Friday, April 6, 2012

Why is the Political Situation so Bleak? Because the Elite Fears Being Unfashionable More Than Being Wrong

“In the attics of the students, in the garrets of Bohemia, and the deserted offices of doctors without patients and lawyers without clients there are [the revolutionaries] in bud." --Hippolyte Taine, writing about France in the 1860s

"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it." --Patrick Henry to the Virginia convention, March 23, 1775

By Barry Rubin

How do you turn "the smartest people in the world" into the dumbest people in the world? Simple. You turn the sophisticated sources of information on which they depend--elite media, academia, and schools--into sources of misinformation.

And how do you persuade people who should know better to embrace bad ideas and silly concepts? Equally simple. You make those ideas fashionable.

One of the girls in my son’s sixth-grade class told him he would look better if he wore blue jeans. After he explained to me that this is what the other kids in his class are wearing, I took him shopping and bought him a couple of pairs. He wore them the next day at school and a kid said, “Hey, look, Daniel is wearing blue jeans!” And they applauded.

But why, he asked me afterward, does it matter so much what someone wears? After all, that’s just a superficial outer appearance. I was proud of him for asking that question which showed that he valued character over superficial image but explained that these things are important because they send social signals. Most people really don’t know how to evaluate someone in terms of their character and values. They lack  the time or ability to do so. Thus, they look at  symbols like clothes, haircuts, and the kind of car someone drives, or their credentials, like college degrees, in order to judge others.

Which reminds me that once I was in the elevator of a fashionable Manhattan high-rise holding take-out coffee for myself and my wife. I was informally dressed and wearing a Baltimore Orioles cap. One woman in the elevator turned to another and said, "I didn't know Starbucks delivers!"

Indeed, fashion may be the greatest enemy of survival for America today. Holding a certain set of ideas has been defined as making one seem sophisticated, successful, and admirable. Other ideas are deemed horrible, indicating that the person is a hick, rube, bumpkin, yahoo, racist, or, in short, the kind of person who hates others because they are different and clings to guns and religion.

We need your support. To make a tax-deductible donation to the GLORIA Center by PayPal or credit card: click Donate button: Checks: "American Friends of IDC.” “For GLORIA Center” on memo line. Mail: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th St., 11th Fl., NY, NY 10003.

Please be subscriber 28,985. Put email address in upper right-hand box:

One of the great successes of leftism (pretending to be liberalism) in North America and Europe today is that it has made itself so fashionable, so identified with sophistication, intellectual quality, and what used to be called the upper class. Not the old upper class of country clubs and yachts (though Senator John Kerry has a whopper of one a boat) but the upper class of merit, the truly good, who hate racism and are saving the earth.

Funny how many of these people are quite wealthy themselves. The message is: My money and success is justified by my holding proper attitudes. Al Gore may have a big house and a big carbon footprint but that's okay because he talks about how these things are evil.

The true class warfare going on is not that of the one percent reactionary, greedy rich versus the ninety-nine percent of everyone else but rather a section of the elite that benefits from big government, in supposed alliance with those receiving government payments plus various groups given special privileges, against everyone else. The revolutionaries are no longer, in Taine's words about nineteenth century France, "doctors without patients and lawyers without clients" but rather those who would be without patients, clients, or employment if not for the government's patronage.

Click here to read the entire article

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center  and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.