“I am good! Love me!” Young Master McAuley’s op-ed [in the New York Times, blaming JFK’s assassination once again on Dallas] plaintively cries. “Look at how much I hate the people who raised me, the people whose position in life enabled me to attend Harvard and Oxford and turn my back on them.”
This is, of course, nothing new. As Christopher Caldwell noted a decade ago in the Weekly Standard, even otherwise thoughtful liberals who hail originally from flyover country are driven kind of nutty by their ignorant kin* when it comes to politics. You should really read the whole thing—it’s extremely brief, and the bile so-called liberals** direct at their families is something to behold—but here are Caldwell’s concluding paragraphs:
At some point, Democrats became the party of small-town people who think they’re too big for their small towns***. It is hard to say how it happened: Perhaps it is that Republicans’ primary appeal is to something small-towners take for granted (tradition), while Democrats’ is to something that small-towners are condemned for lacking (diversity). Both appeals can be effective, but it is only the latter that incites people to repudiate the culture in which they grew up. Perhaps it is that at universities–through which pass all small-town people aiming to climb to a higher social class–Democratic party affiliation is the sine qua non of being taken for a serious, non-hayseed human being.
For these people, liberalism is not a belief at all. No, it’s something more important: a badge of certain social aspirations. That is why the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.
“A badge of certain social aspirations,” yes, but something else too. Liberalism and affiliation with the Democratic Party, for these people, is less a series of policy ideas than an almost-religious belief system****. Distancing oneself from heretics thus takes on special importance. And how better to show your fellow believers that you are Good than to use the most important news outlet in the entire world to run down your relatives who believed Bad things?
— “Op-Eds as Social Positioning: or, I’m Better than Those Hicks!”, Sonny Bunch in the Washington Free Beacon. Read the whole thing.™
** We’ll likely hear reports of this en masse immediately after Thanksgiving, when leftists depressed over the Obamacare debacle meet their Tea Party-friendly relatives who say, “See, I told you so.” Hopefully no duels will be reported when the carving knives come out.
Related: Charlie Cook on the left’s “Revolution in Dotage.”
(Via Ace of Spades.)