A Fool and His Money Linger

How Sophisticated:

The New York Times' alleged conservative probably thinks he is 'defending institutions,' which is a key conservative task. Unfortunately, he has failed to understand the nature of the problem or the reasons for the mission.

Americans have lost faith in their institutions. During the great moments of social reform, at least 60 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing most of the time. Now, only a quarter have that kind of trust.
Americans haven't lost faith in their institutions. Our institutions are those which are created by, and operate according to, the permanent will of the People as codified in the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the several states.

Some of the institutions so created have ceased to "operate according to" that document. In that fashion, they have -- what's the phrase? -- gone rogue. They are no longer our institutions; they are owned by someone, but it isn't the People of the United States. We, the People, would permit the government to do anything it could pass a Constitutional Amendment authorizing. The problem is that the people interested in having a 'great moment of social reform' find that process cumbersome; so they've chosen, increasingly over a few decades, to alter the Constitution either by judicial fiat, or by simple assertion.

Witness, for example, the recent letters from the BATFE that they just won't honor state laws, in spite of clear language in the Constitution that places the matter under consideration in the realm of state, not Federal, authority. Witness the outright disinterest in the question of whether this whole Health Care plan is constitutional -- in the face of at least seven cogent arguments that it probably is not. Witness, for that matter, the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform law, which was openly admitted by everyone not to be 'fully' Constitutional, 'but we'll let the Supreme Court sort that out,' and then SCOTUS permitted it to stand.

The reason the Tea Party movement is in such high standing right now is that it is standing on the wreckage of the Republican party. During the last administration, the Republican party abandoned the principles of limited government. If there's anything this country needs, it's a party dedicated to restoring the Constitution to the center of our public life.

Having gotten worked up in favor of defending 'our' institutions, Mr. Brooks embarks upon a whole line of argument that is nothing but a cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy:
The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year.

The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.

The story is the same in foreign affairs. The educated class is internationalist, so isolationist sentiment is now at an all-time high, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The educated class believes in multilateral action, so the number of Americans who believe we should “go our own way” has risen sharply.
That "so" gives away the game: people, he asserts, are turning against these ideas because 'the educated class' favors them. That apparently leaves me out of 'the educated class,' which I regret; but, in spite of my lack of whatever he believes constitutes a real education, I did pick up somewhere that correlation does not imply causation.

Intensity of opposition may be up because 'the educated class' decided it would ramrod all these changes through in a few months over the howls of whatever opposition remains in the government. Certainly the sudden rush has contributed to a spike in a lot of people's ire.

However, the opposition itself arises from the fact that these positions are wrong. If 'the educated class' suddenly decided tomorrow that abortion was a moral evil, I doubt you'd see one single Tea Party member change his view for the simple pleasure of 'opposing the educated.'

This isn't about populist ire against 'the educated.' Believe it or not, these people actually have reasons for holding all these positions.

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