David Thompson
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June 19, 2010

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peter horne

Ha Ha! I didn't know Barbara Castle had done that, the hypocritical old witch.
This whole thing reminds me of Wilkinson and Pickett's egregious 'The Spirit Level' which you have no doubt come across and which has been comprehensively debunked recently by Christopher Snowden. Moral superiority and lust for power seem to go hand in hand and the most annoying thing about Toynbee et al. (who loved the book, of course) is their absolute conviction that they are radical and anti-establishment in some way whilst spouting the most conventional egalitarian nonsense imaginable.

Anna

"let’s not forget the environmentalist David Suzuki, who denounces large houses as “disgusting” and thinks other people shouldn’t aspire to owning homes like his own rather spacious estates."

But David Suzuki *cares* more than us. That's why he got that free money to buy half an island *on behalf* of all those native people he doesn't allow to live there. He's a hero, don't you see? He needs his space.

AC1

Have they never read a book with Diana Moon Glampers in it?

http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html

Pat Berry

People like that remind me of Andrew Ketterley in C.S. Lewis's book "The Magician's Nephew." When Ketterley explains to his nephew Digory that he acquired the means to practice magic by opening a box that he had promised to destroy, Digory says, "Well, then, it was jolly rotten of you."

Ketterley responds: "Rotten? Oh, I see. You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I'm sure, and I'm very glad you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys -- and servants -- and women -- and even people in general, can't possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny."

Digory is impressed by this for a moment, but then realizes what a fraud Ketterley is, and says to himself "All it means is that he thinks he can do anything he likes to get anything he wants."

rv

"Much as a professed disdain for inequality is a way to signal one's own moral, intellectual and social superiority."

So you're not big on women's rights then? Or gay rights? Jerk.

Spiny Norman

To those on the Left, on both sides of the Pond, monumental hypocrisy is not a bug, but feature. Wallowing in it with merry abandon...

David

rv,

“You’re not big on women’s rights then? Or gay rights? Jerk.”

I do love it when you drop by. Waves of insight and warm feeling just light up the room.

As should be obvious from the above, I’m not talking about women’s rights or gay rights, which in societies like our own hardly define the scope or bulk of egalitarian sentiment. The most persuasive arguments against sexism, racism, homophobia, etc., tend to be individualist in nature. Which is to say, they argue against regarding people as interchangeable representatives of some notional group or put-upon class. Bigotry is a type of collectivism, and collectivism tends to be a fetish of egalitarians.

See, for instance, the arguments outlined below:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/11/melanin-revisited.html

Feel free to get back to me with your thrilling riposte.

Anna

Everyone rv doesn't like is obviously a woman-hating, gay-hating hater.

AC1

David you big Homophobe you.

Akatsukami

Is rv suffering from some sort of organic cognitive disorder, or is it merely functionally illiterate?

Kurt

Anyone who doesn't know what "egalitarian superiority" is hasn't spent much time around leftists of the Ivy League variety. When I was in college (in the mid-to-late-80s), I used to refer to such folks as "egalitarian elitists." At the time, the phrase was really only meant to apply to the activist fringe, but over the 20+ years since my graduation, I've been dismayed to see that it has afflicted most of the classmates who I knew well enough to have kept in touch with.

Spiny Norman

"David you big Homophobe you.

Posted by AC1"

LOL! =^D

Having to work on a Saturday (actually, the 6th in a row...), I needed a good laugh. Thanks, rv!

Oh, by the way, Instalanche!

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/101473/

Mike S.

I think the Left has come to see that their policy prescriptions will not, and cannot, result in prosperity. Instead of using that fact as the foundation of further thought, they have decided to demonize prosperity.

Such is the lot of ideologues. By definition, the theory cannot be wrong. So... we just need to create a "new man" to appreciate our new world.

David

“Oh, by the way, Instalanche!”

I don’t have enough chairs. Here, help me move the sofa back.

Oxbay

Why, if rv was in charge he'd help you learn to stop hating (the wrong people). Increasingly rigorous measures to help you learn would be Maoist culture war self criticism sessions and then a re-education camp or two. If these programs don't work some good hard manual labor in a new and improved Gulag would be just the ticket to get your mind right.

Abby

"We’ll abandon our cars, holidays and washing machines, along with the desire to give our children advantages that we didn’t have. After all, these things are selfish."

LOL

Jcfalkenberg

"egalitarian superiors" is not such a new idea, if you have ever met a few European "intellectuals". Or read Animal Farm.

svh

"And we’ll take comfort – perhaps even pleasure – in the lowered expectations of our neighbours."

Scratch a socialist find a sadist.

rascal

> “We,” she says, will be “satisfied” without the “dispensable accoutrements of middle-class life,” including “cars, holidays, electronic equipment and multiple items of clothing.” <

The NEF people sound like total fruitcakes. And you Brits are paying for this...?

David

“The NEF people sound like total fruitcakes. And you Brits are paying for this...?”

Yes, it’s a bit rich, really. Ms Coote, whose NEF salary is probably somewhere in the region of £70,000, is telling the rest of us that wealth doesn’t bring happiness and we must make do with less, much less than she earns, for our own good. Ms Coote also tells us, rather grandly, that people will be “satisfied as long as they’ve got enough to live on” - again, she just *knows* this, despite human nature and all history to the contrary. Clearly, the woman must have paranormal talents.

But as Tim Worstall has noted more than once, the NEF isn’t exactly a credible source of insight:

“You know there’s something wrong with the metrics you are using to describe ‘best’ when your example of the best human society is a Stone Age one where penis sheaths are the major fashion accessory and they worship the Duke of Edinburgh as a living God. It’s the sort of result that would have anyone rational scurrying back to look at their basic assumptions to see where the error is.”

http://timworstall.com/2009/07/05/the-happy-planet-index-20/

http://timworstall.com/?s=new+economics+foundation

dicentra

The rocket scientists on our side of the pond have decided that the biggest threat to inclusiveness is for a child to have a best friend.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/fashion/17BFF.html

Significant that it's in the fashion and style section of the paper.

dicentra

"Ms Weir tells us the advantages of this approach include, 'learning street sense, who to be wary of, who to avoid,'"

But apparently not how to use the objective case.

Darleen Click

ah, I see dicentra beat me to it! :-)

Gotta love this:

“I think it is kids’ preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults — teachers and counselors — we try to encourage them not to do that,” said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis. “We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends.”

and

the classic best-friend bond — the two special pals who share secrets and exploits, who gravitate to each other on the playground and who head out the door together every day after school — signals potential trouble for school officials intent on discouraging anything that hints of exclusivity

David

Dicentra & Darleen,

Thanks for that. It was on my list of possible things to mock, but it looks like you’ve pretty much covered it.

http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=19569

Curses.

Steevo

Excellent and spot on. If only those in popular media affected by PC though not complete lefty converts, would catch on.

Thanks

Jonathan

Thanks. Along these lines, Julie Burchill wrote about "hipocrites" some time ago:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2003/nov/01/weekend.julieburchill

Hucbald

Truly superior people just want to be left alone to pursue their goals and develop their talents. They'd be that last to try to tell others how to live their lives.

David

Jonathan,

Thanks, I saw. George Monbiot replied to Burchill and tried to excuse his incoherence by arguing that “hypocrisy is the gap between your aspirations and your actions. Greens have high aspirations - they want to live more ethically – and they will always fall short.” But there’s a problem with this claim, several in fact. If you talk about flying using terms like “killing fields” and if you’re adamant that “flying across the Atlantic is now as unacceptable as child abuse” – if that’s what you really believe – then you shouldn’t be doing it at all, surely? Ever. Unless, that is, you have a remarkably casual view of child abuse: “Well, I did a *bit* of child abusing after my exams, just to let my hair down, and you can’t help but do *some* child abusing over Christmas because, well, everyone else is doing it. But you shouldn’t be doing it every week because it’s really, really bad.”

And ditto Sundal Hundal, who cheerily informed his readers that he was flying halfway around the planet on holiday, twice, to India then California, shortly before announcing his “hardline” political support for the extremist environmental group Plane Stupid (“Honestly, I love these guys!”). It seems to me that if you champion a fringe group that makes apocalyptic claims, then you’re pretty much obliged to be scrupulous in your own ecological (or pseudo-ecological) affairs. If a person supports “activists” who want to curtail air travel immediately and break the law to that end, ostensibly to avert global catastrophe, then it’s not unreasonable to expect that person to avoid all recreational flying, if not flying altogether.

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2009/02/behold-my-virtue-3-.html

Unless, of course, they’re not being entirely honest with us.

Carol

Thank you, you've hit something big.

I can only hope, however, that the teachers unions, government workers and SEIU-benefits employees listen to that last one, New Economics Foundation's Anna Coote, telling them their incomes [and pensions!] must be dramatically reduced. Go, Ms. Coote! Help us all!

Severely Ltd.

Concerning the distaste that "egalitarians" feel toward friendship, C.S.Lewis had this to say in 'The Four Loves' in the chapter "Friendship".

"The pack or herd--the community--may even dislike and distrust it. It's leaders very often do. Headmasters and headmistresses and heads of religious communities, colonels and ships' captains, can feel uneasy when close and strong friends arise between little knots of their subjects."

The whole chapter is well worth reading, irregardless of your religious affiliation. I am a Theist, not a Christian, but if that man were alive today, I'd pay attention to his every utterance.

flataffect

Of course it's an oxymoron, but we forget that the term oxymoron was invented to describe a trope, or figure of speech, that was used to make a poetic image more vivid, as in Milton's "darkness visible" to describe Satan's circumstances after being cast out of heaven.

It's also a way of describing a paradox or irony. When you notice the contradiction, you should then notice that it was the author's point from the start. There is nobody more arrogant and self-righteous than someone who claims to be serving "social justice," but wants to achieve it by assuming more power in the republic than the rest of us, and never give it up.

Whether he really meant it or not, Jefferson used the phrase "all men are created equal" and Americans believe is, but you can tell that when Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama talk about "we" and "us" they don't really mean all of us.

SG

Zoe Williams: "and as for vindictive, ha! Good. At the very bottom of the waiting list, put the kids who have been removed from a private school, since the intentions of their parents are the most transparent: somewhat above them, but below everybody else, put the kids who have siblings at private schools;"

Nice to see 'progressives' using Stalin's playbook.

David

“Nice to see ‘progressives’ using Stalin’s playbook.”

Quite:

“Professorial chairs were assigned to politically reliable individuals ... The enrolment of students was subjected to class criteria so as to exclude ‘bourgeois’ applicants, i.e. children of the old intelligentsia or the middle class... The object was to prevent the creation of an intelligentsia in the old sense, i.e. a class of people who wished not only to be skilled in their own profession but to enlarge their horizons, to acquire an all-round culture and form their own opinions on general topics.”

(Leszek Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism, Vol.3.)

Perhaps Ms Williams imagined she was being clever and satirical, but here she is delighting in the idea of punishing the children of parents deemed politically incorrect. How righteous and superior she must feel - gloating contemptuously at parents who can’t quite afford the education they’d hoped to provide for their children. An education of which Ms Williams was herself a recipient.

Aside from some unpleasant personal urges, maybe the real motive here is to deflect envy from those less fortunate. Maybe we’re supposed to imagine that Williams’ Oxbridge education and spell at Godolphin and Latymer had no impact whatsoever on her social contacts and subsequent career as a thrusting leftwing columnist.

Another Steve

"coming from adults who hope to influence government policy and determine the shape of our lives"

Ah yes, indeed they would like to shape our lives. But not theirs; they yearn to remain free to indulge in as much left-wing hypocrisy as they feel necessary, lying and fiddling while espousing heartfelt ideals for others.

The greatest triumph of the left is that the "workers" who they so fervently admire and champion are, in fact, always kept down. The working class are elevated only in that they are useful and therefore malleable. The workers have no ambition, no needs. They do what they are told and are glorified because of it. But above all they are kept forever as workers, mere drones who toil without ambition, so they hare only able to do the jobs that the intellectuals don't want to do. The intellectuals who fondly read Marx and demand social justice have no real interest in the welfare of people. Their personal comforts and desire for self-praise outweighs the real needs of others. They want you to put your kids in with the riff-raff from sink estates and oblige your offspring to mix with the society-haters from lunatic religions, while they distance themselves and their own families, whining it is for the good of all to make such sacrifices.

Lefties talk earnestly of equal opportunity but they never want you to be equal to them. Equality of outcome is the goal, but equality of outcome for those with less than themselves. The left wing loves the poor provided they stay that way They want people to always need them, to be the target of their casual and insincere thoughts.

Put them in unions, so they can be controlled better and must follow the diktats. Feed them propaganda to stop them ever asking why.

Above all, left-wingers are so easily bought. How many self-styled intellectuals are flown to places like North Korea and Iran and Cuba and come back praising the regimes who work so hard to suppress their own people? They went and they never looked. Venezuela is lauded as an ideal because the lefties have been treated to some cheap gift from those who ensure the ordinary people have no hope of freedom. Who cares about them, anyway? If a toad like Chavez wants to suppress them it must be for their own good. The peasants just can't comprehend what the great minds of the left can see.

The giants who stride through the left are however in a panic. What if people see through the emperor's new clothes? What if their leaders and stars are seen as shallow and undeserving of praise and money? What if they, the cream of the left, have to send their kids to the same schools or attend the same hospitals? What if no one ever thinks them clever?

So the energy goes into peddling lies and distortions, twittering amongst themselves and never looking too closely, never asking about truth. So what if a darkness falls on the world as the lunatics rise up to deny people liberty? What does it matter if women are treated badly in another culture and their lives held cheap? So what if education fails to explain while being riven with petty presumptions and self-serving politics? Does it matter if people are taxed over the inaccuracies and deceptions of the global warming advocates who scrabble for money to line their nest?

To the left it doesn't matter one iota. You are the poor, the ones who must be kept down. They themselves must be given more, no matter how unearned. Your life must be shaped by their thoughts, not your needs. Not unless it suits their ambitions. And ambition –– self-serving ambition –– is the one thing the left always has in plenty.

grichens

rv is an autosycophant.

Loyola

Obamacare is an example of egalitarian values. The goal of Obamacare is to create more equal healthcare rather than more healthcare.

The dead giveaway is the 40% tax on Cadillac healthcare plans. If the goal of Obamacare was more and better healthcare, Obamacare would encourage the use of Cadillac plans.

Instead, Obamacare taxes Cadillac plans like they were a vice. What else gets taxed at 40+ percent besides cigarettes and alchohol?

The goal of Obamacare was not more and better healthcare but more equal healthcare.

Sam

Zoe Williams: "and as for vindictive, ha! Good. At the very bottom of the waiting list, put the kids who have been removed from a private school, since the intentions of their parents are the most transparent: somewhat above them, but below everybody else, put the kids who have siblings at private schools;"

Funny how egalitarians have their *own* hierarchies.

David

“Funny how egalitarians have their *own* hierarchies.”

But calculating who to punish first, and who to punish most, is the reward for all that piety.

Williams and McKenna seem to assume that parents who can afford private education exist as some discrete and uniform “privileged” class. (A point disproved rather dramatically in Williams’ own article, though somehow she doesn’t notice.) No doubt this assumption suits the authors’ adolescent class war rhetoric and the prejudice of their readers. In fact, a great many of those parents make sacrifices in order to widen their children’s opportunities. But it’s harder to sound righteous and indignant if you take such things into account.

So they don’t.

rjmadden

Excellent post, David.

"And Ms Williams did all this while carefully omitting any mention of her own education at a school where extracurricular activities include visits to the Sinai Desert."

This year they're doing Sinai, Morocco, Rome, Vermont and an 8-day tour of Barbados.

http://www.godolphinandlatymer.com/_files/school_visits_update_hod_3.pdf

:D

David

“This year they’re doing Sinai, Morocco, Rome, Vermont and an 8-day tour of Barbados.”

Just like the after-school activities of every local comprehensive.

I can’t help wondering whether Ms Williams will send her own son, Thurston, to the local comprehensive, where teachers “believe in parity.” Or maybe she’ll choose somewhere more salubrious, like the school she attended with its extended trips to Rome and Barbados. If it’s the first option on principal, that seems negligent, even cruel. The second option, however, is merely hypocritical. And if she won’t settle for a school like the one I attended and tries to search out a state school that’s a little less rough and ready, that doesn’t exactly support her argument either.

jones

I am no stranger to dealing with individuals with odd belief systems but I am repeatedly baffled at how supposedly rational (and insightful) people accept their own contradictions without effort.

Just how do they do it?

Or is it simply a case of rampant sociopathy?

Anna

jones,

"I am repeatedly baffled at how supposedly rational (and insightful) people accept their own contradictions without effort. Just how do they do it?"

Egalitarians are more used to bullshitting than most people. They start with a fantasy, they add a few lies then just run with it. Soon it's a way of life.

David

“Soon it’s a way of life.”

It’s certainly a skill of sorts, one that requires continual practice, along with an ability to disregard one’s own dishonesty and repeated refutation. I remember Socialist Unity hosted a bizarre discussion about Communist East Germany, in which reality was kept at bay with some amazing mental juggling:

“One of the GDR’s greatest achievements was the creation of a more egalitarian society… This lack of large wealth differentials and class privilege made for a more cohesive and balanced society... The GDR was a society largely free of existential fears.”

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2009/10/mutterings-in-bedlam-.html

The things is, you pretty much have to disregard (or lie about) the intimate horrors of the Stasi, the de facto imprisonment, the paranoia, the suicide rate and the people murdered trying to escape from this socialist paradise. And so instead you bang on about the glory of a “more cohesive and balanced society,” upon whose fur the individual is but a tick. And you shout about how “capitalism will go to any lengths to destroy the creation of free and socialist societies.” And you dissemble about how the Stasi’s repression of “anti-socials” was “definitely popular,” while being careful not to define who or what was deemed “anti-social” and thus a target for repression.

The trick, of course, is to surround yourself with likeminded people who are also pathologically unrealistic and equally determined to perform the same juggling act. It’s a thing to behold.

Tom Foster

"George Monbiot, who… flew around the world promoting a book telling the rest of us we shouldn’t be allowed to fly…"

Here's Harrison Ford in the Metro:

"I heard you met Prince Charles. How did you get on?

I am a big fan of Prince Charles… We may be working together on an environmental project this year for Conservation International… We’ll probably do something together connected with the protection of the environment.

You own several planes. What do you love about flying?

Flying is like good food or good music, it elevates the spirit and it’s an exhilarating freedom. I love the machines, I love the aviation community. I often fly up the coast to Camarillo in California for a cheeseburger. Everywhere that my family travels I fly: to Europe, to Jackson, Wyoming, where we live. I just flew to Dallas, where I attended an aviation event with a bunch of fellow pilots."

http://www.metro.co.uk/film/831522-harrison-ford-ill-do-indiana-jones-again-if-im-alive

Do 'celebs' really think the normal rules simply shouldn't apply to them? Do they not see how it looks to us mere mortals when they say they're going to 'do something' for the environment and follow this with 'I often fly up the coast for a cheeseburger'?

Or are they just amazingly thick?

Jason Bontrager

I'd really like to see the employers of some of these twits take them at their words and reduce their salaries to subsistence levels. When the writers in question protest, just pull out their own essays and throw their own words back in their faces.

Anna

"When the writers in question protest, just pull out their own essays and throw their own words back in their faces."

Preferably wrapped around something heavy.

tehag

I am 100% against "Aryan rights," "women's rights," "homosexual rights," "Moslem rights," because there are no such things. There are only human rights--different groups do not get to proclaim they have superior rights.

sackcloth and ashes

'Ms Weir tells us the advantages of this approach include, “learning street sense, who to be wary of, who to avoid,” and teaching clever children “how to keep their heads down.”'

I can't believe I've just read this. Is Weir saying that for the sake of her principles she's prepared to send her kids to a school where they are likely to be bullied by fellow pupils?

David

Sackcloth,

“Is Weir saying that for the sake of her principles she’s prepared to send her kids to a school where they are likely to be bullied by fellow pupils?”

I doubt she’s in favour of bullying per se, but she does seem to think that the “right thing to do” is to send your children to a school where learning is more difficult and bullying is more likely. Even if that school is in decline and has “a fairly poor Ofsted report.”

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/09/the-greater-goo.html

It’s a rather fine distinction, I think you’ll agree.

sackcloth and ashes

I'm sure her kids will understand it.

'Yes, mum, I understand the reasons why you put me through years of living hell during my childhood, and why I had to spend every minute of my schooldays watching my back, and making sure I didn't get the shit kicked out of me in the corridor for being a 'posh wanker'. I know you did it for a better world and a better society. I love you, mum. Really I do. You've always done right by me'.

David

But it’s a surprisingly common suggestion. A large section of the left seems to view children – clever children in particular – as existing to serve some sociological experiment. So bright kids are regarded as a commodity to be rationed and spread around equally among the less competent, where they’ll supposedly have some beneficial influence.

The possible downsides of this compulsory mingling on the bright kids themselves doesn’t seem to matter.

sackcloth and ashes

Perhaps that's why their children turn to the right at the earliest available opportunity.

frconroy

Excellent post. Donation on its way.

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