Stunning Snobbery: Former USDA Scientist Laments Agency's Move to Missouri As the Death of Expertise

Credit: Image by Amanda McConnell from Pixabay

If there is one good thing we can point to — without question — that Donald Trump has done for the American people it is expose the absolute and utter elitist snobbery of the D.C. intellectual/government class.

Case in point: a stunningly whiny and clueless op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday from a former USDA scientist complaining about the Department of Agriculture moving to Kansas City. Agriculture Secretary George Perdue announced last year that the agency would be moving in an attempt to get closer to the “stakeholders”.  The deadline has come and gone and, unsurprisingly, only 45 of the 568 employees have chosen to move with their employer. Andrew Crane-Droesch, who worked at the USDA until this year, was shocked and appalled at such a naked attempt to purge the agency of “undesirables”.

Out of the blue, in August 2018, agriculture secretary George “Sonny” Perdue announced that my agency [would be moving]. He claimed that this would lower costs and bring us closer to “stakeholders.” That stated justification was a fig leaf for the administration’s true intentions. We didn’t need to sit next to a corn field to analyze agricultural policy, and Perdue knew that. He wanted researchers to quit their jobs.

One hardly knows where to start with this blatant snobbery, it is so insanely condescending. Crane-Droesch uses scare quotes around “stakeholders” and therein lies the red flag that signals the tragic disconnect between the D.C. elite and the average American. He thinks it is some kind of propaganda tool. It doesn’t even occur to him that he actually works for those stakeholders. It should excite him to be closer to the people he is literally paid to serve.


Joni Ernst gets it.

Also, the idea that he doesn’t “need to sit next to a cornfield to analyze agricultural policy” is yet another marker of the problem with D.C. culture. None of these people ever get out of their bubble to actually view firsthand the effects of their policy decisions and thus we just keep getting more and more terrible policy that is not at all reflective of the actual needs of actual Americans. This man is supposed to be a scientist. You’d think he’d relish being in the field. As usual, Trump Derangement Syndrome blinds all its victims to reason and logic. Perhaps it is a very good thing men like Crane-Droesch no longer research for our government. He doesn’t seem to have the proper faculties to do the job justice.

Crane-Droesch goes on to complain about all the “skill-sets” and “targeted expertise” that the public will now tragically lose due to the agency’s move to dumb, stupid, boring old Kansas City.

Oh, gods and gasps! There surely can be absolutely no one anywhere in the rest of this nation of 350 million people who can do Crane-Droesch’s job. He’s special! Too special for dumb, stupid, boring old Kansas City. I suppose America was going to be doomed one way or another, since Crane-Droesch is not immortal and surely will die one day. I guess when he’s gone we’ll have no one anywhere in the world who can study corn.


We loved ERS because it offered a rare degree of intellectual freedom, combined with the chance to make real impact. We got to spend a great deal of our time pursuing research questions that we defined, and the rest of the time, instead of logging service hours by sitting on committees, teaching, or grading like we would at a university, we got to advise on policies that affected people’s lives.

The lack of self-awareness among the “intellectual” D.C. class is breathtaking. Perhaps the fact that he “defined” the questions he was supposed to find answers to is a big reason Perdue thought the department needed to be moved. The questions should be defined by the people whom the answer will affect the most. This might sound controversial – and granted, I’m no scientist – but it seems to me the scientific method of discovery would be most effective if done in proximity to the subjects to which it is applied.

But maybe that’s just me.

Our union estimates that of 180 employees who were assigned to relocate, 141 declined. They weren’t willing to uproot their families, sacrifice their spouses’ careers, or in some cases disrupt their medical treatment, for an agency that remained firmly in Trump’s crosshairs. The agency has managed to hire a few sharp new researchers in Kansas City, but they’re just a drop in the bucket compared to what’s being lost, and it’ll take them a long time to learn their fields.

Crane-Droesch is so saturated in snobbery that he actually believes they all had the right to hold their jobs forever in the city they wanted at the pay grade they desired. Forever. Sounds…swampy.


Average Americans move for work every single day. This isn’t new. The Crane-Droesch’s of D.C. culture feel entitled to never have their lives disrupted for any reason. They literally think they are better than the rest of their fellow citizens, and that is not hyperbole. They think this.

This is the real problem. This is what America voted against, and will most likely vote against in 2020. It is the idea that culture only exists on the coasts and everything in between exists to support the coasts. These people have never been out of their bubble and yet contend they are the only people qualified to tell the rest of us how to live. They “study” our lives without ever seeing our lives.

I’ve lived all over this country and I mean that. The only place I’ve never lived is the Deep South and Alaska. I currently reside in the bubble of California. I can tell you that some of the most sophisticated, elevated and intelligent culture can be found in that dreaded flyover country. I once had the pleasure of staying with a family in the Black Hills of South Dakota over Thanksgiving break in college. They were ranchers in the middle of nowhere. My friend got her license at 14 so she could drive to the one-room schoolhouse in which her mother was the sole teacher. They were “country folk”, midwestern rancher stock…tough, hard-working and friendly…and the mother was one of only a handful of people nationwide who spoke original Sioux. She had been a Hollywood consultant at one time…all from her humble ranch in dumb, stupid, boring old South Dakota.


The country is filled with women like her but Crane-Droesch doesn’t even know she exists. He genuinely believes the greatest minds in the nation only reside within a few miles of his presence. There’s no way dumb, stupid, boring old Kansas City will be able to find anyone even close to his level of intelligence.

How unbelievably, stunningly obtuse.

As the kids say, please take several seats.




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