Various “psychological” “studies” – that is, experiments run by left-wing pyschology professors on their students – purport to show that Republicans have a pronounced bias toward obedience to authority. This is untrue, of course, as even a slight acquaintance with the climate-change debate should demonstrate. In fact, even the Huffington Post is willing to admit this.
Nevertheless, there may be something to it…
What is our first experience with authority outside the family? Why, school, of course. And most of us go to public schools, which means that those authorities are, by definition, government authorities.
And what is our experience of those authorities? That they are, one and all, without exception, unbelievably stupid, power-mad tinpot dictators.
Some might accuse me of hyberbole. You are invited to provide counterexamples in the comments: School administrators who are smarter, more knowledgeable, and more competent than I, a lowly B.A. in English.
The thing about government is that nearly all government workers are precisely like those we first met in elementary school: power-mad morons. And the further up the organizational chart we go, the more true that is. Teachers, for instance, are noticeably more sane and less arbitrary than their principals and other administrators (and, sometimes, even smarter and more knowledgeable). In fact, it is their interaction with those power-mad morons that is most responsible for driving competent teachers out of the profession.
But Republicans are unwilling to point this out, apparently in the belief that is is important for children to show respect to their teachers and principals. This Republican, however, didn’t do that. Respect is to be earned, not given: and if teachers, principals, and administrators show themselves to be stupid, ignorant, and dictatorial, then they should not be given any.
My children learned early on that they should assume that their teachers are idiots; in their (mercifully brief) public-school careers, they encountered one intelligent, competent teacher. All the others were clearly uneducated, lamentably stupid, and ferociously incompetent. This is apparently normal in New Jersey, for our school district (Hamilton Township) consistently places right in the middle of various ratings: Not quite so bad as Newark and Camden and not quite so good as Princeton and Montclair.
“But what does this have to do with Republican strategy?” you might ask.
Two new things have arrived to afflict public education: Common Core and its amazingly incompetent implementation, especially in mathematics; and Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which is bankrupting schools and starving children all over the country.
Aside on Common Core math: I've always liked math and am reasonably good at it (I was, as I like to say, the only English major in my class on partial differential equations). I understand what they’re trying to do to encourage an understanding of the structure of mathematics. But even I can be completely baffled by the poorly-posed problems petulant parents periodically post.
Both are perfect encapsulations of Progressive ideology and practice (or praxis, as good Progressives say). Both begin with laudable objectives – All children should be educated! All children should be fed! – and immediately deteriorate into ineptitude. All children are not alike: they have neither the same educational nor the same nutritional needs. I, for instance, was under 100 lbs for most of my high-school career (I hit 105 in my senior year). It is senseless to feed the same lunch both to me and to the offensive line of the football team. Yet that is what Progressives do: it’s one-size-fits-all for everyone, everywhere, except the Progressive elite themselves, who exempt themselves from the strictures they place, or wish to place, on hoi polloi. See, for instance, Al Gore and Robert Kennedy’s carbon footprints, the meals the Obama children get at Sidwell Friends School (and at the White House), the health care members of Congress get, etc., etc., etc.
No Progressive ever lived, lives, or will live in the fashion he wants to force on you.
And that should be the constant refrain of the Republicans, along with a promise that they will ensure that every law and regulation that applies to the citizenry will be applied with equal or greater force to members – whether elected, appointed, hired, or contracted – of the government.