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Works and Days

America in the Age of Myth

April 1st, 2013 - 10:44 pm

We live in a mythic age — but mythic in the sense of made-up.

The Coastal Aristocrat

In the last thirty years, I have probably spoken 200 times at a coastal university of some sort, most of which were on the Eastern seaboard. I spent eight years at UC Santa Cruz and Stanford. I go to Palo Alto every week to work, and often lecture or teach in southern California.

So I know the Bay Area and Los Angeles almost as well as I know the San Joaquin Valley and the culture of the Eastern seaboard. I talk sometimes with the media, academics, foundation heads, a few in entertainment, and some politicians. All are coastal-based. Here is what I’ve learned over the last three decades about the mythologies of our national oligarchy.

There is a liberal coastal aristocrat, but he is really not very liberal, at least in the sense of his regressive life not matching his progressive rhetoric. His views are mostly conditioned on his education, salary, and material circumstances. Put the coastal aristocrat in charge of a 7-Eleven in Stockton, and his therapeutic view would turn tragic quite quickly. And that fear is why he rarely goes to either a 7-Eleven or Stockton.

Let me give a few examples.

Fracking is seen as mostly bad, not because of any firsthand knowledge, any in-depth reading of the literature, any quid pro quo, or any cost/benefit analysis of the effect of more oil and gas production on the lives of the poor, but largely because the coastal aristocrat senses that he 1) has quite enough money and job security to ignore the price of gas, 2) does not drive all that much in comparison to the red-state interior Neanderthal, and 3) receives enormous psychological comfort and social acceptance from the fact that he is opposed to carbon emissions. Why, he wonders, do the poor on the way to work drive those gas-guzzling used Yukons, when a second-hand Prius would work just as well?

Illegal immigration? The Palo Alto aristocrat’s position is predicated on two realities: his hardworking nanny, yardman, and cook are often rather recent arrivals from Mexico, and he most certainly does not wish his children to attend school anywhere near Redwood City. Thus he is for “comprehensive immigration reform,” with the understanding that the benefits are his, and for others the downside.

Taxes? They are the cost of a utopian worldview, a mordida necessary to live in Cambridge or Santa Monica. For the aristocrat making over $500,000 a year, a few extra thousand dollars a year is a price worth paying, at least for the psychological guarantee that the distant food-stamp recipients, who mostly go to Safeway rather than Ralphs or Whole Foods, are content to live their happy lives as they do. Pay up the penance and be done with the guilt is the creed.

Guns? For the coastal elite, who do not hunt, who do not live in a dangerous neighborhood, and who believe the Bill of Rights are sacrosanct to the degree they support progressive change and fluid when they do not, guns more or less should just go away. Of course, the celebrity, the CEO, and the politician may need “security,” but no one much asks what hides inside the coats of the husky men at their sides.

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Top Rated Comments   
He won it because he wasn't Bush. The global Left can't admit the real threats facing the world, such as radical Islam, because to do so would reveal what a load of rubbish their entire philosophy is. So, they heaped blame for all that was wrong in the world on the US in general and GW in particular. So, Here was Obama who 1) wasn't Bush and 2) also believed everything was America's fault and would set about fixing that by wrecking the country.

Of course, Leftist can't see anything beyond their own reflection in the mirror. As such they are totally blind to what will happen if the US once again is unable to enforce a degree of peace on the world. That will simply be regional and likely global wars. In short, the world will turn a much nastier place again. Thing is, this time humanity might not rise up again.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's been my experience that these Leftist aristocrats are perhaps some of the most helpless people on earth. Most of them are not the self-made men.

If life were equitable from birth and endowment, nepotism and connection not the rule; and riches couldn't buy the influence of the intelligent but corrupted servitude to mask the stench and mislead the masses in the hopes they too can join rank; these Leftists of the coasts would be the first to pass, virtually extinct in one generation.

Money may not buy happiness but it surely can help to sustain influence and buy power. Throw in most of these elite play by a different set of rules and are personally immune for their many failures, a protected class that never has to answer with any real consequence, I'm not sure why millions of Americans would be confused as to why we find ourselves on the brink of collapse. Sadly, millions more don't even realize how fragile America really is, believing America too big to fail. They are like sheep being led willingly to the slaughter.

Don't think these elitists haven't already planned their escape...once again to leave the rest of us to clean up their mess.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rich, white 1-percenter liberals really are feudal-lord wannabees, and they actually manage to get the serfs to vote for them.

Obama and all his friends are 1-percenters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (75)
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In 2012 the U.S. Navy commissioned an underway supply ship named the USS Cesar Chavez. Apparently the Navy no longer does any research into the history of the person they're "honoring." Political correctness run a muck.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Will you run for governor of California? You are much needed!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think it would be a grevious error for VDH to do so. The Governor has relatively little power, per the state constitution. Thus, with a democrat-dominated legislature, VDH's term as governor would be a guaranteed failure. For California's government to become capable, it needs to be completely restructured. If VDH ran on such a platform, that might do the trick.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The "Ignobles" want to rain down on us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Liberal aristocrats are like the three monkeys who hear no reality, think no reality, and say no reality. They engage in constant self-censorship of thought, word, and deed because any admission that there's a reality outside their closed world threatens their membership in the liberal tribe, and therefore their status, wealth, and prospects. There is zero chance of getting a tenure track faculty position if a young Ph.D. is an out and proud conservative, for example. So it pays to conform.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
and the lip-serviced wards of the 1% are regularly bribed with trinkets, to turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy.

Brilliant article. Thank you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Look kids, a strawman.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How dare you call our Dear Leader Obama such a thing! You must be a racist!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Look kids, Argumentum ad Ridiculum
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Look kids argumentum ad ridiculum.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama, he won the Nobel Prize, parlez-vous.
Obama, he won the Nobel Prize, parlez-vous.
Obama, he won the Nobel Prize,
And we all know when, but we don't know whys.
Hinkey-dinkey, parlez-vous.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your faith in the ability, and willingness of the citizens to swallow the pill to heal them of their malaise has yet to be proved. Do they even know they ail?

The path to Obama was built brick by brick over decades, at least two generations of Americans - long before 1971 - by people you describe as aristocrats of the East Coast. Their models in the Massachusetts /Harvard Kennedys and the is it Arkansas/Yale or New York Clintons.

Those same people in charge of the civic institutions that contrived the myths of nobility beginning with their Camelot, their "revolution of the 1960s". Presumptive heir Edward hors de combat for POTUS/monarch? but okay as lifelong Father of the Senate with all inherent powers to CHANGE the nation.

Their dislike of the American Dream for "commoners" with their compulsion to signal their "superiority". Wannabee nobles, aristocrats of the old style in their regressive Progressivism, their ILLIBERAL liberalism, their do as I say not as I do. De haut en bas?

Only thing missiing is the powdered wig.

Their ambitions a regressive Progressivism for control from a central court, monarch, oligarchy of which they are courtiers angling for favoured position. Their New Age Court of Washington, East Coast aristocracy and social power. New Age Replacement of the 18th century Court in Westminster. To replace the model since its creation for the rights and dignity of the common man that Novus Ordo Seclorum of that olde USA.

Their enablers in public information - propaganda, entertainment/education with their 24/7/365 bread and circuses lulled into torpor enough of the citizens to approve their depredations and their models.

Too few citizens understand and care about the real meaning of "we're from the government and we're here to help". Which is only development of universal wisdom that there is no free lunch. Everrything has a price. Nothing is for nothing. But your small farmers, Armenian, Punjabi, Japanese and Americans who tote that bail, haul that barge do.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is part of it. But to really understand what we are witnessing, you have to take an even wider perspective: Crazy as it seems, this is nothing less than the first known attempted takeover of the world economic and political system by a secretive group of powerful international conspirators. Furthermore, for decades they have made a careful study of historical processes and trends, of the ebb and tide of human events, and drawn the appropriate lessons that have allowed them to incrementally install controlling mechanisms not only on the world economy, but on how we think, communicate, interact, raise our children, who we love and what we value. In other words they have, by and large, and to greater or lesser degrees, taken control of who we are, and are directing our actions as if we were puppets on a string. This is true totalitarianism because it takes place through mass seduction, rather than terror, transforming many of us into willing slaves. Many of us are awakening to this fact, which is why they are accelerating their efforts. There are ways to combat them, the resistance is underway, but it begins with awareness. Spread the word...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Prof. Hanson, I am surprised a first class mind such as yours has failed to grasp the obvious. Truth, with a capital T , has been replaced with, " Narrative ", with a capital N. That is why we are in the shape we are in. That also explains Obama's Nobel Prize. It was not the accomplishments of Obama that secured the prize, it was the story of Barak Obama that secured the prize. True or not you must admit it was a delightful story indeed!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Prof. Hanson, I am surprised a first class mind such as yours has failed to grasp the obvious. Truth, with a capital T , has been replaced with, " Narrative ", with a capital N. That is why we are in the shape we are in. That also explains Obama's Nobel Prize. It was not the accomplishments of Obama that secured the prize, it was the story of Barak Obama that secured the prize. True or not you must admit it was a delightful story indeed!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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