Ace asks an important question.
Is Obama’s Intellect Stunted by Epistemic Closure?
This occurred to me due to Obama’s claim that paying people not to work creates more jobs than actually creating jobs.
It is a thoroughly stupid and ignorant statement. Even as a weak bit of political spin, it verges, apologies for the word but I mean it, on being mentally retarded.
A year or two ago one of those guys who’s supposedly a libertarian but seems to make his rent attacking conservatives posited that the right suffers from “epistemic closure,” a mis-named term which he claimed to mean “closed off to information or experience inconsistent with one’s prior views.”
A tasteless and unnecessary neologism for the very old idea of a Community-Based Reality, a group which decides what reality is according to a group. Contrary information will not be permitted to interfere with the Community-Based Reality the group is deciding upon; they reason backwards from their conclusions to decide what the Facts are which prove those pre-supposed conclusions.
Not a particularly new idea. But he made up a (poor) neologism for it, and attacked the right, so of course he got lots of links and probably a few invitations to MSNBC.
Using this terminology: Is Obama’s mind epistemically closed?
Obama is supposedly a learned man. We are told he is a rara avis, in Chris Buckley’s dribblings, a true intellectual.
When was the last time Obama actually learned something about the world?
Did he, as the book’s title might have it, Learn Everything He Needed To Know By Second Semester Sophomore Year?
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Bird Dog.
Ace’s rhetorical question is really more than just a witty backhand to a political adversary. It points to the real explanation for Barack Obama’s astonishingly ineffectual response to the country’s economic crisis and his own accelerating political disaster.
Obama is doing nothing useful for either the country, or his own political cause, simply because he is at a loss intellectually. Obama is, as Ace contends, nothing more or less than a conventional left-wing member of the elite establishment. He went to Harvard Law. He was appointed to lecture on Constitutional Law at the Law School of the University of Chicago. He and the other best people believe in a certain worldview, providing continual new occasions for advocacy by people like themselves for governmental intervention and for expansions of governmental authority.
Out there, you have the selfish, imperfect, unregulated and unimproved world which will automatically supply all the resources required by enlightened technocratic experts, equipped with the finest credentials from the most prestigious institutions, to intervene, regulate, reform, manage, and supervise that world’s operation and progress toward ever greater well being, equity, and perfection.
In the worldview of the best people, there is no alternative theory, there is no legitimate counter-hypothesis to suggest that government cannot do anything it wants, to contend that there are limits to taxation or intervention, to suppose that the general consensus of the elect could possibly be wrong, to warn that the calculative powers of human reason cannot make the economy do anything trained economists desire.
Obama, the experts and the best people, the consensus of the elect cannot be wrong. If they were wrong, how could they possibly be occupying the powerful and prestigious positions that they do? If they were wrong, why would the mainstream media be so vigorously championing their cause? It just isn’t possible that people so successful, people at the top of American society, can as a group be so wrong.
One just needs to communicate the proper arguments for raising taxes on the rich a little more loudly, and in words of fewer syllables perhaps. Eventually, Americans will understand that Barack Obama, Paul Krugman, and the democrats have been right about everything all along.
Naive as this sounds, the truth is that that is exactly what they think.