A couple of news items landed in my inbox recently that aren’t directly related, but they’re both examples of the Vision of The Anointed at work.
I gave a brief summary of The Vision of The Anointed (as described by economist Thomas Sowell in a book by that name) in a speech I called Diet, Health and the Wisdom of Crowds. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a recap of how The Anointed (who are nearly always members of the intellectual class) operate:
- The Anointed identify a problem in society
- The Anointed propose a Grand Plan to fix the problem
- Because they are so supremely confident in their ideas, The Anointed don’t bother with proof or evidence that the Grand Plan will actually work
- If possible, The Anointed will impose the Grand Plan on other people (for their own good, of course)
- The Anointed assume anyone who opposes the Grand Plan is either evil or stupid
- If the Grand Plan fails, The Anointed will never, ever, ever admit the Grand Plan was wrong
The first news item that reminded me of The Anointed was about an (ahem) study that pinpoints the reason we have an obesity problem in modern America. Here are some quotes:
A new report puts some of the blame for Americans’ expanding waistlines on the growth of new Wal-Mart supercenters in the US.
Big box retailers, and Wal-Mart in particular, have made cheap, bulk-size junk foods more readily available, and Americans are eating more as a result, argues the report, which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“We live in an environment with increasingly cheap and readily available junk food,” Charles Courtemanche, an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University and one of the report’s co-authors, told the Washington Post. “We buy in bulk. We tend to have more food around. It takes more and more discipline and self-control to not let that influence your weight.”
Well, there you have it. People are fat because there’s more food around. I remember asking my grandparents when I was a wee child, “Grandma, Grandpa … why aren’t you fat?” And my grandpa plopped me on his knee and rubbed my head and said, “Well, we would be if we could. But if you go look over there in the pantry, you’ll see we’re down to a few slices of bread and some carrots. It happens all the time because there’s no Wal-Mart nearby and we can only afford to eat just as much as we should.”
The researchers found higher rates of obesity in areas dense with supercenters, which have a larger selection of food and also offer other services, such as auto repair. Just one additional supercenter per 100,000 residents increases average body mass index in the area by 0.24 units and the obesity rate by 2.3% points, they found.
Riiiight. And since correlation proves causation, that means Wal-Mart is making people fat. It couldn’t be, say, the fact that low-income people are more likely to be fat for all kinds of reasons, and that Wal-Mart super-centers are built where their most loyal customers live.
Notice how nobody who blames obesity on lower food prices can explain why the wealthiest Americans also have the lowest rates of obesity? If it’s all about affordability, then wealthy people should be the fattest – they can eat whatever they want and as much as they want. But no, it’s only if we’re talking about poor people that we blame affordability – and thus Wal-Mart.
“These estimates imply that the proliferation of Wal-Mart Supercenters explains 10.5% of the rise in obesity since the late 1980s,” researchers wrote.
Uh-huh. And I’ll bet you all had no idea what to blame for obesity, then just stumbled across this data during a wide-open search for truth, then came to your astonishing conclusions.
Of course that’s not what happened. These bozos with PhDs went looking for a reason to blame Wal-Mart and – ta-da! – they found it. Intellectuals blaming Wal-Mart for the ills of society … now that is a shock.
In case you haven’t noticed, The Anointed are contemptuous of Wal-Mart and the people who shop there. This article in the Atlantic, written by a Brit, describes the snobbery rather nicely:
As a young man I aspired to live and work in the US because I wanted to be part of a thriving classless society. Of course that was naive. America is not a classless society. I’m not talking about the 1% and the 99%, and I’m not talking about mainstream America and the underclass (shocking though that gulf is). I’m talking about elite disdain for a much larger segment of the country. It’s a cultural thing: American snobbery.
Many of my American friends have an irrationally intense loathing of Wal-Mart, as though delivering bargains to the masses isn’t quite proper.
In America elite and demotic cultures aren’t merging, they are moving farther apart. The elite is ever more confident of its cultural superiority, and the demos, being American, refuses to be condescended to. I don’t think it’s economic pressure that causes much of the country to cling bitterly to guns and their religion, as Obama put it so memorably. It’s a quintessentially American refusal to be looked down on.
[The elite] may use a self-conscious rhetoric of non-judgmentalism – words like ‘inappropriate’ and ‘challenging’, or phrases such as ‘people in need of support’ and ‘people with issues’ – but they have no inhibitions about instructing others about what food they should eat, how they should bring up their children, or what forms of behaviour are healthy.
Well said, my British friend. You just described The Anointed.
Here are some similar thoughts from an essay in The National Review:
A few weeks ago, I was very much amused by the sight of anti-Wal-Mart protests in Manhattan — where there is no Wal-Mart, and where, if Bill de Blasio et al. have their way, there never will be. Why? Because we’re too enlightened to let our poor neighbors pay lower prices. The head-clutchingly expensive shops up on Fifth and Madison avenues? No protests.
Ironically, the anti-Wal-Mart crusaders want to make life worse for people who are literally counting pennies as they shop for necessities. Study after study has shown that Wal-Mart has meaningfully reduced prices: 3.1 percent overall, by one estimate — with a whopping 9.1 percent cut to the price of groceries. That comes to about $2,300 a year per household, savings that accrue overwhelmingly to people of modest incomes, not to celebrity activists and Ivy League social-justice crusaders.
And here’s a quote from Member of The Anointed Bill Maher explaining how Wal-Mart shoppers choose to vote:
Republicans need to stop saying Barack Obama is an elitist, or looks down on rural people, and just admit you don’t like him because of something he can’t help, something that’s a result of the way he was born. Admit it, you’re not voting for him because he’s smarter than you.
Uh, no, Bill, that’s not quite it. It’s more along the lines of something Milton Friedman once said: it’s not intelligent people who are the problem. The problem is people who are so impressed with their own intelligence, they feel qualified to tell others how to live.
Barack Obama can’t help it if he’s a magna cum laude Harvard grad and you’re a Wal-Mart shopper who resurfaces driveways with your brother-in-law.
Ahh, Bill, so that’s the reason. Wal-Mart shoppers resent smart people with Ivy League degrees. Strangely, many of those Wal-Mart shoppers later voted for Mitt Romney, who earned both a law degree and an MBA from Harvard.
Brilliant argument. Maher chides Republicans for saying Obama is an elitist who looks down on rural people, then makes it perfectly obvious that he, an Obama enthusiast, is an elitist who looks down on rural people. (I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean Wal-Mart shopper as a compliment.)
Gee, Bill, I would think someone with your towering intellect would recognize how thoroughly you just undermined your own argument. Of course The Anointed look down on rural people and Wal-Mart shoppers. And despite what you and your fellow left-wing snots think, the rural Wal-Mart shoppers are smart enough to know it.
That sneering attitude towards “Wal-Mart shoppers” is the reason I can’t stand Bill Maher. He’s a left-wing snot, and his live audience is full of left-wing snots who whoop and cheer at his snotty comments as a form of congratulating themselves for what they see as their superiority to people who shop at Wal-Mart and resurface driveways.
Even though I spent a chunk of my life as a comedian, I’ll be the first to say that if all the comedians disappeared, life would be less entertaining, but we’d be fine. If all the magna cum laude graduates from Harvard Law School disappeared, we’d also be fine, if not better off. But if all the people who know how to resurface driveways or otherwise build and repair stuff disappeared, we’d be screwed.
Anyway, you get the point. The Anointed view Wal-Mart shoppers as idiots. And since they’re idiots, the Wal-Mart shoppers are stuffing themselves and getting fat because – thanks to the low prices offered by the evil Wal-Mart – they can now afford to stuff themselves. I mean, it’s not as if any of them have actually tried to lose weight or anything.
So The Anointed see all these stupid Wal-Mart shoppers getting fat, which means The Anointed must come up with a Grand Plan to fix the problem – and of course, as The Anointed, they aren’t expected to provide any evidence that the plan would work.
The plan that came out in the media recently was proposed in 2010 by none other than Jonathan Gruber. If the name isn’t familiar, it should be. Gruber was once called “the architect” of ObamaCare by Democrats … until he embarrassed himself and the party by getting himself caught on video telling the truth about what it took to pass ObamaCare:
Yup, “the architect” was justifying lying to the public about what ObamaCare would actually do. The voters are stupid, ya see — one of the only two reasons anyone resists a Grand Plan proposed by The Anointed — so you have to lie to them to get a bill passed that’s really for their own good.
Gruber’s statements so perfectly captured the attitude of The Anointed, The Anointed in the Obama administration immediately tried to disown him.
Meanwhile, Bill Maher renewed his credentials as a member of The Anointed by agreeing with Gruber:
On Friday, Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time, brought up Jonathan Gruber, the economist who was an advisor and main architect on Obamacare and got caught crediting the “stupidity” of Americans to get the bill passed. Maher joked they were “soulmates” and likened his fellow Americans to dogs, and didn’t understand why anything Gruber said about the average American’s stupidity was considered controversial.
Maher’s audience applauded wildly, as they always do for their hero.
By the way, the subtitle of Sowell’s book is Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy. When Bill Maher agrees that you have to lie to the stupid voters to do what’s best for them and his audience of left-wing snots hoots and cheers in response, that’s a fine example of self-congratulation. They were probably high-fiving each other for not being stupid voters … you know, the kind who shop at Wal-Mart and resurface driveways and don’t understand that we need The Anointed to make important decisions for us … such as what kind of health insurance we’ll be allowed to buy.
That’s the attitude. Now here’s the kind of Grand Plan the attitude produces:
Jonathan Gruber, long credited as the architect of ObamaCare, once discussed the necessity of taxing fat people by body weight in order to fight obesity.
“Ultimately, what may be needed to address the obesity problem are direct taxes on body weight,” Gruber wrote in an essay for the National Institute for Health Care Management in April 2010, just months after helping design ObamaCare with the president in the Oval Office and during the period in which he was under contract as an Obama administration consultant.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least twice: whenever The Anointed come up with a Grand Plan to fix a problem, it somehow always requires confiscating other people’s money or limiting their freedom to make their own decisions — or both, for a REALLY Grand Plan.
So there’s the mind of The Anointed at work: people are fat because Wal-Mart has made food too cheap. All those people who resurface driveways with their brother-in-law are overeating because they can afford to … and because they’re stupid and have no discipline. But if The Anointed impose direct taxes on bodyweight, the stupid driveway resurfacers will say to themselves, “Well, heck, I can’t afford those taxes! I’d better stop eating so much of this cheap Wal-Mart food and lose some weight.”
And then once again, The Anointed will have fixed society’s problems. All hail The Anointed.