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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
All Comments   (91)
All Comments   (91)
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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
Its definitely the most-financially rewarding Ive ever done. Make money with Google. $85 an hour! I work two shifts 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening. And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids I follow this great link
http://qr.net/Freelance
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
Gee D-W, done the memory hole?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is that a cry for help? ;-) Other stuff has been distracting me. I do enjoy VDH's reminiscences, but the bitterness toward the coastal elites is a bit too much sour grapes, apparently not the kind he brought to his college friends. Caesar Chavez inappropriately deified? I'm shocked! Is Ronald Reagan inappropriately deified? Yup. Now let's move on. I appreciate Art's clear-eyed view of the public vs private salary stuff, and have been saying for as long as I have been on this board, "if you can't beat 'em, join em, which by the way, VDH, Art, and me have already done to a significant extent. How about teaching music to high schoolers? ;-)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oop "...and I have already done." Can't be finessing nominative and objective cases, no matter how much we believe in liberty. ;-)
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
He won the Nobel Prize for being the first colored president, nothing else. It of course was a huge mistake.

The Nobel Prize has been devalued permanently
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
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