May 24th, 2022


Progressive Stupidity

Laura Hollis

By Laura Hollis

Published Nov. 13, 2014

Obamacare "architect" and MIT professor Jonathan Gruber has found himself in hot water — again — with the release of statements he made at an academic conference. Discussing the lack of transparency (that's politico-speak for "deceit,") surrounding the passage of Obamacare, Gruber said the following:

"You can't do it politically ... (I)f you ... made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed, OK. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass. ... Look, I wish ... that we could make it all transparent, but I'd rather have this law than not."

He has since apologized. Big deal. He isn't denying that he thinks it. He's just sorry that it was caught on camera. (Not once, but twice!) We should be grateful for his candor, because what Professor Gruber displayed IS progressivism in a nutshell.

Why is this relevant? Because plenty of people are claiming that last week's GOP smackdown was a rebuke of President Obama. That doesn't go far enough. The election results were a rejection of progressivism . From Woodrow Wilson to Margaret Sanger to today's self-appointed elite, progressives' M.O. is to nudge-nudge-wink-wink amongst themselves that the rest of us are just so outre — church-going, freedom-loving, military-serving numbskulls who actually think the Constitution is something to be adhered to, rather than set aside as an obstacle to this week's definition of statist utopia. We're all stupid, you see, and can't run our own lives or make our own decisions. But they can.

Think about that for a moment. The American people cannot be told the truth, because then we wouldn't support their agenda. So (since they know so much better than we do) they're justified in deceiving us. That, in essence, deprives us of our votes. (But, hell, if writers for the New York Times had their way, there wouldn't even be midterm elections — except when a Republican is president, of course.)

Progressivism is never about persuasion; it is always about power.

Progressives love to accuse conservatives of being uncaring or ignoring others' suffering. But in truth, conservatism is grounded in the belief in people's essential decency, their right to freedom and their ability to decide for themselves. Responsibility comes with that freedom, as do the consequences of one's own decisions, even if they are unpleasant. But what's the alternative? Thank you, Jonathan Gruber, for showing us by tearing the mask off the progressive pretense: We pretend to care about you to distract you from the fact that we think you're all idiots. Elect us so we can run your lives. And if you don't want us to, that only proves how stupid you are.

Republicans should hang this quote around every Democrat's neck like a millstone. Because it isn't just about Barack Obama — though he is a poster child for this philosophy. It is about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Elizabeth Warren, and — yes — Hillary Clinton. As well as just about every other nationally visible Democrat in politics, in the press and in Hollywood.

I don't think a majority of Americans are comfortable handing over the reins of power to people who think we're stupid; who admit that they deceive us, and who would love to deprive us of our right to vote unless we vote the way they want. I don't think the American people are that stupid. (They could prove me wrong by continuing to vote for these clowns.)

But that's down the road. For now, there is still the afterglow of the Republican rout to relish. After the 2012 election, a blogger at the Daily Kos named "sujigu" replied to my "Post-Mortem" article in a piece titled, "This is why you lost." So back atcha, Suzy-Q: THIS — this nauseating condescension and deluded sense of superiority, this arrogance and deliberate deceit — is why YOU lost this year. Here's hoping it's the first of many such ignominious defeats.

11/06/14: GOP Victors Erode Left's Messaging
10/23/14: The Perils of a Compliant Media
10/23/14: 'Legal' Doesn't Equate to Moral Approval
10/20/14: Language in the Service of Life
10/09/14: Why does his administration refuse to protect us?
10/02/14: Toward a More Productive Policy Discourse
09/25/14: That burden called 'motherhood'
09/23/14: Obama's Johnny Bravo Moment

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Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in business law and entrepreneurship. She has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education.