The impression you get from dominant opinion makers is that conservatives who support the free enterprise system are cranks who are in the minority.
The truth is quite the opposite.
“Whether we look at capitalism, taxes, business, or government, the data show a clear and consistent pattern: 70 percent of Americans support the free enterprise system and are unsupportive of big government,” Arthur C. Brooks writes in his book “The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future,” which hits bookstores this week.
“By contrast, somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of the adult population opposes free enterprise and prefers government solutions to our problems,” Brooks writes. “To be generous, let’s round up to 30 percent and call them the ‘30 percent coalition.’”
So why do Americans have the opposite impression?
Sometimes it takes someone who was on the other side to explain things clearly, as Brooks does in his eye-opening book. Brooks grew up in a liberal family in Seattle.
“It took me until I was 30 years old to be able to actually say with a straight face that America is a gift to the world,” Brooks tells Newsmax.
Now Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute. Previously, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University. Founded in 1943, AEI it is the oldest conservative movement think tank.
Brooks explains that the “30 percent coalition” has been able to present its views as representing the majority because it controls public discourse.
“The 30 percent coalition is led by people who are smart, powerful, and strategic,” Brooks says. “These are many of the people who make opinions, entertain us, inform us, and teach our kids in college. They are the intellectual upper class: those in the top 5 percent of the population in income, who hold graduate degrees, and work in intellectual industries such as law, education, journalism, and entertainment.”
Heading the intellectual upper class is President Obama. To illustrate Obama’s views on the free enterprise system, Brooks quotes his words to graduating seniors of Arizona State University on May 13, 2009.
“You’re taught to chase after the usual brass rings, being on this ‘who’s who’ list or that top 100 list, how much money you make and how big your corner office is; whether you have a fancy enough title or a nice enough car,” Obama said. “Let me suggest that such an approach won’t get you where you want to go. It displays a poverty of ambition.”
This from a man who reported $5.5 million in income last year.
Crammed with telling statistics, Brooks’ book says that academia is a particularly important part of the “30 percent coalition.”
“Academics as a whole align massively with the far left — more so than any other profession,” Brooks says, citing General Social Survey data from 1996 to 2008. “A 2002 study examined the political ideology of social sciences professors in a number of our nation’s top universities. At Cornell, for example, 166 were liberal and 6 conservative. At the University of Colorado, 155 were liberal and 5 conservative.”
Journalists are another influential component of the coalition.
“When asked in a 2005 poll about their political views, nearly three times as many journalists described themselves as liberals as those who described themselves as conservatives,” Brooks notes.
Conservatives need to educate the public about their principles and the fact that they are actually in the mainstream, Brooks tells me. Indeed, Brooks says, Newsmax, rather than Time, represents the mainstream.
“Anybody who says that this is just a Republican or a conservative thing simply is either a vested interest on the 30 percent side or hasn’t bothered to look at the data,” Brooks says. “Seventy percent of the American public is in favor of free enterprise; 30 percent is either actively against it or is passively against it. So it’s a mainstream thing, and that is what we have to keep in mind and publicize.”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.
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