Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The arrogance and conceit of the "elite"

I receive the "Columbia Today" magazine, because I graduated from Columbia College.

The Winter 2015 issue contains a short article by Jennifer S. Hirsch, professor of public health at Columbia's mailman School, condensed from an October 8 op-ed published in USA Today.  It reads as follows.

At the rural New York library that I frequent during summer months, my librarian was chatting with a patron as she checked out a volume on guns.  Casually, the patron asked how many guns she owned.  My librarian replied with a smile, saying she had eight, one for each room in the house.

I was stunned, to put it mildly.  Never would I have imagined that this lovely woman with whom I linger to \chat about books would be a gun enthusiast.  But after my initial astonishment, her words made me think: Could there be more common ground than I've assumed between "us" and "them"?

Where deeply held beliefs are concerned, all of us think we have good reason to hold the ones that we do.

Those of us who demand change must seek out and embrace opportunities to talk with individual gun owners.  Thousands of those conversations across the country will help build the political support needed to accomplish what our lawmakers have so consistently failed to do.  It's time to talk with my librarian about more than recommended reading.

Professor Hirsch's is "stunned" because she views gun owners, like her librarian, as aberrant.  Her view that the gun issue is a matter of "deeply held beliefs" ignores the abundant statistical evidence that guns in the hands of law abiding citizens saves lives.  She has no idea that gun owners have facts to back them up and that she has none (except for the myths perpetuated by anti-gunners).  Nor does she appear to understand self-defense strategy and tactics (either wearing a gun or having one readily available is necessary for an effective defense against home invasion).

Professor Hirsch comes across, to me (a retired professor), as arrogant and conceited.  My experience with academia is that such arrogance and conceit are common.

The academic elite is all too ready to tell me how to live, and to punish me if I do not live as they decree.

All this is one of the reasons why I have never contributed money to Columbia College, and never will.


Anonymous said...

Bob -
Don't know why you'd consider the professor "arrogant and conceited" when her very point is that non-gun owners should pay more attention to gun owners' perspectives.

TOG said...

To Anonymous:

Thanks for the reasoned comment.

The professor's wording gave me the strong impression that the professor was positioning herself as one of the elite and that she and her ilk should be educating the the rest of us poor stooges about where we obviously went wrong.

I did not have the impression that she was seeking a discussion among equals.

Bob Ferguson