The Best and the Brightest
Posted on October 27, 2020The best and the brightest all say that the election is in the bag. Joe Biden will be the next president.
If they are right, and they might be, it would be the first time.
David Halberstam wrote about the best and the brightest in the lead up to the Vietnam War. He has a story in his seminal book about Lyndon Johnson, who was blown away by the intellectual firepower of the Kennedy Cabinet. He told his mentor Sam Rayburn about the experience, and as Halberstam put it, “Well, Lyndon,” Mister Sam answered, “you may be right and they may be every bit as intelligent as you say, but I’d feel a whole lot better about them if just one of them had run for sheriff once.”
Nobody thinks that Donald Trump is among the best and brightest, except maybe himself. Trump skipped the part about running for sheriff. But he was clever enough to figure how to win the White House, largely trusting his own instincts and ignoring the advice of the experts.
The media loves quoting the experts. Trust the science, they like to say. But keep in mind, it was not that long ago that all the experts, all the scientists, all the best and the brightest believed that bloodletting was the best course of action to get humours in balance. It was bloodletting that killed William Henry Harrison, who was afflicted with pneumonia a few weeks after giving the longest inauguration speech in history.
It is likely that all of the cures that Harrison’s doctors prescribed made the situation worse. President Trump was first to say that the cure to COVID-19 can’t be worse than the disease, but alas, that hasn’t stopped the best and brightest from taking steps to make things a lot worse.
Close the schools, close the playgrounds, close down the economy. That’s what the experts continually prescribe. But as we have learned, that was precisely the wrong strategy. Most people get the Covid in their own house. Kids don’t transmit the virus, as we all now know, and not being in school is literally killing them. And because the worldwide economy has been intentionally short-circuited by the best and the brightest, 130 million people are at risk of starvation. Way to go, guys.
On the issue of masks, the experts tell us that we must mask-up, despite studies that go back decades showing that face-coverings don’t work to slow the spread of these types of viruses. St. Anthony Fauci himself reflected that conventional wisdom earlier this year, before changing course a few months later.
Masks should be worn now, even if you are outside. If you are running, you don’t have to wear a mask. If you are walking quickly, you may or may have to wear a mask. If you are sitting, you probably don’t have to wear a mask, especially if you are in a restaurant, unless you are in California, where you should put your mask on between bites. If you are driving your own car, you probably should wear a mask, just to be safe. If you are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), you don’t have to wear a mask if you are getting your hair done, but you do have to wear a mask if you are going on camera to talk to reporters. Unless, you are going to argue with Wolf Blitzer, who is clearly not an expert on the legislative process.
Pelosi put it correctly when she accused Mr. Blitzer of not knowing what he is talking about. But it’s not fair to pin that only on Wolf. It is widely applicable to most people in the media, who we all know are the greatest of the best and the brightest.
Jake Tapper, who to his credit sometimes asks the Democrats tough questions, made the point that we shouldn’t trust Scott Atlas, the president’s point man on the coronavirus, because he is not an immunologist. But at the same time, he and the rest of the CNN intelligentsia, hang on to every word uttered by the immortal Sanjay Gupta, who is, wait for it, not an immunologist or an epidemiologist or an expert on any this kind of stuff.
But Sanjay is among the best of the best and brightest of the brightest. And so, we must trust him and the rest of the experts. They know what they are doing. Really.