Thursday, March 3, 2016

Trumping the Elite

In the WSJ, Charles Murray writes about a new merit-based upper class, comprising talented people, educated and socialized at college, and doing pretty well. They have a good opinion of themselves. This is a comment on the WSJ article, from Bloomberg. It starts with a quote from the article in the WSJ then a Brit, who lives here, comments on it.
"Another characteristic of the new upper class -- and something new under the American sun -- is their easy acceptance of being members of an upper class and their condescension toward ordinary Americans. Try using "redneck" in a conversation with your highly educated friends and see if it triggers any of the nervousness that accompanies other ethnic slurs. Refer to "flyover country" and consider the implications when no one asks, "What does that mean?" Or I can send you to chat with a friend in Washington, D.C., who bought a weekend place in West Virginia. He will tell you about the contempt for his new neighbors that he has encountered in the elite precincts of the nation’s capital.
That friend would be me. Allow me to elaborate.
I'm a British immigrant, and grew up in a northern English working-class town. Taking my regional accent to Oxford University and then the British civil service, I learned a certain amount about my own class consciousness and other people's snobbery. But in London or Oxford from the 1970s onwards I never witnessed the naked disdain for the working class that much of America's metropolitan elite finds permissible in 2016." --Crook

There may be something here. This implies that it does not matter how this election goes. There is something fundamental going on, something corrosive.
My concern is that this is exactly what I am hearing at work. Angry, blue-collar people who feel they are being exploited by people who have no respect for them. This has always been true of the elite who have little respect for the people who volunteer to fight for the elite's goofy international visions. New York--and Washington--thinks the religious, patriotic Southerner a fool. But this is different. This is widespread. And deep.
For the first time in this Trump fiasco, I am worried. I think this disaffection is broad, involves a lot of thinking and productive people and, worst, whatever happens in this election will not solve it.

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