He is the distinguished college professor seated at the head of his class. Today’s subject: universal healthcare. He calls on his students one by one. Have they done their homework? Have they completed the assignment to his satisfaction? Did they come to class prepared with the answers that he wants to hear? He calls on Johnny McCain who inappropriately raises the issue of unequal treatment of citizens under the proposed law. The professor summarily scolds him, reminding him that the campaign is now over. As an upperclassman, Johnny should know better than to revert to mere talking points! Then there is little Eric Cantor who had the temerity to bring the 2700 page assignment with him to class. He needs to be scolded too. Ostentatious props like that are uncalled for and serve only to distract from the intellectual discussion. Then there is naughty Paul Ryan who just didn’t have his facts right. The professor will need to speak with him after class. Alas, it would appear that at least some of his students are very delinquent indeed! But then there are his honor students: Joey Biden, Harry Reid, and of course teacher’s pet Nancy Pelosi. They all followed the professor’s instructions implicitly and so get to go to the head of the class. Well if there is nothing further, class dismissed! Now the professor, with the able help of his honor students, can return to his treatise on universal healthcare and the reshaping of American culture and society.
The arrogance is nothing new; only it was on full display at last week’s healthcare summit. Americans who had the weekday leisure hours (and infinite patience) to tune in saw in microcosm the raw conceit that is the defining quality of this administration’s approach, not just to the healthcare, but every policy debate. Perhaps the campaign trail is where he first learned he could get away with it, and indeed he did. Being derisive of conservatives and conservative ideas will always win you points with the broad-minded liberal media.
But it is much more than that. Arrogance towards opposing ideas and derision towards those who stand in opposition is really what Progressive Liberalism is all about. “If you disagree with me, it is because you are stupid.” That is the basic mindset. “And because you are stupid, I don’t need to listen to you, you need only do as I say.” When his healthcare plan is rejected by two-thirds of the American public, it is not because it is a bad idea, but because the ignorant masses are just too dumb to understand it. So he will try to explain it in simpler terms so that they can understand it. And if they still don’t get it, then tough sh*t! Elections have consequences. The last election was about “hope and change”, but did anyone stop to ask what that really means. Now that the campaign is over (as we are constantly reminded) apparently hope and change really mean entitlement and transformation: the entitlement of the governing elite to transform the society of the governed.
This is the nature of Progressivism and, historically, has been the political approach of Progressives in America since the beginning of the twentieth century. The governed are not to be listened to, but instead instructed by the governing elite in matters of health, wealth and general welfare. Only the governing Progressive elites, having superior education and understanding, are qualified to fathom the multifarious aspects of daily life in an increasingly complex society. It is they, therefore, who are best suited to make decisions for the average American citizen, who will only screw things up for himself. Only the Progressives are capable of brininging about much needed change through the implementation of a whole raft of government programs. And yet, none of the programs of the Progressives are based on any grasp of reality, but rather on an imagined vision of the future. It is a vision of how to change reality. A vision of a society reshaped and reordered in their image. And once power is gained, that hoped for vision becomes expectation. And the nearer the goal of the vision’s realization, the more expectation grows into entitlement. Healthcare for all is now something to which we are entitled. Healthcare is now a right. In an America where rights are still defined under the Constitution and are God-given, this line of thinking is nothing short of arrogance: the arrogance of hope.
But the approach of the Progressives is not without its consequences, at least as long as we still live in a Democratic Republic. Last week, average Americans finally got a long look at their methods and, in that sense at least, the healthcare summit did some good. Regardless of how things play out over the coming weeks and months, there is always the ballot box, where Americans as voters will at last be able to send arrogance back from whence it came: the world of academia, where it doesn’t matter much.