Martin Hutchinson finds an excellent historical parallel to today’s divided-by-a-class-and-cultural-chasm American society.
With the important exception of the Trump administration, still young and possibly about to be cut off in the flower of its youth if the midterm elections go badly, the great majority of U.S. elites have a decidedly French air to them. They are now very separated from ordinary people, as Charles Murray brilliantly demonstrated in his â€œComing Apartâ€ a few years ago. The distance between Murrayâ€™s tony suburb of Belmont and his working-class community of Fishtown has only grown larger over the last few years, and the cultural gap, both in terms of interests and based on all kinds of other indicators, has also increased. Todayâ€™s intellectual Ivy-educated elite is wandering around the Petit Trianon playing at being a shepherdess, not playing cricket and hunting with ordinary folk.
In its economic attitudes, the U.S. elite is also 18th Century French. It sees essentially no limit to its ability to make economically damaging regulations if some pet cause is at stake. It takes a far greater interest in the theoretical possibility of global warming a century hence and in theoretical dangers to the environment from coal extraction than in the practical problems of generating electricity from wind power on a calm day or from solar power on a cloudy day. …
Todayâ€™s Marie Antoinettes have just one difference from the original: they take health-consciousness far more seriously than she did. Their advice for the rabble will thus be foul-tasting as well as disdainful: â€œLet them eat kale!â€