They Know What’s Best for You

Ben Shapiro of notes another case of elite disdain for the intelligence of the common people,this time from a supposed conservative, Josh Barro of Business Insider.

On Tuesday, President Obama’s favorite “conservative” columnist, Josh Barro of Business Insider, tweeted out that Obama’s lie that Americans could keep their insurance if they liked it was just fine, since Americans don’t know what’s best for them anyway:

To some extent he is correct about public policy. The reason why we are a representative democracy and not a direct democracy is because policies and laws are best made by those who make it their business to devote the time and attention needed to properly understand these matters. But the central idea of our system of government is that the government is based on the consent of the governed and that those who make the policies are answerable to the people they serve. This idea that a technocratic elite ought to be making policies on behalf of people too stupid to know what’s good for them is incompatible with American political traditions.

This is actually the whole problem with Mr. Barro’s ideas. What if I want to buy unpasteurized milk? If I understand the risks involved, why should I fear being arrested for participating in a commercial transaction between two adults? What if I don’t want to wear a seat belt? I know it is less safe to drive without a seat belt, but what if I like living life dangerously? it’s my life, isn’t it? Why can’t these people just leave us alone. We are grownups. We can take care of ourselves. And, if we can’t, that’s our own business.

Here is my favorite comment from the article in , in terms of someone thinking he is smarter than he really is.

The average American has a less then 100 I.Q. They believe in an afterlife, because of a book that tells them half-god men walk on water. Do you really think they have the maturity to decide what is best for them?

Well, yes, about half the American population does have an IQ less than 100. This is because an IQ of 100 is by definition the mean. Whatever score has 50% above and 50% below is rated as an IQ of 100.  In fact, a survey of  popular culture and political discourse makes it hard to believe, but average IQs in much of the world have been steadily rising since IQ tests were first developed. This may be due to better nutrition and medical care, and possibly more mental stimulation by television and the Internet. So, about every fifteen to twenty years, IQ tests and scored are renormed so that 100 remains the mean. In any case, if you want to live in a free country, you ought to begin with the assumption that most people really do have the maturity to decide what’s best for them.

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