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.