Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, June 22, 2007

Leave the F#$%ing Stilts at Home

Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, has written what I consider to be the most insightful (and damning) indictment of modern American liberalism I have yet seen. THIS IS A MUST-READ TO UNDERSTAND THE POLITICAL DYNAMICS IN PULLMAN AND MOSCOW!

When you read this, think of the wealthy Ph.D's of "grassroots" PARD and No SuperWalMart reliving their Berkeley-esque tie-dye glory days and lecturing us about the plight of the working class. Think of Mayor Chaney and her "sustainable" Mexican fishing village. Think of white professor David Leonard yammering on about Hurricane Katrina and African-American "genocide." Think of the recent freakshow that was the "Northwest Progressive Conference" at WSU. Think of John Streamas comparing the WSU College Republicans to Nazis. Think of Alex McDonald, the Young Democrats, and other middle-class WSU students complaining about "racism" and "oppression" on campus. Think of the monotonously politically correct and left-wing orthodox editorialists of the Daily Evergreen writing about "getting involved," "where's the outrage?" and "youth apathy." Taibbi makes the same point I have made before: Liberals ARE the establishment now. How can they rebel against themselves? That is why I contend that conservatism is becoming the new counterculture, and hence, much more fun.

Some relevant quotes:
Thus, the people who are the public voice of American liberalism rarely have any real connection to the ordinary working people whose interests they putatively champion. They tend instead to be well-off, college-educated yuppies from California or the East Coast, and hard as they try to worry about food stamps or veterans’ rights or securing federal assistance for heating oil bills, they invariably gravitate instead to things that actually matter to them – like the slick Al Gore documentary on global warming, or the “All Things Considered” interview on NPR with the British author of Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. They haven’t yet come up with something to replace the synergy of patrician and middle-class interests that the New Deal represented.


“Perhaps what the real issue is that the left is not really a grassroots movement,” he says. “You have this donor/elite class, and then you have the public . . . You have these zillionaires who are supposedly funding the progressive movement. At some point that gets to be a problem.”


This is another dirty little secret of the left – the fact that, at least when it comes to per-capita income, those interminable right-wing criticisms about liberals being “elitists” are actually true. According to a 2004 Pew report, Americans who self-identify as liberals have an average annual income of $71,000 – the highest-grossing political category in America. They’re also the best-educated class, with over one in four being post-graduates.


But having rich college grads acting as the political representatives of the working class isn’t just bad politics. It’s also silly. And there’s probably no political movement in history that’s been sillier than the modern American left.

What makes the American left silly? Things that in a vacuum should be logical impossibilities are frighteningly common in lefty political scenes. The word “oppression” escaping, for any reason, the mouths of kids whose parents are paying 20 grand for them to go to private colleges. Academics in Priuses using the word “Amerika.” Ebonics, Fanetiks, and other such insane institutional manifestations of white guilt. Combat berets. Combat berets in conjunction with designer coffees. Combat berets in conjunction with designer coffees consumed at leisure in between conversational comparisons of America to Nazi Germany.

We all know where this stuff comes from. Anyone who’s ever been to a lefty political meeting knows the deal – the problem is the “spirit of inclusiveness” stretched to the limits of absurdity. The post-sixties dogma that everyone’s viewpoint is legitimate, everyone‘s choice about anything (lifestyle, gender, ethnicity, even class) is valid, that’s now so totally ingrained that at every single meeting, every time some yutz gets up and starts rambling about anything, no matter how ridiculous, no one ever tells him to shut the fuck up. Next thing you know, you’ve got guys on stilts [like the No SuperWalMart doofus pictured above - tf] wearing mime makeup and Cat-in-the-Hat striped top-hats leading a half-million people at an anti-war rally. Why is that guy there? Because no one told him that war is a matter of life and death and that he should leave his fucking stilts at home.

Then there’s the tone problem. A hell of a lot of what the left does these days is tediously lecture middle America about how wrong it is, loudly snorting at a stubbornly unchanging litany of Republican villains. There’s a weirdly indulgent tone to all of this Bush-bashing that goes on in lefty media, a tone that’s not only annoyingly predictable in its pervasiveness, but a turnoff to people who might have tuned in to that channel in search of something else.


But to me the biggest problem with American liberalism is that it hasn’t found a new legend for itself, one to replace the old one, which is more and more often no longer relevant. I’ve got no problem with long hair and weed and kids playing “Imagine” on acoustic guitars at peace marches. But we often make the mistake of thinking that the “revolution” of the sixties is something that rightly should continue on to today.

While it’s true that we’re still fighting against unjust wars and that there’s unfinished business on the fronts of women’s rights, civil rights, and environmental preservation, there’s no generational battle left for America’s rich kids to fight. In the sixties, college kids had to fight for their right to refuse to become bankers, soldiers, plastics executives or whatever other types of dreary establishment lifestyles their parents were demanding for them. And because they had to fight that fight, the interests of white college kids were briefly and felicitously aligned with the blacks and the migrant farm workers and the South Vietnamese, who were also victims of the same dug-in, inflexible political establishment. Long hair, tie-dye and the raised black fist all had the same general message – screw the establishment. It was a sort of Marxian perfect storm where even the children of the bourgeoisie could semi-realistically imagine themselves engaged in a class struggle.

But American college types don’t have to fight for shit anymore. Remember the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill album? Remember that song “Fight for Your Right to Party”? Well, people, that song was a joke. So was “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “And the Cradle Will Rock.” The only thing American college kids have left to fight for are the royalties for their myriad appearances in Girls Gone Wild videos. Which is why they look ridiculous parading around at peace protests in the guise of hapless victims and subjects of the Amerikan neo-Reich. Rich liberals protesting the establishment is absurd because they are the establishment; they’re just too embarrassed to admit it.

When they start embracing their position of privilege and taking responsibility for the power they already have – striving to be the leaders of society they actually are, instead of playing at being aggrieved subjects – they’ll come across as wise and patriotic citizens, not like the terminally adolescent buffoons trapped in a corny sixties daydream they often seem to be now. They’ll stop bringing puppets to marches and, more importantly, they’ll start doing more than march.
This is why I don't sweat PARD. No one will ever take them seriously. Those self-important poseurs would have been finished a year ago if not for the Pullman City Code that threw their appeal into the glacially-paced justice system.

And I don't fear the Democrats, because as many missteps as the GOP has made over the war, immigration, etc., the average American does not consider the looney moonbats of Pelosi, Reid and Company to be a viable alternative. Once the Republicans find a leader who can connect with the common people again, as Ronald Reagan did, the ship will be righted and the left will be put out of our misery for good.

HT: Dale Courtney


Nic said...

I never thought I would say this, but... I think I agree. Is this the beginning of the rapture?

Michael said...

How about giant puppets.? Are giant puppets still cool?