The Misperceptions of Harvey Mansfield
“We have now an American political party and a European one. Not all Americans who vote for the European party want to become Europeans. But it doesn’t matter because that’s what they are voting for. They are voting for dependency, for lack of ambition and for insolvency.”
Thank you Professor Harvey Mansfield. I will be sure to quote you generously throughout this post to clarify any “misperceptions” that may arise as I try to grasp the meaning of your diatribe.
Mr. Mansfield, Harvard professor and acolyte of Leo Strauss-the reactionary historian of philosophy who sought to reincorporate “premodern” notions into modern philosophy to remind us of the dangers of intellectual inequalities-appeared in a Wall Street Journal interview to chastise “lesser voters”, the “not wise”, “the poor”, “the incompetent”, “the alliance between Ph.D’s and [its] victims” and those who “can’t quite govern their own lives,” in sum, European party supporters.
For starters, dividing liberals and conservatives into a European and American party on the premise that the European party stands for attacking “the common good” with entitlements by way of using “liberty to create more equality,” which according to Mansfield is as “typical” of Europeans as it is for Democrats to be “the party of free condoms” while the American party won’t stand for “mass rule by an ignorant or uncaring governement” is incomprehensible. I’m not sure what you were intending to express Mr. Mansfield, but it seems you were eager to act on some primordial emotional impulse to be understood by the few, who, like you, “have lived the life of Riley” at the expense of being understood by the different kind of victims who are uninterested in “defending the good kind of democracy.” Perhaps that lack of interest stems from the widespread skepticism that the “party of judgement” you call upon to recover America could a.)apporopraitely be called “democratic” and b.) possibly promote “self-government.” When we consider your earlier statement:
All modern social science deals with perceptions, but that is a misnomer because it neglects to distinguish between perceptions and misperceptions
its hard to imagine you not coronating yourself perception arbiter, ruling over which perceptions are valid and invalid, as if you, intellectually more equal than the feckless peons you despise have the divine right to make that distinction.
Thank you again Mr. Mansfield for an insight into the little perspectival corner where you shinest and indoctrinate tomorrows’ leaders, much like Strauss did Rumsfeld.