A corollary to one of my main themes -- the dumbing down of the Republican party, its aggressive and proud anti-intellectualism, its turning to people like Sarah Palin and Jim Demint and Rand Paul -- is that it's a path to destruction. I've focused more on the extent to which it'll destroy us all. But maybe it's possible that it'll destroy them before they destroy the rest of us. A writer on a conservative site is worried about exactly that:
OK. So the Republicans might have offended some small academic elites across the country – does it matter?
I think it is too early to say whether it matters directly in terms of demographics and electoral success. The highly educated are a tiny percentage of the country, of course.
However, there is another side to the challenge: one of governance and policy. A party needs a well-educated echelon – call it an elite – to formulate policy to deal with complex challenges. Without the philosophical and academic achievements of the likes of Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman and James Q. Wilson, the Reagan revolution would not have been possible...
... the well is drying up. So few of the experts in any given field will in the future be Republican. That is an enormous problem. The intellectual resources directed at finding conservative answers to today’s problems are weakened year by year. If not quite critical yet, thanks to the efforts of an older generation of Republicans, the ramifications of this trend might be dramatic.
Finally, there is a question of identity: If the conservative movement – for whatever reasons – is unable to comprise those who seek knowledge, to improve their own situation and that of their community, what kind of movement is it?
I think the guy has a point. In a race to the bottom, it's possible they'll run themselves into the idealess irrelevancy of gut feelings and anti-educated beliefs before they run the country into the proverbially and recently recounted ditch. One might hope.
Meanwhile, since so many have so misunderstood so many of my points for so long, let me say once more: I rue the loss of seriousness on the right. I believe in a two-party system, and wish to hell we still had one. One comprised of two conscientious parties, each trying (as best as anyone can, however imperfectly, given the inherent paralysis that has overtaken our system) to provide actual solutions to actual (as opposed to imaginary) problems. We'd be immeasurably better off.
But now it's only the shadow of the smell of the smoke of a long-gone pipe dream.