I'm smarter than you-just ask me

Since this is an opinion column, heres my opinion: I find the self-declared moral and intellectual superiority of Vermonts gentry-left even more distasteful than their political philosophies.

There are, after all historical precedents for various forms of communal social organization, actual and proposed, with the supposedly best and brightest in charge, ranging from the New Testament to the medieval Scandinavian kingdoms, from Periclean Greece to 19th century American Shakers, and they are least rationally arguable as alternates to the sometimes awkward mix of republic and democracy to which we currently pay lip service.

As weve seen in Vermont in recent decades, the new gentry-left brooks no such rational discussion as was, once upon a now-gone time, standard practice at Town Meeting or public hearing; now, if you disagree, youre the enemy to be hooted down and booed, silenced by jeering or ad hominem attack.

In previous readings on the Progressive movement, that late-19th century political reform movement which started out under Republican auspices but gradually moved leftward, Id garnered the impression that it was the founders and early joiners, from Wisconsins Gov. LaFollette to Vermonts education-theorist Dewey, who first articulated the idea that, for modern American governance to work even better than the late-18th-century constitution-writers ever hoped, and to achieve this noble goal, the opinions (and votes) of the less-well-educated and-endowed masses had to be counted for less than the more enlightened judgments of their intellectual superiors.

Somewhere I read that it was the underlying Progressive thesis that it was, indeed, the duty and obligation of the Nations brightest 10 percent to guide the remaining 90 percent, better than they, with limited cognitive abilities, could do for themselves. You get some flavor of this basic Progressive attitude from the famous quote of that famous English author (and sometime Vermont resident) Rudyard Kipling who wrote about the white mans burden to go forth and civilize less-well-equipped peoples everywhere.

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