In case you’re among those who think the rich are smarter than the rest of us I’d only refer you to one of the richest and wisest guys in the ancient world, Solomon. This is what he had to say in the book of Proverbs, chapter 28 verse 11 — here are two modern translations of it:
The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.
~ New International Version
The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him.
~ New American Standard Version
It doesn’t take much in the way of discernment to understand that much of the American public rarely hears how conservatives would govern if they were in charge. What does filter down at all is a cartoonish portrayal of what Republicans and conservatives stand for. This year I’ve had some conversations with low information voters that were startling. It’s truly amazing what a lot of people don’t know — and what they think they know is worse.
It’s going to take money to fix the information flow problem in our country. A lot of money. It’s a credit to many conservative and libertarian rich people that they’ve been stepping up in greater numbers in recent years to support good sounding causes. Those who have always been in the game — and many readers of this column know some of them by name — deserve praise for their generosity.
The problem is, however, millions of dollars are being wasted and many deserving projects aren’t being funded. I know of three in particular that deserve support but aren’t receiving it. If any rich guys or gals want to reach out to me via this page I can let them know where the money is being wasted and then send them to the right places.
Meanwhile, liberal rich people — especially radically liberal rich people — are in the political game in the right way. I’ve cited the Obama campaign in ’08 and ’12. That campaign didn’t end last November — it morphed into Organizing for American the day after election day. It’s a well-funded effort that’s going to continue to ensure that many of our fellow citizens remain misinformed or uninformed.
As frustrating as this reality is we have no choice but to address it head-on. Conservative and libertarian rich people need to wise-up and stop funding think tanks that don’t adequately disseminate the wonderful materials they produce. They need to stop funding candidates who disappear into office and don’t become public opinion leaders. They need to stop writing checks to Karl Rove type individuals who’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they don’t know everything.
One of the best things to come out of last year’s election was that guys like Rove are beginning to lose credibility. Some of us were pointing out his failings a decade ago. Things like this shouldn’t take so long to learn. The governmentally-created mess is getting bigger and it’s past time for the wealthy people on our side to begin a high protein diet and consider taking nutrients that help improve brain function.
Rich guys have been critical to the success of this country since the Revolutionary War itself. I wrote about Haym Solomon and Robert Morris here — if you’ve got a few minutes you should read it. It’s worth knowing why, when George Washington needed funding for what was to be the last battle of the war, he said, “Send for Haym Solomon.”
If today’s big donors on the political right want their efforts to be recorded in a similar positive light they had better change course. Their lack of knowledge has contributed to the mess we’re in as much as anything, and their waking up to that fact and changing their behavior can be the key ingredient in turning the tide towards a better informed public. They should stop measuring the value of their contributions by their feelings and start asking, “How many of the uninformed will be reached (words to eyes, sound to ears) and how many minds will be changed if I write this check?”
Up next: The wasted bully pulpits of elected Republicans.