When economic self-interest and ideology part ways

The other day I was speaking with a man who commented that the proliferation of Obama bumperstickers on luxury cars (not to mention the fact that the very rich in blue communities had flocked to the Obama banner) comforted him that Obama would not destroy the US economy by trying to nationalize it.  After all, he said, one has to assume that all these people are voting for, not against, their own self-interests.  I don’t think he’s right.

The evidence for my belief that wealthy liberals have a death wish is Hollywood.  We’ve all noticed that an oft repeated pattern coming out of Hollywood.  First, Hollywood makes movies that assault the armed forces, that attack Republicans, that skew the president, and that celebrate evil people; second, these movies are dismal box office failures; and third, they keep bouncing up to make the same types of movies.  Economic interest would dictate that Hollywood stop producing these losers and focus on movies that make money — which, regardless of genre (romance, tear-jerker, adventure, etc.), tend to be somewhat patriotic and pro-military.  But, noooo.  The Hollywoodies’ ideological fervor propels them to keep churning out movies no one wants to see.

And so it is, I think, with the rich blue people.  At an ideological level, they’ve bought into Bush hatred, and they’ve drunk the Obama kool-aid.  As a result, they’ve become incapable of putting their self-interest first.

One can admire the rich blues for their altruism, but one certainly shouldn’t assume that, if they’re voting for Obama, they believe that he will oversee economic changes that will operate to their benefit, or to the benefit of those who would like to join the ranks of America’s rich.  Once ideology becomes strong enough, it apparently overwhelms the survival instinct.  (Witness the Islamist suicide bombers for the reductio ad absurdem of ideology overriding our innate life force.)

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  • David Foster

    This is not necessarily about altruism. If you are a senior government official, lobbyist, or a well-connected lawyer, you benefit economically from the expansion of government under an Obama type of administration. This is also true if you work in the “policy” wing of the vast and very profitable “non-profit” industry, or if you are a K-12 school administrator, a university administrtor, or a tenured professor.

    To a substantial extent, the Democratic party has moved from *vertical* class warfare to *horizontal* class warfare.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Most of the blue wealthy I know are good old-fashioned capitalists or doctors, all of whom would suffer mightily under an Obama economy.

  • George Bruce

    I disagree. I think they perceive that they are acting in their best interest. A government that controls the economy has tremendous power to reward some and punish others. With all the bail outs, subsidies and government contracts, some rich will get much richer. For a long time now it has been a surer road to wealth to get a license to provide Medicare services than to design and manufacture a new product. In the new economy, it is no longer about letting the pie get bigger……it is all about having the influence to grab a bigger piece of the pie – even from a shrinking pie.

    Also, a government that controls the economy will prevent new entrants into the market place. Politically connected rich people will have it made. They will make huge bucks from bailouts, subsidies and government contracts and the government will crush any potential competitors.

    Socialism makes a nature alliance between government employees, people on the dole and the truly filthy rich who hope to get much richer from government handouts.

    We must reject and destroy old stereotypes. It is the Democrats who are the party of the greedy and unprincipled rich.

    You wanna get rich? Build windmills, provide medical services to the poor, develop low income housing in Chicago or be the CEO of FNMA.

  • http://galactic-patrol.spaces.live.com Bruce Williams

    Shoot, I saw the article title and was expecting an interesting introspective on some difficult decision you had to make. Instead its just another DemSlam.

  • jjteam

    I just discovered your blog and am enjoying it greatly – so thanks!

    I asked my (much smarter than me) husband about Hollywood and why they make such anti-American fare and he replied “their market has moved from Americans to a global audience. And the global audience loves anti-American anything. That’s why they do it, they don’t care too much what Americans think.” That rings pretty true to me.

    Here’s my take which hasn’t gotten much airplay anywhere – Hollywood people are moral relativists. The classic structure of a storyline is that a protagonist faces down and vanquishes some sort of foe – and then lives happily ever after. Well, a moral relativist loses good and evil (so now the underlying tension of the story evaporates). Not surprisingly, the new Evil Ones are Capitalists, Republicans and Polluters. Outside of that, they can either rewrite history (think Oliver Stone) or Lovable Gay People. When’s the last time you saw a decent movie?

  • 11B40


    Didn’t V.I. Lenin say something to the effect that capitalists will sell us (the Commies) the rope we hang them with?

  • Charles Martel

    Hi, Bruce:

    Just because it’s another “DemSlam” doesn’t make it any less topical, necessary or true.

    The country’s going to need a lot of DemSlams/Kool-Aid DrinkerSlams between now and the 2010 elections.

  • kali

    From jjteam: “. . . And the global audience loves anti-American anything.”

    I would disagree–if you look at worldwide box office, you’ll find those nasty little anti-war/Bush/everything-conventional films tank abroad as much as they do here.

    I’m still puzzled why so many are made, though. Hollywood used to represent capitalism in its purest form. They can’t all be vanity projects, which leads me to wonder if there’s something built into the tax code that encourages it, like the German tax code that was so good to Uwe Boll. (See http://tinyurl.com/3dkwkb for a look at the intricacies of German tax dodging)

  • Mike Devx

    My immediate impression was to agree with the posters, that these blue bloods are looking for protectionism from Obama – to freeze out other American competitors – and in that way keep themselves all happy and comfy.

    But Book’s response seems to put the kibosh on that. These are not people who are looking to the government to protect them at the expense of fellow Americans.

    So I suppose it is Obama’s eloquence and superficial intelligence that they are responding to. Certainly, if they were free-market, libertarian-leaning advocates of individual responsibility, there is no possible way they could support Obama. For Hollywood, it definitely IS a case of ideology over success or reality. But for Book’s “blue-bloods”, it doesn’t seem to be that either. I guess there is something else at work here.

  • Charles Martel

    I think Book’s bluebloods have bubbled up from a whole stew of ingredients. They include:

    — The rise of moral relativism as a means of accommodating the excesses of the sexual revolution. “I’ll overlook your your total lack of sexual ethics if you overlook mine” soon slops over into a hazy non-judgementalism. This in turn leads to:

    — Rejection of tradtional morality which is the purview of the churches and synagogues. Thus, Christianity and Orthodox Judaism are wrong because they thwart human freedom (i.e. jollies in all their forms). Thus, people who practice Christianity are small-minded, tense people who:

    — Are not well educated, otherwise how could they believe that crap? Even if somebody is educated on paper, such as Bush (Harvard and Yale), if he spouts religious crap, he is a.) a brigand who has taken credentials that do not rightfully belong to one with his mindset and b.) desirous of taking away such fundamental rights as abortion, same-sex marriage, Muslim holidays and tenure. This leads to:

    — Resentment that the wrong people are in power and must be indicted, scorned, derided and shown some type of comeuppance. When a slender, well-spoken black man appears to take up their cause, a man who believes as deeply in man-made miracles, private schools, taxing (others) to create a “compassionate” society as they do, and who creates sheer joy in their pasty white hearts at seeing an African American who can speak non-rap English (pace, Biden), they will vote for him.

    The other guy, Mc-whatshisname, was too old (evoked traditional morals), too heroic (made Bobo men feel wussy) and too flawed (couldn’t wear a sweater anywhere as well as The One) to vote for.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I’m am reasonably certain that, in the twilight years of the Louis XVI aristocracy, the foppish nobility expostulated in flowery prose their allegiance to and identification with the long-suffering, down-trodden peasantry. It must have come as quite a shock to find themselves heading Madame defarge’s [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madame_Defarge] invitee list as the tumbrils rumbled closer and closer.

    I believe that today it is called the Stockholm Syndrome.

    The smart ones, like the Kerrys and Kennedys, are careful to stash their wealth in overseas trusts (in Fiji, in the case of the Kennedys) to guarantee their immunity from the ravaging consequences of their own ideals.

    You’re right, Charles. It is a bit like the metrosexual phenomenon: some guys actually think they will be more appealing to girls if they act like girls.

  • suek

    Has there ever been a strict ethic code that dictated honesty in dealings with others which did not also limit sexual behavior? I ask because there seems to me to be a link between unbounded sexual behavior and corruption. Since I’m a product of a Christian upbringing, it seems likely to me that if one is immoral in sexual behavior, that one may also be immoral in other ways, but there are many cultures – are there any where what is considered immoral sexual behavior in the Christian culture is considered ok, but lying, cheating and doubledealing is not?

  • Danny Lemieux

    Interesting take, Suek. What you are asking is if unbounded sexual behavior is a “gateway” behavior to other bad behaviors.

    Maybe what is the gateway behavior is the flippant shedding of social constraints. Perhaps this can have a narcotic, empowering effect that frees one to pursue breaking other social constraints, leading to a train of destruction. For example, cheating at school leads to shoplifting leads to check kiting leads to….. So, the solution is to nip cheating at school in the bud because it leads to more serious social consequences.

    The Polynesian word “taboo” refers to an act that is forbidden. Often these taboos appear to be innocuous on the surface. I’ve often wondered if it wasn’t the act itself that was dangerous or “bad” but the fact that it would lead to other bad behavior (the “slippery slope” argument). So, societies have taboos that function as circuit breakers to prevent more damaging behavior from resulting further down the slipper slope.

    Think of the taboos that were willingly and joyfully broken during the 60s and 70s and the point where this has brought us to today. As I grow older, the more that the Vatican’s taboo against birth control seems to make sense. Birth control leads to promiscuity which leads to abortion, the abuse of women, single motherhood, STDs, etc. Perhaps the solution is to nip it in the bud with “abstinence” or chaperoned dating.

    Mind you, I say this as someone who back then, anyway, thought this particular Vatican taboo was loopy. Age does give hindsight, but the wisdom of the ages matters no more. One of my favorite and most enlightening parts of the Bible is the Old Testament Book of Wisdom /Proverbs. Reading it brought me the revelation that people thousands of years preceding us were really no different than we are today. They struggled with the same sins and taboos.

    Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have learned much since then.

    There was and is a good reason for ancient taboos against sexual behavior, speech, and other interpersonal habits and such. I wonder if the ancients proclaimed certain actions to be taboo because they knew that they would lead to more serious consequences. We ignored them at our peril and here we are today. Doomed to relearn the wisdom of the ages all over again at a tremendous personal and societal cost.

    What say you?

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    That’s an interesting point, Danny and Sue. You’re applying to behavior precisely the same thinking that lies behind the Broken Window school of policing: if you let little infractions go by, bigger infractions follow. Bad behavior is a slippery slope and needs to be nipped in the bud.

  • Mike Devx

    >> One of my favorite and most enlightening parts of the Bible is the Old Testament Book of Wisdom /Proverbs. >>

    I will take this as the time for me to read Proverbs again. I’ve bookmarked it in the Bible and put it on top of my pile of reading books. It has been a decade or more since I read any chapter of the Old Testament completely, and there is always wisdom to be gained.