This, of course, implies that Obama believes we are stupid. But are we? Let’s look at some of the evidence.
The president states that we are running out of oil left to drill in the United States. He gives speeches during which he asserts that we have only 2 percent of the world’s proven reserves, whereas geologists claim that we may have as much as 26 percent of the potentially recoverable oil.
Then Barack declares that it does not matter how much oil we have because drilling now will not bring down the price at the pump. Meanwhile, he asks the Brazilians to drill off their coast — with aid from our treasury. And at the same time, his minions urge Saudi Arabia to increase petroleum exports.
Now why would the president want other countries to raise their production, but not want to raise ours? It can’t be because he desires us to be more dependent on imports. It can only be because he thinks this will eventually reduce domestic prices.
Of course, Obama also keeps insisting there is no magic bullet to lower the cost of gasoline. This might be true with respect to current prices, but what about those five years down the road when new wells might come on-line? Wouldn’t these future savings count?
To add to the confusion, Democratic spokespersons routinely declare that oil production has surged dramatically on the president’s watch. When Republicans counter that this is because of policies instituted by the Bush administration, the president’s defenders remain silent.
Nor is there a response when it is pointed out that the increases occurred on private land. Supplies coming from public lands decreased in large part because the Obama administration approved significantly fewer drilling permits.
Do these blatant contradictions add up to Democratic stupidity? Can it be that these partisans do not realize they are inconsistent? On the other hand, perhaps, they do think the public is too dim-witted to catch them in their verbal gymnastics?
To judge from their words, liberals assume they are smarter than ordinary folks. Having proclaimed themselves “the best and brightest,” they boast of a superior ability to make choices others are too thick to make for themselves.
Does this mean that the president and his supporters genuinely believe voters are dumb? Or are they merely convinced they can pull the wool over their eyes? At minimum, Barack believes he can persuade most people of almost anything.
At this point, I am not completely sure what the Democrats believe. But the signs are not good. They are obviously determined to run a campaign that diverts attention from the president’s lack of accomplishments. But are they relying on the voters’ lack of intelligence to achieve this?
Actually, I suspect that what the administration is depending on is our species’ normal non-rationality. Although most people are capable of calculating what is true, all too often they do not. While most of us possess the mental equipment to identify contradictions, there are deep-seated reasons we refrain from doing so.
One of these is our reliance on authority. Rather than figure things out for ourselves, we have a tendency to take what our leaders say on faith. If they are confident in the way they present ideas (as Obama is), we go along without being too critical.
If this is so, then the fact that Obama is president provides him with special credence. As a result of his status, some people will believe him no matter what he says.
This inclination is useful when our leaders know what they are doing. It can, however, be dangerous if they are demagogic. When those in power arrogantly assume they know best, reflexively following their lead can have dire consequences.
Melvyn L. Fein, PhD., is professor of Sociology at Kennesaw State University.