Elitists, heal thyselves

Victor Davis Hanson, after describing the disconnect between America’s most heated critics and their own lifestyles, sums up the reason at least a few Americans are tuning out the grievance mongers:

In the old days, critics for the most part of what we called the “system” were at least blue-collar workers, underpaid teachers, or grassroots politicians whose rather modest lives matched their angry populist rhetoric. Now the most vehement critics of America’s purported sins are among the upper classes. And their parlor game has confused Americans about why they are being called polluters, racists, and exploiters by those who have fared the best in America.

Do the wealthy and the powerful lecture us about our wrongs because they know their own insider status ensures that they are exempt from the harsh medicine they advocate for others? Millionaire Gore is not much affected by higher taxes for his cap-and-trade crusade.

Or does the hypocrisy grow out of a sort of class snobbery? Do elites hector the crass middle class because it lacks their own taste, rare insight, and privileged style? Judging from the police report, Gates seemed flabbergasted that the white Cambridge cop did not know who he was “messing” with.

Or is the new hypocrisy an eerie sort of psychological compensation at work? Perhaps the more Al Gore rails about carbon emissions, the more he can without guilt enjoy what emits them. The more Professor Gates can cite racism, the more he himself is paid to spot it. And the more a Tom Daschle wants to tax and spend for health care, the less badly he feels about his own chauffer and tax avoidance?

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  • http://home.earthlink.net/~nooriginalthought/ Charles

    YES! I believe it is about guilt.

    As a white male, the son of blue-collar parents, I have always been galled by college professors and others who have already “made it” tell me that affirmative action is needed to “level out the playing field.” And if some have to pay a price it will be worth it.

    Nice, I have always thought – “level out the playing field” and make me “pay the price” AFTER they got their share of the American pie.

    I shouldn’t have to pay the price for someone else’s guilt.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    As I think I’ve argued here before, “liberal guilt” is pretty much a myth, at least when it comes to todays “progressives.” The typical “progressive” has no politically-relevant feelings of personal guilt: what he believes is that the *rest* of us should feel guilty, and he uses our supposed sins to exalt himself in his own eyes. Picture an obnoxious churchgoer who likes to talk to his/her friends about the sins of other members of the congregation–same principle applies here.

    C S Lewis explained this phenomenon very well in an essay he wrote more than 60 years ago. As he points out, repenting someone else’s sins is a very different thing from repenting one’s own.

    There are a few exceptions, no doubt…the occasional Trustafarian who really *does* feel guilty about his unearned privilege…but far more common is the sense of entitlement and the resentment of people who have made it financially without having Ivy League/advanced degrees, and a desire to see such people suppressed and put back in their place.

  • suek

    For some reason one of my son’s absolutely despises Sandra Bullock. I really don’t know why, but as a result, I have a kind of hightened awareness of her. I’ve been surprised when on two or three occasions she’s been mentioned – briefly – in the news as having donated pretty large sums of money to various charities. One in the New Orleans situation, I think, and something regarding military troops, though I don’t remember exactly what. The donations kind of zipped through the MSM news cycle with virtually no significant mention.

    In other words, I think David hits it right on the mark. If people _really_ feel guilty or really think “somebody needs to do something”, they need to _do_ something themselves – not just point their fingers at other people while enjoying their own goodies and entitlements.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    But they are dong something, suek. They are allowing us to be patronized by their wealth and insight ; ) Don’t you remember how it was in the good old days of the aristocracy?

  • Ariel

    “In other words, I think David hits it right on the mark. If people _really_ feel guilty or really think “somebody needs to do something”, they need to _do_ something themselves – not just point their fingers at other people while enjoying their own goodies and entitlements.

    “But they are dong something, suek. They are allowing us to be patronized by their wealth and insight ; ) Don’t you remember how it was in the good old days of the aristocracy?”

    Ahh, a moment of total agreement. I shall savor it like a fine wine with cheese and bread torn from a fresh baked loaf. It is if it were a kiss, which loses no savor but is renewed like the moon. Shall I compare this to a summer’s day…or a moonless night of cloudless climes and starry skies…

  • suek

    I was looking for that thread when we discussed whether morality made the culture, or the culture made morality, and I couldn’t find it. That’s where this link should be parked…but I couldn’t find it. This thread is only sort of connected, but it seemed like the best choice of what’s available.

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/07/30/abortion-and-health-care-reform/

    Some of the concepts the article applies to various legal decisions and the conflict we often find today in our politics seem to me to be very relevant, and clarifies why the ideas of legalizing what is often tolerated can be disturbing to many of us.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Shall I compare this to a summer’s day…or a moonless night of cloudless climes and starry skies…

    There’s no agreement, thus no need to celebrate.

    The last time the Left talked about feelings being the same as agreement, they somehow ended up in bed with Al Qaeda.

  • Ariel

    Ymar,
    I was only agreeing with your statements. Who was the leftist you were writing about? No one here.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The Left, not the Leftist. The organization’s history, rather than a singular individual.

    Again, I made no agreement concerning a ‘summer’s day” or a “moonless night” let alone stating anything about them.

  • Ariel

    Ahh, a moment of total agreement. I shall savor it like a fine wine with cheese and bread torn from a fresh baked loaf. It is if it were a kiss, which loses no savor but is renewed like the moon. Shall I compare this to a summer’s day…or a moonless night of cloudless climes and starry skies…

    Ymar #9,
    You thoroughly and utterly misunderstood my comment.
    “Ahh, a moment of total agreement” was that I agreed completely with what you and suek wrote as quoted in my #5. The succeeding three sentences were from Boccaccio’s Decameron, Shakespeare’s sonnet #18, and Lord Byron’s poem #173, with the appropriate modification to fit. All having to do with how much I savored the moment of complete agreement, clearly, and nothing whatsoever to do with you or suek. And where so ever the “Left” comment came from, it was obviously based on your misunderstanding, making it a confusing and curious non sequitur.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    You thoroughly and utterly misunderstood my comment.

    It isn’t so much that I misunderstood your comment as I didn’t agree with it.

    Tell me what you thought I meant by my comment about the Left and I’ll tell you whether you are right or not.

  • Ariel

    Ymar #11,

    In context, I was not saying you and suek were in total agreement, given that You and suek wrote of two different aspects of the same issue, but that I was in total agreement with both statements.1) Or do you believe that you and suek were at odds? 2) Or that I could not be agreement with either one or both statements? Which is it? If neither, what didn’t you agree with? That I could or should savor the “moment”?

    The last time the Left talked about feelings being the same as agreement, they somehow ended up in bed with Al Qaeda.

    I could only take this as referring to the expression (feeling) of my savoring the “moment” which was buttressed by your #9 “Again, I made no agreement concerning a ’summer’s day” or a “moonless night” let alone stating anything about them.” But of course you didn’t as they had nothing to do with you.

    If a take the bold statement as stand-alone, a non sequitur, I can see a number of possible meanings, anything from “why do they hate us, its our fault” to the protection of jihadi under the rubric of racism and Islamophobia. However, a specific time that, or thread where, the Left spoke of feelings equaling agreement, thus ending in bed with Al-Qaeda, no.

  • Charles Martel

    I can see it now. . .

    Somehow, I’ve wound up in bed with Al Queda. My only hope is to trick Al with delaying tactics, much like Inspector Clouseau’s wife in “Pink Panther.”

    Al: “Ah, my lovely, first to streamline your clitoris!”

    Me: “Oh, you say the sweetest things. But before you amend me, could you get me a couple of those nifty 16 penny nails to chew on? You know, the ones you use to nail schoolboys to their desks?”

    Al (leaping out of bed): “Done, my doe-eyed sluttina!” (There is the sound of footsteps, then “Aiyeeeeeeeee! I’ve stepped on one of the accursed things!”) Al jumps back into bed with several nails in hand.

    Al: “Now, my beloved punching bag, my buck stopper, my little door jamb, on to Islamic bliss!”

    Me: “I cannot bear to wait, but Al, could you do me another favor?”

    Al: “Say it, my willing orifice!”

    Me: “Could you bring me the head of Dick Cheney on a platter?”

    Al (bounding out of bed and donning his Reeboks): “For you, anything! I’m off to Amerikkka even as we speak to hunt him down! Wait for me! Wait for me!”

    Me (plumping up a suddenly liberated pillow and pulling the blankets up to my chin): “Of course I will, Al. I will suffer through every moment of separation, with only your five bachelor brothers for companionship.”

    Al fumbles with the cave door.

    Me: “Al? Another tiny favor?”

    Al: “Yes, my anvil of joy?”

    Me: “In Los Angeles, on Fairfax Ave.? There’s a deli, Canter’s, that serves a mean pastrami. Light rye and some mustard? Nothing else.”

    Al (flying into the night amidst a hail of Marine bullets): “I shall procure your Joo food before blowing the place up! Allah akbar!”

  • Ariel

    Charles Martel #13,

    Was it as good for you writing it as it was for me reading it?

  • Charles Martel

    Ariel, this is the first time on this blog that I’ve been asked, “Was it as good for you as it was for me?”

    (I guess we should break out the cigarettes?)

    Thank you for a nice compliment.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Hey, dudes — just remember that this is a Left coast blog. No smoking cigarettes here, although you should feel free to light up some Mary Jane.

  • Charles Martel

    =Succcccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk=

    =Holding it innnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn=

    =Gick, gick gick=

    =Whooooooooooooooooooossshhhhhhh= letting it out

    Thanks, Book.

  • BrianE

    =Uncontrollable laughter=

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    We aim to please here — and if we can’t alter your consciousness, what good are we?