard or Princeton); most of them went to lesser schools. But they have Harvard grads in their social circle, so they now count themselves as part of the club.

They do not know what they don't know.

They believe they are masters of the universe, but in fact are masters of almost nothing at all, not even the narrow range of material they studied before immediately going into a career of government work or government agitation.

They believe themselves to be transcendentally hypercompetent, a delusion that they are permitted to cling to only because they've never been in positions of actual responsibility where their decisions will result in well-defined failure or well-defined success.

Obama is of course the apotheosis of this type. He not just their high priest, but their demi-god, a half-god born upon the earth.

But they are all just like him-- sky-high on personal estimation of their capabilities, and yet scandalously short on actual accomplishments.

And these are the people who presume that they can run the world for us, and do our jobs better than us.

They can't. And I didn't even need to see Healthcare.gov crash and burn in Icarus-colored flames to know it.

How did I know that their self-esteem greatly outpaced their level of competency?

Simple: Because I've met them.

Update: Mama Winger passes along more wisdom from C.S. Lewis:

If upon consideration, one can find no faults on one’s own side, then cry for mercy; for this must be a most dangerous delusion.

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posted by Ace at 03:39 PM

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