Category Archive 'The Elite'
15 May 2020

Peggy Noonan on the Class Aspect of Lockdown

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Peggy Noonan, this week, is remembering her working class roots again.

I’m afraid, however, when push comes to shove, Peggy is always going to side with the Community of Fashion over ordinary America.

There is a class divide between those who are hard-line on lockdowns and those who are pushing back. We see the professionals on one side—those James Burnham called the managerial elite, and Michael Lind, in “The New Class War,” calls “the overclass”—and regular people on the other. The overclass are highly educated and exert outsize influence as managers and leaders of important institutions—hospitals, companies, statehouses. The normal people aren’t connected through professional or social lines to power structures, and they have regular jobs—service worker, small-business owner.

Since the pandemic began, the overclass has been in charge—scientists, doctors, political figures, consultants—calling the shots for the average people. But personally they have less skin in the game. The National Institutes of Health scientist won’t lose his livelihood over what’s happened. Neither will the midday anchor.

I’ve called this divide the protected versus the unprotected. There is an aspect of it that is not much discussed but bears on current arguments. How you have experienced life has a lot to do with how you experience the pandemic and its strictures. I think it’s fair to say citizens of red states have been pushing back harder than those of blue states.

It’s not that those in red states don’t think there’s a pandemic. They’ve heard all about it! They realize it will continue, they know they may get sick themselves. But they also figure this way: Hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy taken down, which would mean millions of other casualties, economic ones. Or, hundreds of thousands could die and the American economy is damaged but still stands, in which case there will be fewer economic casualties—fewer bankruptcies and foreclosures, fewer unemployed and ruined.

They’ll take the latter. It’s a loss either way but one loss is worse than the other. They know the politicians and scientists can’t really weigh all this on a scale with any precision because life is a messy thing that doesn’t want to be quantified.

Here’s a generalization based on a lifetime of experience and observation. The working-class people who are pushing back have had harder lives than those now determining their fate. They haven’t had familial or economic ease. No one sent them to Yale. They often come from considerable family dysfunction. This has left them tougher or harder, you choose the word.

They’re more fatalistic about life because life has taught them to be fatalistic. And they look at these scientists and reporters making their warnings about how tough it’s going to be if we lift shutdowns and they don’t think, “Oh what informed, caring observers.” They think, “You have no idea what tough is. You don’t know what painful is.” And if you don’t know, why should you have so much say?

The overclass says, “Wait three months before we’re safe.” They reply, “There’s no such thing as safe.”

Something else is true about those pushing back. They live life closer to the ground …

RTWT

02 Apr 2020

Our Super Smart Elite on the Job

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Kurt Schlichter finds the pandemic bringing out the best in the media spokespersons of the elite coastal community of fashion.

Another hitherto unknown skill that the media believes it possesses is logistics. “Why hasn’t Trump commanded a million ventilators to appear?!” the reporters demand. It’s pretty easy to see where they might have gotten the idea that the moment one articulates a desire to possess something that it magically appears. Capitalism has pretty much made that a reality. If you want something, you can go to a store and get it 24/7, or you can go on Amazon and it’ll be at your Manhattan apartment in 48 hours. Since they have never built anything or transported anything or distributed anything, only benefited from the labor of the unhip people who do those things, it’s only natural that the delayed adolescents who make up our media class imagine that material goods can be simply wished into being. After all, for all practical purposes during normal times, because of the efforts of Americans they look down upon, material goods pretty much can be simply wished into being. But prosperity takes work, not that the media would know.

Rhodes scholar Racheal Maddow mocked our Navy over the idea it could sail a floating hospital up to New York, leveraging her nautical knowledge to insist it was weeks away. It took all those water army people a week. Oh, and the ground army simultaneously built a full hospital in a few days. And, amazingly, almost none of the folks doing it attended Haaaaaarvard. But hey, our media elite has contributed – it’s accomplished…uh…um…shut up, racists!

RTWT

28 Feb 2020

Progressivism is the Religion of the New Clerisy Class

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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 others—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 society’s “new legitimizers.”

Although certainly not unanimous in their views, the clerisy generally favors ever-increasing central control and regulation. French economist Thomas Piketty calls them “the Brahmin Left,” 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.

Today’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 class—small business owners, workers in basic industries, and construction—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 and—in the United States, at least—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 Europe’s high taxes on the middle class, but they also benefit far more than others from the state’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 other—between 1960 and 2005, the share of men with university degrees who married women with university degrees nearly doubled, from 25 – 48 percent. “After one generation,” the American sociologist Daniel Bell predicted nearly half a century ago, “a meritocracy simply becomes an enclaved class.

RTWT

All this is why so many of our Ivy League classmates and assimilated college-educated friends have become the enemies of Freedom and the political adversaries of ordinary Americans.

10 Feb 2020

The Deep State Starring in “Caddyshack on the Potomac”

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Victor Davis Hanson, brilliantly as usual, discusses the Deep State, Hubris, Nemesis, and Donald Trump.

[T]hey never say to themselves, “I’m not elected.” The constitution says an elected president sets foreign policy. Period. So there’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, “I’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.” 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: “I’m an authority, and I have credentials, and therefore, ipse dixit, what I say matters.” And they don’t want to be cross-examined, they don’t want to have their argument in the arena of ideas and cross-examination. They think it deserves authority, and they have contempt—and I mean that literally—contempt for elected officials. [They think:] “These are buffoons in private enterprise. They are the CEO in some company; they’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.” They have a certain lingo, a proper, sober, and judicious comportment.

So you can imagine that Donald Trump—to take a metaphor, Rodney Dangerfield out of Caddyshack—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 that’s a little extreme that he doesn’t, but he surely doesn’t. And that frightens them. And then they coalesce. And I’m being literal now. Remember the anonymous Sept. 5, 2018, op-ed writer who said, “I’m here actively trying to oppose Donald Trump.” He actually said that he wanted him to leave office. Then, Admiral [William] McRaven said, “the sooner, the better.” This is a four-star admiral, retired. [He] says a year before the election … Trump should leave: “the sooner, the better.” That’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 this—I think it’s a conspiracy—saying that one coup leads to another. … 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 reasons—cultural, social, political—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, it’s the idea that he’s had neither political or military prior experience. For others, it’s his outlandish appearance, his Queens accent, as I said, his Rodney Dangerfield presence. And for others—I think this is really underestimated—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 would’ve reformed the court. It would have shut down fossil fuel exploration, pipelines, more regulations—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, “Wow, if Donald Trump is elected in 2020”—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]—“we’ve got to ensure the integrity.” That’s what Nadler said today.

But if Trump is elected, that would mean eventually in five more years, [we’d have a] 7–2 Supreme Court, 75 percent of the federal judiciary [would be] conservative and traditional and constructionist. … We are the world’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 be—to use a phrase from Barack Obama—“fundamentally transformed.” So that’s the subtext of it. Stop this man right now before he destroys the whole progressive project—and with it, the reputation of the media. Because the media saw this happening and they said, “You know what?”—as Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times or Christiane Amanpour have said—“… you really don’t need to be disinterested.”

Trump is beyond the pale, so it’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 they’ve thrown their hat in the ring and said, we’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 that’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 there’s a lot of high stakes here. And if Donald Trump survives and were to be reelected, I don’t know what would happen on the left. It would make the 2016 reaction look tame in comparison.

RTWT

HT: The News Junkie.

13 Nov 2019

A Must-Read Interview

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In a must-read interview with Tablet Magazine, David Samuels discusses with Angelo Codevilla the decline of post-Republican Imperial America, the corruption of the elite, meritocracy and its current absence, the populist revolt, the rise of the surveillance state, Jonathan Pollard, and the deep state’s efforts to discredit and remove Donald Trump.

David Samuels:

No one runs America. That’s the terror and the beauty of American life in a nutshell, the answer to the secret of how 300 million people from many different places can live together between two oceans, sharing a future-oriented outlook that methodically obliterates any ties to the past. All prior lived experience is transformed into science fiction, or else into self-serving evidence of the present-day moral, intellectual, and technological superiority of the brave imagineers who are fortunate enough to live here, in the Now, while all who came before them are cursed. No one can or does control such fantasy-driven machinery, which seems incapable of operating in any other way than it does, i.e., in a space with no beginning and no end, but tending always toward perfection. Learning to accept imperfection and failure may be an emotionally healthy way for adults to negotiate the terrors and absurdities of human existence, but it is not the highway to the perfectibility of man or woman-kind. …

Which is not to say that America isn’t governed by an elite class, just like China, or Japan, or France is—only that the ability of that class to actually rule anything is even more constrained by the native culture. The idea that an advanced technologically driven capitalist or socialist society of several hundred million people can be run by something other than an elite is silly or scary—the most obvious present-day alternative being a society run by ever-advancing forms of AI, which will no doubt have only the best interests of their flesh-and-blood creators at heart.

Yet it is possible to accept all of this, and to posit that the reason that the American ruling class seems so indisputably impotent and unmoored in the present is that there is no such thing as America anymore. In place of the America that is described in history books, where Henry Clay forged his compromises, and Walt Whitman wrote poetry, and Herman Melville contemplated the whale, and Ida Tarbell did her muckraking, and Thomas Alva Edison invented movies and the light bulb, and so forth, has arisen something new and vast and yet distinctly un-American that for lack of a better term is often called the American Empire, which in turn calls to mind the division of Roman history (and the Roman character) into two parts: the Republican, and the Imperial.

While containing the ghosts of the American past, the American Empire is clearly a very different kind of entity than the American Republic was—starting with the fact that the vast majority of its inhabitants aren’t Americans. Ancient American ideas about individual rights and liberties, the pursuit of happiness, and so forth, may still be inspiring to mainland American citizens or not, but they are foreign to the peoples that Americans conquered. To those people, America is an empire, or the shadow of an empire, under which seemingly endless wars are fought, a symbol of their own continuing powerlessness and cultural failure. Meanwhile, at home, the American ruling elites prattle on endlessly about their deeply held ideals of whatever that must be applied to Hondurans today, and Kurds tomorrow, in fits of frantic-seeming generosity in between courses of farm-to-table fare. Once the class bond has been firmly established, everyone can relax and exchange notes about their kids, who are off being credentialed at the same “meritocratic” but now hugely more expensive private schools that their parents attended, whose social purpose is no longer to teach basic math or a common history but to indoctrinate teenagers in the cultish mumbo-jumbo that serves as a kind of in-group glue that binds ruling class initiates (she/he/they/ze) together and usefully distinguishes them from townies during summer vacations by the seashore.

The understanding of America as an empire is as foreign to most Americans as is the idea that the specific country that they live in is run by a class of people who may number themselves among the elect but weren’t in fact elected by anyone. Under whatever professional job titles, the people who populate the institutions that exercise direct power over nearly all aspects of American life from birth to death are bureaucrats—university bureaucrats, corporate bureaucrats, local, state and federal bureaucrats, law enforcement bureaucrats, health bureaucrats, knowledge bureaucrats, spy agency bureaucrats. At each layer of specific institutional authority, bureaucrats coordinate their understandings and practices with bureaucrats in parallel institutions through lawyers, in language that is designed to be impenetrable, or nearly so, by outsiders. Their authority is pervasive, undemocratic, and increasingly not susceptible in practice to legal checks and balances. All those people together comprise a class.

Another thing that residents of the broad North American expanse between Canada and Mexico have noticed is that the programs and remedies that this class has promoted, both at home and abroad, have greatly enriched and empowered a small number of people, namely themselves—while the broader American population continues to decline in wealth, health, and education. Meanwhile, the American Empire that the ruling elite administers is collapsing. The popularity of such observations on both the left and the right is what accounts for the rise of Donald Trump, on one hand, and of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the other hand, among an electorate that has not been historically distinguished by its embrace of radicalism. …

David Samuels: Where does the ethos of a class come from?

Angelo Codevilla: Here I speak with the prejudices of an academician. Because the ethos of the academy changed, evolved. And what drove the change was the growing contempt of professors for our civilization. And you Jews ought not to feel that you are any less the enemy of these people than we Christians.

I should say the defining feature of the ruling class is a certain attitude. And that attitude developed in the academy, and that attitude became uniform throughout the country because of the uniform academy. The uniformity of the academy transformed itself into the uniformity of the ruling class.

Because that was the institution that credentialed the otherwise uncultured American masses?

It credentialed the mind and the habits. The habits of the heart. It credentialed the habits of the heart. The habits of conversation. The habits of work. The habits of logic. The habits period.

Can you imagine a bright kid coming in contact with that kind of intellectual fraud? The smartest ones will say, “hey, I don’t want to be part of this.” He’ll do something else. He won’t be taken in. Which means that this class will continue to degrade itself.

RTWT

07 Nov 2019

The Sheer Genius of the Blue State Urban Elite on Display

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26 Sep 2019

The Real Law is Whatever the Elite Wants

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Baroness Hale reads the British Supreme Court ruling.

Richard Ekins observes that the British people voted, and the British elite have found way after way to set that vote aside. The law in Britain, just like America, is whatever the elite community of fashion wants.

You’re surprised? Really? What are you surprised by? The specifics — that 11 non-elected, mostly public-school-educated judges, and doubtlessly Remainers I’d guess, should put the final nail into the lid of Brexit? Yeah, sure — that knocked me for six. Never saw that coming. Or was it the generality that surprised you — we’re not getting Brexit after all? If it’s the latter, I don’t think there’s much hope for you.

What seemed to me fairly plain on 24 June 2016 — that they, meaning our liberal establishment, would never let it happen — became an absolute certainty by the turn of this year. By January it was either no Brexit or Brexit in name only. And yet Leavers still clung on, like a spider will cling to the side of a bath as the hot water rises beneath it. ‘No deal is the default option! It’s the law!’ came the cry. I’m sorry, but have you not been watching? There is only one law. The law is there must be no Brexit. That is the whole of the law.

Even as late as last week, in his kind review of my book The Great Betrayal: The True Story of Brexit, Harry Mount suggested I was jumping the gun, making a rash gamble, because surely, surely, we were going to leave. Quentin Letts, a Leaver, reckoned much the same. Again – have you not been watching, gents? Listen, when the newly elected leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, is able to tell the country that no matter how many times the people vote for Brexit, she would stop it, and be praised for her decisiveness and commitment to democracy instead of being pilloried, then I think we are in a different ballpark. The rules have changed — and there is only one law.

And so those 11 judges join the pantheon of left-wing heroes alongside John Bercow, Philip Hammond, that intellectually stunted hypocrite John Major and, of course, Tony Blair — all people who, in normal times, the deranged left would like to see swinging from lampposts. But the liberal left has found itself part of the establishment, in its affluence, in its loathing of Brexit, in its epic contempt for the people — and so has used every possible means whatsoever to thwart the wishes of the electorate. It took big money, big business and unelected institutions, the BBC hammering away with its relentless propaganda in the background, the civil service working copiously behind the scenes — everything co-opted to prevent us leaving.

This is not a conspiracy theory. It is not fake news. It is precisely what has happened. A liberal elite which cannot bear to be gainsaid has used every instrument available to it — lawyers (82 per cent pro-Remain), the BBC (probably 90 per cent pro-Remain) and, of course, parliament (75 per cent pro-Remain on 23 June 2016). And the ironies abound: it is the Leavers who were anti-democratic in wishing to bypass parliament, a verdict with which the justices happily concurred. A twisting of the truth until it was turned completely on its head.

RTWT

24 Sep 2019

British Supreme Court Rules Parliament Suspension Illegal

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“The British Supreme Court (a dubious constitutional innovation if ever there was one) appears to have killed Brexit stone-cold dead. Between the Court and the Fixed-Parliament Act, the Remainers seem to have had all the cards when it counted: the lawyers and political class have trumped the referendum.

Hard to see what happens next. Prime Minister Johnson is a Tory Prime Minister in theory only. Unable to deliver Brexit, which his Party only allegedly wanted, he seems destined for an early disappearance. But what does that mean for the Conservative Party? Most of their voters wanted Brexit. but their donors didn’t. The donors have won for now, but this Parliament has to allow an election sometime. Not sure I’d want to be a Tory officeholder then.

The whole sorry episode shows that when the voters want one thing, and the elites another, the elites win, eventually.”

–Hale Cullom.

10 Aug 2019

Gun Control and the New Class

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Beginning in the 1970s, some of the writers and editors who became known as neoconservatives observed changes in the American elite. The tradition of liberal internationalism, which held individual liberty as the preeminent value and believed in equality of opportunity, as well as a safety net, was under assault. A rising generation of activists charged liberal internationalism with hypocrisy: not only abroad, where intervention in Vietnam had run aground, but also at home, where formal equality under the law had not produced substantive results. Something was wrong with America, the students said. Only a fundamental transformation of our nation would set things aright.

Neoconservatives called this incipient elite the “new class.” It consists, Irving Kristol wrote in 1975, “of scientists, lawyers, city planners, social workers, educators, criminologists, sociologists, public health doctors, etc.—a substantial number of whom find their careers in the expanding public sector rather than the private.” To that list one might add journalists, professors, post-docs, adjuncts, foundation officers, and a great number of programmers, managers, human resource officers, and CEOs. The neoconservatives never defined the “new class” precisely—something their critics pointed out. The category was meant to be a catchall, a handy description of the well-schooled professionals who began their long march through America’s academic, media, entertainment, government, and corporate institutions in the aftermath of 1968.

“Mass higher education has converted this movement into something like a mass movement proper,” Kristol said, “capable of driving a president from office (1968) and nominating its own candidate (1972).” The year before Kristol wrote those words, the new class had sent another president packing. The new class grew in size and influence. It was not a select few working behind the scenes. It was not a conspiracy. Its motives were genuine—but also genuinely different from the liberal internationalism of FDR, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, and Humphrey. “Members of the new class,” Kristol wrote, “do not ‘control’ the media, they are the media—just as they are our educational system, our public health and welfare system, and much else.”

When neoconservatives began analyzing the new class, around 10 percent of American adults had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. About a quarter of all jobs were in manufacturing. Today, the percentage of college graduates has doubled while manufacturing employment has plunged. The new class of college-educated professionals and managers has expanded, and its aspirations, values, and ideals are ever more present in our culture and politics.

Kristol was careful to say that the new class was not monolithic: “It contains men and women who are not necessarily ‘pro-business,’ and who may not be much interested in business at all, but who are interested in individual liberty and limited government, who are worried about the collectivist tendencies in the society.” But in recent years the portion of the new class that subscribes to the old liberal internationalism has receded into the background.

What was once an intra-new-class fight over the size and scope of government has become a struggle to define the American nation between the new class on one hand and Donald Trump, his national populists, and a few new-class fellow travelers on the other. The new class has incredible resources at its disposal, from the expansive and appealing ideology of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” to communications, tech, state and local governments, bureaucracies, and the courts. Trump has a Twitter account, half of a cable network, Mitch McConnell, the Supreme Court, and 63 million voters.

One reason the battle is so pitched is that, as the new class multiplied in numbers and strength, the divide between it and the rest of the country grew into the Mariana Trench. The culture of the new class, which originates in Charles Murray’s “super-zips” and extends into the suburbs, has little in common with, speaks even a different language than, residents of exurban and rural America whose votes go to Trump.

It is on the issue of guns that this incomprehension is most pronounced. The cable news anchors expressing frustration and disbelief that the latest shooting may not result in tighter regulation of firearms are sincere. They live safe and satisfying lives without guns; why can’t the rest of the country do the same? Yet the spokesmen for “doing something” do not appreciate the equal sincerity of gun owners, whose weapons are not just possessions but also, on some level, part of their identity.

Guns are especially frustrating to the new class because they are the rare case where the courts, which normally are its ally, have not achieved its objectives. The Heller decision (2008) irks Democrats to no end because the Supreme Court said that Second Amendment guarantees rule out some forms of regulation. Gun owners have been adept at using the language of rights—usually the preferred means of the new class—to attain ends the new class abhors. That has forced advocates of gun control back into the democratic arena, where the new class has so often been repudiated.

No amount of evidence showing the inefficacy of gun control, or the virtues of alternative policies, will convince the new class to drop its crusade for regulation. That is not just because guns are safety hazards. It is because guns remind the new class that it has not succeeded in imposing the values of one part of the country, and one segment of the population, on the rest.

HT: Instapundit.

07 Aug 2019

The Real Problem With America’s Elite

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Natalia Dashan brilliantly explains why the Radical Left is winning at elite schools like Yale and everywhere else in the National Establishment.

Western elites are not comfortable with their place in society and the responsibilities that come with it, and realize that there are deep structural problems with the old systems of coordination. But lacking the capacity for an orderly restructuring, or even a diagnosis of problems and needs, we dive deeper into a chaotic ideological mode of coordination that sweeps away the old structures.

When you live with this mindset, what you end up with is not an establishment where a woke upper class rallies and advocates for the rights of minorities, the poor, and underprivileged groups. What you have is a blind and self-righteous upper class that becomes structurally unable to take coordinated responsibility. You get stuck in an ideological mode of coordination, where no one can speak the truth to correct collective mistakes and overreaches without losing position.

This ideology is promulgated and advertised by universities, but it doesn’t start or stop at universities. All the fundraisers. All the corporate events. The Oscars. Let’s take down the Man. They say this in front of their PowerPoints. They clink champagne glasses. Let’s take down the Man! But there is no real spirit of revolution in these words. It is all in the language they understand—polite and clean, because it isn’t really real. It is a performative spectacle about their own morale and guilt.

If you were the ruler while everything was burning around you, and you didn’t know what to do, what would you do? You would deny that you are in charge. And you would recuperate the growing discontented masses into your own power base, so that things stay comfortable for you.

Yale students, if they weren’t powerful when they came in (and most of them were), they gain power by being bestowed a Yale degree. What would you do with this power? You don’t want to abuse it; you’re not outright evil. No, you want something different. You want to be absolved of your power. You are ashamed of your power. Why should you have it, and not somebody else—maybe somebody more deserving? You never really signed up for this. You would rather be somebody normal. But not, “normal,” normal. More like normal with options and vacations and money “normal.” Normal but still powerful. Or you want to be something even better than normal. You want to be the underdog. There is always a certain strange sense of pleasure in being an underdog. Expectations are lower. Whenever you accomplish anything at all—it is an accomplishment. You would rather have a narrative story of “coming up from the bottom.” Someone who not only does not have the responsibility of power, but someone who has a right to feel resentful of those who do. And better yet—someone who can use this resentment as a tool for self-interest.

How do Yale students give up their power? They do this in one of two ways. One way is termed selling out. This usually means taking a high-paying job at an institution that is at worst blatantly unethical, and at best not intentionally idealistic. A consulting job, a meaningless tech job, or a position at an investment bank. This is generally seen as the selfish route.

But there is more to selling out that nobody talks about. These jobs are the dream jobs of the middle class. They’re not supposed to be jobs for the sons and daughters of millionaires and billionaires—these kids don’t actually need the money. They want independence from their parents and proof that they can make it on their own—and prestigious work experience—but they have wealth acquired through generations that they can always fall back on. These people are generally as harmless as the middle class—which is to say completely harmless. They keep to themselves. They quietly grow their bank accounts and their 401ks. And just like the real middle class, they don’t want to risk their next promotion through being too outspoken. They have virtually no political power. This mindset is best encapsulated by: “I’ll go with the program. Please leave me alone to be comfortable and quietly make money.”

They effectively become middle class, because there is no longer any socially esteemed notion of upper class. They have a base of power, of f-you money, that they could use to become something greater than just another office worker or businessperson. But there is no script for that, no institutional or ideological support. What would it even mean to be an esteemed, blue-blooded aristocrat in 2019? So they take the easy and safe way.

How else do Yale students give up their responsibility?

They go in the other direction. These are the people who call themselves idealists and say they want to save the world. They feel the weight of responsibility from their social status—but they don’t know how to process and integrate this responsibility into their lives properly. Traditionally, structurally well-organized elite institutions would absorb and direct this benevolent impulse to useful purpose. But our traditional institutions have decayed and lost their credibility, so these idealists start looking for alternatives, and start signalling dissociation from those now-disreputable class markers.

But the capacity to really think through what an alternative should look like, and create one, is so rare as to be effectively nonexistent. Instead, idealists are forced to take the easy way of just going along with dominant ideological narratives of what it means to do good. They feel guilty about their wealth and privileges, and feel that they won’t be doing their part unless they do something very altruistic, and the idealistic ideologies reinforce these feelings. So they go overboard, and rush headlong into whatever they are supposed to do. They purport to speak for and be allied with underprivileged groups. They get their professors fired for minor infractions. They frantically tear down whatever vestiges of the old institutions and hierarchies that they can, and conspicuously feel guilty about the rest.

These are the people who buy clothes from Salvation Army and decline your Sunday brunch invitation because it’s too expensive, sometimes with the implication that they are saving their money to donate to more effective causes, if they aren’t pretending not to have it. They are the people who might attack or cut off their friends for ideological reasons. They discharge their personal responsibility by sacrificing everything outside of their distant mission, including friendships and social fabric.

It’s an understandable impulse. After all, given the state of legacy institutions, what else are you going to do with the energy of idealism? But ultimately, by going along with the narratives of an ideology that can efficiently capture these impulses, but has no structural ability to deliver on its promises, just diverts more energy from what a normal benevolent elite should be doing.

These people might sometimes say that they are “tired of fighting”—but this is not the full truth. Fighting is fun. It is always very fun to be a warrior—to have something you believe in that guides you. To be part of a tribe, working for the good of mankind. To be revered and respected for being on the bleeding edge of the paradigm.

Especially when you’re winning.

A must-read.

24 Jul 2019

Weirdest Story of the Year

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Bruce Hay.

How smart are the elite intelligentsia really? Should ordinary Americans be more deferential and start bowing to the consensus of the elite on Global Warming, on Social Justice, and on Donald Trump?

Before you make up your mind read the introductory comments by Rod Dreher below and follow the link to the original New York Magazine story.

Sit down, my people, and read the craziest true story you will read this year or maybe even this decade.

It is written by a journalist named Kera Bolonik, who has made an extremely complicated story comprehensible, in the sense that she recalls a logical progression of events. Nothing else about it makes sense. It’s a story about a liberal Harvard Law professor who is a world-historical boob — and about how two grifters (a transwoman and his best friend) stole his house and used Title IX to further ruin his life.

In 2015, a mysterious young woman named Maria-Pia Shuman flirted with Prof. Bruce Hay in a Cambridge hardware store. Hay, who makes Pajama Boy come off like Vin Diesel. is married, but he and his wife, Jennifer Zacks, live together with their children as roommates, no longer lovers. What would a little fling with the sexy young woman hurt? …

Read it all. Trust me. I’m not going to go further here, because to tell even just a piece of it without telling the whole story would not do it justice. You have to read to see what these insane grifters did to this moron and his innocent wife and kids. It really does read like Fatal Attraction meets a transgender Bonfire of the Vanities. Golden quote: “I just really hate the patriarchy, that’s it.”

26 Apr 2019

Today’s False Elites

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Why do the people in charge of all our elite institutions constantly surrender to the demoniacs of the radical left? Why do people at the top believe in nothing but success?

Brett Stevens argues that we have an educational system that selects for precisely those characteristics.

In democracies… we tell [the people] that they are equal and then set up a meritocracy which by narrowing the task at hand from success in reality (build a fire, run a farm, write a novel, raise a child) to what… selects for the obedient.

Responsive to the fear and ambition on which a democracy runs, the obedient are determined to do whatever is necessary to accomplish a task. They will ablate and erase their own personal opinions, needs, and morals in order to achieve what is assigned to them.

Your successful democratic citizen uses themselves as a means to this success. They use their time, their personal appeal, and even their bodies in order to become chosen by the system. This makes them both obedient and amoral.

Such a person will memorize reams of useless data, repeat it on command, and pretend it is real in order to get ahead; they will shame others who do not bleat the same things. They will attend jobs and school for however long is required to get that gold ring.

Even more, such a person learns to scorn their task. They are taught in school that nothing really matters in reality, since all that matters is having the right answer according to the system.

To such a person, that Communism fails — for example — has no importance. If preaching Communism is what the system rewards, this person will do it, just as they will endorse consumerism, diversity, atheism, or any other dogma.

They do not care if it is accurate or not. In their minds, it is simply what you do to be successful, and that is more important than it being true, because all they care about is being in the upper quarter of the people in the system.

For those who have spent time in American prisons, this order will seem familiar. Whoever does what makes him powerful has a good life, and it does not matter what it is, only that it is the right thing at the right moment.

These types of people comprise our current elites. They are experts in nothing but getting good grades, saying the right thing in public, and making money by telling people that what they want to hear is true (and supported by the product).

RTWT

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