Give Gruber a Break

Gruber

Gruber

By Charles Battig

Jonathan Gruber has been roundly reprimanded in the press, blogging sites, and everywhere in between for his candid comments regarding “the stupidity of the American voter” being his assumed premise for the passage of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare). As viewed from Gruber’s academic pedestal, this was a most natural and fair assumption. His own education surely indoctrinated him with the elitist attitude of the privileged. A short review of the history of government education policies and goals ought to give Gruber a measure of sympathetic understanding for his natural assumptions as a government-employed sycophant.

The 1960 Godkin Lectures, delivered at Harvard by Sir C.P. Snow, were introduced with this candid pronouncement: “One of the most bizarre features of any advanced industrial society in our time is that the cardinal choices have to be made by a handful of men: in secret: and, at least in legal form, by men who cannot have a first-hand knowledge of what those choices depend upon or what their results may be.” Snow was an English chemist turned novelist, and had served in the British Civil Service and UK government. Gruber was not yet around to be in that audience, but surely some of his future Harvard mentors were.

As part of this process, academia now functions to supply the technocrats needed to run the behind-the-scenes “scientific” mill essential to the elected politicians. The ordinary public is deemed smart enough to elect its representatives, but “too stupid” to meaningfully question the actions of the politico-academic establishment. Voters turn over their future governance to politicians, who in turn delegate scientific issues to selected scientists in government-subsidized universities and favored think tanks. Politicians select the scientific source required to justify a political cause; no other dissenting voices need apply. My scientist is on my side…“the science is settled.”

The roots of presumptive American “stupidity” can be dated to John Dewey’s efforts to reform the public education system in the early 1900s and beyond. A reshaping of American culture was underway as a result of the transition from an agrarian-based society to the machine-age industrialization. Waves of immigration added a diversity of cultural backgrounds to the American persona and public school classrooms. Home-based education and religious traditions were transitioning into a mass-production educational model tuned to produce reliable factory workers… the cogs in the wheels of production, aptly captured by Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 movie Modern Times.

Against this zeitgeist, the expressed aims of John Dewey to restructure public education had a beguiling appeal. As expressed in his 1899 series of lectures and published as The School and Society, Dewey made his case that the existing educational system treated children as passive entities in a one-way flow of didactic material from teacher to student, that the physical rigidity of the classroom environment impeded learning, and that the educational process should become student-centered with the student participating in meaningful classroom  decisions. Dewey considered education to be foremost a societal process, and he minimized the tradition of learning facts, historical tradition itself, and religious belief. Learning was to be a social-centered, ongoing empirical procedure, in a learn-to-learn experimental class environment. The disciplinary role of the authoritative teacher would be minimized. A blend of old and these new pedagogic ideas might have had merit, but in practice, Dewey’s view alone permeated the public education establishment in the ensuring years. The 2006 book by Henry Edmondson, John Dewey and the Decline of American Education provides an in-depth analysis of Dewey’s heritage from a conservative’s view point of view.

Rudolf Flesch’s 1955 Why Johnny Can’t Read was another milestone in the educational wars. Phonics versus whole word reading became a contentious issue nationwide, and foreshadows today’s Common Core Curriculum push.

Why Johnny Still Can’t Read (2011) by Sam Blumenfeld contains these excerpts: “As a transactional process reading is not a matter of “getting the meaning” from text, as if that meaning were in the text waiting to be decoded by the reader Rather, reading is a matter of readers using the cues print provide and the knowledge they bring with them to construct a unique interpretation.… This view of reading implies that there is no single “correct” meaning for a given text, only plausible meanings.”  The progressives’ view of the world is one open to individual whim and cohort consensus, and one not necessarily founded on the traditional guides of established fact and custom.  Traditional science would soon become “post-normal science” in which solutions become matters of expediency, emotion, and popular opinion.

Blumenfeld continues: “The progressive educators, who had introduced the new reading programs, were not about to give up their crusade to use the schools to create a socialist America. Their view, as first stated by their leader John Dewey, was that traditional phonics produced independent, individualistic readers who could think for themselves, while the new whole-word approach produced readers dependent on the collective for meaning and interpretation and were thereby easier to collectivize and control.” Individual freedom of thought, initiative, and responsibility were to be early casualties of Rousseau in France and of the American socialists drive to conformity and the nanny state..

Gruber’s inherent academic assumption of (ordinary) Americans’ stupidity is elucidated by Charlotte Iserbyt’s 1999 The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America. She served as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education, during the first Reagan Administration. Gruber’s matter-of-fact pronouncement of the “stupidity” of Americans reflects his academic assumption of the success of government education, and validation of Iserbyt’s investigations into the education establishment.

From Iserbyt’s book’s preface: “In 1971 when I returned to the United States after living abroad for 18 years, I was shocked to find public education had become a warm, fuzzy, soft, mushy, touchy-feely experience, with its purpose being socialization, not learning. From that time on, from the vantage point of having two young sons in the public schools, I became involved — as a member of a philosophy committee for a school, as an elected school board member, as co-founder of Guardians of Education for Maine (GEM), and finally as a senior policy advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) of the U.S. Department of Education during President Ronald Reagan’s first term of office. OERI was, and is, the office from which all the controversial national and international educational restructuring has emanated.”

Another excerpt: “I realized that America’s transition from a sovereign constitutional republic to a socialist democracy would not come about through warfare (bullets and tanks) but through the implementation and installation of the “system” in all areas of government—federal, state and local. The brainwashing for acceptance of the “system’s” control would take place in the school — through indoctrination and the use of behavior modification, which comes under so many labels: the most recent labels being Outcome-Based Education, Skinnerian Mastery Learning or Direct Instruction.”

Americans’ incremental molding into dumbed-down collectivists is a “given” in Gruber’s academic world. He probably meant no insult by his comments, and was just stating an academic fact… a sort of insider’s joke.  Are we all “too stupid” to see that?


Charles Battig, MD,  Piedmont Chapter president, VA-  Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE). His website is  www.climateis.com

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186 thoughts on “Give Gruber a Break

  1. I don’t know who said it, but when I read this I remembered the saying, “The average IQ of the human race is 100 and 100 is pretty dumb.”

    • Peter, ‘common sense’ doesn’t have a rating. Many high IQ academics and others would fail badly should common sense be officially tested.

      • It has been said that “good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment”. Most academics have no experience of any worth.

      • I agree that all too often there is only a loose correlation between IQ and common sense.
        I cringe at the populist nonsense we are forced to endure when a left wing, populist, political party is in power. It is always government by trendy whim, regardless of the cost and consequences. Those that object to these whims are subject to harassment, ridicule and abuse by the mainstream media, hence the need for blogs like WUWT, Jo Nova, and Climate Audit to get the record put straight on the greatest trendy whim of all time, which of course is CAGW.
        Conservatives have a strong tendency to believe CAGW is a crock, while ‘progressives’ are likely to believe the exact opposite. I would therefore suggest that those blessed with the higher IQs and most common sense are more likely to believe CAGW is a crock.
        In five months time the nations of the world are going to be asked to sign up to the longest economic suicide note in history in Paris. Many of the western world’s leaders, like Obama, are going to embrace this. I cannot express my gratitude sufficiently to know that the Republicans, then in control of both the House and the Senate, will never ratify any climate treaty that Obama might want to sign up to. The treaty will be a dead duck without the US and therefore the prospect of global economic suicide will fade away.

        • At 12:28 AM on 4 December, Peter Miller had written:

          Conservatives have a strong tendency to believe CAGW is a crock, while ‘progressives’ are likely to believe the exact opposite. I would therefore suggest that those blessed with the higher IQs and most common sense are more likely to believe CAGW is a crock.

          As long as the operant word is “believe,” there’s little or no virtue in the political conservatives’ prevailing version of the constrained vision, for (the gods of the copybook headings notwithstanding) received wisdom must always be subjected to scrupulously skeptical validation before, during, and after being acted upon.
          As for the distribution of high Stanford-Binet scores, “Liberals” versus conservatives, the “conservatives are smarter” premise only seems apt if you erroneously consider libertarians to be conservatives.
          “Liberals” do. Self-identified conservatives – perhaps subconsciously perceiving the nature of libertarianism better than do their milk-and-water socialist brethren – emphatically do not.

          In general, it can probably be said that the conservative does not object to coercion or arbitrary power so long as it is used for what he regards as the right purposes. He believes that if government is in the hands of decent men, it ought not to be too much restricted by rigid rules. Since he is essentially opportunist and lacks principles, his main hope must be that the wise and the good will rule — not merely by example, as we all must wish, but by authority given to them and enforced by them. Like the socialist, he is less concerned with the problem of how the powers of government should be limited than with that of who wields them; and, like the socialist, he regards himself as entitled to force the value he holds on other people.

          — Friedrich A. von Hayek, “Why I Am Not a Conservative” (from The Constitution of Liberty, 1960)

      • Peter Miller, sorry no link, but I understand it is likely that the Obama admin intends to link the “new” agreement as an amendment to an old previously ratified agreement. I hope not, because the likely outcome of that is state rebellion from the most divisive POTUS ever.

    • “The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections.” Idiocracy

    • In the cold light of day, the only cohort that “believed” the Obamacare fairy tale appears to be 100% Democratic…including Gruber.
      The facts are that not a single Republican legislator voted for Obamacare, and the public (all those supposedly dumb citizens) has never ranked Obamacare higher than 50% approval. That sure sounds like they didn’t (and still don’t) believe Gruber’s BS.

      • Imagine a meeting at the White House with Obama, Gruber, Pelosi and Reid.
        Gruber says, “Here’s a breakdown of everything you wanted me to put in the bill.”
        Reid says, “Whoa, that’s way to big to read.”
        Pelosi says, “Don’t tell me.” Holding up her hand as a stop signal adds, “I want to wait until we pass it so we can find out what’s in it.”
        Obama asks Gruber, “So I can tell the people they can keep their doctor and insurance?”
        With a smug grin Gruber answers, “Tell ’em whatever you want.”
        Obama says, “Yeah, why not?”
        With a smile he adds, “They’re stupidand I’m POTUS.”

    • Peter:
      Sounds like a quote from a guy who assumes his IQ is over 100…
      Just checking: are we correct in assuming you never believed in Obamacare?

    • OK, let me just say as an ex-member of Mensa, that IQ is the measurement of logical problem solving. It does not mean intellect (learned knowledge), it does not mean you are good with people, that’s emotional intelligence. However, unlike logic, there is no one “correct” emotionally intelligent response. It depends entirely on the circumstances and context of the problem. An IQ rating is set such that average IQ is 100, but different tests can have different upper and lower bounds.

  2. So Phonics (getting children to sound out the words and so learn to read like learning to speak) is a plot to subvert America?
    Slightly more evidence for the Reds Under the Bed is required before you should abandon your freedoms.
    Most people are stupid.
    But most people aren’t stupid enough to be conned more than once or twice.

    • I loved that quote, too. Very funny.
      The problem with reading English is that the spelling has never been updated and gone too much out of sync with the spoken language. Learning to read and write English is so much harder than it needs to be. I’m currently watching/helping my little one how to read, and it is so much worse than German (which I grew up with). The ambiguity in German is limited to whether to pronounce a single vowel short or long, and by the time you got to that question, you can guess the answer. Otherwise, each letter, or pair (ch, au, eu, ei) or triplet of letters (sch), always makes the same sound, and no letter is ever silent. English is totally irregular by comparison.

      • We Germans have thousands of stolen words from French and English and everywhere else… and we don’t adapt the pronounciation… For verbs, we build Germanic pre- and postfixes around them to fit them into German sentences… e.g.
        I have downloaded a program –
        Ich habe ein Programm gedownloadet.
        Of course, this drives teachers nuts and is illegal use of the language.

      • English is when Latin crashed into German, and that’s why it isn’t a romance language. Then it got British Empired. Then it got the American long arm. Tons of irregularity — and idiom. Vocabulary was large to begin with and enormous at this point. It’s also the Language of Wealth — as in “wealth creation”.

      • Michale Palmer … That’s so phughing true. English is fundamentally a Germanic language but with a lot of Old Norse (Viking) and Old French (from Latin) mixed in from the Viking and Norman conquests of the British Isles. In English we use Latin, often acquired via Norman Old French, for official speech. For example, “vacate the premises” uses words directly from Latin, and from Latin via Old French, respectively. For everyday speech we say, “leave the building” both from Old English with building being Germanic in origin (related to bower). Schools should teach more about the origins of English. We got some interesting words from Old Norse. For example, berserk, husband, anger, die, knife, leg, scare, slaughter, snare, and take … Words one would expect to come from the mouths of pillaging Vikings. : )

      • @Michael
        The problem is that Latin script only gives us 26 sounds, whereas English uses 40 or more (dunno the precise figure, YMMV), so we have to make stuff up as we go. The Japanese have solved this with Kana, so each phoneme is precisely defined. Therefore, while dialect (vocabulary) may vary across Japan, the sounds (accent) do not.
        And yes, when I’m teaching Japanese children to read English its solid phoncs. K-A-T = cat etc.That’s how my mother taught me to read. If it was good enough for her, its good enough for me and them.

      • DIRK. It’s the other way round. English has stolen words from almost every language in the world.

      • Stephen Richards
        December 4, 2014 at 1:29 am
        “DIRK. It’s the other way round. English has stolen words from almost every language in the world.”
        That was then. I’m talking about the last 7 decades. Post WW2. America exports words like they were Petrodollars.

      • Agree with Joel ….
        If you still believe there is a “Free Lunch” or in a sales pitch by a Politician that you can have everything you wish for in New Benefits and SAVE money … you ARE stupid.
        And if you are told it is So Important that you have sign the contract NOW without understanding it or even reading the contract … you are approaching the Moron Level.
        And if you vote in again those who lied to you are certified Moron.
        “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” – Robert A. Heinlein

    • You need to read the articles more carefully. You got it backwards. Here is the quote:
      “Traditional phonics produced independent, individualistic readers who could think for themselves, while the new whole-word approach produced readers dependent on the collective for meaning and interpretation and were thereby easier to collectivize and control.”

    • “But most people aren’t stupid enough to be conned more than once or twice.”
      Don’t kid yourself.

    • M Courtney and Michael Palmer, it is best not to misstate something (straw-man) and then claim it was quoted. I read…”Their view, as first stated by their leader John Dewey, was that traditional phonics produced independent, individualistic readers who could think for themselves, while the new whole-word approach produced readers dependent on the collective for meaning and interpretation and were thereby easier to collectivize and control.”
      I am not familiar with traditional phonics vs. the new”whole-word” approach, or the reasons it may shape attitude and thinking. Perhaps someone familiar will chime in. I can hazard a guess that knowing the roots of disparate syllables leads to greater comprehension and thought, but there may be far more to it. I do KNOW that we lack a “classic education” and the logic and reason that was once taught. When reading much of the written word of statesman from before the day of typewriters, and certainly word-processors, I am amazed at the clarity of thought articulated in a one shot hand written in ink writing.
      Before causally dismissing a summary, I suggest further study.

      • Point taken. However, it really doesn’t matter too much which of the two approaches is painted as a communist subversion – either way, it really reminds one of General Jack D. Ripper’s theory of tap water fluoridation.

      • I was one of the very few in the US (I believe) that learned to read with the Pitman Initial Teaching Alphabet back in the early 60’s. It was a phonetic alphabet that used letter combinations equated to sounds and was really easy to learn. Both my younger sister and I were taught that way and I do remember a round of reading testing in the 4th or 5th grade where I rated at college level, so I have some bias towards the phonetic methods as they worked very well for me. I also have to say that I can’t think of anyone who was in school with me at the time that didn’t graduate from High School. Note that this was before the Department of Education existed. That system was only used for 2 or 3 years and I’ve always wondered why since it’s only real drawback was in teaching spelling. You were actually reading whole books (written in ITA) in the first grade and the transition to normal spellings was complete by the end of the second and I actually became a somewhat voracious reader… and still am. I did finally become a better speller once I started taking French… go figure, since French spelling is almost as bad as English.

    • W.Briggs has a good article about the difference of critical thought and criticism whereas most college students are unable to move past analysis of pros and cons of any topic, comfortable is assuming the side or fad that is socially comfortable. They have been well trained.
      http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?paged=3
      In the case of Obamacare, most were unable to detach themselves from the pandering, media flash, and overarching words without substance. most were unable to actually ask the substance questions and assumed gratitude towards a nanny government.
      In education, the same. For Climate change, the same.
      .
      This is nothing new. This is Leftist Progressive strategy at work, the very same implemented in the 1930’s.
      The goal is to stall for more time until there is no opportunity to change it or turn back.
      Second, steer attention away from the across the board failures…..
      No mention this week of the White House, who was sued because they might illegally had private information, now won’t release the documents because there is private information in them. Crickets.
      Heard anything about Ebola? Trade agreements?
      The only savior so far are the blogs and websites like this one.

  3. Used to get climate science on here. Now its seems like this blog has been hacked and taken over by the anti-Obamacare lobby – which, I might remind you, the rest of the world reading this has no interest in whatsoever.

    • You should take a closer look at this site, then. Seems you missed about a half-dozen climate-related articles, all posted within the last 24 hours.

      • I’m reading the climate stuff right now, today. Why else would I be here? I take a close look at this site regularly, and there is a definite trend towards right-wing bull from some people who think they’ve found an audience. I am not a climate scientist and I come here to read what climate scientists are saying. I’m not here peddling right-wing ideological opposition to anything. I’m not frightened of any communist conspiracy. I want science, that’s it. Give me science and take the rest of your nonsense elsewhere. I presume I am free to speak this view.

    • The Obamacare lies are in lockstep with the Progressive Climate Lies, so the comparison is indeed very relevant.
      If want to talk science, climb off your high horse, and talk science.

      • The Obamacare lies are in lockstep with the Progressive Climate Lies

        But Obama and his care are american, where “progressive climate” thinking is a truely global peeve.
        We in Europe are (I think) mostly okay with an automatic health insurance, the biggest issue being EU-related “free movement of labour” which in fact means people for near East and East Europe are progressively thought to be entitled to all social security which they haven’t yet paid, some of them quite clearly on the side never will pay or even not willing to pay.
        Anyway, I think Europeans are not that angry on public health care being abused – because the person abusing it would be sick and without citizenship – not a one to be handled too rudely, but rather they are hot on people arriving and starting to get the very rich suite of social security which is normal to Nordic countries without any willingness or possibility to get work. There is hardly any of low-wage jobs available in a society where social security makes sure that you actually suffer if you take a badly paid job instead of being jobless. Thus uneducated people have really no place in this society.
        “Progressive” thinking as a whole is a global problem, at least when tries to serve the Moon from the sky.

    • Paul L.
      No they are related. All the free Western societies are democracies
      The Climate Change fraud being perpetrated by the IPCC and the White House science advisor Dr. John Holdren and Presidential Advisor John Podesta are clearly more manifestations of Liberal elitism. Liberal elitism requires an ignorant public for continuation of the deception in every democracy. The Liberal imperative has always been to hide the true costs of their policy prescriptives from the public, i.e. they must never be allowed to become broadly aware of the true costs of Progressive’s drive toward socialism and control and redistribution of wealth, most especially to themselves.
      Gruber’s video-recorded remarks broke that unwritten imperative to not allow the public to become actively aware of the Liberal lies. It could happen anywhere, Australia, New Zealand, UK, mainland Europe if an academic becomes so smug in their contempt for the public they betray the lie like Gruber.

    • I disagree with Paul. Obamacare is a prime example for a monster law designed to be incomprehensible, exactly like the EU laws. So, very interesting. Also, the post-democratic aspirations of Obama – identical to the EU Commission.

    • I’m afraid, “the rest of the world reading this” should have a keen interest in America turning into a post-constitutional dictatorship. I would think such a turn of events would worry a few folks besides just the slight majority of Americans who aren’t in favor of this.

      • EXACTLY. When rights of the individual are determined by others, whatever the excuse:
        -given to you by some Monarchy selected by a God,
        -a totalitarian state that dictates the state comes first,
        -a dictatorship that claims the right over you
        -a theocracy that claims rights over you based on their god
        – a liberal socialist utopia that claims elites know better than you the individual but then peddles ‘everyone is equal’.
        The individual knows best for his/her own situation what they need and are capable of paying for. People make bad decisions every day and learn from them. The leftists would rather it all be societies fault so they can nanny and lord over all.
        In Ohio, there is no choice in electrical charges. Period. In Texas, we can chose whether we personally want to pay more for solar, wind and power and chose those rates from that source…or pay the cheaper rates from the Nuke and gas power plants.

    • Seems that you had just proven the point of the article. Be so kind and re-read the article. It is about destruction of education and insincerity and arrogance of the government experts. There is NOTHING about obamacare, except Gruber. You just reinterpreted the meaning to suit your prejudice.

      • Should I re-read the comments? My comment is about the quality of the comments as much as about the article itself (and not just the comments on this article). Descending into right-wing conspiracy theory. I’ve spent twenty years getting moderated out of climate debates for being a denier, so I can take criticism from the right any day. I’m not going to comment further on this, except to say that if I were the owner of this blog, this institution, I’d be getting worried about the quality of the ‘debate’ here right now.
        [yes. Re-read all of the comments. .mod]

    • It’s true and a great pity we have folk trying to make this into a right v left issue. There are a lot of us out here in the middle who find such political extremism a real turn off. Plus it just makes those of us who are sceptical look like we are doing it for political ideological reasons rather than scientific ones. It would be a great pity if that were to be the case for this site.

      • I suspect you’re not paying attention, and missing the point.
        It’s not actually “left vs. right”, that’s an oversimplification. It’s just that the two sides in this debate are finding common ground on the “left or right”.
        Personally I’m fascinated by the 0bamacare debate, and I’m Canadian. Our health care is atrocious, and I personally knew people who are now dead because of it. I suspect that any Canadian over the age of, say, 20, can say the same. Because of our universal health care system we can’t afford a military, or proper infrastructure, or a lot of other nice things, and yet the health care system is an eternal drain that absorbs an ever increasing proportion of wealth while providing an ever decreasing quality of service.
        I wasn’t around while it was foisted on Canada, and watching the US being saddled with an even crappier version is a fascinating lesson in politics. Universal health care systems do not work in the long term, anywhere. Here, it’s actually unlawful to provide ANY health services outside of “the system”. It’s yet another way that “progressives” want to control every facet of our lives via big government.
        By simply labeling “sides” as “political extremism” you can completely ignore reality and continue without learning anything or improving yourself. That is sad.

    • Paul L … Excellent point. Many Americans also don’t care much either. It’s just another power-play by the uniquely American medical-industrial complex. We pay far more than the rest of the world (approaching 20% of GDP) but we don’t get better medical care. In America we spend huge amounts of money on people in their last year of life, treating them in ways that no human should be treated. Sometimes, the dying are seen by 50 or more doctors and specialist in their last few months of life. But they die anyway. I tell my wife to just push me outside on a cold night when I’m to frail to take care of myself. Let nature takes its course and let doctors find something better to do with their over-priced time.

      • Actually, the American healthcare and the climate scare have something in common. They are both controlled by “scientists” who have used their political connections to push bad science on the rest of us. Americans are now more likely to die from pharmaceutical drugs then traffic accidents but far less likely to die from storms, floods or droughts. Skeptics are as skeptical about organized science as they are about organized religion … the two are too much like each other.

      • Thomas
        If you’re skeptical of the openness and veracity of federally run climate control, health care and education then you should be skeptical of the openness and veracity of organized religion.
        If not, my guess is you’re likely an ideologue and just an unreasoning anti-progressive.
        I believe this is where we find some leading republicans.

    • When policy and the fad of the week took over climate science, the policy and its social implementation (discussed in this article) can become the discussion of climate science.
      .
      We do agree with you on one thing: wouldn’t it be nice if science was left to scientists instead of social re-engineers?

  4. Combine this piece with Yuri Bezmenov’s expose on the long march through western educational institutions and bingo…here we are today.

  5. Well he’s right, look how we got hoodwinked into voting for this shyster not only once but twice! The Americans have an ability to vote against their own best interests and it’s my belief that they do this because they have no grasp of both sides and vote using their heart instead of their head. The end result is what will be known by future historians as The Obama Disaster.

    • I think you’re being too hard on American voters. In each of those elections, there were only two candidates with any chance at all of winning: Obama, and,,, some loser the Republicans picked.
      First time around, yeah, maybe voters were taken in by ‘Hope and Change!’ but the best thing the Republicans had going for them was Sarah Palin. Seccond time, the Republicans had the election in the bag with Obamacare widely hated, until they demonstrated face-palming stupidity by nominating the very man whose law it was based on.
      When there are only two possible winners, and one side keeps throwing the game, you can’t really be too surprised that the other one wins.
      The real question now is, will the Republicans actually nominate someone with a chance of winning next time, or will they throw the election to Hilary?

      • Thomas,
        I would vote for Mia Love or Ben Carson, long…long before I would vote for a Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat.
        Race, color of skin has zero to do with my vote. The character of the politician is everything. Hillary is liar. Obama is an even bigger liar. I cannot name a Democrat who is not a liar. Maybe James Webb is an honest man. But to get the Democratic nomination for Pres he will have to lie and debase his character,

  6. A good essay, and some true gems among the quotes.
    Apart from education, I think that the lack of direct democracy has something to do with our deliberate dumbing down. It is a vicious circle – we have no direct input, so we make no effort to really comprehend the issues, so we become too dumb to participate meaningfully, so we cannot possibly be trusted with actually having a say in anything and have to be governed like sheep for own good.
    Switzerland has to be one of the best-governed countries in the world, IMO it is even the single best-governed one. It also has an old, time-tested democracy with very strong elements of direct public participation through petitions and plebiscites, and a governing council rather than a single president or head honcho by some other name.

    • Part of the problem is that most of us are only part-time politicians, i.e. amateurs, whereas our government masters are full-time, i.e. professionals. We only consider politics after we’ve made our living by other means; their living is politics. Given our disadvantage, our best hope is to limit overall government power, because it will inevitably be used against us despite the best of intentions.

      • That was the wisdom of the framers of the constitution. Many were latecomers to politics and what they had experienced at the hands of the professionals led them to believe that government should only be trusted with a very minimal list of tasks and all other items should happen in concentric spheres consisting of the individual at the center ->family -> neighborhoods/villages/parishes -> townships ->counties ->states ->national with each sphere being responsible for fewer tasks and being less relevant to ones life as one moved outward in the sphere. This assured individual liberty and self reliance, and pretty much defined the American experience through WWI.

      • @Owen in GA , thanks for your description it is by far the best I have read in a long, long time, no BS just the way it is and should and was meant to be.

    • Bad example. Switzerland is a small, homogenous society with common goals. The U. S. is the exact opposite of that. As for the dumbing down aspect, it is the constant, let me say stretching of the truth, on second thought no, it is the actual lies spread by both sides of political debate that are intended to confuse and frustrate people into indifference. In this way those in power can remain there which is the only issue is they actually care about. Term limits for Senators and Representatives is the answer, but don’t bet the house on ever achieving that goal.

      • The last time I was in Switzerland, there were French, German, and Italian cantons. Homogeneity was lacking. Are you telling me there has been rapid change, and that those ethnic differences that seemed so marked while I was there no longer exist?

    • Michael Palmer said: “I think that the lack of direct democracy has something to do with our deliberate dumbing down.” Please read/re-read the Federalist Papers.
      *** Democracies Don’t Work ***
      Our founders intentionally rejected a pure democracy as a workable form of government. In the early American colonies, they tried most forms of government, from pure democracy through socialism to dictatorships. So they already had experience and hard evidence on which to base the constitution.
      If my memory is correct, the main problem they found with pure democracy was the treatment of minorities, In a pure democracy the majority is capable of, and eventually will, persecuting the minority. The founders chose a ‘democratic republic’ with none, or very few, ‘permanent’ political positions where the voters elected honest, moral, competent and respected men from the local area to go represent them for a few weeks each year, then return home to their farms and businesses.
      They also restricted the right to vote to male property owners. Property owners had skin in the game. It was felt that if you didn’t have skin in the game you would be tempted to vote yourself benefits at the expense of others.
      The old joke about women is: “We have not elected an ugly president since women got the right to vote”. But, I suspect women were excluded from voting because they were considered too uninformed. They were assumed to be too busy at home, uninterested in politics, and rarely have time to socialize, much less discussing politics as the men did.
      We apparently no longer teach the history behind, nor an understanding of our U.S. Constitution in school. I’ve seen major network reporters that didn’t know about the Electoral College. Practically all refer to us as a democracy rather than a constitutional republic and I doubt they know the difference. And these idiots are supposed to keep us informed?
      Joe
      P.S. I’m not sure all of our changes to the original constitution since its inception have been beneficial.

  7. “We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified health care, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” the veteran senator tells the Hill. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all. What we did is we muddled through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively.”
    It’s the kind of thing you might expect Mitch McConnell to say, but the words are from a fellow member of the Senate’s class of 1984—Tom Harkin of Iowa, who retires next month. He’s generally considered one of the most liberal Senate Democrats.

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/doubting-thomas-1417638834

  8. I don’t care how smart these acedemificators think they are, as long as they keep their enlightened craptasticness out of my stupid life.

    • Not true.
      First time was trying to do the right thing.
      All he needs is Obama the second time.
      That’s proof of how they control the system.
      Are you going to believe Obama or your lying eyes and ears?

  9. David Friedman has the right explanation — with the chance that any individual vote will determine the outcome of an election right up there with my chance of being elected Pope, there is no reason for the average voter to bother becoming informed. (And of course these days, there are so many information sources to choose from that nobody need listen to those he doesn’t already agree with.)
    This is one of several reasons I subscribe to lots of sources I don’t agree with, on both the left and the right. A more important reason is, if any of those groups gets up to something big, I want to know about it. I may well write my Congressman and ask him to do the opposite of what they want me to ask him to do.
    But I think Gruber’s statements can and should be well used in counter-demonstrations. The next time the Greens hold a march or rally, go out and ask ordinary people there what they think of being called stupid by their own leadership.

    • There is also every reason to make healthcare rules so simple that the people who get forced to pay for healthcare understand them – and no good reason to make them more complicated.
      Goes for any other law as well.
      In this regard, all Western societies are tyrannies.
      Not even the state broadcasters EXPLAIN the rules by which the peons have to live. Intentionally.

    • Hint, don’t read articles that don’t interest you.
      That’s already the second one. There must be a nest.
      There are BTW some interviews of Charlotte Iserbyt on youtube; I watched them. She talks about education and about the Skull&Bones membership of her father and of her friendship with Anthony Sutton.
      HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

      • Charlotte Iserbyt’s book is available for FREE download and is a great explanation of how we got to where we are. It was not by well intentioned accident, it was by design.
        A MUST READ for anyone interested in the subject of education.

      • John Taylor Gatto covers similar ground, after spending years working as a teacher and researching the system from the inside. He used to have some of his books online on his web site, but seems they’ve gone away while he builds a new one.
        Modern schooling in most Western nations was designed to produce compliant industrial workers from the working class, and middle-managers from the middle class. It might have worked to some extent fifty years ago, but it’s a disaster in a post-industrial world.

  10. Sorry Charlie, but I’m not buying all your excuses for Gruber. He’s old enough to know better, regardless of how he was taught. Besides, just because you believe people are stupid and easily fooled doesn’t excuse you for lying to them and taking advantage of them. I condemn Gruber for his acts of deception because he knew what he was doing when he lied to the American people, and he was proud of it. His comments prove it. At the same time, I don’t reprimand him for his candid comments. That’s because he was telling the truth as he saw it. But I don’t give him credit for them, either, because they were not given as a confession. They were spoken in private with no intention on his part to making them public.
    It is very telling that Democrats don’t condemn Gruber for fooling Congress to get Obamacare passed, or for using deception on the American People. They condemn him for letting the cat out of the bag by telling the truth about what happened. For that reason we owe him a bit of thanks for what he revealed, even if it was unintentional. But we cannot give him a pass for what he did. If you’re going to give a rich, white liberal like Gruber a break because of how he was educated, then who are you not going to give a break to? Don’t you have to give a cigar shoplifter a break for being taught that it’s okay to take something without paying for it because the world owes him? Don’t you have to give a protester a break for burning down a business after being told by community organizers like Al Sharpton that he has been greatly wronged. And don’t you have to give a minority a break for killing a cop after being told by the President and the Attorney General that cops profile minorities, that they act “stupidly,” and that they do not treat all races equally? See what happens when you go down that road. As for me, I prefer to keep the blindfold on lady justice. You can’t have “equal justice for all” any other way.

  11. The author can pontificate all he wants, but Gruber is an obnoxious, incompetent @$$ even for an academic and the poster boy for the self-appointed “elites” who desire to rule over the rest of us (with disastrous results).

  12. The decisive break in education occurred when civic classes were dropped from most school curricula. That eliminated the ability to pass on to students the historic details about why we had constructs like the electoral college, separation of powers and specific powers the people delegated to the government and why they were important, and why we were a Republic rather than a pure democracy.
    They see big government as a big fuzzy teddy bear who will take care of them, rather than the naked force that a central government must have to do that. The have not made the realization that if it can give you every thing you need, it can also take away everything with the same powers.
    If more students read books like “A Miracle in Philadelphia” and actually were exposed to the Federalist papers and other founding documents and the reasons why they were created. They would understand the true intent of the Constitution and why it was structured the way it was, and we would be much better off.
    Now they also never see any meaningful history that covers the evils of big government in the U.S.like the years of Tammany Hall or in other countries.
    We chide the Chinese because they do not know about Tienamen Square, but most students today in the U.S. also are ignorant of Tienamen Square, The Great Leap forward, the purges in the Soviet Union etc. and the millions killed under the banner of various forms of socialism. The brute force politics of the Soviet Union such as the invasion of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The never watched people trying to escape East Germany at the risk of their life etc.
    All they see is a version of history where big socialist governments are sanitized and the errors of the U.S. are beaten to death so that they only see the bad in our recent history and never are exposed to the good.

      • For those who are unaware, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1913, changed the appointment of U S Senators to a direct election by the people. So, you see, even back then politicians recognized that playing on the stupidity of the American voter was the path to reelection.

      • Even before the 17th Amendment was passed in the 2nd decade of the 20th Century a number of States had been themselves giving up the appointment of Senators by legislatures to election by voters: populist rats were at work at the State level undermining the sinews of the Republic.
        Dan Kurt

    • Some quotes I find useful to remind us where our founders were coming from:
      A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
      ……..Thomas Jefferson
      “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests”.
      – Patrick Henry –
      While democracy must have its organization and controls, its vital breath is individual liberty.
      – Charles Evans Hughes
      Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
      George Washington

  13. Elitism has more than one origin, and it’s value (negative or positive) is impossible to measure, like the location of an electron.
    Ditto for knowledge. Or “intelligence”.
    The point is, the Grubers in history almost always turn out to be wrong about the thing they are banging on about. That’s it in a word. Wrong.
    But more than that they are wrong because they are elitists. Trying to run other people’s lives does not just stop self-awareness, it celebrates the lack of it.

  14. He created policy that has failed in just the way the “stupid” ones said it would. That destroys the premise of the article.

  15. “Those who worked closely on the law say he ran economic models to determine the outcome of certain proposals.” Factcheck.org.
    Any one of those words jump out at anybody. Climate science may be slightly more “scientific” than economics but, IMHO, not much.

  16. The only thing I remember from this was “Johnny Can’t Read because he’s dumb.” This quote I think is attributed to raconteur Jean Shepherd,NY radio commentator among other things. He wrote & narrated the movie “A Christmas Story”.
    As to Gruber, I like Grubering, Gruberized, Gruberization, and any other Gruber things which relate to Big Government and the Elite Bureaucrat takeover.

  17. What Gruber said was accurate but maybe taken in the wrong way (and I already know that I am going to take flak for this), he said:
    “If you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in … and sick people get money, it would not have passed,”
    Well guess what, that is the way ALL insurance works and I guess he really implied that the average (or more) American is just too stupid to realize this. It’s like saying, me, no I am NEVER going to have a car accident so why would I possibly need auto insurance (or house insurance or any other kind). We all pay in some so the few (and maybe you or me) can have that coverage for that never going to happen catastrophe. As you might have guessed, that is why most insurance is mandatory, as health insurance should be.

    • Americans know this. The risk is spread across everyone – they aren’t THAT stupid. The differences are that a) insurance is not otherwise mandatory (car insurance sort of is, but that’s a different mechanism) and b) as plans age, they stop accepting new members, the existing members age and get sick, thus the rates increase, and finally the healthy people leave to find more equitable plans making rates even higher – eventually, the only ones left are the unhealthy/dying that are paying quite a bit.
      Quite a different story than “a law (read: mandatory) which said that healthy people are going to pay in (read: are forced to pay in and cannot leave) and sick people get money (read: and don’t pay in nearly as much as they otherwise would have).”
      Mark

    • He said it would reduce the cost of healthcare. Naysayers were called ill informed and scare mongers.
      Lack of transparency was a plus.

    • The problem with your comparison is that Obamacare health insurance does not follow the standard model for insurance. What Gruber was talking about is the idea of charging healthy people more so other people with pre-existing conditions (who are already sick) can pay less. That would be like charging people with good driving records more so that uninsured drivers can get cheap car insurance AFTER they’ve had an accident. The standard model is to charge for insurance based on the history and risk posed by the policy holder. If you charge good drivers extra so bad drivers can get cheaper car insurance, the good drivers will go elsewhere. And if you allow people to buy home insurance after their house is on fire, everyone’s policy will go up. People will not buy insurance under that model unless they’re forced to. They will wait until they need it. That drives insurance prices up. And that’s what is happening to Obamacare because the penalty is too low. And the reason it is too low is because Democrats like Gruber knew that Americans would rebel if the penalty was high right off the bat. It’s as deceptive as a Ponzi scheme. And that’s exactly why Gruber and his pals used deception to get the bill passed. They knew that if they did things like increase the penalty slowly, we would be less likely to jump out.

      • “The standard model is to charge for insurance based on the history and risk posed by the policy holder.”
        ————————
        Or in the case of car insurance it might be the policy holder’s peer group.
        (sex, age, driving record etc.)

    • Let’s put to death for once and for all the “car insurance” analogy. You are only required to have vehicle insurance if you own or lease a vehicle. It is not mandatory for everyone to have vehicle insurance. Although, I believe in California insurance is required just by having a driver’s license but I am not sure.
      House insurance is only required if you have a mortgage lien on the house as it protects the lender. And that requirement is not government mandated, it is made by the lender as part of the loan agreement. You are free to decline the loan if you do not want to buy insurance.
      The problem with ACA is that the government not only mandates you have it, it requires you to purchase coverages you may not want or need. It is like going to a grocery store and being forced to buy one of several government approved preselected bags of groceries without regard to whether you want or need all of the items in that bag. And the biggest ACA lie of all is the huge deductibles that most people will be saddled with virtually keeping most healthcare out of the reach of the poor. But then again, it was never about healthcare, it was about control.

    • @BLF “…that is why most insurance is mandatory, as health insurance should be.”
      You are conflating INSURANCE with HEALTH INSURANCE. Insurance can work if the EVENT being insured against is 1) relatively rare, 2) random, and 3) actuarially sound. Examples of an insurable event are house fires, auto accidents, individual death under certain conditions, etc.
      Uninsurable events are one such as auto maintenance or run of the mill health expenditures. So called health insurance can not be insurance because its use is not a rare, random event as everyone needs as one ages basic health care with few exceptions. Health Insurance becomes a vast TRANSFER SCHEME to control health care and tax everyone to cover everyone. That is why the term Major Medical Insurance was coined. The insurance industry tried to find a way to separate aspects of HEALTH CARE that would be insurable as NOT EVERYONE WOULD need to use it so the risk could be spread around. The so called Health Insurance of Hillary Clinton and B. H. Obama are not insurance plans as they are thinly disguised TRANSFER PAYMENTS funded by taxes, loans, and deficit spending run by the Government as are the Health Systems of Europe and Canada. Socialized Medicine is an honest name for all those schemes. The term Health Insurance in most instances where it is used currently are but weasel words.
      Dan Kurt

      • Dan,
        Exactly.
        Throughout the ACA process, and continuing throughout the present, the language has been misused (purposely by the Grubers). Same thing happening with the other terms/phrases that are associated with the climate scare.
        I think that it has always been this way … but in the past when the purposed misunderstanding came to light it ended with a duel, or some similar form of solution. It may be that the “benefit of the doubt” is fairly recent concept and has allowed for more and bigger Grubers to proliferate in our current societies.

  18. The solution to the electorate not knowing or understanding the issues (although I think this is an overstatement) is to do one’s best to get sharp opponents in the other party to duke it out smartly and communicate it. Obama has largely had no opposition. The dumbing down of politicians seems to be at least part of the problem. How could a president wrest Congress’s power away from it, circumvent the constitution and govern by fiat, stuffing his cabinet with unfulfilled iconoclastic activists (vetted by Congress) and advised by the academic elite. This has set a terrible precedent.
    The head shaking above about the problem being the dumbing down of the electorate seems to miss this point. My father was educated in a one room prairie school house that had its beginning in a homestead community. He argued and harangued about issues, government waste, pork barreling etc. and he voted socialist all his life. He could have been an effective politician but he went for operating a steam locomotive. Politicians are local. They know or should know what issues their constituency gets excited about and it’s his job to be sure they know about other issues that could impact their lives. Its also his job to interpret and harpoon his/her opponents. It doesn’t take a liberal egghead to understand the simple issues. This is why it has worked so well, at least up to recently (I’m mindful of Churchill’s quote about democracy being a terrible system but the best we have). It is the progressives that have sold the idea that we need wise technocrats to govern a modern nation too complex for its idiot population.

    • Yeah but your Dad didn’t have a twitter account that kept him busy following the latest absurdities of his favorite movie star or music group.

      • A politician being less then truthful about why a they want a particular action, like a CO2 tax, etc is just simply to be expected.
        By definition a conspiracy is a group of people hiding their reason for why they want something. So politicians like Gore that do not say, “I want a CO2 tax to fund my investments in alternative energy so I can get rich off the middle class and have more personal political power” are hiding the real reason for their action and instead proclaiming, I few do not do this, the world will end. (The world should not be surprised and such fold are conspiring.)

  19. Most things are too trivial for politicians to decide. To do so would be insane authoritarianism. As matters increase in importance, they eventually become too important to be decided by the citizenry, which would be chaos. And ultimately they again reach an importance too great be decided by politicians. To do so would be tyranny. We are now suffering from the first and the third at the same time.

    • ” which would be chaos.”
      Chaos is good. Millions of people makiing decisions for themselves has more problem solving capicity as thousands of politicians deciding for others, without the overhead of theft(taxes) and initiation of violence (statism).

  20. “you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.” There are wise and good men among the educated scientists on this, and other skeptic blogs. As Mr. Watts points out, there are fewer and fewer educated Americans in the West who have the ability to think rationally and reach conclusions which make sense. It is a good thing to publicize the fact that our “elites” think so little of their “stupid” electorate that they verbalize it without fear of repercussions. Nancy Pelosi denied knowing of Gruber’s role in writing Obamacare, and when she was confronted with a video of her acknowledgement of his role prior to its implementation, she brushed it off without even acknowledging it. Pandering to the socialists/ communist mobs for a vote will destroy the fools who think they are beyond the reach of the consequences. The barbarians are already inside our gates, and “Irish monasteries” are in need today to save Western Civilization again, as the next dark age descends. Real science and scientists are buried in a landslide of PC social justice nonsense, moving ever leftward to their totalitarian egalitarian nightmare. Ala Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, future “engineers and technicians” will polish the brightwork and scavenge what is still running to run the generator plants or replace the infrastructure; the cities will go dark and the morlocks will run amok (hopefully eating all the elite Eloi first). Let us pray for a citadel to keep the candle of science going here or there.

  21. Dewey didn’t preach not teaching facts, maybe you should actually read what he wrote and said rather this poor pastiche.

      • Like I said, try reading what Dewey said, not what other folk with a political axe to grind think he said. It’s called original sources. Something any critical reader should go to, not rehashed data, sound familiar?
        .

      • I retract what I said above concerning K.B. enjoying the Carson essay. My dear K.B. is one who apparently reads Aristotle’s logic in the original Greek. Unlike we of the hoi polloi, K.B. needs no help in understanding an author’s work. K. B. being an autodidact par excellence drinks directly from the oracle.
        Dan Kurt

  22. “If you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in … and sick people get money, it would not have passed,”
    Well, there’s an awful lot (thousands) of very intelligent. highly educated, very experienced people who were adamantly opposed to Obamacare, and to the best of my knowledge, not one of them tried to characterize it that way. So seems to me that Gruber may think that he bamboozled a bunch of dumb people, but clearly he bamboozled a lot of smart people too.
    I man I had a lot of respect for was a politician for 20 years. He confided in me that before he got into politics, he was universally thought of as objective, honest and sincere. After he won his first election, he was repeatedly accused of being “just like the rest of them”. The problem, he lamented, is that before being elected, he had little appreciation for the complexity of the issues. Afterward he did, because he was face to face with the (at times) folly of his position and the potential consequences of it. But how, he asked, do I explain why I changed my mind in a 30 minute press conference on an issue it took me 4 months to understand in detail?
    That’s the way politics is. You either pick your poison on the basis of a few sound bites, or you invest an enormous amount of your own time in understanding the issue at the same level of detail as the politicians and their advisers. Since most of us don’t have that kind of time on our hands, we live with an unsatisfactory result, often not knowing if the alternative was better or worse. As Churchill lamented, it is a terrible way to run a country, just so much better than anything else.

    • A lot of smart people as well as not as smart people DID point this out. Unfortunately, you have the MSM which essentially got behind the ram that our wonderful Congress was pushing it with.
      Mark

    • “Well, there’s an awful lot (thousands) of very intelligent. highly educated, very experienced people who were adamantly opposed to Obamacare, and to the best of my knowledge, not one of them tried to characterize it that way.”
      I submit that almost all of those were Republicans especially the wealthy, and the Republican congress, who are stridently and irrationally 100% against anything that ‘Bama is for. Many of those right wing claims about the ACA should peg the BS meter of any one that has used the health care system. Fo example the claim that it will increase costs. Well it will for those now having to pay in for insurance, but hospital and some doctors costs should fall. Example: a recent visit to the emergency room by my wife would have cost $2505 for someone walking in off the street with no insurance, but because of hospital and doctor “double booking” the negotiated rate for the insurance company was $477 of which we owed $188. Simarly for diagnostic pathology tests at the doctors office, submitted charges: $438, allowed by insurance company $164, we paid $78. I suspect that much of the “inflation” in hospital costs are rather artificial and based on the uninsured’s rates. I can see why doctors and hospitals may be upset because they will have fewer inflated charges for the uninsured but the insurance companies should be happier as they will have a bigger, and healthier customer base which should provide more profit margin. The only insurance companies unhappy will be those with too small a customer base to cover the really sick or long term ill as they will no longer be able to cancel policies or rapidly raise those rates. Those companies will fail, which, after all, is the way private enterprise is suppose to work.

      • what you just said is that by design this will lead to a single government payer, because no insurance company is large enough to sustain those losses for long.
        The medical device tax means that anyone who needs a pacemaker will pay much more for it. Most smaller hospitals will not be able to afford the additional cost for the diagnostic equipment and as a result won’t replace old and broken equipment. People will die of stupidly simple things to cure because they will be put on VA style waiting lists for simple screening as only the large centers in big cities will have equipment. Companies won’t research the next radiation therapy breakthrough or drug breakthrough because the market will be too small to recover their investment. Sell thousands of units and you can get back your investment, sell hundreds and watch your company go up in smoke. It is already bad that socialized medicine countries like Canada and the UK (and most of the EU countries) are getting a free ride on American pharma development by issuing price controls that don’t cover R&D costs leaving the US to effectively subsidize all their drug costs. If the US tries to put the same sorts of controls in place, the last pharma breakthrough in history will have occurred on that day.
        The government NEVER makes ANYTHING less expensive. Some regulation for safety is necessary, but no agency on Earth ever stopped making new regulations when its original mission was accomplished. Bureaucracies have to grow or die, so mission creep is inevitable. When bureaucracies grow, freedom dies. It is a universal trade off.

      • Owen in GA, I agree with most of what you said but please do a little more work on the Canadian health system it is not free, we have a monthly fee and neither are the drugs, visits to dentists ( and their results), physio, optometrist ( and glasses), ambulance, etc etc none for free. I have said this before and sadly so many Americans keep on thinking every thing is free up there, it is not. Oh a question for you and your family, are your medical cost a write off in the USA? I am not being sarcastic just learning.

        • There are a few towns in Mexico, on the border, that cater to “snow birds”. Retirees mostly that summer south in RVs. The provide cheap drugs, booze, eye and Dental care. One such place is Los Algodones. And the clients are as much Canadian as American,. so your narrative sounds about right.

      • asybot, first, Owen in GA didn’t say that Canada medical was free, read what he actually said. As to “deductability” in the US of health expenses, you don’t pay income tax on the portion of those expenses that EXCEDE 7.5% or 10% of you adjusted gross income. So at best you only reduce your tax burden IF you have an exceptional health care cost.

      • @aysbot
        I know it isn’t free, neither is the UK’s National Healthcare. I am more familiar with the UK because I lived there for 3 years. Their system is funded off a separate payroll tax that they call a National Insurance payment.
        The drug comment on Canada and the other centralized health systems is because of the controls placed on price. There are drugs in the US that a 90 day supply is $1,000 that goes for about $100 in Canadian pharmacies. That is why so many Americans in the northern border towns will drive to Canada to pick up prescriptions (illegal though the practice may be.) That difference in price is because the Canadian government will not allow the pharmaceutical companies to charge for the R&D in the cost of the medicines. (or a ridiculous pittance that would amortize the investment over a century or more – patents don’t last that long in most jurisdictions thus meaning the company will never recover its investment) Similar policies are in place in Europe. If all were paying for the R&D the price would be closer to $500 for a 90 day supply. It also means that there are effective drugs with fewer side effects that are not allowed into the Canadian and European markets because the pharmaceutical companies refuse to sell at a loss. (Less so in Canada more in Europe.) Most of the governments prefer to say that the treatment is unavailable due to excessive cost compared to the benefit. That is the problem with the system as a whole and because the government controls what comes in and at what price, other treatments simply aren’t available at any price. This also means wait lists for more specialized care is common. This is particularly critical in the early diagnosis and treatment of most types of cancer.
        In Britain I know a number of firms are starting to offer private insurance as a supplement for the NHS and a parallel private medical system is beginning to emerge, but the pharmaceutical issues remain. I haven’t asked any of my Canadian relatives if that is the case in Canada. I haven’t been to BC in years though maybe it is time for a visit.

  23. It goes back to an adage older than the American education system. The fool is he who does not know he knows not. While America may be ignorant (ignorance is the lack of knowledge, stupidity is the rejection of knowledge), most are not fools like Gruber.

  24. Remember that Gruber not only helped get Obamacare passed but he made $6 million in “consulting fees” to assist states in implementing the law! I suppose he is just your average elite, corrupt, left-wing academic…

  25. I don’t think that people are stupid, unless trusting in certain government and academic groups reflects being stupid. I agree that they are miss informed, uninformed, or deceived.
    Gruber admits they were dishonest and not transparent because they knew if they were honest and transparent they could not pass the ACA, Obamacare. Also we now know his economics was flawed possibly intentionally which could cause him more problems when investigated by the Congress after Obama leaves office.
    The other problem, we have a MSM, academia, and the education system that has become an advocate for any agenda the Administration wishes to push while covering up for wrongdoing and inappropriate or poor decisions. Ergo we have badly uninformed citizens.
    Historically, the citizens of the USA have had reasonable trust in their government, although not perfect, because we depend on a free press, the 4th estate which traditionally has keep the government in check. Many probably got lazy to get the straight facts. Presently the frees press has an agenda and no longer overseas the government unless it it is controlled by a Republican.
    If you look at the last election, it is clear that some of the electorate have caught on, and that they no longer believe the government representatives or the information provided by the MSM. The drop in sale of newspapers and loss of viewership means more and more no longer buy the “agenda” they sell. This is also reflected in the drop of citizens that buy into the climate change/global warming agenda.
    Finally we have seen two long term loyal Democratic Senators recently admit that pushing through Obama care was a huge mistake. They have found out that the electorate is not as stupid as Gruber thought, and they now are afraid of their jobs.
    .

    • “They have found out that the electorate is not as stupid as Gruber thought, and they now are afraid of their jobs.”
      —————————
      They are probably afraid of more than that. One small indicator of what is really in the minds of US citizens is the fact that on Black Friday, requests for police background checks for firearms purchases were happening at the rate of 2 per second, or over 175,000 requests for the day, which is not the record.(set in Dec. 2012.) Widespread ammo and hand loading component shortages (bullets, powder, primers, etc) have been plaguing gun owners since December 2012, as demand is far outstripping supply, although firearms are again on store shelves and available for purchase after similar shortages. American citizens have been stockpiling arms and ammunition at high rate for two straight years…

  26. I was not particularly offended by Gruber’s comments, as I never bought into the snake oil he was selling- I figured that the “stupid people” were the ones who would.
    That said, perhaps Gruber really thinks people are stupid- that makes him a ridiculous elitist, bereft of common sense- when what I think he really meant was that people are ignorant.
    Ignorance is curable… stupid people are a core Democrat constituency (please pardon my partisanship).

  27. What boggles the mind is that Chief Justice Roberts, who presumably had worked his way though his fair share of phonics as a child, failed to recognized the distinct outlines of a tax (or of outright fraud), and voted to strike it down when he had the chance. I have to wonder if he regrets his decision in light of Gruber’s recent public comments.

    • Bill, I would counsel patience. It is quite possible that Roberts ACA opinion is another Marbury v. Madison, which has not yet borne fruit. Discussed elsewhere in re Commerce clause limitations, new requirements to call taxes taxes, and articulated states unalignable rights.
      Read the whole thing again, carefully, in context of pre-existing Con Law.

    • Roberts also reaffirmed that Congress alone has the power to tax. It also means that Congress alone has the power to remove a tax. It was an open invitation to change the “penalty” (tax) which would effectively derail Obamacare without the Supreme Court interfering with an established Congressional power. Congress has not yet taken the invitation but with Republican control of both the Senate and House you may well see it happen. Of course Obama will veto that legislation but he will do so at the peril of Democrat Senators and Members of the House up for reelection next time around, not that he actually cares anymore.

  28. Reblogged this on Louis Hissink's Crazy World and commented:
    The idiocy of this progressive agenda is that in order to cope with this new world, we are told to “innovate”, but if your thinking skills have been socialised, how is that possible. The stupids are now running the system, and the mess we find ourselves in, in an economic sense, the direct outcome of these educational policies in the Anglo-American sphere.

  29. Obama Wants Kids to Learn About Global Warming
    The administration wants students and teachers to toe the line on climate change.
    Perhaps unable to convince older Americans of the severity of global warming, President Barack Obama is hoping to have better luck with the next generation by turning to the classroom.
    The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Wednesday announced it will launch a new initiative aimed at climate education and literacy that will distribute science-based information – in line with the administration’s position on the issue – to students, teachers and the broader public.
    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/12/03/obama-administration-to-launch-global-warming-education-initiative

    • How interesting that your linked US News article has a companion photo taken inside a classroom, with a picture of Che Guevera on the wall, above the children’s heads.

  30. As a Meteorologist I find this talk about Climate Change (AGW-type) to be a bunch of hooey. For over 30 years I have watched climates around the world. What is remarkable is that there is nothing remarkable outside of the process of entropy. Hell, most of the ‘supporters’ blithely follow each other off the cliff…. for politics..

  31. I don’t know if the American public is stupid. If by this you mean that they can’t do their various jobs, some of it very well then no they are not stupid. But Americans are 330 million and most know little outside their narrow circle. They are not widely read, are not exactly linguists, don’t know history. But worst of all they project themselves on to the rest of the world believing that basically we are all like them. But we are not. They have demonstrated this by electing a muslim Marxist twice.

  32. I am not a product of the US schools – but I would like to see Pamela’s take on this article. Can anybody compare John Dewey to G.B.Shaw?

  33. Another mental picture .. a quote from E.M.Remarque’s book Three Comrades (a pig translated this title; it should have been Three Friends): Have you ever considered working in garments? Ladies or gentleman’s? – Souls .. I wanted to be a teacher.

  34. I recently saw an article about Harvard Students failing the 1964 Louisiana literacy tests originally given to would-be voters who couldn’t prove they had at least completed 5th grade. Of course the University used this to legitimize a preexisting radicalized political opinion slanted with the false claim that the ‘literacy test’ somehow gave weight to the political opinion. Alleging that the tests were designed by evil white racists who allegedly did not want Blacks to vote. And “stupid” voters will believe it, instead of dismissing what some pseudo-intellectual from Harvard says, because Harvard produces students that are “stupider” than 5th graders.
    Paraphrasing the late Frank Zappa, “The common building block of everything throughout the entire universe is Human Stupidity.”

    • I recently came across in our rare books collection two grammar school text books from the late 1800s, One was on Rhetoric and the other was on Algebra. These were meant for 12 year old students and most of my students would not be able to grasp the contents of the books. The Algebra text (the one I am more qualified to judge) was much more thorough than the ones we use in the College Algebra program, but I am afraid the large words with precise definitions would be beyond all but the brightest college freshman. I wish we would go back to using material like this to teach 12 year olds. Our students would be far more qualified for the STEM fields when they got here.
      There are some others in Greek and Latin that I am not able to evaluate as my Latin is elementary and rusty and other than the alphabet I have no understanding of ancient Greek at all. All of these books came to us from the collection of a man who died in the 1920s who was a private tutor for wealthy families.
      Education has really gone downhill in the last 120 years.

  35. I’d read Dr. Battig’s article earlier today, but I was well-pleased to see it recapitulated on Watts Up With That?. His reference to Dr. Snow’s Godkin Lectures (1960) was particularly pertinent to the Ur-underpinnings of the gulf between the hard sciences and the squishy “social” pseudosciences, a reality which I’ve found to bear upon the issue of climate catastrophism in the public sphere ever since the AGW bogosity began to float more than three decades ago.

    Science requires a process and unrelenting trial and error, learning and experimentation, the humility to admit error and the driving passion to discover truth. In other words, real science requires freedom, not central planning. The idea that any panel of experts can have the requisite knowledge to make such grand decisions for the globe is outlandish and contrary to pretty much everything we know.
    Plus, throw politics into the mix and matters get worse. From everything I’ve read, I’m convinced that fear over climate change (the ultimate public goods “problem”) is the last and best hope for those lustful to rule the world by force. Some people just want to run the world, and this entire nightmare scenario that posits that our high standard of living is causing the world to heat up and burn is the latest and greatest excuse. And that remains true whether or not everything they claim to be true is all true or all nonsense.

    — Jeffrey Tucker, “The Rage of the Climate Central Planners” (19 June 2014)

  36. The health care bill is like 2,000 pages long.
    It covers the governments ass, and leaves others like my Blue Cross Blue Shield to fend for themselves.
    They don’t know what the bill says, or what might charged to them for non-compliance of any of the provisions.
    It is a ______ fire drill, with the taxpayers picking up any expenses.
    Life is good for the bureaucrats, crack heads, illegals, and scammers.
    It’s all “free”.

  37. “Gruber’s matter-of-fact pronouncement of the “stupidity” of Americans reflects his academic assumption of the success of government education….” ~Charles Battig
    This is probably true!
    If you look at the most wonderful inventions we have, they were brought to us by determined, independent people. What did Charles Goodyear, and his son by the same name, and the Wright brothers have? They were just young people who came from good, solid homes, could read, and were very determined to make something of value and use – and a profit. And from them we have flight, tires, and rubber soled shoes.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Goodyear “self-taught chemist”
    We showed the world that equality before the law and literacy unlocked the wonderful initiative and intelligence of the citizens. What we have never did come from education alone – there has to be a foundation of genuine love and respect, self-control, integrity, and personal diligence and focus, or it is all in vain. Education does not provide that. Quite the contrary it turned out. “Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

  38. Sadly Gruber is fundmentally correct. Leaders and governments everywhere relie on this one fundamental fact to control the will of their people.
    97% of all populations are THICK. Just watch the TV interviews on the street and yes I know they are chosen because they look wierd or stupid. That’s the way it is with the media.

  39. Don’t forget POTUS Wilson who wanted to produce a generation as least like their fathers as possible. A look at the current president shows the same attitude. His indoctrination was apparent with his Ferguson comments. They all have a narrative loop running 24/7 in their brain and no amount of reality will change it. Gruber is really just parroting his professor who was parroting his professor before him.

  40. No, Gruber does not deserve a break. He is a cynical con with tenure and an extremely lucrative consulting gig to hide behind. Eff him.

  41. Since most Americans are stupid according to Gruber, and most Americans are educated in public schools under the guidance of academics like Gruber, then we can see where the problem comes from.

  42. The kind of break I’d like to give people like Gruber is in the neck. The arrogance displayed does not merit any response other than a very, very rude one. So no, I will not give Gruber “a break” – he deserves all the brickbats he receives, and then some.

  43. For today’s market, you need to keep things to 140 characters or less, and the shorter the better.
    “Gruber lied, democracy died” gets the message across better than a long article like this ever can.

  44. Mr. Watts, I fault your post here only for its brevity. Current events warrant further elaboration of your thesis with extensions into science education. Please continue.

  45. “Give Gruber a Break”

    I would, and he certainly deserves at least one and maybe several breaks, but it’s not civil and one wouldn’t really want to have the assault charge on one’s record. (Lefty loons note that this is SARCASM.)

  46. I consider Gruber to be a kind of whistleblower than anything else. His candid remarks are actually beneficial to promoting the welfare of individuals and society. People need to be aware of how elites (e.g. “best and brightest”, academics, journalists) perceive the folks and masses and treat them accordingly.

    • re: “I consider Gruber to be a kind of whistleblower than anything else.” n.n.
      Two points in rebuttal:
      1) Gruber never expected us, the canaille, to see his performance or read his words on this. Note: the U of Pennsylvania pulled the videos when attention was paid to them.
      2) Gruber was BRAGGING to his peers about his trickery.
      Dan Kurt

  47. Dear Mr. Watts:
    What’s this doing here? I read it on American Thinker earlier – and that’s where it belongs.
    P.S. Gruber didn’t actually call the American voter stupid -it just sounded like that. In reality, he was talking about democrats and their staffs in Congress – that’s why it’s all cast as “us” (Gruber with some Whitehouse and Pelosi staffers) versus “them” the dumb*es who had to be coerced into voting for it.

  48. Dan,
    Yes, I do read directly from first sources, it’s called being academic and critical, it seems you don’t like it when people are both self and then later academically educated. That is truly odd, as there are many folk like me on this board who have achieved both. Remember scepticism isn’t the same as cynicism. I would suggest, like many do here, search out the data or original sources and don’t let some middleman do the thinking for you.

    • re: “…it seems you don’t like it when people are both self and then later academically educated.”KB
      Changed your tune now, Karl? Earlier you were espousing the Primary Sources exclusive model of learning, e.g.,”Like I said, try reading …original sources. Something any critical reader should go to, not rehashed data….” Nice that you are regaining some sanity. Sure one should be aware of primary sources but to truly learn a subject most humans accept and relish guidance, a helping hand in learning a subject. It is said that to really learn a subject there are three avenues available: 1) the author’s work, primary source, 2) the work explained by an expert, a professor, an article, a review, etc., and 3) one’s teaching the subject to others.
      Dan Kurt

  49. Dan, you do like putting words where I never. Hard to have a rational discussion when someone does that. I’ll leave it at that, no doubt you’ll want the last word.

    • Dear Karl,
      With our short exchange as a teaching moment, I hope you have learned to think a bit before posting.
      Dan

  50. @Karl Bentley “I’ll leave it at that”
    Changed your mind again it seems, Karl. You are consistently inconsistent.
    Dan Kurt

  51. Am I fallible? Too right! Am I learning every day? Sure am!
    But it will be a cold day in Hades when I take lessons in humility or criticality from an odious online bully such as you Dan. But that’s what I like about Anthony’s site, it’s a place where reason and fairness prevail over dogma and deceit. You have a nice day now…

  52. How will it all end? This ongoing lover’s spat between Karl and Dan? I wonder. Am I the only one who stays tuned because it’s become more entertaining than “Days of Our Lives?” It is for sure more enlightening than reading more of “The World According to Simon.”

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