Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Outreach to Albion

Albion – place name, archaic or poetic Britain or England (from Latin, of Celtic origin)

Memo to United Kingdom
c/o Simon Jeffery
The Guardian


Just an ordinary American citizen here. Wanted to let you know that we're not all insane on this side of the salty pond. Glen Beck, who is otherwise unqualified for any form of gainful employment, has an audience of only 1% of the adult US population. Yes, he's a complete fraud. But only one percent buy his rubbish.

Sarah "Death Panels" Palin appeals to the same demographic. White, generally middle-aged+, less educated, dis-empowered, bitter, not terribly bright and wallowing in ignorance. We have 307 million people here and the bell curve applies like a human law of physics. Of course we're going to have millions of stupid people. It's just that the confounded Internet has everyone clacking away, even the illiterati.

Carl Paladino can only be described as someone who seeks suicide but lacks requisite courage. As opposed to flinging himself off a bridge, he'd rather self-combust by giving voice to antique notions precisely aligned with his age, gender, ethnicity and political representation in the Tea Party. Paladino would be a breakout star in South Carolina. Perhaps he just needs a map.

Christine no-ohhh'Donnell is another dreary huckster who discovered the stupid demographic as a road to riches. It's no coincidence she looks like Palin's little sister. At least the American Right has the decency to serve female ignorance in distasteful packaging. Palin, Coulter and Gellar are "sexy" or "attractive" only if you're sight-impaired. Seeing women prostitute truth for filthy lucre becomes untenable in a smart package.

Which brings us to Michelle Malkin. Why would a bright, well-educated babe like Malkin forge a career of filthy lies? She earns $300,000/year from her blog alone. Throw in book deals, TV and speaking engagements and she's easily at a half-mil per year. At least we know her price.

And then there's Rich the idIott, Tea Party candidate for Ohio's 9th Congressional district. This is the SS 5th Panzer Division fool who claims ignorance while impersonating someone who understands history. It's the same story, with O'Donnell's broomstick swapped for symbols of genocide. He's badly trailing a seasoned opponent. Republican party reaction was swift and furious. This signals that IdIott's chances weren't terribly good to begin with and that SS optics retain their luster after all these years.

All things considered, America's sudden lurch towards the late 19th century isn't as bad as it appears. Ratios of education attainment have never been higher and the proportion of people holding university degrees tracks higher still in younger cohorts, even in our developing states. This explains a paucity of young adults at Tea Party events.

No, our seeming return to populism is more like a system purge. Stupid was contained for so long that a pressure release is prudent. Recent displays of mass ignorance are due more to Republican disintegration, and less to Democrat rule. Reagan put a lid on Stupid and Rove let it slip off. Michael Steele isn't exactly a disciplinarian.

It should come as no surprise that a black, democrat outsider to national machine politics in the White House has sparked visceral reaction from the stupid demographic. Obama is only the best President since Truman and he may prove to be the best since Roosevelt. That would be Teddy Roosevelt. The Right simply has no answer - they've got no one who comes close. Scare-mongering is always a last resort but it was the only Republican option. The eruption of Stupid calls to mind an old saying regarding care in what one asks for.

 The real America is urban, literate and worldly. Millions of us ordinary folk have good command of history. Not university professors, hobbyists or military fetishists. People with mere bachelors degrees who study American history and quickly learn that mastery is impossible without also studying Europe's. Do we counter-balance Stupid?

Time will provide an answer. Meanwhile, I offer this bit of weighty evidence. David Hackett Fischer is an American professor, historian and prize-winning author. Fischer's treatise on the origins of American culture is worshiped by professional historians and read by all serious students of history. No other book provides so many answers regarding modern America.

It's called Albion's Seed.

Best to all,


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