Interview with Laura Ingraham:Elites Don't Trust the American People

Laura Ingraham’s Shut Up and Sing, which documents the attempts by America’s elite to dominate national politics with their extreme views, has been on the New York Times bestseller list for seven weeks, rising as high as No. 7. Despite their lack of popular support, Ingraham argues, out-of-touch elites control major American institutions such as universities and the media.

HUMAN EVENTS Assistant Editor David Freddoso recently interviewed Ingraham about her book (published by Regnery, a sister company of HUMAN EVENTS). Here are some edited excerpts of their conversation:

Shut Up and Sing is about a lot more than celebrities mouthing off about politics. it’s about elites of every stripe and their agenda for America. Why would you say this book is important for people to read at this time?

LAURA INGRAHAM: I think the real dynamic that is running through so many of our political debates today, really goes beyond left and right. I think “the elites versus the rest of us” is a better way to look at it.

Whether you are talking about something like what happened on Wall Street in the 1990s, or enforcement of our borders, or bilingual education, the country is not so much split down political lines as it is split along the lines of the elites versus ordinary Americans-the Heartland.

And so I thought it was important to write this, because so often we limit ourselves to saying, “Well, she’s in the left box,” and “He’s in the right box.” But on issues from immigration to the debate about Iraq, really a lot of what’s happening busts the party lines.

For me, today’s elitism centers on the question of whom you trust. Do you trust unelected judges and the UN and international institutions to make important decisions for our country’s future, as the elites do? Or, on the other hand, do you trust the American people? I think the elites are kind of tired of the American people. I think the elites are frustrated they can’t get the majority of the public to support their progressive positions.

One elite class you write about in your book is the education elite-in Chapter 9, “The Ivory Tower Goes Red.” Why is academia so far to the left, and what kind of effect are they having?

INGRAHAM: When all you hear about in the classroom is civil rights abominations from American history, then you just start to tune out to American history. And I think that determines the extent to which young people are cynical or not all that connected to the political process. I mean, can you blame them? They come out of these university environments, and they are hit with such a biased view of the world. . .

University professors, instead of passing down such important information about our heritage and our history, art and literature, they pass down bias, and I think students just become less interested in all those topics as a result.

Is there a chance that maybe the saving grace for all these university students-and we’ve seen these surveys that show they’re conservative compared to the rest of the population-is that they are rebelling against the propaganda? What are your thoughts on that?

INGRAHAM: It doesn’t necessarily indoctrinate the students-I don’t think that is working. But I think it just doesn’t teach them. You are not taught the fascinating journey of America. They don’t learn it at all, which is a real tragedy.

Why do the elites hate America? Why is America so bad, and why-in an age when we put such a high value on learning about cultures-is there one culture we cannot and must not value or praise, namely our own?

INGRAHAM: Well, again, I think elites on the left today believe that America needs to progress out of its backward thinking-beyond its backward thinking. They are frustrated that it hasn’t, that American people still are reflexively patriotic, that the American people still like the military, still like their SUVs, they still like their guns, they still like NASCAR, and they still believe that the government should not take so much of our money.

And I think the elites are just frustrated their agenda hasn’t been rubber stamped by the people. And on the faith issue, I think that they are really frustrated that most people believe there is a definite right and wrong, and that it doesn’t come out of yoga, it comes out of a deep and abiding faith-whether Christian or Jewish or Muslim. Although the Muslims, I think, get a free pass.

The source of the elites’ frustration is that we are still lumbering dinosaurs-I have a line in there, at the beginning of my book, that ‘we are still these lumbering dinosaurs and the elites are just so frustrated that we haven’t evolved.’

So the only way for the elites to get their agenda passed is to go around the American people. America is still the most conservative nation out there in the world-I mean, we are the most religious, the hardest working, and the strongest.

We are kind of like the Yankees, too, because everyone hates us, and we are the richest, the strongest, and we usually win. And that’s frustrating to them.

As a Cubs fan I can definitely understand that point of view

INGRAHAM: I don’t want to say they hate America. I mean some people in the anti-military movement-I call it the anti-military movement not the anti-war movement-some people in that movement really do hate America.

But I think the elites in the university setting, the elites in the media, they just think the middle of the country are a bunch of boobs. When they see the mega-churches, the 10,000 or 20,000 people going to a church for different services on Sundays, they recoil. When they see 100,000 people showing up at a NASCAR race, to them that’s just a foreign-they might as well be looking at a foreign country.

I remember at NBC a couple of years ago, there was a promo, for a segment they were doing the next night on the nightly news: NASCAR: Growing Popularity In America. And I was thinking, Where have you been? NASCAR is only the most popular sport, has been the most popular sport in the South for how long? What? Decades? And they’re just getting that now? I mean is this hysterical?

Right. And if Americans are boobs, they have no business ruling themselves. . . Hence the 9th Circuit Court’s deciding to cancel or postpone or delay-whatever you want to call it-the California recall election.

INGRAHAM: Right, the recall???

The ACLU was also involved in a lawsuit to cancel municipal elections in Albany, Ga., last week. They succeeded there-those elections have been put off indefinitely. We see, as you point out in your book, the erosion of governance “by the people.” In order to govern, the elites need these judges that cancel our elections and tell us what we can and cannot vote on when it comes to political issues-like the Roe v. Wade decision.

INGRAHAM: Yeah. The elites take this attitude that ‘We know what’s best for you. You pesky little voters just sit down, be quiet and take a back seat and we’ll get the job done for you.’ . . . “Those Pesky Voters”-that should be the bumper sticker for the elites. The voters have become a nuisance to the elites. They’re still flying their flags, having their parades. Religiosity is still on the upswing in our country. Even the Catholic Church’s donations have gone up in the last year. Gasp!

And that’s with the scandals.

INGRAHAM: So for the elites, this is terrible stuff, you know. And so that’s why people like Bill Moyer had such complete revulsion to flag lapel-pins. Remember, he got all upset that anchors were wearing flag on their lapels during the war. He thought that was just horrible. That kind of sums that all up.


To purchase Shut Up & Sing, click here.