David Brooks: What do these tea-party wingnuts have against the educated class?

posted at 4:48 pm on January 5, 2010 by Allahpundit

Most pundits hostile to tea partiers are content to dismiss them as racists, but Brooksy — who once sized up The One by the crisp crease in his pants — has never gone in for the easy analysis.

Mind you, this is a guy who once said, “I divide people into people who talk like us and who don’t talk like us.” For someone who imagines himself playing some sort of intellectual concerto, he sure does seem to hit this one note an awful lot.

The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year.

The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.

The story is the same in foreign affairs. The educated class is internationalist, so isolationist sentiment is now at an all-time high, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The educated class believes in multilateral action, so the number of Americans who believe we should “go our own way” has risen sharply.

A year ago, the Obama supporters were the passionate ones. Now the tea party brigades have all the intensity.

The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against.

Could be. Or, it could be that the country’s reacting to Obama, not because he’s an intellekshual but because he’s a leftist. As I said once before of a Gallup poll about abortion, “The more the man in the White House is perceived as a threat to an issue you care about, the more ardent your defense of that issue is likely to become.” Elect President Palin in 2012 and see what happens to independents vis-a-vis abortion and guns. As for foreign policy, permit me to suggest that the rise of isolationism is due not to a mindless “whatever they’re fer, we’re agin’!” reaction to eggheads but rather to the emotional and financial depletion caused by two long wars. And even so, it’s the right, of course — which overlaps with the tea-party movement to a far greater extent than the left — that’s providing the chief support for The One’s tentative nation-building enterprise in Afghanistan. So much for knee-jerk opposition to the educated class.

I could go on, but we’re headed for a 500-comment thread here so let’s hop to it. Exit question via Karl: To the extent that Brooks is right that this is a reaction to the educated class, could it be that that’s because the educated class has royally screwed up?


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I am a college graduate. I believe anthropogenic climate change is bunk.I have a master’s degree. I oppose abortion.I have continued in post-graduate education. I am a gun owner, and an avid shooter.I have been a professional educator. I believe in the US Constitution, US sovereignty, and that peace must sometimes be secured through war.I read books. I am a small government capitalist.I am a member of the “educated class.” I AM THE TEA PARTY.schafkopf on January 6, 2010 at 5:46 AM

Funny- I believe in all the same things as this fine example of Patriotism, but have none of these excellent qualifications. I had to quit college to raise my autistic daughter and three sons. I AM THE TEA PARTY,TOO. Mr. Brooks is afraid of people like me- People who did not get to go to college, but who know right from wrong. Having a degree does not mean you have a moral compass of any sort. He is trying to label righteous anger as stupidity because he doesn’t understand them when even the simplest folks can explain moral values. He doesn’t get morality so it must be idiocy. This argument is not about education vs. the unwashed, it is about right vs. wrong. Even the most common everyday people can smell corruption in the Government- and actually, the school of hard knocks that I went to makes you an expert at telling when someone is lying to you! Mr. Brooks doesn’t like that I am allowed to vote, because I don’t agree with him, period. (Just a side note- the autistic home schooled daughter is in the other room taking her AP Government exam. We “educate” ourselves and our families, and don’t need an expensive sheep skin to prove it to everyone else.)

Kristamatic on January 6, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Kristamatic on January 6, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Indeed. Absolutely agree. My point was not to denegrate folks without letters behind their names but to make your same point, albeit from a different angle.

schafkopf on January 6, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Right back atcha, schafkopf! Different folks in the Tea party, it takes all kinds.

Kristamatic on January 6, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Yes and no. There are some Tea Party people who are disenchanted Democrats, some of them are Paulbots, some of them are conservatives who want smaller government, some of them are moderates who are worried about the deficits, some of them are Independents who do not trust either party, some of them are libertarians who are okay with same sex marriage and abortion and some of them are social conservatives who are not okay with either of those things…but it seems to me that most of the Tea Party people are unified in the idea that government has gotten too big and too costly.

This quote sums up the problems with the Tea Party. Libertarians & “Paulbot” would love to quit the nation building Afghanistan and instead would like to see a decreased footprint in that country and conduct operations in Afghanistan the way we do in Pakistan ie: Special forces, CIA assinations, and drone strikes. When we start talking about actually cutting government is when we will fall apart. We want different things cut. An example I remeber from the 2008 campaign was when Mccain suggested freezing all federal budgets while Palin was silmultaneously advocating increasing financial support to families with disabled children. Even the ticket couldn’t agree how to save money, I am not confident that the Tea party can either. This speech is what turned me off on Palin and what makes me think her new found Libertarianism is phony.

snoopicus on January 6, 2010 at 12:46 PM

I’ve met plenty of people from the “educated class” who can’t find their a$$es with both hands. It is possible to be educated beyond one’s intelligence.

Sometimes I lament that I missed the opportunity to go to college. Sometimes I realize I escaped.

cheeflo on January 6, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Snoopicus- I think everyone can agree that Congress needs it’s salary cut! And its golden plated health care, and all their other perks. I think we can also all agree on cutting out their ability to pork up all the bills. I think we could agree on no healthcare bill. And no Cap and tax. Actually, I think there is a lot we could all agree on. The problem is, the Congress idiots will never agree to any of it- they want to cut stuff that the people want, and keep everything they want. Therein lies the problem.

This is not rocket science. When the school board gets grief from the town that the administrators make too much money, they try to pass a levy to cover everything. When the people get mad, and vote down the levy, what do they do? The School board gets ticked and takes away bus transportation to all the furthest areas, shuts down the band, football team, and art classes, and tells the voters that the district can no longer afford the perks. So the voters have to pass the next stupid levy, the school board puts some of the perks back, and uses the rest of the money to line their nests, and give administrators raises. The people in town have no choice if they want their stuff back. Congress is doing this to us on a massive scale. What choice do we really have?

Kristamatic on January 6, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Brooks (like David Frum) is just an ass. There are few people that you will ever run into in life that are more obnoxious than an intellectual snob.

At “Conservative Talk Forum” you can create your own discussion topics in a nearly troll-free environment. You can visit there by clicking on my name.

trapeze on January 6, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Snoopicus- I think everyone can agree that Congress needs it’s salary cut! And its golden plated health care, and all their other perks. I think we can also all agree on cutting out their ability to pork up all the bills. I think we could agree on no healthcare bill. And no Cap and tax. Actually, I think there is a lot we could all agree on.

The only item you listed that currently exists is the congressional salaries and perks. The current deficit has nothing to do with Cap & Trade or Obamacare neither is law yet so neither is in the budget yet. Our current deficits exist without those programs. Aside from defeating C&T and Obamacare what would Tea Parties cut. The feds current deficit comes from current programs Medicare, SSI, the Wars, education, roads etc. What would you cut? I have a feeling even fellow Tea Partiers would vehemently disagree with one another. Cutting congressional salaries would be fun don’t get me wrong, but it would hardly put us on the path to fiscal sanity. The feds spent about 2 times the revenue they brought in last year, fiscal sanity will require deep cuts from the huge programs, not just fun stuff like congressional perks.

snoopicus on January 6, 2010 at 1:49 PM

snoopicus on January 6, 2010 at 1:49 PM

…but wouldn’t it be great to be arguing over WHAT to cut, rather than just spending more and more with no thought of cutting ANYTHING?

First step: put down the shovel.

RegularJoe on January 6, 2010 at 1:54 PM

snoopicus on January 6, 2010 at 1:49 PM

…but wouldn’t it be great to be arguing over WHAT to cut, rather than just spending more and more with no thought of cutting ANYTHING?

First step: put down the shovel.

RegularJoe on January 6, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Exactly, Joe- and once they put down the shovel, I think there would be lots of things we could find agreement on.

Kristamatic on January 6, 2010 at 1:58 PM

…but wouldn’t it be great to be arguing over WHAT to cut, rather than just spending more and more with no thought of cutting ANYTHING?

Dude my point is that there isn’t any serious discussion about cutting anything. I have never heard anyone of note/clout/influence advocate for any real substantial cuts in anything. My point is that people (the rights politicians/politicos) aren’t really serious about this. Again let me use Palin, the darling of the TP crowd, as an example. She was advocating for increased federal education funding for children with disabilities. I am a public school teacher and I can tell you the vast majority of that $$$$ is totally wasted

snoopicus on January 6, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Educated Class..HUH???? Brooks is an idiot who views himself as one of the elite. So does Obama, so what is his point? We run this country, not the elites who have no real world experience, however it never stops these self important gas bags. Screw him!

JohnD9207 on January 6, 2010 at 2:16 PM

snoopicus on January 6, 2010 at 1:59 PM

We’re on the verge of “violent agreement”. We at least aree upon the facts.

It would be a tactical error for TP folks to start talking with any specificity about cuts at this stage. As I said, the first step is to put down the shovel. That hasn’t been accomplished yet.

Once the new spending is all stopped, I expect a battle royal over what existing spending to cut. Many — I hope not most — will have their own spending they want to protect. Those who do will have to share in sacrifice. But if we start that battle now, we’ll never wrest the shovel out of the hands of our current crop of corrupt overlords. We need to stay focused on the first step until it is accomplished. So for now, ix-nay on the ist-lay of uts-cay!

RegularJoe on January 6, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Brooks thinks he is part of an educated class. We haven’t educated people in this country for 40 years. What he probably means is an affluent class. He should read Russel Kirk (The Conservative Mind) or Albert J. Nock (The Memoirs of a Superfluous Man). These authors were actually educated. Brooks wouldn’t know education if it hit him in the face.

PhillyUnion on January 6, 2010 at 2:30 PM

And I always thought Babbling Brooks were small creeks? Now I get the real meaning. Thanks for clearing it up David!

soulsirkus on January 6, 2010 at 2:37 PM

It is not because the educated class has royally screwed up: it is because the educated class IS royally screwed up.

>It takes a pseudo-educated idiot to accept global warming at face value. Anyone with any science background (who is not living off AGW grants), understands that computer models that cannot predict past temperatures cannot be trusted to predict 50-75 years into the future. Only a fool would say that was a reasonable basis for destroying our economy.

>It takes a pseudo-educated idiot to watch a ultrasound of baby kicking and moving to believe that a life was not being ended by abortion.

>It takes a pseudo-educated idiot to miss the correlation between gun rights and diminished crime rates. It also takes a pseudo-educated idiot to misinterpret the simple words of the Constitution.

>It takes a pseudo-educated idiot to miss how absolutely corrupt and ineffective the UN and other ‘international community’ bodies are. Only a pseudo-educated idiot would entrust even more power in their grubby anti-democratic mitts.

Brooks is a classically, liberally educated dipshit who can no longer think for himself, see for himself that which is right in front of him. He has completely absorbed the juices of his narrow milieu of NYC/DC ‘teabag.’

He is a snob with no real world education. I wonder if he has ever had a set of callouses on his hands or feet?

PD Quig on January 6, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Hey Mr. Brooks….Perhaps if you look at why that hack newspaper you “write’ for continues to death spirial in circulation and readership, you will find the answer to your own question and realize which party is truly the smarter class!!

Robbya on January 6, 2010 at 3:35 PM

What you will consistently find from Mr. Brooks’ writing and spoken words is that he is a gullible sycophant who wants most to be perceived as and treated as a friend of everyone. During the last POTUS campaign he spoke glowingly of what fun McCain was to be around, what a fine guy he is. Then turned to praise Obama’s great intellect, his recognition of a pretty well known Christian philosopher, Reinhold Niebuhr. The point here is it’s all on the surface. There’s no depth, no real news, no real analysis, education a millimeter deep. He attempts to equate “educated class” with leftists, but there’s no meat on those bones. Take a look at the interviews with Obama supporters during the campaign and after the election–they could barely tell the candidates apart and had no clues about policy. Some couldn’t even be sure which VP went with which POTUS candidate. There’s your demographic David. Enjoy your acceptance into that “edumakated” class.

Ay Uaxe on January 6, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Could be. Or, it could be that the country’s reacting to Obama, not because he’s an intellekshual but because he’s a leftist

Lazy analysis. You can do better AP.

crr6 on January 6, 2010 at 5:06 PM

The problem is dopes like this only consider people educated if they attended an elite school. There are plenty of very brilliant people in the State schools. This educational in-brreeding is what is wrong with this country.

flyoverland on January 6, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Obviously, this pathetic journalist is a subject of the new educational program ensconced in the ’70′s that doesn’t teach anything but that when everyone agrees with you, they’re smart! This is also known as NPR Speak.

Cybergeezer on January 6, 2010 at 5:34 PM

Another educated idiot, he could probaby listen to himself for hours and hours.

la.rt.wngr on January 6, 2010 at 5:51 PM

Probably the libs signing his paycheck are wanting to know what they’re getting for their money. He’s a token conservative without even a token following.

dhimwit on January 6, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Another idiot who just doesn’t get it.

rjoco1 on January 6, 2010 at 7:20 PM

How do you, as David Brooks, proofread an article you just wrote and not say “WOW, do I ever sound like a pompous a$$!”

Animator Girl on January 6, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Brooks is not educated. i bet he has no concept of calculus, without which one is not educated.

proconstitution on January 6, 2010 at 9:53 PM

I’ve seen men at fourteen and boys at forty and I’ve seen idiots with a Ph.D. and very wise men that didn’t go beyond the eighth grade. When I encounter a person that equates education with a parchment I need not listen to another idiot.

mixplix on January 6, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Lets see. I have a degree in Finance and a degree in Environmental Science. I work for a licensed public enineer. I have work experience ranging from grunt labor to stock broker to consultant. Am I deluding myself that I am at least somewhat educated?
Did he really spew this drivel?

riverrat10k on January 6, 2010 at 10:58 PM

oops engineer. Typos suck.

riverrat10k on January 6, 2010 at 11:00 PM

I can’t remember… what did Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot do to all their intellectuals, especially the ones who supported them?

theCork on January 7, 2010 at 2:22 AM

In a hospital somewhere in Massachusetts, John Kerry is getting tingly all over after reading David Brooks.

AltTuning on January 7, 2010 at 2:39 AM

It’s quite obvious by this thread, that the point about “the (so-called) educated class” has been well covered. Hot Air has some of the brightest people on the planet. For a good read on this subject… “Intellectual Morons” by Daniel Flynn.

Nalea on January 7, 2010 at 6:39 AM

Sir Francis Bacon said:
“…. philosophers lay down many precepts fair in argument but not applicable in use”

The “educated class” has been taught the precepts which are high-minded and idealistic, but they fail to acknowledge reality. That requires going beyond book-learning and that makes the “educated class” –”educated asses”.

Read INTELLECTUALS by Paul Johnson. You’ll learn that Karl Marx never met a “worker”.

EL on January 7, 2010 at 9:50 AM

What do these tea-party wingnuts have against the educated class? Such a statement clearly identifies the problem.

Give a crook a degree and they become an elitist or politician who writes laws that protect them from their crooked actions.

MSGTAS on January 7, 2010 at 10:12 AM

All schools, all colleges, have two great functions: to confer, and to conceal, valuable knowledge. The theological knowledge which they conceal cannot justly be regarded as less valuable than that which they reveal. That is, when a man is buying a basket of strawberries it can profit him to know that the bottom half of it is rotten.

-Mark Twain, notebook, 1908

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
-Mark Twain

“In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.”

-Mark Twain

“It is by the goodness of God that we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.”
-Mark Twain

Brooks should brush up on some Mark Twain.

dthorny on January 7, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Funny- I believe in all the same things as this fine example of Patriotism, but have none of these excellent qualifications. I had to quit college to raise my autistic daughter and three sons. I AM THE TEA PARTY,TOO. Mr. Brooks is afraid of people like me- People who did not get to go to college, but who know right from wrong. Having a degree does not mean you have a moral compass of any sort. He is trying to label righteous anger as stupidity because he doesn’t understand them when even the simplest folks can explain moral values. He doesn’t get morality so it must be idiocy. This argument is not about education vs. the unwashed, it is about right vs. wrong. Even the most common everyday people can smell corruption in the Government- and actually, the school of hard knocks that I went to makes you an expert at telling when someone is lying to you! Mr. Brooks doesn’t like that I am allowed to vote, because I don’t agree with him, period. (Just a side note- the autistic home schooled daughter is in the other room taking her AP Government exam. We “educate” ourselves and our families, and don’t need an expensive sheep skin to prove it to everyone else.)

Kristamatic on January 6, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Wow, Krista, I would be honored to call someone like you my friend. I also have post MBA advanced education and an engineering undergrad degree. I guess I am in the educated class, but I don’t allow myself to join the SNOB class.

But you hit the nail on the head here that the SNOB class has no moral compass. Same with liberals. They never want to be called out when they are doing wrong things or have bad behavior.

karenhasfreedom on January 7, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Gee I thought I was part of the “Educated Class” after all I do have a BSEE, sat on Telecommunications Standard body. But alas today I find out I am just an unenlightened dope, because I do not believe in man made GW, I love my guns, I am Pro Life and I could give a flying flip what the One’s crease looks like.

Some days I wonder how we managed to last so long.

Teleycoman on January 7, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Thx Karen- right back atcha- to paraphrase C.S.Lewis, at Hotair we like to make friends with those who are friendly, and don’t give a fig about the rest.

Kristamatic on January 7, 2010 at 1:24 PM

What do we have against them?

Mostly the fact that they consider their elitist networking and restrictive jargon to be an acceptable form of education and a legitimate basis upon which to deny their supporters any voice in organizations that ostensibly represent them.

abobo on January 7, 2010 at 3:09 PM

I am a member of the educated class by any measure. Brooks is a pathetic fool and he does not speak for me. What Brooks will not understand is this: We actually like smart people. We also like people who earn our respect through their accomplishments and service. Our anti-elitism is rooted in the awareness that our credentialed elites are often not very intelligent or educated, and most of all they are not trustworthy.

el gordo on January 8, 2010 at 4:31 AM

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