Stupid Is A Strategy: My Take

Hello, Professor Krugman, it’s me, Olivia.

None of this “stupid” “just sort of happened.” It was orchestrated at the highest levels. See The Powell Memorandum, written by Lewis F. Powell in 1970 just before he became a Supreme Court justice, to see what I mean. He helped to plan the all-out war on public intellectuals, the university system, and civil discourse and they are winning. Goddess help us.

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Why not see ‘stupid’ positions as racial; Repubs trying to preserve the ‘old order’, the white male minority in power at all costs–i.e., against, women, immigrants, minority voters, science-based curricula and even blue-while collar union workers!

  1. I think that you are correct. I also think that the white male minority uses our racial, gender and immigration status against us to keep us from uniting as a working class. Howard Zinn’s heroic book, The People’s History of the United States, makes that perfectly clear in the story of Bacon’s Rebellion. It was a real shocker to the elites when the black slaves and the white sharecroppers got together and stood up against their local tyrants.

    Paul Krugman, NYT


    Stupid Is A Strategy

    Bill Keller has a strong, stinging column about Republican attacks on the entirely praiseworthy, up to now bipartisan effort to create a Common Core curriculum. But I think we need to say more than this:

    But more and more, I think Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s Republican rising star, had it right when he said his party was in danger of becoming simply “the stupid party.”

    First of all, right-wing leaders don’t strike me as being at all stupid (although I have to say that I’ve never understood why Jindal himself has a reputation for brilliance). Incurious, maybe; not given to self-analysis; but not stupid. I never even bought into the notion that GW Bush was dumb; he always struck me as anti-intellectual, but very cunning in his own way.

    Now, you might argue that the leaders are catering to their base. Brad DeLong likes to remind us of John Stuart Mill’s dictum:

    I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.

    Even that, however, doesn’t get you all the way there, because there are many things one could pretend to be stupid about,so you need to have some notion of why certain subjects become the subject of dumb conspiracy theories, while others don’t. And I think that the best model is, as I said the other day, the Corey Robin notion that it’s about preserving hierarchy. The idea of a common core disturbs a lot of people on the right not because they fear that it will lead to left-wing indoctrination — it’s far too bland for that — but because it could get in the way of right-wing indoctrination, which is what they believe schools should be doing.

    In any case, the fight over the core is, as Keller says, telling — not just about the state of mind on the right, but about the state of America. There is literally no such thing these days as a nonpartisan agenda. No project, no matter how worthy and blameless, can escape becoming a target for orchestrated rage.

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