Why the Left can’t talk and chew gum

John Leo writes about his daughter’s college education:

At a Manhattan holiday party last week, hosted by a friend with Wesleyan ties, I overheard my daughter explaining that no real debate takes place on campus. This was a major frustration, since she is feisty and brilliant and loves to argue ideas. She is politically liberal but wonders how Democrats of her generation will be able to speak convincingly to the middle of the political spectrum when so many of them shun the complexity of arguments and simply spout the party line.

Actually, my bet is that she doesn’t love to argue ideas. She only thinks she does because she hasn’t actually done it yet. I’ve met a thousand girls like his daughter and never once have I met one who could make a case that would survive five minutes against me and very few have enjoyed the experience. It’s like the man who reads and reads books about the martial arts but never once steps foot inside the dojo to get his block knocked off. When he finally does, he is hurt, embarrassed and angry.

Republicans fall into this too, to some extent, but not as badly because they are at least exposed to the other side’s philosophy in college. But if I’ve read all of your side’s works and you’ve never even heard of mine – men who have been refuting the Left’s thinking for eighty years – who do you think is going to get their head handed to them?

What’s amusing is how few of these self-professed socialists have actually read any Marx or any other socialist, at most they’ve heard their professor mention names and summarize a few basics. They spout opinions on political economy without having ever read Smith or Keynes, much less Bastiat, Hayek, Mises or Rothbard. Indeed, one wonders why Mr. Leo is convinced that his daughter is so intelligent, considering that he describes her as just another mindless left-liberal drone.