Anglachel coins a new phrase: Progressive Derangement Syndrome. Excellent post, and I especially like this snippet:
What the hell is up with my party? Disenfranchising voters to throw an election? Declaring vast swaths of party loyalists to be racists? Deriding party stalwarts as "Republican-lite"? Dismissing the economic successes of a previous Democratic administration? Just why are the self-described progressives so frantic to remove Bill Clinton from the company of Democratic presidents? I have provided my answers, but it still remains a mind-boggling phenomenon.Update (3:25 pm): Anglachel also says:
They honestly don't consider the possibility that the working class and the poor are in a position to pass judgment on these statements and "performatives", that they form considered and sophisticated opinions on the world they confront just the way erudite UC tenured professors might do, or even Ivy League educated A-List bloggers. Whoda thunk it? Words do matter, but the words that people find matter most may not be those you want them to hear. The rubes have ears. They not only watch CNN, they occasionally read newspapers. Some of them even fire up the interwebs and look at them bloggy thingamabobs.Bob Somerby has a similar take.
Little there comprehends the problem. But in the highlighted passage, Robinson does what a string of “liberal” “thinkers” have done in the past few days (including Cohen, in the passage we’ve quoted); he suggests that a person with a high net worth is somehow automatically part of this problem. This, of course, is very similar to the claim that John Edwards can’t possibly care about poverty since he lives in a very big house. In the highlighted passage, Robinson shows that he doesn’t have the first idea what “elitism” even consist in. Elitism isn’t a question of the how much money you have. It’s a question of how you behave toward others who may have less money.Back when I was single, I used to rate my dates on how they treated waitstaff and busboys. If they were treated with courtesy and respect, I knew the date was a good guy. If the service staff were treated like non-people or worse, there was no second date. It saved me a lot of wasted time and introduced me to a lot of great guys, especially the wonderful man who now shares my life.
Are there people in Pennsylvania who will vote against Obama due to race? Presumably there are—although, in fact, there’s plenty of “mystery” about how “substantial” the “number” might actually be. But at least since the late 1960s, many progressives have behaved just as Herbert does here. It’s our first instinct! We start by attributing the worst possible motives and attributes to wide numbers of everyday people—people whom we’ve never met.
Unfortunately, many “progressives” simply can’t understand the nature of this decades-old problem. They can’t understand why it’s bad politics (and basically foolish) to ridicule people for being religious. They don’t see why it’s bad politics this week to build jokes around the word “gun-toting.” A few months ago, they didn’t understand why it was morally obnoxious (and vastly stupid) to accuse everyone in sight of being a slobbering racist.
Elitism isn’t about what you do. It isn’t about how much money you have. (FDR was wealthy.) It’s about the things you think and say about those small-town or working-class rubes.