Rule by Smart People Blinded by Ideology - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Rule by Smart People Blinded by Ideology

It’s not that the people aren’t smart. They certainly have credentials, these folks running the government and its subsidiaries in the media and corporate world. But all that the brains of these self-consciously smart folks seem to do is interpret their string of failures as mere illusions, something that the next brilliant word or policy will make vanish as if it had never been.

It is the distinctive and predictable result of substituting an ideology for reality. They have worked so hard to formulate their interlocking stances on issues, believing that they are wise because they have the one ideology that explains everything. Thus, we were treated to John Kerry earnestly hoping that none of these Ukrainian trifles will distract Putin from partnering in the fight against climate change. We’ve seen as well that in the Biden Navy, a multi-billion-dollar warship will not deploy to project American power because its commander has not gotten his COVID vaccinations. We hear the Old Man himself channeling Donald Trump at the State of the Union, telling us all how he wants to buy and build all things American but then rushing to buy oil and gas from Iran and Venezuela rather than turn on American energy production and rehire the tens of thousands of American energy workers whose jobs he bombed on his first day in office. This is only the briefest of lists.

Fundamental to the religious grasp of the world is humility. Not a humility that winds up deriding God for making junk, but the humility that simply and constantly admits that we must always learn from and adjust to the truth.

The common thread that unites each of these blunders is the ideological blinders that made them inevitable. Disdaining the prophets’ awareness of doom as primitive, they patched together their own story of impending climate doom that generates new predictions of civilizational collapse faster than their old ones prove false. (Just for fun, go back and look at the doomsday clock in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. A good empirical study should be done of all the predictions that did not come true. That could be used as a rational starting point for the credibility of each new prediction of the world’s end.)

A similar ideological idolatry rules foreign policy. As the heir to the moral relativism that proclaimed in the ’80s we had no business facing off against the Soviets because our crimes were no different than theirs, today’s foreign policy buckeroos in Foggy Bottom believe that it is better to accept a humble role and allow the most belligerent, expansionist, and despotic powers have their day in the sun. Obama believed he could overcome America’s revulsion at Iran’s terrorism. He pretended that Iran’s intent to destroy Israel and America, stated publicly and repeatedly, is not serious and that we ought not oppose allowing them to have nuclear weapons, as long as the world has a few years to get used to it. China is to be emulated for how the government can police wrong thoughts, as the politico-industrial complex found so useful in getting their candidate elected as president and tried out in expanded version in allowing only officially approved untruths to be propagated in the media and in all public discourse about the virus from Wuhan.

They have so many ideologies to uphold, though, and sometimes those ideologies conflict uncomfortably. Some kinds of racism seem okay, if directed against Muslim ethnics in China, for instance, or Jews in Israel (and as it turns out, in lots of other places as well). Hard to keep it all straight.

Their problem, to use a word the elites like, is structural. Their ideologies are abstractions and they keep wanting to make those abstractions a substitute for the concrete world the abstractions are supposed to represent. They wish to reduce reality to the point that it is perfectly represented by their stupendously clever thoughts. And as clever as some of those thoughts are, they predictably and consistently fail against a reality that will not accept dictation from human thought.

Fundamental to the religious grasp of the world is humility. Not a humility that winds up deriding God for making junk, but the humility that simply and constantly admits that we must always learn from and adjust to the truth.

To set up a human representation as the whole of reality is what the Abrahamic traditions call idolatry. Whether you call it that or call it hubris, its results are foreseeable and destructive.

Many in these online pages predicted failures on a grand scale. It’s a matter of record. Just how apocalyptically fast these failures have come may have surprised more. From energy exporter to a beggar at OPEC’s door; from a great military presence to a self-inflicted ignominious rout in Afghanistan that left dictators around the world salivating at the opportunities only weakness creates; from a forger of an Arab-Israel alliance that with only a little American help could contain Iranian ambitions to signing an agreement with Iran that betrays both the Arabs and Israel and contains Iran not at all; from an economy with inflation under control and opportunity abounding to an economy being hollowed out by the worst inflation in nearly half a century; from a country proud of its heritage of free speech to a culture of fear to speak one’s mind — the transition has been abrupt and terrifying.

The great pity is that so much intelligence was invested in a way that could only fail. There is no need to waste that intelligence. If only it did not pretend to be what it isn’t and what it cannot be, if only it did not try to substitute for the actual world in which we live and in which the consequences of ideas must be borne, we would all be in a better place.

And there is no reason why we cannot make the adjustments necessary to get to that better place. The real world in which we live needs everyone’s intelligence, not to substitute for it, but to bring its latent gifts to their fullest expression.

It is up to those who conserve the greatest of insights that our culture has produced and that our religion has bequeathed us to have the discipline to fight the good fight. Each and every one of us is engaging the fight in ways both large and small. Be of good faith. Accept the help embedded in our greatest traditions to bring out the power embedded in our own souls by Nature and Nature’s God, and we cannot but triumph in the end.

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