The Elitists

Our deepest apologies for the delay in getting this show out the door. A lot of factors conspired in this show being a day late (but not a dollar short). And let’s also say this up front: for reasons that will become apparent to you when you listen to it, this is one of the quirkiest Ricochet Podcasts we’ve ever done (and not just because of the occasionally iffy audio). OK, enough of the caveats, let’s talk about the show.

First off, we’re down a host (although he does make a cameo appearance late in the show). Second, one of the hosts is podcasting while driving (you’d think he would have learned a lesson from the last time he attempted this, but apparently not). Our third host is ensconced in small town hotel room with less than ideal internet service and well, we struggle a bit with that too (we don’t do this very often, but you’ll definitely want to listen to the very end of the show if you like hearing Ricochet Podcast bloopers). All that being said, we did manage to put together a very interesting show featuring two guests from opposite sides of the aisle.

First up: columnist, author, and cultural critic (yes, we ask him about that) Joel Stein. The title of his new book In Defense of Elitism: Why I’m Better Than You and You Are Better than Someone Who Didn’t Buy This Book certainly got our attention and he’s also a listener, so we wanted to have him. It’s an interesting –but civil!– conversation that points up some fundamental differences in the way liberals and conservatives view the issues of the day. Then, we swing 180 degrees the other direction and have a chat with our old friend, David Limbaugh because the title of his new book also got our attention: Guilty By Reason of Insanity: Why The Democrats Must Not Win. We have a typically, shall we say, enthusiastic chat with David and yes, he schools a certain host on his propensity for all things squishy.

Then, Lileks checks in to award the highly coveted, much sought after Lileks Post of The Week to @garyrobbins We keep losing with Trump. Mazel tov, Gary.

Finally, today is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and luckily, we have a host who knows a thing or two about that event. We talk about that day and why it was one of the most important historical moments of the 20th century.

Music from this week’s episode: Crumblin’ Down by John Mellencamp

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There are 117 comments.

  1. Reformed_Yuppie Inactive

    My God, David Limbaugh is utterly unhinged. I guess you can still cash major checks from the AM Rage Caucus wing of the party. I’m in the wrong business. 

    • #1
    • November 9, 2019, at 1:03 PM PST
    • Like
  2. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Who was that idiot? 1) He obviously hasn’t a clue what’s happened in Venezuela and nonetheless is happy to spout off nonsense about it. 2) Husband and I (card carrying homosexuals for anybody who doesn’t know my story) just got back from Poland a couple weeks ago. Stayed together, toured together, dined together, zero issues whatsoever. Had a great time and didn’t get so much as a funny look. We were as comfortable being a gay couple as we are at home in Chicago.

    Think I’m gonna pass on the book. Ignorance is free. I don’t need to pony up for it.

    • #2
    • November 9, 2019, at 1:25 PM PST
    • 18 likes
  3. Reformed_Yuppie Inactive

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Who was that idiot? 1) He obviously hasn’t a clue what’s happened in Venezuela and nonetheless is happy to spout off nonsense about it. 2) Husband and I (card carrying homosexuals for anybody who doesn’t know my story) just got back from Poland a couple weeks ago. Stayed together, toured together, dined together, zero issues whatsoever. Had a great time and didn’t get so much as a funny look. We were as comfortable being a gay couple as we are at home in Chicago.

    Think I’m gonna pass on the book. Ignorance is free. I don’t need to pony up for it.

    Joel is…Joel. Lots of hit and miss with him. He’s a talented writer but I don’t think his book would go very far with the Ricochet crowd. 

    • #3
    • November 9, 2019, at 1:30 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. HeavyWater Coolidge

    Great podcast, guys.

    • #4
    • November 9, 2019, at 1:32 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Reformed_Yuppie (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Who was that idiot? 1) He obviously hasn’t a clue what’s happened in Venezuela and nonetheless is happy to spout off nonsense about it. 2) Husband and I (card carrying homosexuals for anybody who doesn’t know my story) just got back from Poland a couple weeks ago. Stayed together, toured together, dined together, zero issues whatsoever. Had a great time and didn’t get so much as a funny look. We were as comfortable being a gay couple as we are at home in Chicago.

    Think I’m gonna pass on the book. Ignorance is free. I don’t need to pony up for it.

    Joel is…Joel. Lots of hit and miss with him. He’s a talented writer but I don’t think his book would go very far with the Ricochet crowd.

    I’ve never heard of him but in this interview at least, he was untethered from reality – just making random stuff up. Like I said, didn’t exactly make we want to buy his book.

    • #5
    • November 9, 2019, at 1:37 PM PST
    • 1 like
  6. Reformed_Yuppie Inactive

    I mean, I like him generally and I’m absolutely not going to buy his book. So your instinct is not wrong. 

    • #6
    • November 9, 2019, at 2:24 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Cato Rand (View Comment):
    I’ve never heard of him but in this interview at least, he was untethered from reality – just making random stuff up. Like I said, didn’t exactly make we want to buy his book.

    His lack of real knowledge about Venezuela was an embarrassment. He might do well among a less-informed crowd than Ricochet. 

    • #7
    • November 9, 2019, at 3:12 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  8. kedavis Member

    Ricochet Audio Network: Finally, today is the 40th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and luckily, we have a host who knows a thing or two about that event. We talk about that day and why it was one of the most important historical moments of the 20th century.

    That must be the New Math. The way I learned it, 2019 – 1989 = 30.

    Also, this is #472, not 272. More New Math?

    • #8
    • November 9, 2019, at 3:14 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. kedavis Member

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):
    I’ve never heard of him but in this interview at least, he was untethered from reality – just making random stuff up. Like I said, didn’t exactly make we want to buy his book.

    His lack of real knowledge about Venezuela was an embarrassment. He might do well among a less-informed crowd than Ricochet.

    i.e., liberals. :-)

    • #9
    • November 9, 2019, at 3:20 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Henry Castaigne Member

    William F. Buckley’s statement about how useless the faculty of Harvard was is still entirely correct. The regular working joe at the bar would actually be a better politicians because he actually gets stuff done and isn’t blinded by a politically correct ideology that emerged from the intellectual sewer of Marxism.

    The working joe is usually not that knowledgable about philosophy or policy and it’s not a bad idea to have intelligent elites like Dan Crenshaw or Thomas Sowell craft policy. Our current elites are terrible though. 

    @Cato Rand

    I’m glad Poland was nice. 

    • #10
    • November 9, 2019, at 3:40 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  11. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Whoa! So I am driving 8 miles an hour over the speed limit on I-10 east of Tucson on the road to my sainted mother listening to the Ricochet Flagship Podcast when James says with some 14 minutes left that his “member post of week” was from member Gary Robbins titled “We keep losing with Trump.” I got off at the wrong exit, I was so startled. Peter then noted that the post had generated some 168 comments in a short period of time, all of them civil.

    I love the Ricochet Community.

    • #11
    • November 9, 2019, at 3:49 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  12. kedavis Member

    This largely-theoretical discussion of “elitism” seems to reflect an earlier podcast where some of the comments complained that the problem with much of today’s “elite” is that they really… aren’t.

    It comes up again this time with Rob pointing out that the “elites” tend to be – or may be almost exclusively – liberal, which is the same problem. What that means is that they’re basically the self-appointed/anointed “elite,” without actually earning or deserving the term. If someone is actually well-read and well-educated etc – not just well-indoctrinated – and capable of real thought not just parroting the received “wisdom” of left-wing academia, they must necessarily become conservative. So a true elite must be conservative, or they just aren’t elite.

    • #12
    • November 9, 2019, at 3:50 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  13. Blue Yeti Admin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Ricochet Audio Network: Finally, today is the 40th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and luckily, we have a host who knows a thing or two about that event. We talk about that day and why it was one of the most important historical moments of the 20th century.

    That must be the New Math. The way I learned it, 2019 – 1989 = 30.

    Also, this is #472, not 272. More New Math?

    Phat phingered phone phumbling. Now fixed. 

    • #13
    • November 9, 2019, at 4:02 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. Henry Castaigne Member

    kedavis (View Comment):
    So a true elite must be conservative, or they just aren’t elite.

    A true elite must be capable of independent thought. That leads to conservatism but it isn’t necessary. 

    • #14
    • November 9, 2019, at 4:20 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Django Member

    Joel Stein is a babbling fool. 

    • #15
    • November 9, 2019, at 5:27 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Joel Stein did a good job demonstrating that the most dangerous people in the world are those that think they are smart, when they really aren’t. That’s one benefit of the phone book people, they know their limitations.

    • #16
    • November 9, 2019, at 6:00 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  17. kylez Member

    We should have experts/expertise, which I think Stein was really concerned about, such as your doctor v. someone who read a WEBMD article. But elites do not experts make. 

    • #17
    • November 9, 2019, at 6:10 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  18. kedavis Member

    It sounds to me like the only reason to have Joel Stein’s book is the same reason there was the Thomas Jefferson copy of the Koran in the White House: Know Your Enemy.

    But it would be better if your enemy doesn’t profit from it.

    • #18
    • November 9, 2019, at 6:15 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. kedavis Member

    kylez (View Comment):

    We should have experts/expertise, which I think Stein was really concerned about, such as your doctor v. someone who read a WEBMD article. But elites do not experts make.

    Yes, and experts are often completely foolish outside their one field. (Which doesn’t even count the experts who are completely foolish INSIDE their field, which happens too often especially among liberals. There are even MDs who are actually total crackpots in the field of medicine.)

    • #19
    • November 9, 2019, at 6:19 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  20. Reformed_Yuppie Inactive

    kedavis (View Comment):

    kylez (View Comment):

    We should have experts/expertise, which I think Stein was really concerned about, such as your doctor v. someone who read a WEBMD article. But elites do not experts make.

    Yes, and experts are often completely foolish outside their one field. (Which doesn’t even count the experts who are completely foolish INSIDE their field, which happens too often especially among liberals. There are even MDs who are actually total crackpots in the field of medicine.)

    My God is this depressingly true. Ever talk to an “expert” about diets? Hell, it took them three decades to figure out how people should consume water

    • #20
    • November 9, 2019, at 7:36 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  21. RufusRJones Member

    The New York Post had a great opinion piece about how much better Bloomberg managed social services compared to De Blasio. It was written by a very idealistic lawyer. She couldn’t believe how good Bloomberg was at actually helping people efficiently and how De Blasio basically just about graft.

    Trump wants zero interest rates because the only way you can keep political power is to manage the bubbles so you can get past the next election. This has been going on for two decades. Nobody can do anything about it. It took me a long time to accept that, but that’s the way it is. There are a few in Congress that care, and know what to do but nothing is going to happen until after the monetary system blows up. Riding Trump about this is ridiculous. Furthermore, which party is talking about MMT and UBI?

    The reason populism and socialism are breaking out is because every single Western government and central bank did every single thing wrong in the face of automation and increasing globalized trade. China never should have been let into the WTO. All of the supra national governance structures are a menace to the average person.

    On the right, if you want to understand the cultural complaints, listen to the interview of Angelo Codivilla by Tom Woods. It’s only 30 minutes.

    • #21
    • November 10, 2019, at 1:34 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  22. kedavis Member

    Speaking of @garyrobbins, I hope we’re remembering who he predicted would win next November. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, wasn’t it?

    • #22
    • November 10, 2019, at 3:09 AM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Full Size Tabby Member

    I would have little expectation of more “Christ-like” behavior from a person coming from one or more classes at Yale Divinity School. Many divinity schools at “elite” universities host faculty and classes that do more to lead people away from God than to bolster a faith in God.

    • #23
    • November 10, 2019, at 4:41 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  24. Full Size Tabby Member

    Speaking of “elite,” my issue with the “elite” (or at least those who consider themselves elite) is the frequent tendency of the “elite” to think they can effectively run other people’s lives.

    My interpretation of the Buckley quote is that the people of the Harvard faculty are likely to think that they know best for everyone else, and will govern by telling everyone what to do. Whereas the people of the telephone book are more likely to recognize their limitations, and therefore “govern” by leaving people alone (even if it means letting people play stupid drinking games). People who advocate for elites (such as Mr. Stein) adopt the elite premise that “to govern” means to tell people what to do. Sure people will say they know more than their doctor about some issue, or yell that they could make a better play decision than a professional sports coach, but almost all of the people who do that will ultimately acknowledge that they really don’t know enough to replace the expert (I agree with @kylez in comment #17 above that there is a difference between experts and elites). The unfortunate tendency among “elites” is that they tend not to recognize the limitations of their own knowledge and wisdom.

    The closing commentary on the fall of the Berlin Wall was in some ways a manifestation of why elites should be humble. As @peterrobinson said, no one saw the fall of The Wall coming, even those who wanted it to happen. Yet elites tend to think that they can predict and even control what people do.

    • #24
    • November 10, 2019, at 5:00 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  25. GlennAmurgis Coolidge

    reliance Expertise and experts depend on the field. Certain fields like Computer science, biology, engineering are built this way because mistakes results in lawsuits or loss of revenue (if a business). Relying on tenured professors as experts, not so much. Paul Erhlich’s predictions from the early 70s were way off – does he pay a price for it? Paul Samuelson the economist was telling us how well the Soviet economy was doing right before it crashed. Does Stein quality which experts he trusts? 

    • #25
    • November 10, 2019, at 6:00 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. Gary Robbins Reagan

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Speaking of @garyrobbins, I hope we’re remembering who he predicted would win next November. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg, wasn’t it?

    I think that that was who I preferred among leading Dems. Who I prefer from all Dems is Steve Bullock and Michael Bennet 

    • #26
    • November 10, 2019, at 6:04 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Wolfsheim Inactive

    As one who has pieces of the Berlin Wall chipped off with a hammer borrowed from the son of a Holocaust survivor, a friend who lived in East Berlin, I was happy to hear this podcast conclude with a discussion of the 30th anniversary of the wall’s fall. I first passed through the wall myself–before Rob Long, for example, was born…

    On another note, I hope that the podcast will once again have David Limbaugh on as a guest–and soon. He has no need to apologize for dramatically stating his argument. Yes, there is always the danger of utterly demonizing one’s opponents, whether cynically or hysterically, but the fact remains that today’s Democratic Party is unhinged–as is much of what’s called “the culture.” 

    I try to imagine talking to myself more than half a century ago, when I was a leftwing radical, explaining that the exceedingly unpopular ideology I mouthed back then is now taken for granted by ordinary college students–along with ideas that I would have thought even as a callow youth to be utterly bizarre. 

    My major direct link to the American scene in English is through the Internet, and that means for the most part the shamelessly biased media, which speak of “pro-choice activists” vs. “anti-abortion extremists” and refer to any male who wants to pass himself off as a woman as “she”…

    “Insane” is the gentlest word for it all. 

    • #27
    • November 10, 2019, at 6:44 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  28. RebeccaCoffey Thatcher

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Speaking of “elite,” my issue with the “elite” (or at least those who consider themselves elite) is the frequent tendency of the “elite” to think they can effectively run other people’s lives.

    My interpretation of the Buckley quote is that the people of the Harvard faculty are likely to think that they know best for everyone else, and will govern by telling everyone what to do. Whereas the people of the telephone book are more likely to recognize their limitations, and therefore “govern” by leaving people alone (even if it means letting people play stupid drinking games). People who advocate for elites (such as Mr. Stein) adopt the elite premise that “to govern” means to tell people what to do. Sure people will say they know more than their doctor about some issue, or yell that they could make a better play decision than a professional sports coach, but almost all of the people who do that will ultimately acknowledge that they really don’t know enough to replace the expert (I agree with @kylez in comment #17 above that there is a difference between experts and elites). The unfortunate tendency among “elites” is that they tend not to recognize the limitations of their own knowledge and wisdom.

    The closing commentary on the fall of the Berlin Wall was in some ways a manifestation of why elites should be humble. As @peterrobinson said, no one saw the fall of The Wall coming, even those who wanted it to happen. Yet elites tend to think that they can predict and even control what people do.

     

    I believe your comment is insightful. In a perfect world Joel Stein and people of his mind set would have an epiphany when confronted with your argument. The truth is, they probably hear and dismiss it regularly

    • #28
    • November 10, 2019, at 6:52 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  29. Icarus213 Thatcher

    Joel Stein followed by David Limbaugh?

    I’m off to the doctor to get treated for whiplash.

    • #29
    • November 10, 2019, at 8:05 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  30. Blue Yeti Admin

    Added as new version of the show file to remove a reset in the Joel Stein intro that was left in by mistake (there were so many resets in this show, I can’t believe I only missed one). Also added Gary Robbins’ post to the show description. 

    Thanks to listener @michaelgraham for the catch. 

    • #30
    • November 10, 2019, at 8:21 AM PST
    • 1 like