Sunday, December 14, 2014

Conservatives decry U.S. 'elite'...just the wrong one

An anonymous conservative forwarded this op-ed to me. In response, I'm not going to get into this whole Gruber-Obamacare thing because it's dumb. But it is odd that Mitt Romney gets a pass for employing Gruber while Obama does not.

I'm bringing Williams' column to your attention because of his repetition of a conservative meme: that liberal professors are the "elite" in America

What gets me is that conservative willfully ignore the real American elite: the super rich, the One Percent, or more exact, the 1% of one percent.

Indeed, the Sunlight Foundation discovered that, "In the 2012 election, 28 percent of all disclosed political contributions came from just 31,385 people. In a nation of 313.85 million, these donors represent the 1% of the 1%, an elite class that increasingly serves as the gatekeepers of public office in the United States."

But no, nutty professors with elbow patches are really running things.

Here's another illustration of the absurdity of a professorial "elite."  There are about 1.2 million college professors and instructors in the U.S. And there are over 11 million company CEOs and Presidents in the U.S.  The average CEO makes over $15 million, while the average full-time professor makes $127,000 and the average college instructor makes $50,000. 

So there are much fewer college teachers than CEOs, they're poorer, they don't influence consumer tastes, the economy, lobby the government or give huge campaign contributions the way CEOs do. And that's not even counting the CFOs, CMOs, boards members, and the true "capitalists" of the private sector who don't have jobs and let their money work for them. 

I think what really bothers conservative is that college professors' influence over American society is not proportional to their wealth and political influence. After all, isn't getting your way most of the time and bossing people around what rich people are supposed to do? Isn't that the whole point? That just seems correct to conservatives. Yet somehow in our free-market country, these eggheads in academia have managed to carve out a precious exception where they enjoy the power, (often while earning less than six figures), to mold young minds. That just goes against the natural order.

It's the same thing at the level of K-12, (even though conservatives would blush to call schoolteachers America's "elite"): these poorly paid teachers, most of them women, very sneakily or just by default (since nobody else wants to do it) retain the enormous power to shape young people's attitudes about the world. And it drives conservatives nuts. Nobody with so little economic power should have so much (potential) influence over people, they believe. It's unnatural.

By Walter E. Williams
November 2014 | Creators

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