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Works and Days

Intelligent Populism vs. Mindless Progressivism

January 6th, 2014 - 2:20 pm

The Modern Psychological Disorder of Elite Liberalism

The result of cosmic disappointment in the ability of progressive politics to correct human disparities has given birth to the modern psychological disorder of elite liberalism, which is mostly about squaring the circle of maintaining privilege while deploring inequality. Say America is unfair ten times a day, and the BMW in the garage and the new putter are no longer sins.

Barack Obama cannot finish a sentence without lamenting unfairness; but he proves to be no Jimmy Carter in scouting out the most exclusive of golf courses, and the richest of fat cats to putt with. Elizabeth Warren talks of oppressed minorities, but then invents a pseudo-Native-American identity to get a leg up on the elite competition in order to land at Harvard. The fact is that the elite who champion the poor and the poor themselves are not the players of the 1930s; the former usually make about the same amount of money and enjoy the same privileges as those they damn, while the latter have access to appurtenances and privileges denied the royalty of old.

The wealthier and more secluded an Oprah, the most desperately she searches for evidence of bias and inequality, finally reduced to the caricature of whining about racially driven poor service over a $38,000 crocodile handbag. If most in California don’t care what people do in their bedrooms, or if gays have on average higher incomes than non-gays, or if gay marriage is now de rigeur, the search for cosmic equality continues at an even brisker pace, resulting in transgendered bathrooms in the public schools (crede mihi: the ten-year-old daughters of the Yahoo elite will not encounter transgendered fifteen-year-old boys in the female Menlo School restrooms).

It is not perverse, but logical that Obamacare architects don’t want Obamacare coverage. It is understandable that Washington young-gun liberals know exactly where DuPont Circle or Georgetown gets iffy. Modern liberalism provides the necessary mental mechanisms to ensure the enjoyment of privilege. Al Gore was the classical liberal of the age, crafting an entire green empire predicated on opposing the very values that he later embraced to become, and preserve staying, very rich.

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"...the modern psychological disorder of elite liberalism, which is mostly about squaring the circle of maintaining privilege while deploring inequality. Say America is unfair ten times a day, and the BMW in the garage and the new putter are no longer sins."

In a nutshell. Paying lip service equals doing and frees you up for even greater levels of self-indulgence and self-absorption, and rhetoric is all Obama needs to effectively address the serial "phony" scandals that have dogged his tenure, along with a carefully selected ignorant audience applauding each vapid rhetorical swirl.

A republican candidate should shine the light on the vast immorality of the re-distributionist scheme, from its phony fish mongering elites to the soul deadening and life destroying effects on the recipients.

You could number the politicians on one hand who might have the personal wherewithal to save this sinking ship.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
VDH wrote “...the Republicans have not been able to explain to the country either the illiberal nature of liberalism or its hypocrisies”. Very true dear Professor. That is because the Democrats' basic strategy is to push hard on all fronts simultaneously, while sowing confusion in their wake to blunt our ability to respond.

It is effective, because while you may be able to defend at some points at certain times, you cannot defend on all points simultaneously, all the time. That is why we conservatives must focus on attack, but so far only a small handful have shown an understanding of this principle. Defense in itself is not a bad thing, for instance we were able to resist the big drive to begin rolling back gun rights last year, and the push to go to war with Syria... but while those battles were won, we've been losing the overall war because the left has learned how to advance it's ideological cause in and out of power. They do this by constant, relentless pressure from three directions: “top down” that is to say by electing leftists at all levels, “bottom up” through propaganda and street-level education, and “inside out” by taking over social institutions and using them to disseminate an essentially Marxist worldview.

When they win politically, they press their advantage by pushing for still more, and when they lose, they find ways to turn our victory against us, while renewing their efforts on other fronts at the same time. We make the mistake of assuming that it is possible to reach a state of equilibrium with the leftists, but we cannot because by definition, the leftist worldview requires the final abolition of all opposition. That is why you must never concede anything to leftists, ever. Instead you must attack. Yet because Conservatives generally do not have a hidden agenda like the leftists do, they are puzzled when the left constantly moves the goal-post. They spend hours, days, years wondering “could the left really be acting in bad faith or lying...? Why does the left press ahead with plans and theories that clearly don't work!”

So while we scratch our heads the left undermines the culture. That is where the real war is taking place and there are five main targets:
1) Christianity
2) The Family
3) Education
4) The gun culture
5) The concept of “rugged individualism”

Whether or not you practice one of the branches of the Christian Faith, it is hard to deny that our culture of human rights, and our very notion of individual sovereignty derives from Christianity (and the Greco-Judean world from which it emerged). At it's heart Christianity is a positive affirmation of human life as it is, suffering and all. Leftists hate that because they want to control you by controlling your highest aspirations. They know that broken families lead to higher crime and drug abuse, poorer education and career choices and poorer health as well. Therefore they promote divorce, abortion, casual sex, homosexuality... because they want a society of alienated individuals out of which to build their grand collectivist vision. They teach “moral relativity”, so that students can no longer perceive American exceptionalism; and post-modernism to dull their ability to think clearly about anything it all...

So this is the background against which the grand legislative battles are playing out. The battles are real, but they also serve as smokescreens for the deeper cultural agenda (the brainchild of Antonio Gramsci). But there are four further layers to complicate things.

First, the left has made a study of history, and understands that societies tend to grow decadent and corrupt over time. In many ways they are merely amplifying a natural process. Second, the left is applying a combination of mass-psychology, web analytics and “nudging” to engineer our behavior, but they are hedging their bets by building a police state apparatus all around us, as quickly as possible. Third, they are also trying to alter the physical demographics of society to skew to the left. And fourth, the radical left which now controls the Democratic Party is itself another simulacrum controlled by still greater, large supra-national forces.

In the end Poland was able to successfully oppose the Soviet's attempts to iron their culture by establishing a vibrant, underground counter-culture. They called it the “flying university”. In their case it lived through the Catholic Church and could be found in books, music, art and underground theater. It kept the idea of freedom alive and ready to flame up again when the time was right. That time came when Pope John-Paul, Ronald Reagan and Maggie Thatcher strode onto the world stage. For us, blogs like VDH's Works and Days, conservative talk-radio, and our informal networks serve a similar function, though full totalitarian darkness has not yet fallen.

In order to shake off the corruption and decadence that has set in, we will indeed have to go through a tran
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well analyzed and well written Dr Hanson. I think what troubles me the most about the Left is their need to lie and to camoflauge their real intentions in everything they do. If the Democrat Party just came out and said "we openly support communism" and 51% of the American people said "Yup, I think I wanna give that a try", I think I could accept that. I wouldn't like it one bit but I'd figure I was on the wrong side of history and would try to hunker down with my loved ones and try to weather the coming storm the best as we could.
But I can't abide the lies and the deception and the outright propaganda being spewed by not only the Democrat Party but by their traitorous henchmen in the so called information media. Their lies make everything they do illegitimate and invite nothing but contempt and scorn from patriotic Americans. They can all go to hell and I only wish I could hurry them on their way.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All those elitist liberals need to review the roots of the French Revolution. My understanding is it didn't have much to do with a peasant uprising. More like a Tea Party with guillotines.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you so much Mr Hansen. The brilliance of Reagan was his ability to put into street language the very kind of concepts you stated in this article. Everyone - Doctor, Lawyer, Mechanic or Nurse knew from their own experience that Uncle Ron was telling the truth. There does not appear to be anyone like him now. That man made me a conservative.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Six instead of two children. It was our government that campaigned to have the people it approved of have six children.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The real question is whether the belated arrival of Cruz, Lee, Paul, West, Palin and a handful of others is too little and too late. Undoing the unholy alliance of the new marxist aristocracy and their thug underclass supporters will take a near miracle. Maybe obamacare is that miracle, but I doubt it. The GOP will see to it that obamacare survives.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just so. Without organization, courage and leadership it will be too late.

As a practical matter, if the GOP is to survive (like many, I'm inclined to say, Why bother?), it has no choice but to adopt a clear and revised position on abortion.

Many decisions would be local, per the 10th amendment, so there is a route to silence the Bible Belt -- witchfinders general and flaming stakes if that's what they want in South Shitpile. The place for Fed intervention would be very limited -- perhaps via a carrot/stick approach to funding in obvious cases like rape victims and 14-yr-olds working on their fourth pregnancy, and a few others.

Drop the abortion ball, waffle and lose again as usual, and it's all over. The GOP will likely be out to lunch at the time, looking for another establishment marionette.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I too regret the implication that having a large family is a vice. The older children of large families contribute as much as they take and step up when required. We need more of them, not fewer!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
the Republicans are going to have to nominate a man of the people, in the Reagan fashion of the wood-chopper who talks incessantly from first-hand knowledge about the common man.
Well, duh. It took vdh until now to realize what a lousy choice Romney was, though we can expect the denial to continue.

The GOP's 'alto cargos', even those as able as the author, have missed the boat for decades; many are as socially and culturally tone deaf as the elites they purport to shun. They have only themselves to blame, so of course they won't.

The euphemisms are changing a bit but the problems aren't. The third rail of GOP politics -- once known misleadingly as the religious right, now known misleadingly as 'social conservatives' -- won't be appeased or silenced. The very idea is meaningless to the zealot. The rest of us, including many Independents, Libertarians and Democrats, often Christians well to the right on matters both fiscal and social, won't be bamboozled. You need their votes.

It's the Bible Belt bozos, stupid! Deal with it.

Meanwhile, the fix is still in but there is hope: Sarah Palin isn't going to disappear, neither is Cruz. Both know how to address the American people. Thank God.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought everyone here may be interested to learn that the "polar vortex" is actually just a "cold front," as per Wikipedia. Of course, it's also an "extreme weather event."

What a grand distraction for 4-5 days. The Middle East has exploded into all out war, and Drudge is reporting on a cold front.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Yet so far the Republican establishment seems uninterested in making the case that the Democratic hierarchy is of, by, and for the elite."

Well, of course, not. Just a bit disingenuous of accusing the other party of doing the very thing you are doing. Did you forget Mitch McConnell's KY pork after the faux shutdown effort? That progressivism is equivalent to fraud surprises no one; that DC's version of conservatism is marginally (maybe) different infuriates many.

You may have noticed that those rascally Tea folks have raised the ire of as much of the GOP establishment as its Dem counterpart. In flyover country, we call that a red flag. Repubs about the venal if not evil left while hoping no one will notice they are only marginally less so.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Conservatives have been sold out by both Democrat and Republican parties. There are only two classes in the USA: 1. Politically connected and 2. Everybody else. The Politically connected include just as many or more Republicans as Democrats. The rest of us are subjects of the biggest Organized Crime operation since the Roman empire and the Mafia. Hoping/voting for a potential savior as suggested by Dr. VDH seems quite futile when considering how the fix is in. But go ahead and vote if it makes you feel better or campaign for your favorite aspiring member of the Political Class. I would, however, cast a vote for Dr. VDH.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
A fine post. Pithy and well stated. I sometimes wonder if Dr. Hanson indeed believes as you do, that it is futile to wait for a potential savior but that he only writes what he writes to observe as to whether the rest of us do too.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's the same old complaint that have been leveled at the Democrats since I can remember. There has always been hypocrisy, elites and inequality in the world, so don't wait for things to change. Adding to the catalog of Democrat sins: where is OWS now that Obama is elected? Americans are short sighted and stupid when it comes to elections -- how can they not be when many hours of the day are spent watching liberal media -- and now they have to pay for believing the Democrat lies. They pay out of their pocket books and if they can't learn or educate themselves then they will be the new Europeans and should at least learn to say Bon Jour!
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
We will be fortunate is Bon Jour is the only thing we need learn to say.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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