There seem to be a correlation between people who are intellectually smug (notice I avoided the term elites) and people who call for vague sense of communality, greater dependence on government to enforce that tribal communality, contrasted sharply with their hypocrisy.
Well meaning people, even among some of my friends whom I respect, unthinkingly favor vague tribal/communal value of having least possible security available for private property and an individual. An example of such intellectual smugness is evident in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine. Instead of accepting the fact that violence happens everywhere, and that acceptance of atavistic nature of man is what sets us apart from animals, Michael Moore reaches at a horrendously wrong-headed conclusion that our fear of man’s dark side is what precipitates the violent urges to come to fore. Of course he was never as straightforward about his claim. One example he used was how Canadians leave their doors unlocked. He claims, with confidence, that it was because Canadians are more harmonious and don’t have the fear of their neighbors that Americans do.
What he fails to mention is that most theft is theft of opportunity, and that without clear distinction of property boundaries and laws that govern, society is bound to be worse off as a whole (as evidenced by countries without clear laws that govern property rights). In his groundbreaking book, The Mysteries of Capital, Hernando De Soto lists clearly defined property rights, (especially institution of legal ownership, or title, possible by clearly establishing the ownership) as one of the major factors that improve the lot of the poor and lifting them into the middle class. Simply stated in its corrollary: lack of clear establishment of boundaries cause innate human nature to test it, and if possible the vicious among us will exploit that lack of boundaries (lack of both physical and legal boundaries) to cause harm.
So what does this have to do with the topic? I believe that intellectual smugness stems from some people’s removal from realities of human nature, as well as their voluntary removal from the society at large. The champagne liberals, who for years escaped the urban decay they helped to expand, now live in relative safety that is not in touch with the reason that their exodus first began. Crime happens, and every man has the right to defend himself. Originally, these liberals defended themselves by moving away, but progressively imposed tougher gun laws and other legal barriers that will prevent law-abiding citizens from mounting an effective defense against crime. Many of the middle class liberals that are proponents of the communality principles (such as tougher gun laws, more reliance on government for protection, enforcement of distribution of wealth) come from people who live in suburbs surrounded by nice vista and college students who live within the enclaves of higher learning.
They are intellectually smug about their views, but when confronted directly on root causes they can’t explain with cogent, well thought out rebuttal. Why is gun control law right for rural communities when it may have been clearly targetted for urban ghettos? Why should the state law be enacted, let alone Federal, that extend the disproportionate and ill-conceived policing responses that does not fit the locality? Why is taking the means of self-defense away from the law-abiding citizens a deterrent to criminals who will acquire whatever means to do harm regardless of Federal, state and local laws?
The faux intellectuals that live in these seclusion from the mainstream Americans believe in extension of their false sense of security. Because many of these ex-urbanite and suburbanites don’t have guns, they believe that their’s is a good model for rest of the country to follow. Theft, rape, and murder will always happen, no matter how efficient policing, no matter how ironclad the laws; law is everywhere, but law enforcement cannot be everywhere unless each citizens exercise their legal rights and defend those rights (most essential among them being right to life).
Another extension of their flawed logic is in the realm of government control of security. Because they have no experience of being frisked without just cause, and no experience of being harrassed, they feel that power never corrupts. They fail to see that government is an organization made of people, and no matter how noble its cause, vicious among us will always abuse their power within the government to cause great harm. This is the lesson from history that the intellectually smug failed to learn.
This total abandonment of reason sickens me.