‘Gray Matter’–Deficient Americans

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Former New York mayor and multibillionaire Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, four years ago at Oxford, England, dismissed farming, ancient and modern. He lectured that agriculture was little more than the rote labor of dropping seeds into the ground and watching corn sprout — easy, mindless, automatic.

“I could teach anybody,” Bloomberg pontificated, “even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer.”

He contrasted such supposedly unintelligent labor of the past (and present) with the “skill set” of the current “information economy” that requires “how to think and analyze.” In this new economy, he said, “you have to have a lot more gray matter.”

Gray matter?

For all his later denials and efforts to contextualize those remarks, Bloomberg seems to see both ancient and modern agriculture, and farmers, as either unskilled or not very smart, as if the genetically inferior gravitate to muscular labor far from the “skill sets” of those like Mike Bloomberg. He certainly has no idea about either the sophistication of ancient agriculture or the high-tech savvy of contemporary farmers — much less just how difficult it is, and always was, to produce food, much less that history is so often the story of mass famine rather than bounty and plenty.

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