June 24, 2010
Obama's Washington: What Hath Harvard Wrought!By Stuart Schwartz
It is time to put together an intervention. Form a new group, call it "Idiots Anonymous," and open it to anyone in the Obama administration with a diploma from an elite university. If you have an Ivy League degree, you get to attend meetings at no charge. And if you're from Harvard...well, you're large and in charge of the meetings.
Of course, don't expect the meetings to accomplish much. Generally, self-anointed smart people succeed largely in making themselves comfortable at the expense of what the BP chairman recently described as "small people."
Witness the White House entertainment budget and growth in government salaries. The people who tell you how smart they are talk and eat, talk and meet, talk and travel, talk and party...you get the picture. They do not do. Doing is for "small" people; transformation is for brilliant people.
Meanwhile, we small people have our lives turned upside-down when others transform based on what elite-stamped smart people think. This is what happens when hubris is institutionalized and self-styled elites -- what David Brooks of the New York Times calls the "educated class" -- achieve critical mass in government, as they have in Obama's Washington.
Barack Oabama specifically set out to "fundamentally transform" the United States, using what William Kristol of the Weekly Standard describes as "the government schemes of pointy-headed intellectuals" to re-engineer a nation he views as foundationally flawed.
The results have been predictable for anyone whose head does not come to a needle-sharp point. Record unemployment, a bloated federal government paralyzed by bureaucracy (Reuters headline: "Bureaucracy frustrates U.S. Gulf oil spill efforts"), and debt spiraling out of control even as those constitutionally charged with budgetary responsibilities do nothing.
It is time to adapt the biblical words with which that dead white guy, Samuel Morse, kicked off a new age of telecommunication in the nineteenth century after inventing the telegraph: "What hath God wrought?"
What hath Harvard wrought?
For starters, jaw-dropping incompetence on such a scale that the future well-being of nearly every "small person" outside of Washington is threatened. Average citizens, taxpayers, seniors, the vast middle class are all threatened by the schemes and designs emanating from the elite thinkers peopling Obama Washington.
What hath Harvard wrought?
Not much good. A Harvard Law School classmate of the president leads the Federal Communications Commission effort to control media available to the average citizen. The narrowly passed ObamaCare bill was engineered by a team from the Harvard School of Public Health with the expressed purpose of putting government in charge of individual health care choices. They were assisted by medical ethics consultants from Princeton who -- if you take away the academic doublespeak -- do not believe that individuals should be allowed to give birth to handicapped children. And the Harvard doctor nominated to head Medicare flatly wants to ration health care for seniors so as to achieve "social justice" for other, more valued citizens. Too old to be of value, he says with a shake of his pointy head.
Individuals from Harvard, the Ivy League, and other elite universities -- both state and private -- are at the core of the Obama transformation. They were hailed by our media elites as fellow travelers in brilliance.
David Broder of the Washington Post had his Dominican maid give an extra spritz of Windex to the glass covering his University of Chicago diploma and then told us he is "struck at how lucky this country is...that the president-elect of the United States is a super-smart person like Barack Obama." On the conservative side, Christopher Buckley looked at the Yale diploma on the wall of his award-winning Georgetown "writer's shed and garden" (what hath my Mexican gardener wrought!) and assured us that Obama and company have the brains to provide us with the best United States ever because "[a]s for his intellect, he's a Harvard man..."
But the answers the smart people from the great universities offer are strikingly similar to the systems and solutions underlying nearly every failure in every sphere of human endeavor. Ivy League-educated administration officials offer us warmed-over Chinese and Soviet communism, which resulted in the murder of more than 100 million. They are pushing us into the centralized health care model drawn from some of the world's worst medical care. And their economic prescriptions have underlined some of the most soul-numbing poverty the world has seen.
What has Harvard wrought? Perhaps it is time to rethink our notion of "smart" -- both in education and the world outside. Perhaps the small people (also known as dumb people) are the smart people...and the smart people are the dumb people. When you see the wreckage that is Washington, the lack of respect for individuals, the rejection of constitutional principles that have produced unparalleled freedom and prosperity -- "he's a Harvard man" takes on new meaning.
Let us examine that meaning. Samuel Morse studied electricity at Yale, which ignited in him a passion to do something. He invented the telegraph and created Morse code, thereby touching off a communication revolution that fueled generations of prosperity. The Yale environment of the early nineteenth century did not push him into thinking about how to control the use of the telegraph in order to redistribute justice, nor urge him to construct complex bureaucracies to limit access to the telegraph for Yale-defined community purposes.
Rather, Yale did what so many media-branded lower-tier universities do today: excite in him a passion for learning so as to do and the analytical ability to get things done. The places that graduate "small" people (dummies according to our elite media and educators) may, in fact, be where many of our truly smart people are educated. This makes University of Idaho, West Virginia University, and Liberty University (had to throw that in), to name a few, the new Ivy League, producing students better-prepared to build on American exceptionalism.
Smart people may, in fact, be the ones without the pointy heads. No great thoughts, no radical theories to remake society and our relationships. Just belief in the God-given rights and talents of individuals who, through the collectivity of individual decisions, are smart enough to come up with evidence-based solutions.
What hath Harvard wrought? Too much I-know-better-than-you over-thinking, for one thing. There comes a time when doing trumps thinking.
To use an example from the global warming debate, there comes a time when even a Harvard man or woman should recognize cow flatulence for what it is: excess gas. Not the severe environmental threat that the great minds at Cornell University seem to think; nor evidence of global warming, as Harvard-trained Al Gore and various Obama officials claim; and not even a metaphor for human mating rituals, as at least one deep thinker on the faculty of University of California, Berkeley appears to suggest.
Maybe it is time for the president and his Ivy League transformers to understand what Sigmund Freud, who did not attend Harvard, understood so long ago:
Sometimes a fart is just a fart.
Stuart Schwartz, a former retail and media executive, is on the faculty at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.