Washington’s ‘governing elite’ think Americans are morons. How is this news?
Recently, Johns Hopkins University political scientists Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg conducted a study of the unglamorous D.C. bureaucrat. These are the people who keep the federal government humming — the Hill staffers, the project managers and all those desk workers who vaguely describe themselves as “analysts.”
As Bachner and Ginsberg argue, civil servants exercise real power over how the government operates. They write and enforce rules and regulations. They might not decide what becomes law, but they have a hand in how laws are drawn up and how laws are implemented.
For all their influence, though, nearly all of these technocrats are unelected, and they spend most of their time with people who are just like them — other highly educated folk who jog conspicuously in college tees and own a collection of NPR totes.
In their new book, which is part ethnography and part polemic, Bachner and Ginsberg argue that Washington’s bureaucrats have grown too dismissive of the people they are supposed to serve. Bachner and Ginsberg recently sent around an informal survey to selected members of this technocratic class, and the results, they say, were shocking.
“Many civil servants expressed utter contempt for the citizens they served,” they write in their book, “What Washington Gets Wrong.” “Further, we found a wide gulf between the life experiences of ordinary Americans and the denizens of official Washington. We were left deeply worried about the health and future of popular government in the United States.” – WaPo
Of course the point of this WaPo article is not that our government “betters” think we are all morons, it’s that Bachner and Gisnberg’s conclusions are not based on a “scientific” survey; since when did that become a standard for reportage? And need I point out the number of times the “scientific studies” conducted at the behest of the “governing elite” to promote a predetermined agenda have been reversed, debunked or quietly written over?
And Jeff Guo also wrote the article to demonstrate that the ruling elites are correct: in both their assumptions and remedies:
A lot of this elitism is probably justifiable. When only 36 percent of adults can name the three branches of government, you wouldn’t want to hand over control of FDA to, say, your next-door neighbor.
Yeah; nor would I want to turn my health care over to Obama’s Death Panels, butt I didn’t get a choice.
If these technocrats are suspicious of public opinion, it is only that they believe that average Americans might change their minds if they had enough time to study the policy issue in depth.
Finally, Jeff wraps up his argument with the tone of superiority befitting a member of the elite political class:
But respect, as the saying goes, is a two-way street, and Americans have a long and ignoble tradition of denigrating expertise. Today, nearly 40 percent of adults think there isn’t evidence for global warming. Skeptical parents won't vaccinate their children, endangering their communities with breakouts of preventable diseases like measles. So maybe we can make a deal. If we want experts to listen to our opinions, we might also do them the courtesy of sometimes listening to their opinions, too.
Thus proving the Bachner and Ginsberg’s case. How dare you ignorant sluts question the existence of global warming!? Bravo WaPo, well done indeed.
Butt we’re the morons, because, you know, GLOBAL WARMING!