Monday, September 08, 2008

The Ruling Class Sneers

In all the hysteria, smears and sheer, unhinged hatred among the precincts of the left in reaction to Sarah Palin, Martin Peretz earns special distinction with his blog post called Please God, Do Bless America and Rescue Us From These Swilly People!

Just a few lowlights:

...I am still reeling from last night's malign hysteria at the Republican convention. This is a rotten crowd, even the pious Christian Huckabee and certainly Mayor Guiliani and the aspiring vice president, Sarah Palin.

...

If Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi had been decked out like soccer mom Sarah last night the G.O.P. would have called them tramps. Why, a hem two inches below the knee! So risque! I giver her her due: she is pretty like a cosmetics saleswoman at Macy's.

Let's face the truth: If Bristol were Joe Biden's daughter or, worse yet, Barcak Obama's, the epithet "slut" would be on everyone's tongue in St. Paul. But since she is Palin's daughter she has been treated as if she were a saint...

Peretz has a strange idea of how the average Republican acts. 50 years ago there might have been some sniffing at Palin's dress, but today? Please. She was dressed like your average professional woman. No one would think twice about it -- no one, that is, but Martin Peretz, stewing in his fear and loathing of the right.

Behind Peretz's condescension lies something people don't talk much about in America: class hatred. Peretz is among the ruling class, the elite; Palin is firmly rooted in the great American middle class. Leftists usually hide their disgust at the bourgeoisie, but Peretz lost control and let his snobbery free for the world to see. It's not a pretty sight.

The enemies of capitalism, from the very first ones, the conservatives of the early 19th century, have strived to recreate the society of rigid class distinctions the west had in feudalism. In feudalism, everyone knew his place; in capitalism, as they say, a family can go "from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations." Capitalism is fluid. The potential for the individual is limited only by his talent and his will.

Charles M. Schwab is a spectacular example of the kind of opportunity society America was in the 19th century. He started out as a stake driver working for Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie didn't care about family connections or education, he was on the lookout for one thing only: competence. He saw it in Schwab, and gave him more and more responsibilities. By the age of 35, Schwab was the President of Carnegie Steel Company. (Charles M. Schwab is not to be confused with Charles R. Schwab, the founder of the brokerage firm.)

Since that time, the state has grown massively in America. Statists think America was all wrong in the 19th century and they're working reform society. To statists, the masses are full of hapless souls who must depend on the state to survive. With the growth of big government, society divides into two broad classes: those dependent on the state and the state. In communist countries the classes are the proletariat and the nomenklatura.

Those who depend on the state lose power to the state. When the state helps the dependent masses, it gains power over them. It's a nice deal for the state.

Peretz betrayed the ruling class's contempt for one who, though also part of the state, is too much imbued with middle class sensibilities for the elite. One look at Sarah Palin and they know she is not one of them. (I say give her time; if anything can corrupt her, a term as Vice-President should do it.)

Don't take this post as an endorsement in any way for McCain/Palin. I don't see me voting for McCain. I'm just pointing out that part of the intense emotions on the left about Palin come from the elite's secret view of itself as the ruling class. They see crass, rural, Wal-Mart-shopping hockey moms like Palin as an affront to their good taste. Palin's greatest crime turns out to be that she did not know her place.

8 comments:

madmax said...

Myhraf,

Another solid post. You have been on a role lately. But I am curious as to your opinion of how much of the Left's hatred of the Right is legitimate and how much do you think is not?

Some liberals detest the Conservatives for the right reasons; ie they hate their religious primitiveness, their bigotry against gays, their xenophobia, their detestable views on abortion and sex in general, and their denial of Evolution. All these are legitimate and do deserve contempt.

But of course left-liberals hate capitalism, America, strong self-defense, guns, standards, etc. I find it difficult to know just how to assess the corruption of the Left. Is it total or are there redeeming elements? What makes me ask this is that without the Left, what would stop religion from sweeping the Land? The secularists on the Right are impotent before religion and too many of them, even if they are secular themselves, believe that religion is necessary for something to believe in. And there is also something else which always gives me a chuckle. For the most part, most of the people I know are moderate liberals. The few Conservatives I know are crazy religious. I just cant take them even though they like guns and are more respectful of free markets. For me, religion is a far greater turn off than the tempered skepticism and slight nihilism of moderate liberals. For all that I hate left-liberals, I still live amongst them.

Mark V. Kormes said...

Great stuff, Myrhaf. I've got a post touching on a similar theme that your readers might find interesting.

Mark V. Kormes said...

madmax,

I think the left's "better" elements generally come from the same awful root as its bad ones. Now that's a generalization, and it is perhaps unfair to apply to all left-liberals without qualification. But on the whole, left-liberals view capitalism and religion with contempt for similar reasons: they are obstacles to left-liberal attempts to achieve total power and, thereby, universal egalitarianism.

Myrhaf said...

Madmax, very little of the left's criticism is valid. Even the sane, moderate Democrats will say things like, "Bush is an arrogant cowboy who has lost respect for America in the world." I almost never hear anything from Democrats that is pertinent or grounded in reality. And believe me, I live among them, too. The only sound criticisms are of the religious right and abortion. Even then, Democrats go off the deep end and project their own totalitarian fantasies on the right.

Mark, good stuff at your blog.

Andrew Dalton said...

Myrhaf-

As a Midwestern transplant to the SF Bay area, I notice this kind of condescending leftism all the time. There is definitely a widely shared attitude here--though usually not made explicit--that coastal left-liberals are uniquely wise and therefore entitled to tell all of the "sheeple" in between how to live.

The irony is that while the statist-aristocrats see themselves as intellectuals, they usually have no understanding of where their ideas come from. They see those who disagree with them as either cruel, or venal, or simply to stupid to see the self-evident Right Way To Do Things.

Myrhaf said...

Andrew, as far as I'm concerned, anyone who has not read and understood Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises (or at least Henry Hazlitt) is ignorant. Most leftists I know fall in that category. They lack any ability to think in principles and end up arguing about concrete issues with the assumption that the government must intervene and control. They never check their premises, as Ayn Rand advises.

Dismuke said...

Indeed. It is the great unwashed rabble that drinks the sort of coffee served in truck stops and gas stations that prevents the ascendancy of those who know far better than you or I what is in our own best interests.

Did you hear in Sarah Palin's speech at the convention her bragging that her sister owns a gas station? And you just know that they sell coffee at that gas station. Did you hear how the crowed applauded when she mentioned the gas station?

That's one of the problems in this country: the stupid ignorant hick electorate drinks the kind of coffee served in truck stops and gas stations and wants to vote for candidates who do the same. And that is a problem for enlightened progressive candidates such as Obama because nobody really believes for one minute that he actually drinks such swill.

But now there is good news. There are now gas stations where even Obama, academics, Hollywood celebrities and the Beautiful People in the Walter Duranty media can cheerfully drink the coffee: Introducing new Fair Trade Gas Stations.

Fair Trade Gas is gasoline that is refined exclusively from oil that has been sourced from state-owned oil companies of Marxist regimes such as Venezuela, from Russia where Vladimir Putin is trying to put back together the virtuous Soviet Union and from countries such as Iran which are hostile to the evil United States. Not a single drop of Fair Trade Gasoline comes from oil produced by privately owned oil companies or from oppressive countries such as the United States, Canada, the UK or Norway. Plus when you buy Fair Trade Gas, a 20 percent surcharge is added to the price and donated to worthwhile organizations such as the FARC in Columbia, Hezbollah, Hammas, and various Latin American revolutionary paramilitary groups founded by Hugo Chavez - organizations that are working hard to help protect oppressed indigenous peoples in developing countries from ever having to live the sort of life that people in the United States do. Finally, progressive minded people can buy gas knowing that their money will go to the sorts of ideas and people that they support and believe in.

And, of course, Fair Trade Gas Stations sell coffee - organic fair trade coffee that one orders using foreign words instead of trailer trash terminology used in fast food joints such as "small" "medium" and "large." Plus they have great arugula and alfalfa sprout sandwiches. With Fair Trade Gas Stations, you will never again have to feel embarrassed to drink coffee that comes from a gas station. William Ayres buys Fair Trade Gasoline and so should you.

Fair Trade Gasoline is available at all Citgo stations and new stations are coming soon to the parking lot of your nearby Whole Foods Market.

Robert said...

But of course left-liberals hate capitalism, America, strong self-defense, guns, standards, etc. I find it difficult to know just how to assess the corruption of the Left. Is it total or are there redeeming elements? What makes me ask this is that without the Left, what would stop religion from sweeping the Land? The secularists on the Right are impotent before religion and too many of them, even if they are secular themselves, believe that religion is necessary for something to believe in. And there is also something else which always gives me a chuckle. For the most part, most of the people I know are moderate liberals. The few Conservatives I know are crazy religious. I just cant take them even though they like guns and are more respectful of free markets. For me, religion is a far greater turn off than the tempered skepticism and slight nihilism of moderate liberals. For all that I hate left-liberals, I still live amongst them.

One way to assess corruption is to see how a movement of people believes in the same wrong answer. Why is the young-earth creationist movement a bad thing? Because they uniformly deny reality. So why is the left movement a bad thing? One of their beliefs is that humans are good at heart. A denial of reality. The human ape and the chimpanzee ape have a very geologically recent common ancestor. Is one going to approach on hands and knees toward a random group of chimpanzees?