August 08, 2011
Jeff Goldstein quotes Victor Davis Hanson on matters inexplicable:
Another mystery is the leftism of those who live in a world of hierarchical privilege. If we examine the elite media (the MSNBC or New York Times megaphones), or Hollywood (the lifestyle of a Sean Penn), or leftist politicians (a Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, or Al Gore), there is almost no tangible difference in the way they live their lives from those of the corporate or private sector elite they deprecate. […]
That [raises] the question — is the elite left’s infatuation with the good life not so much a paradox, not a hypocrisy at all, but rather a sort of medieval exemption, or perhaps penance? The price for living well is to advocate government subsidies for the less well-off that are rarely seen, and disdain for those who grub for money and as tea partiers lack the refinement that is the dividend of the very rich or the so well connected. Does buying a $40,000 ticket to the president’s 50th birthday party mean that one is exempt from the presidential invective against “millionaires and billionaires” and “corporate jet owners”? As a general rule, the more I hear of such carping, the more I assume the whiner covets what he so childishly is obsessed with ending.
The mysteries of the millionaire leftist have been pondered here quite often. It seems reasonable to suppose that our leftwing elite aren’t vehemently opposed to their own status, influence and unusual wealth, which often exceeds that of those whose “unjust rewards” they publicly denounce. It seems they merely object to the wrong kind of rich people. Which is to say, people whose views and backgrounds may differ from their own. Maybe Alan Rusbridger, Jeremy Irons and Polly Toynbee, for instance, imagine themselves as part of an exempted nomenklatura – as consultants and advisors, clearing the road to our egalitarian utopia, where their influence and status will grow accordingly. Or maybe they’ve simply managed to construct personalities that are impervious to their own kleptomania and colossal hypocrisy. Which would also explain why Rusbridger, Irons and Toynbee are so comically unprepared for having their own affairs considered in any way relevant.
Nearly ten years on, Johnathan Pearce, Nick Gillespie and Tim Sandefur reflect on terrible events and inadequate art:
What is an artist, who has spent his or her career producing work to condemn capitalism, going to produce to mourn the loss of the World Trade Centre at the hands of anti-capitalist terrorists? They certainly aren’t going to produce a second Mourning Athena. As Robert Hughes says, American artists particularly are obsessed “with creating identities, based on race, gender and the rest. These have made for narrow, preachy, single-issue art in which victim credentials count for more than aesthetic achievement. You get irritable agitprop…. The fact that an artwork is about injustice no more gives it aesthetic status than the fact that it’s about mermaids.”
And Jan Blits revisits the University of Delaware’s infamous “social justice education” programme:
At every opportunity students were told that their identity, first and foremost, is not “human,” but this or that ethnic, racial, religious or sexual group: “Native American,” “Hispanic,” “black,” “Asian,” “white,” “male,” “female,” “Muslim,” “Hindu,” “gay,” straight,” and so on. Whites and males were singled out and publicly shamed for their “privilege.” […] Students were also forced to behave like bigots and spew forth stereotypes about members of other ethnic, racial, religious or sexual groups. When students objected that they were being forced to say things they didn’t mean, the [resident assistants] told them that they were saying what, deep down, they really thought. The obvious purpose of this exercise was to shame whites in general, and white males in particular. But, in fact, minority students especially hated the exercise, because it was in their name that other students were being unfairly shamed and abused.
Details of the pathological race fantasies at the heart of Delaware’s “social justice” programme can be found here, including the belief that “the term [racist] applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States.” Students’ accounts of their tribal indoctrination – referred to by its proponents as a “treatment” intended to leave “a mental footprint on [students’] consciousness” - can be found here: “The immediate effects were to intimidate and humiliate. The long-term effect is to teach conformity.” And if you believe such behaviour must be a one-off aberration, better think again.
As usual, feel free to add your own.