by Whitney Pitcher
Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the United Nations. During part of his speech, he spoke about the “red line” which must be drawn to prevent Iran from developing and potentially using nuclear weapons. In doing so, he literally drew a red line on simple graphic of a bomb:
He spoke about how he was thankful that the United States had drawn red line previously when Iran wanted to block of the Strait of Hormuz, which would have prevented the transport of a good portion of oil from the Middle East.This “red line”caused Iran to back off. He called for an additional red line to be drawn, as he depicted during his speech, when it comes to Iran’s enrichment of uranium for nukes. As expected, the Left (including writers from The Atlantic and Buzzfeed) mocked the simplicity and straightforwardness of his pictorial example, indicating they he was unserious, and his illustration was childish. However, he made his point, and he did so clearly.
The Left does not like simplicity and brevity. We saw this in their reaction to Governor Palin’s “death panel” statement a few years ago. She used a short phrase to make a profound statement about government involvement and rationing in health care , and she was proven right with Obamacare’s inclusion of the Independent Payment Advisory Board for Medicare. President Reagan’s foreign policy could be simply summarized by two succinct phrases–”peace through strength” and “we win; they lose”, yet he was also mocked. However, Governor Palin and President Reagan had the Founders on their side. Thomas Jefferson once said, “[t]he most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do”. Brevity speaks more clearly than verbosity It’s no wonder that the Constitution–the blueprint for our government–is a mere 7,000 words while the Obamacare law was more than 2,000 pages!
There is a saying that I like that states, “knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad”. I’d like to take that saying a step further by saying that intellectualism is writing an 5,000 word essay of why tomatoes should be put in a fruit salad. Intellectualism is different than having knowledge or wisdom. It’s also different than intelligence. Rick Santorum was mocked recently by the Left for saying,” [w]e will never have the elite smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do.” He is right. The “smart” people–the intellectuals–think that they know better than us, and therefore, dictate to us through academia, the media, government, etc.They want to mandate us to not only put tomatoes in our fruit salad, but also to enjoy eating it. Thomas Sowell wrote a whole book on this topic a few years ago–Intellectuals and Society–which in my opinion, is one of the most instructive and interesting books written in recent years. In that book, Sowell writes, “at the core of the notion of an intellectual is the dealer in ideas, as such–not the personal application of ideas”.Sure you can discuss the concept of a fruit salad with tomatoes, but actually doing it makes no sense. Inapplicable knowledge is useless, but applied knowledge is necessary. President Obama, who has presided over credit downgrades from multiple agencies, is seen as an intellectual, but Governor Palin, whose policies has led Alaska receiving three separate credit upgrades since 2008, is seen as an intellectual lightweight. Governor Palin is intelligent, but she is not an intellectual. This is a good thing. To use an example I used once before in comparing President Obama and Governor Palin:
If you’ll excuse the personal anecdote, let me digress for a moment. My dad is a farmer turned city bus driver who has great mechanical skills. A good friend of mine received his degree in mechanical engineering and was one class away from having a second major in physics. My friend was fascinated by my dad’s ability to fix cars and farm machinery. My friend could complete all the calculus and understood the physics behind the mechanics of a car’s engine, but he could not change his oil much less fix a car. The intellectuals and pontificators of the world would likely gush over my friend’s engineering background while they would likely poo poo my dad’s high school education and career choices. However, my dad could fix a car while my friend couldn’t. I don’t say this to bash my friend, but to make a distinction between intellectualism and intelligence put into practice.
The Left would rather have Prime Minister Netanyahu wax at length about pussyfooting diplomacy and meaningless sanctions rather than use a clear and simple illustration. They would have preferred that Governor Palin praise the National Institute of Comparative Effectiveness (NICE) and their role in British healthcare than to make a succinct warning about rationing. The simplicity and rationality of their actual arguments though allow them to connect with the everyday person because their arguments are applicable, and they respect the intelligence of their audiences. Their fruit salads don’t have any tomatoes in them.