The Bigotry of the Chattering Classes
When Barack Obama was campaigning for the Democrat Party's presidential nomination in 2008, he spoke to a group of wealthy donors in San Francisco and uttered the "bitter clinger" comment to describe many small-town residents in Pennsylvania. According to Dear Leader -- speaking, so he thought, off-the-record -- small-town Pennsylvanians who have been bypassed by U.S. society grow "bitter," and "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Dear Leader's prejudiced comments about small-town Pennsylvanians are akin to the bigoted remarks that members of America's "chattering classes" utter about ordinary Americans on an almost daily basis. Mild as Dear Leader's comments may seem in comparison with snarky statements by such "chatterers" as Bill Maher, David Letterman, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and Joy Behar -- just to name five more or less at random -- observations like these coming from America's chattering classes reveal just how bigoted they are.
Isn't it ironic that these people who never miss an opportunity to rail against prejudice and bigotry -- provided, of course, that it's directed against individuals and/or groups they favor -- are bigots themselves? It's just that the chatterers' antipathy is directed toward the "right" kind of folks.
Who are the right kind of people (for the chattering classes to slur)? Let's start with white southerners, preferably if they're from small towns or rural areas. Let some white southerner such as Paula Deen admit to uttering the "N-word" decades ago, and the chattering classes land on her like a ton of bricks. The late Senator Robert E. Byrd (D, WVA), on the other hand, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, uttered the N-word, albeit while talking about whites, in a televised interview with the late Tony Snow in 2009, and no one batted an eye. Better yet, perhaps, if a black rapper uses the N-word, the chatterers are full of complements.
Other people whom the chattering classes can assault without mercy are conservatives. Think, for example, how Maher used the "c-word" when speaking about Sarah Palin. Recall also how Letterman fantasized about the famous baseball player Alex Rodriquez "knocking up" Palin's daughter during a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. What of Ed Schultz of MSNBC referring to radio talk show personality Laura Ingraham as "that right-wing slut"? Schultz was suspended for one week, but he's back on the same network. (Let Rush Limbaugh use the same word -- minus "right-wing" -- when speaking about free birth-control advocate Sandra Fluke, and you'd think civilization was about to end.) How many slurs have the chattering classes hurled at the Tea Parties? (Remember when, immediately after passing Obamacare in 2010, Nancy Pelosi, the congressional Black Caucus and their mainstream media shills accused protesting Tea Partiers of racism? Andrew Breitbart offered a $10,000 reward for proof; the award remains uncollected.)
The vitriol chatterers and their "useful idiots" hurl at conservative blacks, such as Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and Shelby Steele, among others, boggles the mind. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice probably isn't a bona fide conservative, but remember the overtly racist cartoons drawn about her when George W. Bush named her his National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State? (Dear Leader recently made Susan Rice his National Security Advisor, but I don't recall seeing anything like what Condi Rice had to endure.) Bill Cosby is -- I think -- a registered Democrat, but he has had to put up with vile garbage ever since he publicly recommended that the black community alter its self-destructive attitudes and behaviors.
No doubt I've neglected one or more of the chattering classes' targets. Space limitations, however, dictate that we focus on why the chattering classes exhibit bigotry toward some groups, all the while attacking any manifestation of discrimination against groups they favor.
On one level, there's a very simple reason behind the chattering classes' (carefully targeted) bigotry: they want to feel good about themselves.
Think, for example, about a well-known actor (who also appears frequently on TV commercials). He can repeatedly assault street photographers, but as long as he also routinely assails conservatives, the chatterers tolerate him.
What, then, best explains the chattering classes' bigotry? The answer is complex, of course, but the following makes sense.
Sigmund Freud developed the notion of "psychological projection," which refers to a psychic defense mechanism by which someone unconsciously rejects his or her unacceptable dispositions and attributes them to others, especially groups she or he dislikes. A projection mechanism, so Freud put it, may help a fragile ego lower anxiety; but anxiety reduction comes at a heavy psychic price. (Freud found much to fault in those who engage in the projection defense mechanism, and subsequent students of political psychology, such as the late Harold Lasswell [Psychopathology and Politics, Personality and Power], have concurred.)
Psychological projection works like this: assume that members of the chattering classes harbor dark thoughts about societal "out-groups," -- sociological jargon referring to what social scientists call "visible social groupings" such as blacks that are considered below standard. (As Edmund Burke knew, virtually everyone learns some kind of socially ingrained prejudice.) Well-educated (and properly socialized) members of the chattering classes "know" that overt expression of bias against "visible social groupings" is bad form. Rather than admit (to themselves) their own "dark thoughts," members of the chattering classes project bad sentiments onto those they dislike.
Members of the chattering classes deny they harbor dark thoughts about anybody, save, of course, southern whites, conservatives, "bitter clingers," etc. Before uncritically accepting that, consider this: Years ago, while at a dinner party, I heard an individual -- who was known for being one of the most liberal members of her institution and a bona fide member of the chattering classes -- blithely tell her listeners that she didn't hold blacks to the same standards as whites, because blacks just couldn't "cut it" in the classroom.
I can no longer recall exactly how others -- there were about fifteen people present -- reacted, but my memory is that her comment wasn't forcibly rebutted. (Make of that what you will.)
I can't say for sure how widespread this person's sentiment is, but I suspect it's more popular than the chattering classes want us to believe.
So where are we headed? If more than a few of the chattering classes do, in fact, harbor prejudiced sentiments about societal "out-groups," is it any surprise they would project these prejudicial dispositions -- which they cannot admit to themselves -- on to individuals and groups widely acknowledged by their allies to be acceptable targets of disdain?
That would go a long way towards explaining their animosity toward, say, white southerners and conservatives.