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Ed Driscoll

Kirsten Powers Meets Krauthammer’s Law

February 20th, 2014 - 2:04 pm

Borrowing from Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” format, RealClearPolitics bolts a couple of miniature video cameras to one of their cars, and sends their pundits out on a drive while interviewing other media figures. And the format is already paying dividends — they caught former Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein to vacillating wildly on whether or not he maintains the JournoList, which, if he can’t answer with a straight yes or no, raises questions as to why someone should trust his writing on other topics.

In their latest video, as Noah Rothman writes at Mediaite, RCP’s Carl Cannon takes Kirsten Powers of Fox News out for a spin, which produces this interesting moment:

Cannon began by asking Powers how she is treated by her Fox colleagues. He recalled that New York Times’ conservative columnist David Brooks was not well-received when he first started writing for the Times and asked if Powers had encountered a similar experience.

“People are really nice at Fox,” Powers revealed. “It’s been good for because I – before that, I lived in a real liberal bubble.”

“All my friends were liberals and I grew up in a really liberal family,” she continued. “I had a lot of ideas about conservatives and then I got to Fox and just, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re not all evil and stupid.’”

I realize she’s speaking glibly and off-the-cuff, but the inference is that on some level, Powers actually did believe that all conservatives are evil, thus butting up against fellow Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer’s law of politics from over a decade ago. “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” Krauthammer wrote in 2002.

Apologies for constantly referring to Fred Siegel’s The Revolt of the Masses in every other post as of late, but it really does highlight how this worldview has been a staple point of “Progressivism” for just about a century now, as Michael Barone recently noted:

These 1920s liberals idealized the “noble aspiration” and “fine aristocratic pride” in an imaginary Europe and considered Americans, in the words of a Lewis character, “a savorless people, gulping tasteless food,” and “listening to mechanical music, saying mechanical things about the excellence of Ford automobiles and viewing themselves as the greatest race in the world.”

This contempt for ordinary Americans mostly persisted in changing political environments. During the Great Depression, many liberals became Communists, proclaiming themselves tribunes of a virtuous oppressed proletariat that would have an enlightened rule.

For a moment, idealization of the working man, but not the middle-class striver, came into vogue. But in the postwar years, what Siegel calls “the political and cultural snobbery” of liberals returned.

He recounts the derision of historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and economist John Kenneth Galbraith — Cambridge neighbors after the war — for Harry Truman, the onetime haberdasher and member of veterans’ groups and service clubs.

They failed to note that Truman was a serious reader of history and had, in supposedly backward Independence, Mo., studied piano under a teacher who had studied under Ignacy Paderewski.

The supposedly mindless 1950s, Siegel recalls, were actually a time of elevated culture, with thousands of Great Books discussion groups across the nation and high TV ratings for programs like Shakespeare’s Richard III, staring Laurence Olivier.

Liberals since the 1920s have claimed to be guided by the laws of science. But often it was crackpot science, like the eugenics movement that sought forced sterilizations.

Other social science theories proved unreliable in practice. Keynesian economics crashed and burned in the stagflation of the 1980s.

Predictions that the world would run out of food and resources turned out to be wrong. In the 1970s people were told global cooling was inevitable. Now it’s global warming.

As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an artist among social scientists, pointed out, social scientists didn’t really know how to eliminate poverty or crime. Policies based on middle-class instincts often worked better than those of elite liberals.

Which also applies to much that’s taught in academia, as well, as we’ll be spewing up, right after the page break.

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Top Rated Comments   
Ha! I've spent most of my adult life surrounded by very left-wing people (socialist is the moderate position--literally). Many of them are quite intelligent, decent, thoughtful people, generally speaking.

But all of them, every last one, turns into a hate-filled, envious, selfish child when the subject turns to political or social issues. I don't know why, but in that one area, conservatives are right--liberals are stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Personally, I think liberals are perpetual children, and this view is validated every time I talk with one.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In an academic position, I befriended a real leftist European and he asked, on many occasions, about the state of the American political landscape.

I repeated the old chestnut: “Conservatives think that liberals are stupid. Liberals think that conservatives are evil.”

His response, without irony or awareness: “I have many liberal friends and they are not stupid!”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (68)
All Comments   (68)
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I would add a corollary to Krautheimers Law:
Liberals inaccurately perceive conservatives to be evil, when, on the instances conservatives are really wrong, they are more likely to be just stupid. Conservatives inaccurately perceive liberals to be stupid, when in reality only those duped into voting for liberals are stupid, the guiding liberal elite know exactly what their policies will do, and are thus evil, not stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I THINK Kristin Powers is a reasonable person. She does not completely follow the liberal talking points. There are plenty of far right beliefs that I cannot accept.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Winston Churchill is often misquoted thus:

"Anyone younger that twenty who is not Liberal has no heart. Anyone older than forty who is not Conservative has no brain."

(I like to leave the time between twenty and forty for changing one's mind.)

Krauthammer's Law is a corollary of this. Conservatives see Liberals as having no brain, meaning that they are stupid. Liberals see Conservatives as having no heart, meaning that they are evil. Q.E.D.

Personally, I like Andy Rooney's formulation: "Democrats believe people are basically good but need to be saved from themselves by their government. Republicans believe people are basically bad, but they'll be okay if you leave them alone."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Try Georges Clemenceau, who was explaining his son's political foibles.

Cheers
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Fox would do well to have more Kristin Powers and fewer Alan Colmes... She represents current progressives, Alan and Juan Williams don't. Kind of like O'Reilly - their days have come and gone.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I got to Fox and just, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re not all evil and stupid.’”"

Not only are they not evil and stupid, most of them don't still speak pre-teen, and they're not all, like, you know?



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Liberals since the 1920s have claimed to be guided by the laws of science. But often it was crackpot science, like the eugenics movement that sought forced sterilizations."

True statement. Liberals collect scientific words to sprinkle around their discourse but they are usually quite foreign to real science. Hitler and Stalin promoted all kinds of quacks, just like modern liberals do. And let us not forget Marx's "scientific" view of history and economy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think there is some projection with both sides. The Left seems to assume that the Right will aggressively bend the rules like they do, election rules for example, not comprehending that there are no one-party enclaves with an absence of Democrats to keep the right honest. The Right seems to assume a level of competence and prior planing, evil, from leftists who often can't competently organize anything more complicated than a press conference. I think it's good for both sides to meet each other and get to know their opponents.

When one strips away the political misunderstanding, ignorance, and lies, there are still honest differences of opinion regarding the size and role of government. City people generally want more government than rural people do. The founding fathers created a system of government that allowed for differences between the states. We need to do a better job of educating voters on the "agree to disagree" advantages of federalism where government is more local and people are free to vote with their feet.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you've weaponized the IRS, given machine guns to Mexican drug cartels in order to weaken the Second Amendment, left a US Ambassador to be butchered and then blamed a Youtube video, gleefully forced every American to overpay for energy because cheap energy benefits your political opponents, and trashed the US healthcare system without the slightest bit of forethought.... there is a word for you.

And that word is not "stupid."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, to be fair, Kirsten said she was raised to believe conservatives are *both* evil and stupid.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'd suggest that the hypersensitivity on the left to even the most modest of questioning of their orthodox socialist views is nothing less than a sign of the deep insecurities they have about themselves and what they profess to believe in.

After all, if their ideas had true merit, then the populace would embrace them without having to be lied to about what those policies truly are (if you like your health care plan, you can keep your healthcare plan), bribed (Obamaphones, welfare) or outright forced to comply by government agents with guns (how many billions of rounds of hollowpoint ammo has the government stockpiled now?).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They fear the power of conservative ideas and are anxious about the acceptance of theirs. Ultimately, they deny the moral basis of free choice if it disagrees with their agenda.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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