Monday, September 24 , 2018, 8:34 pm | Fair 60º

 
 
 
 

David Sirota: Intelligentsia Against Intelligence

Professional thinkers calling on the president to avoid taking time to think through his actions is a disturbing trend

In the parlance of our times, the term “idiocracy” means a nation run by idiots — and the term “idiot” is defined by the dictionary as “an utterly foolish or senseless person” who exhibits “a mental age of less than 3 years old.”

David Sirota
David Sirota

There are obvious reasons to believe America is becoming an idiocracy. A series of horrendous government and business decisions strongly suggest that we’ve seen the ascension of utterly foolish, senseless people, many with the mental age of infants (yes, W., I’m looking at you). And if there remained any flicker of hope that we aren’t turning into a full-on slobbering idiocracy, that hope was snuffed out recently by two of the Washington intelligentsia’s most respected voices.

First came a now-famous column about Afghanistan by the Washington Post’s David Broder. The “dean” of the press corps attacked President Barack Obama not for choosing any particular policy, but for simply taking time to meticulously consider his options in the Central Asian quagmire. “The urgent necessity,” Broder asserted, “is to make a decision — whether or not it is right.”

This was followed by Jackson Diehl, the Post’s foreign policy “expert.” He wrote that the White House’s assiduous Afghanistan deliberations are not a sign of reassuring prudence after the bring-it-on Bush years, but instead a “compelling cause for unease about this president.” Diehl’s rationale for such an incendiary statement? He alleged (without proof, of course) that “there is unanimity in the Pentagon and considerable agreement in Congress and among the NATO allies” that a military escalation has to happen — and therefore Obama “knows (the pro-escalation) course he must take” but “can’t bring himself to embrace it.”

Let’s set aside the nauseating spectacle of two well-heeled journalists, comfortably protected far away from the front lines, demanding a president immediately send thousands of soldiers to their potential deaths without regard for blood-and-guts consequences. Let’s just, if we can, put that grotesque immorality in a corner and pretend it’s not important — and let’s go to the deeper, even more disturbing message.

As leading opinion-makers, Broder and Diehl are paid to carefully ponder issues and then offer their considered thoughts. That’s not part of what they’re supposed to do — it’s what they are singularly employed to do. It’s how they earn their living and credibility — indeed, it’s their entire raison d’etre. And yet, these leading lights of the intelligentsia are overtly preaching anti-intelligence, insisting the president must avoid taking time to think through his actions.

This isn’t interpretation — it’s what these Beltway sages are literally saying. Broder is explicitly demanding Obama make a knee-jerk decision — any decision — even if it has catastrophic consequences. Likewise, Diehl is calling for Obama to immediately risk thousands of American lives simply because that’s what Diehl believes the establishment wants.

Let’s be clear: These are just two of many similar examples. Today, screeds calling for leaders to prioritize lightning-fast decisions over measured deliberations are increasingly commonplace in the Washington intelligentsia, even after an Iraq debacle brought on by the same ideological know-nothingism.

The trend is deeply disturbing. It’s one thing for talk-show-host wannabe Sarah Palin or carnival-barking provocateur Glenn Beck to glamorize willful ignorance — that’s been the narcissistic act of celebrity court jesters since the dawn of history. But it’s an entirely different thing when hostility to intelligence and to the basic process of thinking itself emanates from the very professional thinkers who lead the nation’s intelligentsia.

When that happens — when the supposed guardians of political cognition and empiricism begin publicly flaying leaders for taking time to fully evaluate potential decisions — it’s a sign our country is becoming the ignorance-deifying idiocracy we should all fear.

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books Hostile Takeover and The Uprising. He hosts the morning show on AM 760 in Colorado and blogs at OpenLeft.com. Click here for more information. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >