Liberal Condescension Elected Trump

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I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. As those who have read my posts during this campaign are aware, I have criticized Mr. Trump in the strongest terms, comparing him to Joe McCarthy, Heinrich Himmler, Benito Mussolini and Lonesome Rhodes—a populist demagogue played by Andy Griffith in the film, A Face In the Crowd.

I retract nothing; I apologize for nothing. So why was I curiously elated on election night when Trump was declared the winner? Simple. It was a purely visceral reaction: I was tired of being condescended to by smug liberals.

You know the sort of thing I’m talking about. I’m talking about what Barack Obama said in San Francisco when he was running for president in 2008. He said of small-town middle Americans: “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

And I’m talking about what Hillary Clinton said just a few months ago in New York City when she called Trump supporters “a basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it.”

In both cases, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton were speaking to sympathetic audiences. So they felt safe to let their political masks slip and reveal the deep-seated condescension that they feel for masses of ordinary Americans. In their view, the American people are sheep—a flock of poor slobs who aren’t smart enough to know what’s good for them. They need to be guided and directed by a liberal elite.

It gets worse. Condescending liberals abound in academia, among the chattering classes and on Facebook. People like me who hold right-of-center political views are not only dismissed out of hand as racist, fascist and flint-hearted, we are analyzed by armchair psychiatrists who tell us that our conservatism is not a matter of principles honestly thought out and arrived at, but a dysfunction—the result of having authoritarian fathers who spanked us or too rigid toilet training.

We are told that our opinions are not worth consideration by any serious person. We are not merely mistaken; in the eyes of the liberal elite we are morally reprehensible.

As William F. Buckley put it many years ago, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

I’ve even been ridiculed for looking to Adam Smith for guidance in the 21st Century. But in this case, I think I’ve got the last laugh.

Because over two hundred years ago, Adam Smith predicted with uncanny accuracy why Obamacare would fail, why President Obama’s executive orders will be revoked, and why the voters rejected a continuation of Obama’s policies under Hillary Clinton.

It’s because Obama and Hillary represented what Adam Smith called the “man of system.”

That’s right. Adam Smith anticipated the liberal social engineers of today down to the last detail. In 1759, in his book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith said this:

“The man of system … is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamored with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.”

The man of system is still with us–still trying to arrange individual men and women like pieces on a chessboard, still trying to impose his abstract theories and master plans on society. Sometimes he succeeds in the short term. But in the long run he almost invariably overreaches himself. Then people get tired of being forced to conform to his grand designs. They rebel.

That, in my opinion, is why America voted the way it did in this election.


HGordonHal Gordon, who wrote speeches for the Reagan White House and Gen. Colin Powell, is currently a freelance speechwriter in Houston. Web site: www.ringingwords.com.

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