The new American aristocracy, like the old European one, hates the peasants
Some of you may remember Brant Parker’s and Johnny Hart’s panel comic, The Wizard of Id, about a rather squalid medieval kingdom ruled over by a shrunken despotic king. My favorite joke was the one showing a voice calling up from outside the king’s tower, “The peasants are revolting.” The king’s response is telling: “You can say that again.” And there, in a nutshell, you have the enormous political realignment in America: The people who hold the levers of power – all of the Democrats and many of the Republicans – despise the people they control.
Kurt Schlichter, in his prescient 2018 book, Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy, explains how America’s educated class is breaking its compact with Americans. In the past, when a small percentage of Americans graduated with four-year degrees, these graduates had both the historic literacy and the technical education (math, engineering, science, etc.) to give legitimacy to their belief that they were a leadership elite. They also still had a sense of noblesse oblige.
Now, pure leftism controls credential-bestowing institutions. Students are indoctrinated not educated, and they have no loyalty to America or its people. Noblesse oblige is dead. Graduates still take leadership positions across the board in American society (politics, media, academics, entertainment, medicine, etc.), but these new leaders despise the people over whom they exercise disproportionate control.
Lee Smith makes the same point when he highlights the epic hypocrisy in the attacks on events in Washington, D.C. The same people who praised Black Lives Matter and Antifa despite the billions of dollars of destruction they wreaked across America and the many lives lost are in high dudgeon that a relative handful of people out of over half a million peaceful protesters entered Congress, where the police slaughter an unarmed Air Force veteran. Smith then notes something important about these condemnations, which is that they’re bipartisan:
Both parties within the Beltway are joined in their attacks on Trump because partisan identity—Democrat and Republican—is no longer relevant in U.S. politics. It’s the Country Party, currently represented by Trump, vs the Establishment Party, representing the interests of an oligarchy anchored by Big Tech and owing its power, wealth, and prestige to its access to cheap Chinese labor and China’s growing consumer market.
Tucker Carlson, himself a credential elite, gets it when it comes to some Republican politicians, men such as Romney, the unmourned McCain, George Dubya, William Barr, etc. In his Thursday monologue, he said,
The main problem, and this really is the main problem on the right, is that the people who run the Republican Party don’t really like their own voters. They especially don’t want the voters that Trump brought. Trump brought a noticeably downscale element to the party’s ranks, and this horrifies them.
Many Republicans in Washington now despise the people they’re supposed to represent and protect. In fact, it’s not just Republican leaders who feel this way, but our entire leadership class. You rarely hear it spoken out loud, but it’s the truth.
I know these people. I come from that class. My Dad had a mixed background, but my Mom came from an impoverished European background that was sufficiently upper class for me to find most of America’s “elites” to be crass parvenus. I’m well-credentialed and I spent decades living in a credentialed world.
This is not true for all Republicans, of course, and you can name your favorite principled conservatives. But too many Republicans are like the British Conservative Party: They’re not conservative at all. They’re just Leftist Lite. They have the same values, attitudes, and political goals as Democrats and other socialists, but they don’t want to spend quite as much money as the Democrats would.
But while the people with whom I spent most of my life have disdain for you, I have come to have a good deal of disdain for them. Like the European aristocracy and leadership class Americans have been escaping for four hundred years, these are people who will showily applaud store clerks and truckers during the lockdown, but they would be as horrified if their daughter married one as a member of the KKK would be if his daughter brought home a black boyfriend. Still, like the people Tom Wolfe ridiculed in his famous Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, they’d swoon if that same daughter brought home a white-hating Ph.D. in the mold of Ta-Nehisi Coates. Many of them would agree with the sneering tone of Anderson Cooper, a man born with a silver spoon up his . . . well, never mind:
Democrats currently think they're in perfect and permanent control. I think the Greeks were wise to warn of hubris. It's dangerous to try to stomp down hard on at least 75 million people.
Image: Studies in Expression When Women Are Jurors (cropped) by Charles Dana Gibson. Public Domain.