Vision of the Anointed


There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs. — P. 142

When the anointed say that there is a crisis this means that something must be done–and it must be done simply because the anointed want it done. This word becomes one of many substitutes for evidence or logic. — P. 182

Everyone is for a beneficial outcome; they simply define it in radically different terms. Everyone is a “progressive” by his own lights. That the anointed believe that this label differentiates themselves from other people is one of a number of symptoms of their naive narcissism. — P. 95

For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before. — P. 118

One of the most important questions about any proposed course of actions is whether we know how to do it. Policy A may be better than policy B, but that does not matter if we simply do not know how to do Policy A. Perhaps it would be better to rehabilitate criminals, rather than punish them, if we knew how to do it. Rewarding merit might be better than rewarding results if we knew how to do it. But one of the crucial differences between those with the tragic vision and those with the vision of the anointed is in what they respectively assume that we know how to do. Those with the vision of the anointed are seldom deterred by any question as to whether anyone has the knowledge required to do what they are attempting. — P. 109

Those with the vision of the anointed often advocate the settlement of international differences through ‘diplomacy’ and ‘negotiation’ rather than by ‘force’–as if diplomacy and negotiation were not dependent on a surrounding set of incentives, of which the credible threat of military force is crucial.” — P. 130-131

This (liberal) vision so permeates the media and academia, and has made such major inroads into the religious community, that many grow into adulthood unaware that there is any other way of looking at things, or that evidence might be relevant to checking out the sweeping assumptions of so-called “thinking people”. Many of these “thinking people” could more accurately be characterized as articulate people, as people whose verbal nimbleness can elude both evidence and logic. This can be a fatal talent, when it supplies the crucial insulation from reality behind may historic catastrophes.” — P. 6

A succinct summary of the tragic vision was given by historians Will and Ariel Durant: Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for those are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history. — P. 112

The presumed irrationality of the public is a pattern running through many, if not most or all, of the great crusades of the anointed in the twentieth century–regardless of the subject matter of the crusade or the field in which it arises. Whether the issue has been ‘overpopulation,’ Keynesian economics, criminal justice, or natural resource exhaustion, a key assumption has been that the public is so irrational that the superior wisdom of the anointed must be imposed, in order to avert disaster. The anointed do not simply happen to have a disdain for the public. Such disdain is an integral part of their vision, for the central feature of that vision is preemption of the decisions of others. — P. 123-124

Much discussion of the decisions of businessmen in general by intellectuals proceeds as if employers, landlords, and others operating under the systemic pressures of the marketplace are free to make arbitrary and capricious decisions based on prejudice and misinformation–as if they were intellectuals sitting around a seminar table–and pay no price for being mistaken. — P. 188

“Another way of verbally masking elite preemption of other people’s decisions is to use the word ‘ask’–as in ‘We are just asking everyone to pay their fair share.’ But of course governments do not ask, they tell. The Internal Revenue Service does not ‘ask’ for contributions. It takes.” — P. 197

Many of the words and phrases used in the media and among academics suggest that things simply happen to people, rather than be being caused by their own choices and behavior. Thus there is said to be an ‘epidemic’ of teenage pregnancy, or of drug usage, as if these things were like the flu that people catch just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. — P. 198

Widespread personification of ‘society’ is another verbal tactic that evades issues of personal responsibility. Such use of the term ‘society’ is a more sophisticated version of the notion that ‘the devil made me do it.’ Like much of the rest of the special vocabulary of the anointed, it is used as a magic word to make choice, behavior, and performance vanish into thin air. — P. 199

The vision of the anointed is one in which ills as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from ‘society,’ rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by ‘society’. — P. 203

The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else? — P. 248

Civilization has been aptly called a ‘thin crust over a volcano’. The anointed are constantly picking at that crust. — P. 250

A California farmer can always show the television audience the abundant crop he has been able to grow because of federal water projects. But no one can videotape the crops that would have been grown elsewhere, at less cost to the economy, if there were no federal subsidies to encourage the use of water delivered at great cost into the California desert instead of water delivered free from the clouds elsewhere. — P. 257

To say that someone has a 'right' to any kind of housing is to say others have an obligation to expend all these efforts on his behalf, without his being reciprocally obligated to compensate them for it. -- P. 100

Perhaps the purest example of an argument without an argument is to say that something is 'inevitable'. This is an inherently irrefutable argument, so long as any time remains in the future. -- P. 101

Those with the vision of the anointed are seldom deterred by any question as to whether anyone has the knowledge required to do what they are attempting...the question for the anointed is not knowledge but compassion, commitment, and other such subjective factors which supposedly differentiate themselves from other people. The refrain from the anointed is we already know the answers, there‘s no need for more studies, and the kinds of questions raised by those with other views are just stalling and obstructing progress. 'Solutions' are out there waiting to be found, like eggs at an Easter egg hunt. -- P. 110

Far more important than particular reckless policies, even those with such deadly consequences as weakening the criminal law, is a whole mindset in which omnicompetence is implicitly assumed and unhappy social phenomena are presumed to be unjustified morally and remediable intellectually and politically. Inherent constraints of circumstances or people are brushed aside, as are alternative policy approaches which offer no special role for the anointed. The burden of proof is not put on their vision, but on existing institutions. -- P. 110

morality, or courage...This there are no 'solutions' in the tragic vision, but only trade- offs that still leave many desires unfulfilled and much unhappiness in the world. -- P. 113

For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not the distilled experiences of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before. -- P. 118

For those with the vision of the anointed, it is not sufficient to discredit or denigrate proponents of the tragic vision. The general public must also be discredited, as well as the social processes through which the public‘s desires are expressed, individually or collectively, such as a market economy or social traditions. -- P. 119

Failure to use tax money to finance things not liked by the taxpaying public is routinely called 'censorship.' -- P. 123

The anointed do not simply happen to have a distain for the public. Such distain is an integral part of their vision, for the central feature of that vision is preemption of the decisions of others. -- P. 124

To help some hard pressed individual or group whose case is before them, judges may bend the law to arrive at a more benign verdict in that particular case-but at the cost of damaging the whole consistency and predictability of the law, on which millions of other people depend, an on which ultimately the freedom and safety of a whole society depend. -- P. 130

More generally, political attempts to 'solve' various 'problems' seriatim ignore the costs created by each 'solution' and how that exacerbates other problems...Much of the political rhetoric is concerned with presenting issues as isolated problems to be solved- not as trade –offs within an overall system constrained by inherent limitations of resources, knowledge, etc. -- P. 137

If food were categorically more important than music, then we would never reach a point where we were prepared to sacrifice resources that could be used to produce food in order to produce music...A world where food had categorical priority over music would be a world of 300-pound people, whose brief lives would never be brightened by a song or a melody. -- P. 138

The language of politics, and especially of ideological politics, is often categorical language about 'rights,' about eliminating certain evils, guaranteeing certain benefits, or protecting certain habitats and species...Indirectly but inexorably, this language says that the preferences of the anointed are to supersede the preferences of everyone else. -- P. 142

In short, no matter what happens, the vision of the anointed always succeeds, if not by the original criteria, then by criteria extemporized later-and if not by empirical evidence, then by criteria sufficiently subjective to escape even the possibility of refutation. Evidence becomes Irrelevant. -- P. 15

by the anointed have been vagrants, criminals and carriers of contagious diseases. -- P. 150

If something went wrong, someone was to blame, preferably someone with a 'deep Pocket' from which to pay damages. Often these deep pockets were nothing more than an aggregation of much shallower pockets, whether of taxpayers or of stockholders. -- P. 172

-the rate of violence among lesbians living together-about the same as in heterosexual relationships- is of no interest to those seeking to depict male-female relationships as violence prone. -- P. 173

-those who deliver tons of life-sustaining food to supermarkets are not engaged in 'public service,' as the anointed use the term. -- P. 184

Phrases like 'the peace movement,' used to describe disarmament advocates, preempt the whole momentous question as to whether peace is more likely to be achieved through disarmament or through military deterrence. With untold millions of lives depending on the answer to that question, something more substantive than a presumption that some people like peace more than others might be expected. -- P. 184

they have already earned-never to those wanting to take other people‘s money in taxes or to those wishing to live on the largess dispenses from such taxation. -- P. 186

To say that women are paid 60 percent of what men receive for doing the same work is to say that employers can afford to pay two male workers more than they pay three female workers- the women producing 50 percent more output- and still survive economically in a system so competitive that most businesses go under inside of a decade. -- P. 187

Paradoxically, while feasibility is seldom addressed when proposing public policy, severe limitations on what is feasible by others are often assumed by those with the vision of the anointed and pushed to the point of determinism, with a corresponding denial of personal responsibility. Since the bottom line of the prevailing vision is that anointed are moral surrogates to make decisions for other people, these other people must be seen as incapable of making the right decisions for themselves. -- P. 189

In short, however politically useful public concern about teenage pregnancy and access to a captive audience in the public schools, the real goal was to change students‘ attitudes- put bluntly, to brainwash them with the vision of the anointed, in order to supplant the values they had been taught at home. -- P. 19

The vision of the anointed is one in which such ills as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from 'society,' rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by 'society.' -- P. 203

To believe that their knowledge and understanding are grossly inadequate for what they are attempting- even if everyone else‘s knowledge is also grossly inadequate for such ambitious social engineering- would be to bring their whole world crashing down around them...Utter certainty has long been the hallmark of the anointed. -- P. 204

-specialists are not solipsists. They are simply aware of the limitations of the human mind, and of the implications of those limitations, as the anointed so often are not. -- P. 205

Despite the name, capitalism is not an 'ism.' It is not a philosophy but an economy. -- P. 207

Everything fails by irrelevant standards. -- P. 207

-the cold fact is that income is not distributed: it is earned. -- P. 211

To say that a shoe shine boy earns 'too little' or a surgeon 'too much' is to say that third parties should have the right to preempt the decisions of those who elected to spend their money on shoes or surgery. -- P. 212

-both poverty and dependency were declining for years prior to the Johnson administration‘s 'war on poverty.' Black income was rising, not only absolutely but relative to rising white income. In the five years prior to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, blacks were rising into professional and other high-level positions at a rate greater than the five years following passage of the Act. Nationwide, Scholastic Aptitude Test scores were rising, venereal diseases were declining sharply, and the murder rate was at an all-time low. This was the 'hopelessness' from which the anointed came to rescue us. -- P. 218

There is a fundamental difference between a society where a ruler can seize the wealth or the wife of any subject and one in which the poorest citizen can refuse to allow the highest official of the land inside their home. -- P. 219

Only God could have a free choice- and only on the first day of creation, since He would be confronted on the second day by what He had already done on the first. -- P. 223

To the anointed, their vision and reality are one and the same. Yet the world inside their minds has few of the harsh constraints of the world inhabited by millions of other human beings... The world of the anointed is a very tidy place- or, put differently, every deviation of the real world from the tidiness of their vision is considered to be someone‘s fault. -- P. 24

-exploration of the vision of the anointed will begin with its greatest achievement and its greatest danger which are one and the same: That vision has become self-contained and self-justifying- which is to say, independent of empirical evidence. That is what makes it dangerous, not because a particular set of policies may be flawed or counterproductive, but because insulation from evidence virtually guarantees a never ending supply of policies and practices fatally independent from reality. This self contained and self justifying vision has become a badge of honor and a proclamation of identity: To affirm it is to be one of us and to oppose it is to be one of them. Moreover, the pervasiveness of the vision of the anointed at all levels of the American educational system ensures future supplies of people indoctrinated with this vision and also convinced that they should 'make a difference,'- that public policy is seen as ego gratification from imposing one‘s vision on other people through the power of government. -- P. 241

wake of such liberation has seldom provoked serious reconsideration of the whole set of assumptions- the vision- which led to such disasters. -- P. 247

History is the memory of a nation- and that memory is being erased by historians enthralled by the vision of the anointed...This erasing of the national memory, and the recording of a preferred vision over it, is yet another expression of the notion that reality is optional. -- P. 252

For the anointed, it is desperately important to win, not simply because they believe that one policy or set of beliefs and values is better for society, but because their whole sense of themselves is at stake. -- P. 252

-sweeping dismissals of the past are more than just a passing fashion or a personal vanity. They are a dangerous destruction of the hard-earned experience of millions of human beings, living through centuries of struggle with the tragedy of the human condition, and the replacement of this rich legacy with unsubstantiated and self-flattering fancies. -- P. 253

When the government creates some new program, nothing is easier than to show whatever the benefits that program produces. Indeed, those who run the program will be more than cooperative in bringing those benefits to the attention of the media. But it is virtually impossible to trace the taxes that paid for the program back to their source and to show the alternative uses of that same money that could have been far more beneficial. -- P. 257

Just the sight of a forlorn man on death row can be touching. The media cannot show that same man when he was exulting in the savagery of the crime that brought him there, cannot show his sadistic joy when he was raping and torturing a little girl who was tearfully pleading for her life. If they could show that on television, many of those people who gather outside prison to protest his execution might instead be inside volunteering to pull the switch. The dangerous dramatizing of half-truths is the fatal talent of the television or movie camera. -- P. 258

Could slavery have been ended by the Civil War if television cameras had shown daily scenes of the horrors of Sherman‘s march through Georgia or the appalling sufferings of civilians in besieged Vicksburg? -- P. 258

In short, what is claimed by the anointed to be evidence is clearly recognized by them as not being evidence when its conclusions do not fit the prevailing vision. -- P. 35

The great ideological crusades of twentieth-century intellectuals have ranged across the most disparate fields-from the eugenics movement of the early decades of the century to the environmentalism of the latter decades, not to mention the welfare state, socialism, communism, Keynesian economics, and medical, nuclear, and automotive safety. What all these highly disparate crusades have in common is their moral exaltation of the anointed above others, who are to have their very different views nullified and superseded by the views of the anointed, imposed via the power of government. -- P. 5

As for the top 20 percent, so often referred to as 'the rich,'...In income, a little over $58,000 a year was enough to put a household in the top 20 percent in 1992 and a little under $100,000 was enough to put it in the top 5 percent. -- P. 51

If the temperature has risen by 10 degrees since dawn today, an extrapolation will show that we will all be burned to a crisp before the end of the month, if this trend continues. Extrapolations are the last refuge of a groundless argument. -- P. 568

As far back as 1969, black males who came from homes where there were newspapers, magazines, and library cards had the same incomes as whites from similar homes and with the same number of years of schooling. In the 1970‘s black husband-and-wife families outside the South earned as much as white husband-and-wife families outside the South. By 1981, for the country as a whole, black husband-and-wife families where both were college educated and both working earned slightly more than white families of the same description. -- P. 57

end in divorce, based on such statistics, would be like saying that half of the population died last year id deaths were half as large as births. -- P. 59

Despite the power of the prevailing vision, some have escaped its gravitational pull. -- P. 6

Nationwide, a majority–54 percent-of all black children were living only with their mothers in 1992. However, this was not a legacy of slavery as sometimes claimed. As recently as 1970, a majority of black children were still living with both parents. -- P. 61

The family is inherently an obstacle to schemes for central control of social processes. Therefore the anointed necessarily find themselves repeatedly on a collision course with the family. It is not a matter of any subjective animus on their part against families. The anointed may in fact be willing to shower government largess upon families, as they do other social entities. But the preservation of the family as an autonomous decision- making unit is incompatible with the third-party decision making that is at the heart of the vision of the anointed. -- P. 62

One of the most remarkable feats of those with the vision of the anointed has been the maintenance of their reputations in the face of repeated predictions that proved to be wrong by miles. -- P. 64

If one is 'politically correct,' being factually incorrect doesn‘t matter. -- P. 66

In reality, the entire population of the world today could be housed in the state of Texas, in a single-story, single-family houses-four to a house-and with a typical yard around each home. -- P. 67

-the simple formula of hysteria-by-quotient has been creating false alarms-and best selling books-for more than a century. -- P. 70

Carrying safety-first to such extremes on all the millions of products in the economy would raise costs in general and correspondingly lower real income and living standard of the public. -- P. 71

-motor vehicle death rates per million passenger miles fell over the years from 17.9 in 1925 to 5.5 in 1965, the year Unsafe at Any Speed was published, and this trend continued at a rate of 4.9 five years later...In short, the era of corporate greed and the presumably ignorant and helpless consumer saw dramatic improvements in safety, before the anointed came to the rescue. -- P. 73

Anyone can be wrong about the future...Being wrong about the past is something else. -- P. 79

Going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery, we find that the census data of that era showed that slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than had white adults...As late as 1950, 72 percent of all black men and 81 percent of black women had been married. But the 1960 census showed the first signs of a decline that accelerated in later years-as so many other social declines began in the 1960‘s This new trend, beginning a century after emancipation, can hardly be explained as 'a legacy of slavery' and might more reasonably be explained as a legacy of the social policies promoted by the anointed,.. -- P. 81

Contrary to the notion that deficits have resulted from tax receipts by the federal government, those receipts in fact reached new record highs during the Reagan administration...By the last year of the Reagan administration in1988, the federal government collected over $391 billion more than during any year of the Carter administration-in percentage terms, the government took in 76 percent more that year than it had ever collected in any year of any other administration. -- P. 83

The era in which trends in crime, drunkenness, and other social degeneracy were turned around was of course the era of 'Victorian morality,' so much distained by the anointed of later times. -- P. 86

Complex phenomena may, of course, also have complex causes. But the a priori dogma that they cannot have simple causes is part of the 'complex' complex. It is one more way of seeming to argue, without actually making any argument. It is also one more example of the presumption of superior wisdom and/or virtue that is at the heart of the vision of the anointed. As a tactical matter, this dogma enables them to deny, on purely a priori grounds, that the various 'compassionate' interventions in legal, economic, or social systems could have been responsible for the many counterproductive consequences which have so often followed. -- P. 88

-a polemical tactic has developed which enables virtually any general statement, however true, to be flatly denied, simply because it is not 100 percent true in all circumstances. -- P. 91

-in the vision of the anointed, the absence of precision becomes an authorization for substitution of the imagination. -- P. 94

Advocates of diversity in a race or gender sense are often quite hostile to ideological diversity, when it includes traditional or 'conservative' values and beliefs. -- P. 95

Everyone is a 'progressive' by his own lights. That the anointed believe that this label differentiates themselves from other people is one of a number of symptoms of their naïve narcissism. -- P. 95