In his column ("Rejecting an Aristocracy of Experts," Op-Ed Page, Oct. 19), Michael Novak claims that Michael Dukakis represents the arrogant aristocracy of managerial "experts" who look down on ordinary people and tell them that they are stupid; the common people are going for George Bush because he wants to be loved as one of them and be the self-image they desire to see in their "king." Novak may be right about the way in which many people respond to the office of President, but I refuse to simply accept that American presidential politics has come to this.
Count me among the arrogant aristocracy, if you wish. I insist that when it comes to choosing leaders, reason is more reliable than emotion.
Does that mean I'm superior to "the common people"? No. Coming from a working-class family (neither of my parents went to high school), I'm much more "common" than Bush or Dan Quayle will ever be. If there are "common people" who conclude that Bush is "one of us" because he eats pork rinds on television, if there are women who believe that Quayle's good looks are a good reason to vote for him, then one should not hesitate to call those people stupid. But such stupidity, the object of cynical calculation by Republican campaign strategists, does not define the class of ordinary people. And the fact that an unthinking approach to politics is commonly shared does not make it "common sense."