According to Google, a demagogue is, “A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument”.

Conservatives often make light of the difference between our politicians leading from the front and behind. After the election as the Conservative and Libertarian movements turn to the cultural foundations of the advance of American “Liberalism”. I can think of no greater point than this. Conservatives know culturally leadership is more significant in our personal lives than in Washington D.C., not that D.C. can’t do a lot to interfere. But leadership in our families and communities is second to only one thing.

The single most important factor to the future of this country is teachers.

The classroom is where America’s kids are socialized. Think of the leadership our union teachers are giving. They are not just often doing a sub-standard job educating, they are setting an example. If it is difficult to fire a teacher how difficult is it to fire a popular teacher? Parents will stand up for the one teacher their kid likes. Teachers have the career incentive to be popular rather than respected. As far as happiness goes, being popular with your students would make your year so much better than being the b*tch or the hard@$$. I would suggest that unions aren’t just preventing America’s youth from learning, they are providing them with demagogues rather than pedagogues. They are essentially socializing America’s youth in small groups of 20-30 for demagoguery.

Think of the incentives in Universities as well. Is it more important that Ph.D’s challenge the status-quo of the tenured professors and deans on the hiring committees or maybe might it be in their interest to appeal by suckling up to the teet of power? Could you imagine if a young associate professor or yearly contracted professor wrote a piece completely dismantling their “superiors’” work? The work those Ph.Ds whole life is invested in, their whole basis of their moral superiority, their pride they’ve spent at least over a decade developing?  On the same token, why would such a heavily invested person that is so sure of the truth waste their time and the University’s money on someone they are sure is wrong and are certain probably filled with hate.

I’m sure America’s youth may have a totally unhealthy doce of leadership that politically appeals to popular desires and prejudices at home, in the community, or in the media. Being socialized from k-12, undergraduate, or higher by leaders that demagogue rather than lead by strong example has to be much worse. We must reform our schools.


Benjamin Smith is a Senior at Arizona State University.