What should you do when the thought leaders are so wrong?


Following is a quote from the recent Meet The Press show on NBC.  http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2016/09/11/meet-press-republican-party-becoming-party-less-educated 

On the show, Brooks warned of “chasms that open up socially” between the well-educated and the poorly-educated, and how you can measure other social aspects with that information. He also shared his worry about what it could mean for an educationally divided country:

And so my question and this is really a serious worry; suppose one party becomes the party of less college and who feel head winds, and that would be the Republican Party, I think. And suppose another party becomes the party of the tail winds because they’ve got college degrees, and that would be the Democratic Party. Suppose our partisan realignment over laps with a class alignment and that to me is extremely problematic for what it says about what’s going to happen.

 His fellow panelist Tom Brokaw concurred with this prediction saying that it goes against all preconceived notions the media had about Republicans.

And also this is a profound shift because the Republicans are representing those who don’t have a college education,” Brokaw explained, “We’ve all grown up with Republicans who are at the high end of the income scale and are the elitists in American life. So this has been turned upside down.

Both David Brooks and Tom Brokaw are well respected national thought leaders. No one can question their wisdom, experience or acumen.  Yet in their above comments one has to believe that they are merely expressing their opinions rather than reasoned factual conclusions (which we expect from these thought leaders).

It is true that a large segment of the population feel the head winds. This is due to the massive standardization and de-skilling of work of any kind and in any sector. This includes manufacturing, accounting, medicine, not to speak of Walmart and McDonald work. This has nothing to do with college degrees. It has everything to do with aptitude, a willingness to put in hard work with our supervision and follow-the-herd mind set. For this skill and work, the salaries are rushing close to the minimum wages. So, even after two jobs in a day, one can not still take care of a family.

In the above scenario college degrees are used today merely as a screening tool as evidence of diligence and ability to follow the rules. If you have these skills you don’t need a college degree.

Large cross section of people who fall in this category are both Democrats and Republicans. Simply because Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton promote ideas on free or affordable college education, those who need such help are not merely Democrats.

Since over 80% of what one needs to know as information (falsely attributed as knowledge) is already available through internet (Google, search engines and social media) the need today is not college education, but a job or solution that needs your services. The smart people are those who can find such opportunities and they can get attached to them. We call them as Transformational Skilled workers. Hillary Clinton has been promoting this kind of skill development through Community Colleges and Vocational Technical Schools.

Those with a blend of academic education (not necessarily a four year college degree), attached to real world needs and opportunities, but with an unending zeal (Transformational) to identify, develop and deliver a stream of new solutions are the few with the tail winds at their back in the new Binary Economy. These few are not Democrats or Republicans. They are both.

Unfortunately the current POTUS election is not a contest for identifying these head winds and tail winds. Instead it is a contest between a demagogue and opportunist (who has already benefited from the tail winds at the expense of many) and a life long Methodist (who believes in social good for as many as she can help).

Also the tail winds favor a few at the expense of the many. This is seen as the rise of the 1% vs. the 99% who suffer the pains of the head winds. Protection for the many against the head winds may need social programs and Government involvement – which would be the Democrat’s preference. Instead people may be left to fend for themselves, while Government steps out of the way – which would be the Republican’s preference. Unfortunately these are not the subjects of debate in the current election cycle, since one candidate (Hillary) has policy proposals, while the other candidate (Donald Trump) has nothing but lot of words with little in terms of policy alternatives.

Tail winds can be taken advantage of by individuals to lift their own boats. This is the preference by Republicans (through their preference for tax cuts for the rich). Benefit of the tail winds can be used by sharing for larger common good (through tax increase for the rich). This is preferred by the Democrats. This may be the only policy difference one can see between the two parties.

Some of those who benefit from the tail winds are clearly noted in the media. The many “Pundits” who offer constant opinions on news, TV and social media are not necessarily the highly educated – with reasoning and logic  as their core values – but instead are those who have a drive and will to appear in as many media outlets as they possibly can and repeat or regurgitate what is already known over and over again. We can only hope that scholars and thought leaders like David Brooks, and Tom Brokaw will not fall into that category of media opportunists who express their opinions as facts.