Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' Pitiable Betrayal 2

It's not that AOC is ignorant, it's that so much of what she's been taught isn't so.

In the first article in this series, we asserted that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrats' favorite progressive, was cynically betrayed and defrauded by our education system - including both the public school system as well as elite private colleges.  The contract our society imposes on kids is that if they attend a public K-12 school plus college and do as they're told, they'll be taught what they need to know to become functional taxpaying members of adult society.  The harder they work and the better they do, the better their lives are supposed to end up.

AOC attended an elite high school in the tony Westchester County town of Yorktown, then graduated from Boston University.  This journey through a supposedly high-quality K-16 program ought to have taught her to navigate our currently complex reality, contribute to our civilization, and also do fairly well for herself.  Her well-publicized remarks show, however, that she simply has no clue how to make effective plans for maintaining or improving either our civilization or her own personal bank balance.

Brace yourself for a horrible thought: our MSM is absolutely correct in declaring her to be the "face of her generation."  Many of her cohort suffer from the same unrealistic sense of entitlement and of expecting to be able to solve complex social problems through the force of enthusiastic political action.  Indeed, many members of her demographic are also suffering from the same combination of fraud and lies leading to their sad condition of ignorance.

It's cheap thrills to make fun of the ludicrous things such people say and do, but ridiculing her and her followers will benefit us about as much Hillary's declaring that half the country was a "basket of deplorables" benefited her.  Need we remind you of how many of those "deplorables" went out and voted for her opponent?  The last thing we should want is to make the same mistake as Her Arrogance!

Yes, it's true that most of AOC's ideas are unrealistic to the point of being silly.  Unfortunately, they're solidly based on the false world view that she and they have been taught for 16 years of what passes for American education today.

Calling her silly, while objectively true, won't win us anything but enemies.  Instead, we have to thoroughly understand what she's been taught so we can educate whenever and wherever we can.

In fact, and to our appalled surprise, we found that the more we analyzed her thoughts and her writings, the more we sympathized with her.  She really has been taken for a ride by our "fake teaching" K-16 system.

And there is a significant, albeit theoretical, potential up-side: AOC is vocal and understands social media as well as Mr. Trump does.  Just think what she could accomplish if she understood some of the realities behind the legitimate problems she's sincerely trying to solve!

Post-Graduate Education from the School of Hard Knocks

After completing her mis-education at two elite institutions, AOC started a business which failed; worked as a bartender; auditioned for support from a political action committee; won an election; and became the youngest woman in the US House of Representatives.  Since winning her primary against a much older white male, she's displayed a positive genius for attracting media attention and Twitter followers.

You'd think that with a good K-16 education including an honors degree in economics from a top-tier university, and having failed at starting a business, she'd have a decent grasp of the realities of modern life.  Instead, her statements display such an appalling ignorance of how things operate in the real world that we're convinced that she'd been defrauded by our educational establishment.

She put in her time and did as she was told, but instead of teaching her how to function as a taxpaying adult, they filled her head with so much nonsense that she has trouble imagining realistic solutions to the many genuine problems our society faces.  We know from her speech patterns that she's smart enough and that has a gift for self-promotion and for pushing her ideas that reminds us of Elon Musk.  She's shown herself to be a textbook-perfect example of the old saying:

The trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it's that they know so many things that just aren't so.

 - variously attributed to Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and Ronald Reagan, among others

Let's look at some of the absurd things she's said - and more importantly, why she thought they were such good ideas.

Never Seen Prosperity

Time quoted AOC as saying:

"An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America, came of age and never saw American prosperity," she says. "I have never seen that, or experienced it, really, in my adult life."

We can understand her believing in a prosperity shortfall given that her business failed, but that contention reveals that neither of her schools taught her anything at all about history.  In expressing incredulity at her statement about never having experienced prosperity, National Review pointed out:

By any meaningful standard of measurement, these are, materially speaking, the best years the human race has ever experienced-and the best years the American people have ever experienced, too. Health, wealth, safety, freedom, opportunity-never better. When Calvin Coolidge was president of the United States of America and hence the most powerful man in the world, his son died because of a blister on his toe acquired during a game of tennis. It's a different and better world.

Antibiotics which would have saved Mr. Coolidge's son started to be widely available right after WW II, which is unknown ancient history to most of AOC's cohort.  Having been born in 1989, AOC doesn't remember the time before the Internet or even the time before smart phones.  She takes all of these benefits, wrought by generations of hard work, for granted.

She also has no idea how well-off most Americans are in comparison to Europeans.  Heritage reports:

The Census Bureau's annual poverty report presents a misleading picture of poverty in the United States. Few of the 46.2 million people identified by the Census Bureau as being "in poverty" are what most Americans would consider poor-lacking nutritious food, adequate warm housing, or clothing. The typical "poor" American lives in an air-conditioned house or apartment and has cable TV, a car, multiple color TVs, a DVD player, and a VCR among other conveniences. ...

Exaggerating the extent and severity of hardships will not benefit society, the taxpayers, or the poor. ...

Poor Americans have more living space in their homes than the average non-poor Swede, Frenchman, or German[emphasis added]

We share Edmund Burke's view that "In history a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from past errors and infirmities of mankind."  The Constitution our Founders wrote put on paper what history had ratified by experience.  They believed that maximizing individual responsibility and liberty were the keys to national prosperity.  "Example is the school of mankind and he will learn at no other," as Burke said.

Unfortunately for AOC and her colleagues, our schools have stopped teaching history.  She sees things as they are in the present and has no idea how much national welfare has improved:

Since that time [when President Johnson announced the War on Poverty], U.S. taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusted for inflation, this spending (which does not include Social Security or Medicare) is three times the cost of all military wars in U.S. history since the American Revolution. Despite this mountain of spending, progress against poverty, at least as measured by the government, has been minimal.

AOC's way of life was not all that she wished it to be; fair enough, neither is ours.  By way of comparison, let's consider the childhood standard of living of one of America's greatest educators, Booker T. Washington:

Three children—John, my older brother, Amanda, my sister, and myself—had a pallet on the dirt floor, or, to be more correct, we slept in and on a bundle of filthy rags laid upon the dirt floor.

We'd be willing to bet that neither AOC nor any of her college peers, be they never so thoroughgoing failures, have experienced this sort of poverty.  True, Mr. Washington was born a slave - but that merely underscores the mammoth, monumental, gargantuan, historic increase in wealth of the ordinary person, even of the lowest-class origin, that America has experienced over the last century and a half.

Time was more sympathetic to her perception of poverty than we are:

He [her father] died about a week later, in the fall of 2008. The death plunged the family into financial trouble just as the economy was melting down; her mother picked up a job driving school buses to stave off foreclosure on their home. After graduation, Ocasio-Cortez moved back to the Bronx to work at an educational nonprofit, with a side gig as a bartender at a Manhattan taco joint. ...

She paid $200 a month for an Affordable Care Act health insurance plan with a huge deductible. Like 44 million other Americans, she had student-loan debt: about $25,000 worth, which meant $300 a month in payments[emphasis added]

For some reason, Time doesn't mention her foray into capitalism.  Nor do they point out that her needing a cash flow of $500 per month before spending a penny on her needs was strictly due to government policies. 

The requirement to purchase health care didn't exist before Obamacare; many young people went without or bought only cheap catastrophic coverage because they were healthy enough to be willing to take the risk.  Thanks to Obamacare, people who're just starting out in life have to subsidize older, sicker people.

College loans are another government-sponsored burden.  We need not point out that colleges are as greedy as any enterprise; over the past few decades they've raised their tuition about $.60 for every $1 increase in the maximum loan limit.  As a result, college costs have increased far faster than inflation.  Her $25,000 loan could have bought her a decent automobile if she lived in an area without mass transit.

Thinking back on life just after college, it would have been extremely difficult for us, with a first-class technical degree and a roaring mid-century economy, to have coped with $500 monthly payments on top of whatever else was needed for survival.  AOC started life with a negative cash flow of $500 per month thanks to ill-advised programs put in place by precisely the same government she believes can solve all our problems.

The Siren Song of "Free!"

AOC doesn't seem to have done much analytical thinking about just why her cash flow was so negative, but it's clear that favoring "free college" and other items on Bernie's to-do list carries more appeal to her than trying to change the societal forces that led to her starting life with so many fixed costs.  History has shown over and over that "Free lunch" is the wrong answer, but it is an answer to a very real problem.  Any credible-sounding solution to that problem is highly meaningful to her and her peers - legitimately so, and we ignore its siren song to our peril.

That's a major part of the fraud which has been inflicted on AOC and her peers - they haven't been taught the economic disaster of collectivism.  Starting with the Pilgrims struggling to survive in what has today become the People's Republic of Taxachusetts, through Robert Owen's many bankrupt utopias, through communism in the Soviet Union and in China, to "Chavismo" in Venezuela, "free lunch" always ends in tears.  We've explained how and why our "progressives" deliberately destroyed our K-16 education system to the point that AOC's cohort favors socialism, which has led to millions of deaths, over capitalism, which has led to the greatest living standard in human history, by a large margin.

Socialism, wherein everyone generously shares what they have with everyone else, is a quite attractive idea.  Convincing people that they're broke because "the rich" are selfish is a lot easier than convincing them that they need to get a job and work hard enough to earn whatever they want.  That's why Mr. Sanders' "free lunch" message is more popular than Dr. Ben Carson's "hard work" recommendation was.  It's also how Democrats have held the underclass vote since Great Society welfare programs were put in - women marry the government instead of marrying the men who father their children.

The fundamental problem with AOC's mantra of equality is that in all areas of human endeavor, from a basketball team to running a small town to running a nation, someone has to be in charge, and human beings are not all equally gifted.  Under either socialism or communism where equality of result is the primary religion, those who are in charge tend to allocate a somewhat more equal share to themselves than to anyone else.  They deserve it because of their selfless service to the greater good, of course.

The fatal flaw is that if everyone shares in what everyone produces, there are no individual incentives to work hard.  Why bust yourself if everyone is going to share equally regardless of the effort they put in?  Workers in the Soviet Union used to say, "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."

American prosperity is based on individuals who offer goods and services which others voluntarily choose to buy being able to keep the profits they earn.  Would Mr. Bezos work so hard to keep Amazon prices low enough to keep sales growing if he didn't expect to keep the wealth generated from his ideas?  We would never have had smart phones without the economic incentives that led Steve Jobs to invent them.

It's interesting to observe that even in China, people who make their money by earning profits in the free market are far richer than the richest government bureaucrats.  The New York Times reports:

According to the Hurun Report, a research organization in Shanghai that tracks the wealthy in China, the net worth of the 153 members of China's Parliament and its advisory body that it deems "super rich" amounts to $650 billion, ...

Dividing $650 billion by the 163 "super rich" gives an average of $4.2 billion.  That's not a lot of money by capitalist standards: in the US, Jeff Bezos is worth $100 billion or so, Mr. Gates is worth $50 billion are giving away at least as much, and there are are many other lesser billionaires.

On the other hand, our richest politicians mostly have hundreds of millions, not billions.  They either became wealthy by selling favors like Nancy Pelosi, or by marrying private-sector wealth as John Kerry and John McCain did.

Like Mr. Trump, Pony Ma, whose net worth of $47 billion makes him the richest visible Chinese, earned his money in the private sector before going into politics.  He founded Tencent which is valued at $540 billion - more than Facebook.  Starting businesses can lead to far more wealth than entering politics, even in communist China.

There's also the awkward fact that politicians can't steal wealth that isn't there.  Private-sector Chinese billionaires created the wealth which the Chinese politicians have grabbed.  Any politician who desires to maximize opportunities to grab serious wealth needs a robust private sector to plunder.  Some Democrats realize this - Gov. Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio wanted Amazon to come to New York so they could rip them off once they'd invested too much in the city to pull out, and are less than pleased that AOC torpedoed their gilded plan.

AOC's cohort's mistaken belief that they have "never seen prosperity" and their preference for free lunch as opposed to eating what they earn are the wrong answers, but knowing that they are wrong and why, requires an understanding of history - one which their over-expensive educations has intentionally failed to provide them.  That's fraud against them - not their fault, not a reflection on their innate intelligence or lack thereof, and not really a legitimate reason for ridicule, any more than it's charitable to make fun of a barefoot backwoods hayseed who has never been taught how to conduct himself in polite society.

Now, a backwoods hayseed may seem more sympathetic than the insufferable arrogance of AOC and her fellows - but even that is not entirely their fault.  In the next article in our ongoing saga of AOC's fraudulent treatment, we'll explore from whence they derive their preposterous sense of entitlement: being promoted constantly from one grade to the next regardless of what they'd learned, and being told how wonderful they were just for participating, gave them the impression that all they had to do to win fame and fortune was just show up.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

Wow. Perfectly succinct. You've put a whole lot of meaning into a page or two. I'm sending this link to everyone I know. How will we get in their heads to teach them they've been defrauded? Thanks Will!

May 3, 2019 12:28 PM
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