19 Sep '16     home | previous

More on the IQ2 Debate
Responsibility for Where We Are

People sometimes appear a little odd. I say so today in response to many in the audience at the debate (on Sep 13) voting "yes" to the debate proposition. Yes, they blame the elites for the Trump phenomenon. These are genteel, educated people – the kind of people who attend formal debates. It wasn't a debate in a proletarian beer hall filled with "deplorable" nativists.

Traditionally we in the United States – many of us anyway – respect success. We believe in applying ourselves, and we believe in achievement. But now we have a couple of people debating the point that the great body of our more successful people – the establishment, or the elite – have misled, or let down, or betrayed – the common people. They point to a poll that describes 65 or so percent as believing that politically we have been or are on the "wrong track."

They claim also that candidate Trump is right in describing himself as the alternative to the elite's "stupidity" in putting us there.

Those who have acquired success have differed regarding which political policies are right for our nation. Those policies are debated continually in the press and in Congress. People communicate with their congressional representatives. They send comments to newspapers. They tweet and e-mail their opinions. And their legislators are known to pay attention to constituent opinion. So why should the "elite" alone be blamed for where we are? Why not include voters? And why not include the anti-establishment Republicans who deserted Speaker Boehner in his effort to work out a deal with the Obama administration, a desertion that left government gridlocked?

All major decisions have had public support. President Nixon had his silent and not-so-silent majority supporting US intervention in Vietnam. President Bush (43) had public support for his invasion of Iraq. It was an election that put Obama in office. If the nation is to be on the right track, it is the voters who will put us there.

Praise be to Bret Stevens of the Wall Street Journal and Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post – two conservatives – for taking the "no" side of the argument, standing up for individual responsibility rather than blame a vague and abstract elite. This includes the responsibility of those who voted into office those who put us "on the wrong track,," the responsibility of Trump for himself, and the responsibility of those who have made Trump a phenomenon by supporting him.

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Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.