American Public Like Teenage Kids?

Indicative of the general attitude members of the Obama administration have toward regular Americans is this latest musing from Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. It seems Chu views ordinary Americans in the following way when it comes to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions:

“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act,” Dr. Chu said. “The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.”

This type of paternalism is typical for many politicians and bureaucrats, and it seems especially true for members of the current administration. Believing themselves to be wiser and more reasonable than the average American, these technocrats see it as their duty to nudge the public into conforming to their vision of behavioral norms — ranging from conservation habits to eating habits to health-coverage habits.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy later tried to clarify Chu’s words to make them sound less offensive, but the clarification doesn’t really make any sense in relation to Chu’s words. In sum, this is just one more example of the ever-popular but naively arrogant belief in paternalism among government officials.

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