Our first winter in our Virginia home atop the Blue Ridge, the heavens opened and it snowed two feet. I had inherited an old John Deere riding mower from the previous owners that could have a plow blade mounted on front, but that little garden tractor could not remotely handle that magnitude of snow.
My wife and I were already no longer young, and our driveway was long. We were wondering how long we’d be trapped when we heard noises outside. A neighbor, from a long way down the road, owned a Bobcat, and he was digging out everybody along Raven Rocks Road.
That kind of thing is both extraordinary and yet typical of life in rural America. Our neighbor had the right tool for the job and he knew perfectly well that almost nobody else was similarly equipped. He knew, too, that we were a long way from town, and the chances of anybody obtaining professional assistance were slim. So he just went down the whole road and dug everybody out.
I ran out and offered money, and he naturally refused. A few days later, I went to his house and dropped off a pretty good bottle of Bourbon.
One of the really nice things about living in the country, in red state, fly-over America is that people are neighborly. They believe in helping out other people who need a hand, and they regard it as their own responsibility to do that, not somebody else’s or the government’s.
Oh, heck no. The Trumpites next door to our pandemic getaway, who seem as devoted to the ex-president as you can get without being Q fans, just plowed our driveway without being asked and did a great job.
How am I going to resist demands for unity in the face of this act of aggressive niceness?
Of course, on some level, I realize I owe them thanks — and, man, it really looks like the guy back-dragged the driveway like a pro — but how much thanks?
These neighbors are staunch partisans of blue lives, and there aren’t a lot of anything other than white lives in neighborhood.
This is also kind of weird. Back in the city, people don’t sweep other people’s walkways for nothing. …
What do we do about the Trumpites around us? Like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who spoke eloquently this week about her terrifying experience during the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Americans are expected to forgive and forget before we’ve even stitched up our wounds. Or gotten our vaccines against the pandemic that former President Trump utterly failed to mitigate.
My neighbors supported a man who showed near-murderous contempt for the majority of Americans. They kept him in business with their support.
But the plowing.
On Jan. 6, after the insurrection, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) issued an aw-shucks plea for all Americans to love their neighbors. The United States, he said, “isn’t Hatfields and McCoys, this blood feud forever.” And, he added, “You can’t hate someone who shovels your driveway.”
At the time, I seethed; the Capitol had just been desecrated. But maybe my neighbor heard Sasse and was determined to make a bid for reconciliation.
So here’s my response to my plowed driveway, for now. Politely, but not profusely, I’ll acknowledge the Sassian move. With a wave and a thanks, a minimal start on building back trust. I’m not ready to knock on the door with a covered dish yet.
I also can’t give my neighbors absolution; it’s not mine to give. Free driveway work, as nice as it is, is just not the same currency as justice and truth. To pretend it is would be to lie, and they probably aren’t looking for absolution anyway.
But I can offer a standing invitation to make amends. Not with a snowplow but by recognizing the truth about the Trump administration and, more important, by working for justice for all those whom the administration harmed. Only when we work shoulder to shoulder to repair the damage of the last four years will we even begin to dig out of this storm.
That neighbor ought to go right out and plow this arrogant liberal cow back in.
I get press release emails from Mother Yale pretty much every day.
This morning in came a triumphant notice boasting that Yale, this year for the first time, earned a gold rating via STARS, The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, “a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance”.
Now “Sustainability” is one of those major shibboleths constituting obsessions and the foci of ersatz-religious devotion for the contemporary elite community of fashion.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Sustainability is a superstition, based essentially on the fallacious theory of Malthusianism, which contended that an ever-expanding human population would inevitable out-grow the food supply and other essential resources.
We have all lived through decades of constant media propaganda about the imminent apocalyptic crisis produced by excess population, peak oil, exhaustion of availability of this or that, despite Norman Borlaug, Fracking, and (most hilariously) the Simon-Erlich Wager. No evidence, no factual refutation will ever suffice to dispel this nonsense.
The ability of human ingenuity to innovate and create new solutions and to multiply existing resources is consistently and reliably wildly underestimated by our Grand Establishment Pseudo-Intelligentsia.
I think their real underlying motivation is a religious one. The elite community of fashion has long since abandoned Judeo-Christianity, but its members still are afflicted by guilt and a profound sense of their own unworthiness of the privilege and prosperity they enjoy. They subconsciously feel a need to propitiate some higher power. They yearn to find some way to sacrifice and flagellate themselves and hanker to perform some kind, any kind of penitential acts.
Thus, Gaia has replaced the Puritan Jehovah. So the Yale Administration, for instance, confirms its own membership among the Elect by gravely immolating large sums of cash and by public testimony.
It’s all really the recrudescence of the ancient Manichaean heresy: there is this wonderful, good, natural stuff over here, and there is this awful, naughty, intrisically violative stuff over there. The former is the natural world, and the latter is anything man-made, anything and everything connected to human economic activity.
There is also an imaginary past or current state constituting the only perfect and legitimate set of conditions. Any change or modification of this alleged ideal represents a disaster, a crime, and a tragedy. If some obscure mugwort, insect, or rodent happens to go extinct, mankind is to blame, and no possible expense or inconvenience can be spared to preserve every single species and subspecies, and they’ve got the taxonomists ready to promote any subspecies to species status.
Yale, of course, is fully committed to the good fight. Yale has even built its own shrine to Gaia, Kroon Hall, a $33.5 million dollar Rube Goldberg exercise in spending several thousand dollars to save a nickel, in deploying top-level expertise and engineering to find dazzlingly innovative work arounds for trivial items available at any Ace Hardware Store.
Sustainability, Mr. Salovey? How’s this for your Sustainability?
2020â€“2021 Tuition and Fees
Yale Health Hospitalization & Specialty Care Insurance $2,548
Student Activities Fee $50
When I arrived at Yale in September of 1966, the total cost was $3000 a year.
Why does the cost of attending Yale rise so much more rapidly than the rate of inflation? It probably has a great deal to do with the proliferation of special imaginary problem/bad idea offices filled with administrators burning incense in front of false idols.
Yale “Sustainability” Office has no less than eight left-wing academic bureaucrats disseminating nonsense, perpetually grasping at unwarranted powers (“Ask me about” World Governance”), and wallowing in undeserved prestige. And this ridiculous and nonsensical office has been operating, and wasting pots full of money, for fifteen years!
Just imagine how many similar Offices of Empty Superstition and/or Terrible Ideas are cluttering up the landscape all over Yale’s campus.
There is undoubtedly a well-staffed Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Yale, devoted to pandering to Snowflakes of Color’s amour propre and enforcing political correctness.
Salena Zito points out that, if he wins, Biden won’t be healing anything and that the era of nation-wide division is not really about Trump.
Many voters going into this election next month believe if Biden wins the presidency, the constant disruption, chaos, and social unrest will recede because Trump will no longer be president. Some of them are actually hinging their vote on that. Those exasperated voters and every reporter who spins that reasoning are as wrong about that as they were in their belief that the 2016 election was all about Trump. It never was.
Trump was never the cause of the conservative populist coalition that put him in office. He was the result of it. After decades of voters’ dissatisfaction with both political parties, institutions, government, and culture, they voted for themselves and their communities over both partyâ€™s establishments. It wasn’t about voting for Trump.
A lot of very smart people keep missing that critical nuance.
If Trump’s opponents, or those who cover him, spent any time listening to voters and not making fun of them, categorizing them as a cult, racists, stupid, or whatever word of the day they are using to describe them, they would understand that.
I donâ€™t mean parachuting in for a day at a diner and calling that understanding of a community. But walking in their shoes and their community’s streets to see how government has either failed them or passed their communities by. It wouldnâ€™t hurt to stay in town for a couple of days, attend church with people, go to work with them, or watch them coach little league.
Look someone in the eyes on the very ground they walk on, and not from the bubble of your life experiences, and you might experience a little empathy.
As for Biden, despite his wistful assertion that he is going to bring this country together, anyone with a smidgen of understanding of the Democratic Party knows he will be hard-pressed to bring his own party together, let alone an entire country.
The hard and very vocal Left will demand climate change legislation, defunding or deep restructuring of our nationâ€™s police forces, free college tuition, a $15 minimum wage, “Medicare for all,” and a restructuring of our education system to include radical lessons like the 1619 Project as part of the curriculum.
They will take their demands to social media, the streets, and to Washington until they get what they want. That is not a threat; that is just a reality. Biden is not the far-Left’s candidate, but he is the means to an end of Trump. Once elected, there is a valid expectation of a far-left reward for voting for Biden.
The moderate Democrats, independents, and suburban Republicans who may put Biden into office wonâ€™t go willingly along with sweeping government changes to satisfy activists, nor the higher taxes needed to support them. They wonâ€™t take to the streets, but they will silently move away from the coalition they decided to dip their toe in. The result will be an instantaneous shift back toward Republican candidates for the 2022 midterm elections, and the wildly swinging wave elections weâ€™ve been experiencing since 2006 will continue.
In short, there is no exit from the roller coaster anytime soon.
Vanity Fair identifies the next essential accessory for members of today’s urban haute bourgeois community of fashion.
Now that face masks and shields are officially a part of our everyday outfits for the foreseeable future, it makes sense that luxury designers would want to cash-in on the biggest accessory trend to come out of the pandemic. A number of brands have already made the foray into fancy masks, but Louis Vuitton is the first to offer a high-fashion face shield, with the price tag to match.
The French fashion house announced this week that it will be releasing its elegant $961 take on PPE as part of the label’s 2021 Cruise collection, available in stores worldwide on October 30th. The shield is composed of an elastic monogrammed strap that goes around the wearer’s head with a moveable shield attached by golden studs engraved with the LV logo. The shield itself also comes trimmed in Vuitton’s signature monogram print, can be flipped upwards to be worn as a peaked hat, and also comes with transition lens technology so it can go from clear to dark depending on the level of sunlight.
A press release announcing the shield describes it as â€œan eye-catching headpiece, both stylish and protective.â€ And once cities are allowed to safely have in-person runway shows again, these LV Shields are almost guaranteed to be the must-have accessory of fashion week.
In a just world, Peggy Noonan would have repented publicly for turning her coat and endorsing Barack Obama in 2008 and then retired to a nunnery to spend her remaining years making grape jelly. But, no, alas! she is still holding forth regularly as a “conservative” commentator at the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
Just last week, Peggy horrified some of us afresh with a gushing puff-piece praising Joe Biden’s running-mate to the stars.
She is an excellent performer of politics. Like Bill Clinton she enjoys and has a talent for the necessary artifice. She takes obvious pleasure in campaigningâ€”making speeches, waving, laughing, pressing the flesh. In committee hearings she cocks her brow in the closeup to show skepticism. Her glamour, and her consciousness of it, were vivid enough to be spoofed by Maya Rudolph on â€œSaturday Night Live.â€
Reading her 2019 autobiography, â€œThe Truths We Hold: An American Journey,â€ it occurs to you that what sheâ€™s really bringing Joe Biden is the things she doesnâ€™t say and the stories she doesnâ€™t tell on the trail.
She was born and raised in a climate of liberal activism in Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., in the 1960s and â€™70s. Her father, Donald Harris, born in Jamaica in 1938, was a student there and went on to be an economics professor at Stanford. Her mother, Shyamala, was born in southern India, graduated from the University of Delhi at 19, and earned a doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley. Shyamala, who died in 2009, was expected to return home for an arranged marriage; instead she met Donald. They married, had two children and divorced.
When Kamala Harris was a toddler, her parents brought her to civil-rights marches. â€œI have young memories of a sea of legs moving about,â€ she writes. Her mother liked to tell a story. Once Kamala was fussing in her stroller, and Mrs. Harris leaned down and asked, â€œWhat do you want?â€ â€œ â€˜Fweedom!â€™ I yelled back.â€
The general atmosphere was â€™60s Berkeleyâ€”diverse, full of passion, consumed by identity politics and debates about liberation.
They took periodic trips to India. â€œMy mother, grandparents, aunts, and uncle instilled us with pride in our South Asian roots. . . . We were raised with a strong awareness of and appreciation for Indian culture.â€ (India looks to be an increasingly important ally as Americaâ€™s relationship with China deteriorates. If Biden-Harris wins and her background is helpful, good.)
She went to ballet class, sang in the choir in the 23rd Avenue Church of God, went to a black cultural center called Rainbow Sign on Thursdays. She saw Rep. Shirley Chisholm speak and was electrified.
By the time Ms. Harris graduated high school she wanted to become a lawyer like her heroes Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley. Also like her Uncle Sherman and a family friend named Henry. â€œAny time someone had a problem . . . the first thing youâ€™d hear was, â€˜Call Henry, call Sherman. Theyâ€™ll know what to do.â€™ . . . I wanted to be the one people called.â€ …
[W]e get a sense of gusto. She admires toughness. She is a natural pol. She was bred to achieve in an aspirational immigrant environment. She loves to compete.
She is warm, humorous. Like most of the men around her in politics, she enjoys being important. She isnâ€™t embarrassed by attention.
Peggy omits mentioning the unpleasant reality of exactly how a graduate of a third-rate law school, who flunked the bar exam, rose so rapidly to the upper levels of California democrat party machine politics.
This week, Peggy delivered a tepid critique of the democrat convention: boring, artificial, and way too full of grievance-mongering. But, she also endorsed, and enthusiastically echoes, all the scurrilous crap they flung at Donald Trump.
All summer Iâ€™ve been running into two kinds of people. One kind says, â€œThat man is a living shame on our country and must be removed.â€ The other kind says very little. They donâ€™t defend him. They say, â€œI canâ€™t believe I may vote for him, but . . .â€ And always they explain it this way: â€œWhat the other guys are gonna do on taxes,â€ â€œWhat the other guys will do to my industry,â€ â€œWhat the Democrats will do to the economy.â€
Iâ€™m getting the impression that for a lot of people, the ballot this fall wonâ€™t read â€œTrump vs. Bidenâ€ but â€œTrump vs. What the Other Guys Will Do.â€ …
Barack Obamaâ€™s speech will stick in history; it wonâ€™t just slide away. No former president has ever publicly leveled anything like this criticism at a sitting successor: â€œI did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously, that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care. But he never did. For close to four years now, he has shown no interest in putting in the work.â€
This is a former president calling the current one shallow and lazy. He also suggested heâ€™s greedy and intellectually incapable. Unprecedented? Yes. Unjustified? No, alas. And Iâ€™m not seeing Trump supporters rise up in indignant defense. They know itâ€™s true, too.
Reading this, my blood boiled and I marveled at the extent to which long residence in the elite community of fashion bubble has distorted and impaired her perception of reality.
OK, it is true that Donald Trump talks differently from the typical representative of the national upper middle class elite. He boasts and brags. He constantly indulges in exaggeration and he interrupts his own sentences, inserting annoying little modifiers like “the most beautiful.” Trump also dresses and grooms himself peculiarly. His suits are always identical and blue and look like they came from Robert Hall. He wears (almost always) monochrome neckties, usually red, and always tied too long. And he dyes his hair and wears it peculiarly long and combed over elaborately in a very strange fashion obviously contrived to cover at any cost his baldness.
Trump offends the delicate sensibilities of people like Peggy Noonan, too, by his conspicuous lack of inhibition and propriety. Trump gets online and tweets what he thinks and feels, insulting and attacking his opponents in government and the media with no consideration to his own dignity or that of his position. Trump obviously is not lazy. His problem is hyperactivity.
I think “shallow” is also not the mot juste. Trump is not so much shallow as undomesticated and unrefined. Donald Trump offends the dickens out of our national elite, because he is clearly “not one of us.” Trump is an outsider, a parvenu from the Outer Boroughs, who dresses, walks, talks, and behaves like –oh, dear! oh, dear!– one of the common people.
Donald Trump is not glib and smooth-talking. He cannot produce the same kind of ever-so-nice sounding gaseous rhetoric as Obama. He does not understand how he’s supposed to behave. He breaks all the rules and knocks over the tea set every time.
Why all this rankles, why this stings so sharply, lies precisely in the fact that the people’s elevation of Donald Trump constitutes a distinct rejection, an undeniable slap in the face to the entire America establishment elite. The people rejected the democrat elite’s left-wing insanity, and they also rejected the Republican elite for having failed for so long to defeat Leftism absolutely and decisively. And, there is an especially sharp, added level of pain for establishmentarians looking on: Trump is winning, Trump is faithfully, unprecedentedly fulfilling campaign promises. The horrible, uncouth and unworthy Trump shrugs off easily the worst the democrat opposition can do, and marches on, trampling taboos underfoot, from victory to victory.
I didn’t support Trump in 2016. I had all the same stylistic reservations as Peggy and George Will and all the other Never Trumpers. However, I gradually observed that Trump really is patriotic and sincere. I liked many of his appointments and I really like the majority of his policies. Sure, I recognize that Trump is eccentric and flawed, but I also recognize how much he has accomplished and how willing he is to fight. You can’t come to me and tell me that Donald Trump is too dumb and too shallow to be president, we have to have Joe Biden instead! If Donald Trump owned a dog, it would be smarter than Joe Biden. And that dog would be more principled.
Angelo Codevila proposes adding a new form to Aristotle’s forms of government.
Over the past fifty years the rules of public and even of private life in America have well-nigh reversed, along with the meaning of common words, e.g. marriage, merit, and equality. Social inequality, even more than economic, has increased as personal safety and freedom have plummeted. People are subject to arbitrary power as never before. No one voted for these changes. Often, as with the negation of the Defense of Marriage Act and of the referendum-approved California constitutional provision to the same effect, these reversals expressly negated law. Just as often, as in the case of our mounting restrictions on freedom of speech, they have happened quite outside any law. Altogether, they have transformed a constitutional republic into an oligarchy at war with itself as well as with the rest of society. The U.S. Constitution and the way of life lived under it are historical relics.
Our ruling class transformed Americaâ€™s regime by instituting a succession of scams, each of which transferred power and wealth to themselves. These scamsâ€™ blending into one another compel us to recognize them, individually and jointly, as the kind of governance that Augustine called â€œmagnum latrocinium,â€ thievery writ large. Thievery of power even more than of moneyâ€”colloquially, scamocracy. …
What do all [the] preoccupations that have dominated American life the last half century have in common? Allâ€”the long-running race and poverty scam, the education scam, the environmentalist scam, the sex scam, the security scam, and now the pandemic scamâ€”have been ginned up by the same people, Americaâ€™s bipartisan ruling class. All have been based on propositions touted as scientific truth by the most highly credentialed persons in Americaâ€”experts certified by the U.S government, enshrined by academia as scienceâ€™s spokesmen, and fawned upon by the media working in concert to forbid any disagreement on the matter whatsoever. Yet virtually all their propositions have turned out to be false, and indeed have produced effects opposite to those claimed.
Not incidentally, somehow, all these scams ended up putting more power and money into the very same handsâ€”their handsâ€”while diminishing the rest of Americansâ€™ freedoms and prospects. Accident, comrade? No. Taking valuable things under false pretenses for the falsifiersâ€™ benefit is the very definition of fraud, of scam. The scams that have flowed from societyâ€™s commanding heights are products of our ruling classâ€™s ever-growing internal solidarity, of confidence in its own superiority and entitlement to rule. They are the other side of its intellectual/moral isolation, and of its co-option of ever-less competent membersâ€”hence of its corruption.
where are the police while these vandals destroy public property and tear down priceless works of art that have stood, in some cases, for a century or more? You almost have to remind yourself that the people tearing down the property actually do not have the legal right to do what theyâ€™re doing. Youâ€™d be excused for thinking otherwise â€“ does the term â€œpublic propertyâ€ mean that the public can do whatever it wants with it? â€“ however, destruction of property worth more than $500 is a felony in most states. These statues are worth many thousands of dollars, making these mob-led â€œremovalsâ€ felony crimes. They are also dangerous crimes, as the man who had his skull cracked open in Virginia convincingly discovered.
But this has been the theme in recent weeks. The police standby while leftist radicals do, quite literally, whatever they want.
In Seattle, a group of radicals have seized control of several city blocks and declared it a sovereign state. They have set up checkpoints and barricades, and uniformed police are barred entry. The police, in fact, were nice enough to abandon their precinct at the riotersâ€™ behest. This is a repeat of what we witnessed in Minneapolis, except in that case the precinct was then ransacked and torched. Somehow, in a civilized country once ruled by law, this has all become a familiar sight. Mobs rampage through our cities, set buildings on fire, destroy police cars, destroy public property, destroy private property, throw bricks, invade government buildings, loot, assault, and murder. And very little effort is made to stop any of these crimes from occurring, or to punish those who commit them.
There is much discussion about â€œprivilegeâ€ in our culture. Indeed, the concept of privilege is one of the things fueling these mobs. They would say that privilege is bestowed based on race and gender, and that I, as a white man, have the most privilege of all. Yet Iâ€™m fairly sure that if I drove into town right now and threw a brick in a window, or set a retail outlet on fire, or looted a convenience store, or invaded a police precinct, or tried to set up my own â€œautonomous zone,â€ or yanked down any statues or monuments I found personally displeasing, I would be arrested on the spot, with little fanfare. And if I resisted arrest and was beaten or killed by police in the process â€“ even if my death was unjust and the result of excessive force â€“ there would be no CNN headlines about it, no riots in my honor, no elaborate displays of performative grief from our elected officials in Washington. Whatever my white privilege gets me, it doesnâ€™t get me that. And it doesnâ€™t provide me a pass that allows me to tear through the city, stealing, destroying, looting, and burning, either.
Mainstream Christianity in today’s West has become a dead letter and a joke. But our elites are not irreligious. Their real clerisy is the rancid radical Left. And their religious observance consists of submission, self-abasement, and virtue-signalling in response to whatever the Left demands.
Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1833-1836, New York Historical Society.
Matthew Continetti discusses today’s Progressivism in the light of Irving Kristol’s 1969 lecture on â€œUrban Civilization and Its Discontents.â€
Beginning in the 19th century, writers, artists, philosophers, and intellectuals adopted an adversarial stance toward the dominant â€œbourgeoisâ€ ethos of orthodox religiosity, marital fidelity, conventional morality, and traditional manners. With the advent of mass media and the rise of higher education in the 20th century, the adversarial impulse permeated the institutions of culture. It gained more adherents in each rising generation.
What Roger Scruton described as a â€œculture of repudiationâ€ revised inherited understandings of history, politics, economics, society, art, psychology, and behavior. The philosophy of Darwin, Marx, and Freud deprived individuals of agency. It reduced them to mere products of the environment. The will of â€œthe people,â€ no matter its direction, was considered a good in itself. â€œWhat we may call the transcendental-populist religion of democracy,â€ Kristol said, â€œsuperseded an original political philosophy of democracy.â€
The population fought over the dispensation of entitlements. But it shared a state of mind. â€œIt is, to be precise, that state of mind,â€ Kristol went on, â€œwhich lacks all those qualities that, in the opinion of the founding fathers, added up to republican morality: steadiness of character, deliberativeness of mind, and a mild predisposition to subordinate oneâ€™s own special interests to the public interest.â€
The most important question, Kristol liked to say, was, â€œWhy not?â€ Why not do drugs, consume porn, abandon your children, break into and steal from a Target store? The institutions that once supplied the answers to such questions â€” the family, the church, the community â€” receded in importance and withered in strength against the power of an adversary culture that embedded itself in media and government and the liberation of desires that accompanied conditions of security and affluence.
It became difficult to justify submission of the will to external moral authority. That those authorities were often bigoted or unjust gave rise to the additional demand of justice as a precondition of civil peace and order. But this was a non sequitur. Order is the basis of justice, not the other way around. â€œTo demand â€˜justiceâ€™ as a precondition for political or social stability,â€ Kristol wrote in 1979, â€œis to make a demand on this world which the world has ever refused to concede.â€
What I find remarkable is how the Left had managed to enroll not only the naive and romantic Dummer Jungen, but also the Boobs and Babbitts; the Christers, Wowsers, and Reformers; the Goo-Goos and the energetic ladies whose sex lives are over under a single virtue-signalling, self-congratulatory banner.
Joel Kotkin, as usual, is explaining that the real constituency of Progressive Statism is the new clerisy whose class interest is intimately connected to the growth in power and reach of the Administrative State.
The term clerisy was coined by Samuel Coleridge in the 1830s to define a class of people whose job it was to instruct and direct the masses. Traditional clerics remained part of this class, but they were joined by othersâ€”university professors, scientists, public intellectuals, and the heads of charitable foundations. Since the industrial revolution, the clerisy has expanded and become ever-more secular, essentially replacing the religious clergy as what the great German sociologist Max Weber called societyâ€™s â€œnew legitimizers.â€
Although certainly not unanimous in their views, the clerisy generally favors ever-increasing central control and regulation. French economist Thomas Piketty calls them â€œthe Brahmin Left,â€ pointing out that their goal is not necessarily growth, nor greater affluence for hoi polloi, but a society shaped by their own progressive beliefs. In this respect, they are, despite a generally secular ideology, reprising the role played in feudal society by the Catholic Church, or what the French referred to as the First Estate.
Todayâ€™s clerisy are concentrated in professions whose numbers have grown in recent decades, including teaching, consulting, law, the medical field, and the civil service. In contrast, the size of the traditional middle classâ€”small business owners, workers in basic industries, and constructionâ€”have seen their share of the job market decline and shrink.2 Some professions that were once more closely tied to the private economy, such as doctors, have become subsumed by bureaucratic structures andâ€”in the United States, at leastâ€”shifted from a dependable conservative lobby to an increasingly progressive one.
These shifts are, if anything, more pronounced in Europe. In France, over 1.4 million lower skilled jobs have disappeared in the past quarter-century while technical jobs, often in the public sector, have sharply increased. Those working for state industries, universities, and in other clerisy-oriented positions, enjoy far better benefits, notably pensions, than those working in the purely private sector. To be sure, members of the clerisy have to suffer Europeâ€™s high taxes on the middle class, but they also benefit far more than others from the stateâ€™s largesse.
At its apex, the clerisy today is made up largely of the well-educated offspring of the affluent. This class has become increasingly hereditary, in part due to the phenomena of well-educated people marrying each otherâ€”between 1960 and 2005, the share of men with university degrees who married women with university degrees nearly doubled, from 25 â€“ 48 percent. â€œAfter one generation,â€ the American sociologist Daniel Bell predicted nearly half a century ago, â€œa meritocracy simply becomes an enclaved class.
Voters chose Donald Trump as an antidote to the growing inflammation caused by the (OK, deep breath . . .) prosperity-crushing, speech-inhibiting, nanny state-building, carbon-obsessing, patriarchy-bashing, implicit bias-accusing, tokey-wokey, globalist, swamp-creature governing classâ€”all perfectly embodied by the Democratsâ€™ 2016 nominee.
Victor Davis Hanson, brilliantly as usual, discusses the Deep State, Hubris, Nemesis, and Donald Trump.
[T]hey never say to themselves, â€œIâ€™m not elected.â€ The constitution says an elected president sets foreign policy. Period. So thereâ€™s this sense that they, as credential experts, have a value system, and the value system is they have an inordinate respect for an Ivy League degree or a particular alphabetic combination after their name: a J.D., a Ph.D., an MBA, or a particular resume. I worked at the NSC, then I transferred over to the NSA, and then, I went into the State Department. And we saw that in really vivid examples during the Adam Schiff impeachment inquiries, where a series of State Department people, before they could even talk, [they] said, â€œIâ€™m the third generation to serve in my family. This is my resume. This is where I went to school. This is where I was posted.â€ And in the case of Adam Schiff, we saw these law professors, who had gone in and out of government, and they had these academic billets.
And to condense all that, it could be distilled by saying the deep state makes arguments by authority: â€œIâ€™m an authority, and I have credentials, and therefore, ipse dixit, what I say matters.â€ And they donâ€™t want to be cross-examined, they donâ€™t want to have their argument in the arena of ideas and cross-examination. They think it deserves authority, and they have contemptâ€”and I mean that literallyâ€”contempt for elected officials. [They think:] â€œThese are buffoons in private enterprise. They are the CEO in some company; theyâ€™re some local Rotary Club member. They get elected to Congress, and then we have to school them on the international order or the rules-based order.â€ They have a certain lingo, a proper, sober, and judicious comportment.
So you can imagine that Donald Trumpâ€”to take a metaphor, Rodney Dangerfield out of Caddyshackâ€”comes in as this, what they would say, stereotype buffoon and starts screaming and yelling. And he looks different. He talks different. And he has no respect for these people at all. Maybe thatâ€™s a little extreme that he doesnâ€™t, but he surely doesnâ€™t. And that frightens them. And then they coalesce. And Iâ€™m being literal now. Remember the anonymous Sept. 5, 2018, op-ed writer who said, â€œIâ€™m here actively trying to oppose Donald Trump.â€ He actually said that he wanted him to leave office. Then, Admiral [William] McRaven said, â€œthe sooner, the better.â€ This is a four-star admiral, retired. [He] says a year before the election â€¦ Trump should leave: â€œthe sooner, the better.â€ Thatâ€™s a pretty frightening idea. And when you have Mark Zaid, the lawyer for the whistleblower and also the lawyer for some of the other people involved in thisâ€”I think itâ€™s a conspiracyâ€”saying that one coup leads to another. â€¦ People are talking about a coup, then we have to take them at their own word. …
I think that people feel that for a variety of reasonsâ€”cultural, social, politicalâ€”that Trump is not deserving of the respect that most presidents receive, and therefore any means necessary to get rid of him are justified. And for some, itâ€™s the idea that heâ€™s had neither political or military prior experience. For others, itâ€™s his outlandish appearance, his Queens accent, as I said, his Rodney Dangerfield presence. And for othersâ€”I think this is really underestimatedâ€”he is systematically undoing the progressive agenda of Barack Obama, which remember, was supposed to be not just an eight-year regnum, but 16 years with Hillary Clinton. That wouldâ€™ve reformed the court. It would have shut down fossil fuel exploration, pipelines, more regulationsâ€”well, pretty much what Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are talking about right now. That was going to happen. And so for a lot of people, they think, â€œWow, if Donald Trump is elected in 2020â€â€”and he will be, according to the fears of Representatives Al Green or [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez or Nancy Pelosi; remember, they keep saying this impeachment is about the 2020 [election]â€”â€œweâ€™ve got to ensure the integrity.â€ Thatâ€™s what Nadler said today.
But if Trump is elected, that would mean eventually in five more years, [weâ€™d have a] 7â€“2 Supreme Court, 75 percent of the federal judiciary [would be] conservative and traditional and constructionist. â€¦ We are the worldâ€™s largest oil and gas producer and exporter, but we probably would be even bigger. And when you look at a lot of issues, such as abortion, or identity politics, or the securing of the border, or the nature of the economy or foreign policy, they think America as we know it will beâ€”to use a phrase from Barack Obamaâ€”â€œfundamentally transformed.â€ So thatâ€™s the subtext of it. Stop this man right now before he destroys the whole progressive projectâ€”and with it, the reputation of the media. Because the media saw this happening and they said, â€œYou know what?â€â€”as Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times or Christiane Amanpour have saidâ€”â€œâ€¦ you really donâ€™t need to be disinterested.â€
Trump is beyond the pale, so itâ€™s OK to editorialize in your news coverage. And so the Shorenstein Center has reported that 90 percent of all news coverage [of Trump] is negative. So theyâ€™ve thrown their hat in the ring and said, weâ€™re going to be part of the Democratic progressive agenda to destroy this president. But if they fail, then their reputation goes down with the progressive project. And thatâ€™s happening now. CNN is at all-time low ratings, at least the last four years. And the network news is losing audiences, and most of the major newspapers are, as well. So thereâ€™s a lot of high stakes here. And if Donald Trump survives and were to be reelected, I donâ€™t know what would happen on the left. It would make the 2016 reaction look tame in comparison.