Thursday, March 31, 2005
THE AIRHEAD ELITE
This article is definitely in the "read the whole thing" category but a few excerpts anyway:
"On March 6th, the Drudge Report noted the fact that newsstand sales for the magazine Vanity Fair had plummeted by 22.5 percent during the last half of 2004, attributed by the editor to three successive covers that showed pictures of . . . men. What Drudge did not cite is the parallel fact that this slide tracks exactly with the mutation of the magazine from a great escape read of the guilty-pleasure variety, the place to go for fatuous film stars, Princess Diana, and society murders, into a Bush-bashing rag of the fiercest variety, one that at times last year seemed almost possessed.......
The new Vanity Fair is a story the old one might have wanted to cover, as it points up an interesting trend: The really fierce strains of anti-Bush feeling come less from established political sources than from what might be called the "glitz-based community"--people connected to Hollywood, fashion, or celebrity media, who produce diversions and lifestyle advice. At the shallower end of the pool of arts and intellect, they tend to produce the facile and transient; they make TV shows, or write them; make clothes, or write about them; try to become, or failing that tend to the needs of, celebrities.
A surprising number are media critics, who live at a twofold remove from engagement, as they comment on work that is less than important itself. Joining Vanity Fair in these up-market trenches are numerous glossies, the style and arts sections of the major papers, the New Yorker, known mainly for fiction and cultural coverage (and for ads for things costing zillions of dollars), and New York, known and read mainly for tips about shopping and real estate, restaurant ratings, and stories on murder and stock market crime. After the election, when the American Prospect and the New Republic were engaged in solemn bouts of soul-searching, the glossies indulged in new bouts of hysteria. "There will be a draft," imagined New York's James Atlas: "The polar ice caps will melt. . . . The Patriot Act will be used to stifle dissent in the media. . . . Jews will be rounded up." "Rounding up Jews" might not seem to compute with Bush's being a captive of neocons, but logic is not the strong suit of this faction. What Bush seems to be facing is less the normal opposition of a traditional part of the political class than a visceral uprising among fashionistas, a vast metrosexual spasm on behalf of a self-image based on cultural preening. "Do you mean there's still going to be civilization?" Atlas wrote on the grim morning of November 3: "Classical music, summaries of the week's New York Times Book Review, murmurous programs on the 'Treasures of Ancient China' exhibit at the Met?" Was the Met on the ballot? I seem to have missed it.
What makes all this more than mildly funny is the fact that glitzkrieg--political war as carried on by the glossies--has become in a sense the core of the Democrats, their chief source of lucre, and most prominent face. "Look at Kerry's chief supporters and you see a new kind of elite," says Joel Kotkin, "a veritable 'hip-ocracy' of high-tech tycoons, Hollywood moguls and celebrities, and a bevy of Wall Street financiers." This describes the table of contents in most of the glossies, most of their subjects, and sometimes their writers and editors, one of whom pulled down a cool $100,000 for pitching a movie idea. An Axis of Edginess, they make up the Miramax wing of the party (named after the Hollywood studio that branched into publishing, and whose head is an ardent and tireless Democratic fundraiser). Last year, John Kerry cleared almost $50 million in Hollywood, and was seldom without a phalanx of film stars, who dominated his convention in Boston and stumped with him throughout the campaign......
The Democrats who used to produce things--cars, steel, and foodstuffs--are being replaced by those who produce fads and fashion, things people enjoy but don't need. Societies need teachers, soldiers, engineers, and mechanics; they need people who drill for oil and fix cars; people who understand war and politics. No one needs sitcoms, movie reviews, handbag designers, gossip columnists, or professors of gender construction, but this superfluous cadre is becoming the core of the party of Truman and Roosevelt, an alliance of the superficial and trivial, along with the hopelessly poor. Call it the FDR coalition, minus the South, minus the farmers, minus a large part of labor, which has been weakening, and seeing the nonpublic sector part of its membership go over to voting Republican. This is not a national coalition, but it does know the best stores and best restaurants, and knows where to go for good hair.....
Botox aside, Kerry was the ideal candidate for this troop of trendies, who never fail to get major things wrong. He had more money even than they did, come by with even less merit and work. His playgrounds--Nantucket and the chalet in Idaho--looked like ads for Ralph Lauren. His resume looked terrific: Back Bay, private island, Swiss boarding school, Ivy League, interminable terms in the Senate, vacations with cousins in France. Even more than Martin Sheen, he looked like Hollywood's dream of a president; tall, almost emaciated, face long and solemn, brow furrowed with what could be mistaken for deep thought. Except that no one can remember an idea that he ever put forward, or a sentence he has said (in French or in English) that expressed anything novel or interesting. This of course made him ideal for the glitter-based wing of his party. "Kerry's Democratic allies view him as someone who is categorically superior to Bush in preparation, intellectual ability and knowledge of the world," Tom Curry wrote on MSNBC's website in September, quoting Teresa as dismissing as "idiots" those who demurred on Kerry's health insurance proposal. An intellectual without ideas, for trendies who think they are intellects. A perfect match.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
SHORTAGE OF FEMALE JOURNALISTS ONLY AMONG THE LEFTIST ELITE
Excerpt from an article by Georgie Anne Geyer
Sometimes the course of public discussion seems to take detours that meander along odd little tributaries. Take, for instance, the recent flap over women columnists. Reversing the historical order of things, this uproar started on the West Coast -- at the Los Angeles Times -- and moved eastward, finally spreading its nutsy reasoning to East Coast papers such as The New York Times.
It began, if I have my chronology right, when Michael Kinsley, editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times, rejected an op-ed piece submitted by Susan Estrich, who had been manager of the Dukakis presidential campaign in the ancient mists of history and is a well-known liberal feminist. Kinsley is quite liberal himself; but he has the right, in his office, to print whomever he wishes. But Estrich did not think so. In fact, her considerable rage spewed forth in e-mails that soon found their way into the new Washington Examiner newspaper. For starters, she wrote that Kinsley was a "jerk," filled with "arrogance," and, referring to the recent Harvard president's problem with women in science, a guy with a "Larry Summers problem." But she also made what to many women in journalism today was an odd, even rather old-fashioned demand: She wants more columns by women, but she only wants them to be with "women's voices." .......
In response to this nutty West Coast-East Coast conversation, Melanie Kirkpatrick, associate editor of The Wall Street Journal editorial page, ran a list of only a few of the women columnists featured in her paper: Dorothy Rabinowitz, Peggy Noonan, Ruth Wedgwood, Sally Satel and Heather MacDonald. The conservative Washington Times here in the nation's capital is full of women columnists, too many to name.
And let's not forget two more great women columnists who happen to be treasured personal friends of mine, Hearst Newspapers' national columnist Marianne Means, and the Philadelphia Inquirer's courageous Trudy Rubin, with whom I have worked in many of the worst trouble spots in the world. I find that our male colleagues recognize and reward us far more, rather obviously in this case, than do many of our "sisters." We seem to be invisible to our fellow women scribes, even though we're seen all over the country in paper after paper and on television.
True, there is sometimes an imbalance in some papers. Writing in the Post in much the same vein as I am writing, Anne Applebaum noted that there are widely cited statistics that only 10.4 percent of articles in the Post's op-ed page in the first two months of this year were written by women, 16.9 percent of The New York Times' op-ed pieces, and 19.5 percent of the Los Angeles Times' op-eds. So, yes, there is room for improvement, although this is curious since most papers now have a majority of women reporters.
By my judgment and instinct, this is another case of the two coasts -- with their elitist ideas of themselves as the sanctified arbiters of everything -- hashing out more silly stuff on their terms. It reminds me of the red state/blue state social discrimination reality. As I watch the dust settle, I wish they'd note that there are others of us doing the "tough" work and not being criticized by those bad men at all.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
AUSTRALIA'S CHIEF LEFTIST NEWSPAPER NOT INTERESTED IN THE WORKERS
How the mask has fallen away! Below are some comments by the Editor of "The Age" in Melbourne, after an interviewer had pointed out to him that the rival Murdoch newspaper was selling two and a half times more copies
"I tell you Richard, I don’t understand how somebody who comes from the ABC can say they’re killing us, because their circulation is twice ours. Their readership is 1.5-million; ours during the week is ¾-million, so yes, they’ve got twice the number of readers as we have, but surely you’ve looked into what kind of readers we’ve got compared to what kind of readers they’ve got. We don’t want their readers; it’s a different market. Our market is pretty well a pure AB market, right? Why do we operate in that marketplace? Because it’s a marketplace which is first of all intellectually or journalistically, to me interesting, because readers come to the newspaper wanting a serious, mature, considered read if you like. The second reason it’s good, is actually in advertising, it’s a market that advertisers really want to get into. So that’s why for example, we have a monopoly over job advertising, not all jobs, but senior jobs and the same thing goes for the top end of the car ads and the top end of the property ads. So those are our marketplaces, and it’s a great market to have, and it’s a great one which we will fight hard to defend. But to say they’re killing us when actually we’re doing incredibly well, is just a complete misunderstanding of our role and the role of The Age in the Melbourne market".
Source. The good Professor Bunyip has some further comments.
Monday, March 28, 2005
AN ELITE BLINDED BY ARROGANCE
Frank correctly notes that many conservative Christians don’t personally benefit from Republican economic policies. So why do they do vote the way they do? His answer is essentially that they fall for a con job. Republicans and their allies portray conservatism “as a revolt of the little people against a high and mighty liberal elite.” They employ the “hallucinatory appeal” of cultural issues, like abortion, to stir up the “inexhaustible right-wing outrage.” In their anger at liberal elites in media, law and politics, Christians don’t see that they’re being had.
See what I mean? When wealthy liberals support candidates who might raise their taxes, they’re called “principled” and “idealistic.” When Christians disregard their own economic interests, they’re called “angry” and “suspicious.”
Frank does write that “somewhere in the last four decades liberalism ceased to be relevant to huge portions of its traditional constituency,” but he doesn’t have a clue as to why. That is not surprising for someone who refers to the “hallucinatory appeal” of cultural issues.
Apparently, Frank finds it hard to imagine that people might genuinely believe that the sanctity of life and preserving the traditional family take precedence over their pocketbooks. They may wish that they didn’t have to choose between the two, but their votes reflect sincere priorities, not gullibility.
In the end, for Frank and others, the “matter” with Kansas and places like it is that, like a century ago, people aren’t voting the way “polite opinion” thinks they ought to. And now, as then, it’s the people’s, not the elite’s, fault. It’s the kind of “reasoning” that makes every post-election cycle a case of “déjà vu all over again.” Once again, they just don’t get it.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
GORE VIDAL: AN ELITIST WHO HASN'T GOT A CLUE
It's mostly too dumb to be worth fisking but note the arrogance in him saying that a majority of American voters vote for the party of Big Business. How foolish of all those voters to think the GOP represents their preferences. The people are so stupid and he is so wise!
For the past 40 years or so of Gore Vidal's prolific 59-year literary career, his great project has been the telling of the American story from the country's inception to the present day, unencumbered by the court historian's task of making America's leaders look like good guys at every turn. The saga has unfolded in two ways: through Vidal's series of seven historical novels, beginning with Washington DC in 1967 and concluding with The Golden Age in 2000; and through his ceaseless essay writing and public appearances across the years. Starting around 1970, Vidal began to offer up his own annual State of the Union message, in magazines and on the talk circuit. His words were always well-chosen, provocative, and contentious: "There is not one human problem that could not be solved," he told an interviewer in 1972, "if people would simply do as I advise."
Excerpts from an interview with Vidal
CP: You've observed many times in your writing that the United States has elections but has no politics. Could you talk about what you mean by that, and about how so many people have come to accept a purely spectatorial relationship to politics, more like fans (or non-fans) than citizens?
Gore Vidal: Well, you cannot have a political party that is not based upon a class interest. It has been part of the American propaganda machine that we have no class system. Yes, there are rich people; some are richer than others. But there is no class system. We're classless. You could be president tomorrow. So could Michael Jackson, or this one or that one. This isn't true. We have a very strong, very rigid class structure which goes back to the beginning of the country. I will not go into the details of that, but there it is. Whether it's good or bad is something else.
We have not had a political party since that, really, of the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt, who was a member of the highest class, an aristocrat who had made common cause with the people, who were in the midst of depression, not to mention the Dust Bowl, which had taken so many farms in the '30s. We were a country in deep trouble, and he represented those in deep trouble. He got together great majorities and was elected four times to the presidency. And launched us on empire--somewhat consciously, too. He saw to it that the European colonial empires would break up, and that we would inherit bits and pieces, which we have done.
If we don't have class interests officially, then therefore we have no political parties. What is the Republican Party? Well, it used to be the party of the small-town businessman, generally in the Middle West, generally sort of out of the mainstream. Very conservative. It now represents nothing but the gas and oil business. They own it. And the people who go to Congress are simply bought. They are lawyers who are paid to represent Halliburton, big oil, big banking. So the very rich corporate America has a party for itself, the Republican Party. The Democrats don't have much of anything but a kind of wistful style. They just want everyone to be happy, and politically correct at all times. Do not hurt other people's feelings. They spend so much time on political correctness that they haven't thought of what to do politically about anything. Like say "no" to these preemptive wars, which are against not only the whole world's take on war and peace, but against United States history.
This is something new under the sun--that a president, just because he feels like it, can declare war on anybody. And Congress will go along with him, and the courts will support him. The founding fathers would be mortified if they saw what had happened to their handiwork, which wasn't very great to begin with but is now done for. When you have preemptive wars, and you have ambitious companies like Bechtel who will build up what, let us say, General Electric has helped to destroy with its weaponry--these interests are well-represented.
There is no people's party, and you can't even use the word. "Liberal" has been demonized. A liberal is a commie who's also a pedophile. Being a communist and a pedophile, he's so busy that he hasn't got time to win an election and is odious to boot. So there is no Democratic Party. We hope that something might happen with the governor of Vermont, and maybe something will or maybe it won't. But we are totally censored, and the press just follows this. It observes what those in power want it to observe, and turns the other way when things get dark. Then, when it's too late sometimes, you get some very good reporting. But by then, somebody's playing taps.
CP: Has the media played a role in transforming citizens into spectators of this process?
Vidal: Well, they have been transformed, by design, by corporate America, aided by the media, which belongs to corporate America. They are no longer citizens. They are hardly voters. They are consumers, and they consume those things which are advertised on television. They are made to sound like happy consumers. Listen to TV advertising: This one says, "I had this terrible pain, but when I put on Kool-Aid, I found relief overnight. You must try it too." All we do is hear about little cures for little pains. Nothing important gets said. There used to be all those talk shows back in the '50s and '60s, when I was on television a great deal. People would talk about many important things, and you had some very good talkers. They're not allowed on now. Or they're set loose in the Fox Zoo, in which you have a number of people who pretend to be journalists but are really like animals. Each one has his own noise--there's the donkey who brays, there's the pig who squeals. Each one is a different animal in a zoo, making a characteristic noise. The result is chaos, which is what is intended. They don't want the people to know anything, and the people don't.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
ELITISTS GET IT WRONG
Clinton agreed to welfare reform — over the objections of most liberals, including his own wife — because the Republicans forced him to and he’d have lost the 1996 election if he didn’t. That was the beginning and the ending of Bill Clinton’s fact-finding. The New York Times's editorial page — a better representative of elite liberalism’s worldview than The New Republic, alas — called welfare reform “atrocious” and an outrage. “This is not reform, it is punishment” they declared.
Last summer, the Times reported that welfare reform was one of the “acclaimed successes of the past decade” and its renewal is a “no-brainer.” Chait would no doubt salute the newspaper for its empiricism. But how would we have known they were empiricists in 1996? Real empiricists express skepticism toward their own predictions, not moral outrage and — often — charges of racism at those who doubt them.
Indeed, that’s the story writ small of liberalism’s alleged acceptance of “new realities.” It’s not that liberals have maturely adapted to new data, it’s that they’ve been proven wrong so often — either empirically or at the polls — that they’ve had to change, and each time they do it, it’s not with the empiricist’s joy of learning new things, it’s with grumbling through gnashed teeth and amidst much caterwauling about liberal “sellouts” and political opportunism. For more than three decades, liberals swore there was no evidence that there was anything wrong with welfare reform until even the public knew they were lying.
Friday, March 25, 2005
THE LEFTIST ELITE LOOKS AFTER ITS OWN
Police are outraged that a protester will not go to jail for beating a plainclothes detective unconscious during last summer's Republican National Convention. Jamel Holiday, 20, got the plea bargain, announced yesterday, after he admitted he pulled the cop off his scooter, then punched and kicked him. The startling assault was caught on videotape that was repeatedly run on television news.
Holiday has claimed he acted only when 10-year NYPD veteran William Sample rammed his police scooter into a crowd of protesters. He also insists he did not know Sample was a cop. It's an account his lawyer says is backed by several witness accounts and videotapes.
Cops have insisted Sample was assisting fellow officers at the time and did nothing wrong. "It's outrageous that a violent felony assault on a police officer resulted in a sentence that does not include any jail time," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "What makes this even more outrageous is that the incident was caught on camera and resulted in a serious injury to the officer."
Sample's union also weighed in yesterday against the Manhattan Supreme Court deal, under which Holiday, a lifelong foster kid who was living in a Harlem group home and has served the last eight months at Rikers Island, will be freed to serve a year of intensive probation supervision. "This is why the Detectives Endowment Association is seeking reform in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office," said association president Michael Palladino.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
A LEFTIST MURDERER WITH FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
In Chicago, he is one of the city's most beloved antiwar poets, an author of two books and a congregation leader at a West Side church. But in Massachusetts, he is notorious for executing a clerk at a Saugus clothing store in 1960, aiding in the murder of a Middlesex County jailer in 1961, and then escaping from a Norfolk County correction center in 1985. Yesterday, his past and Massachusetts authorities caught up with Norman A. Porter Jr. Now 65, the man on the ''Most Wanted" list has been living in Chicago for at least a decade as Jacob Jameson. As J.J. Jameson, he has been a frequent performer at Chicago lounges and was named Chicagopoetry.com's poet of the month in March 2004.
Illinois State Police arrested Porter about 11:30 a.m. in a Chicago church after a month-long investigation, triggered by an FBI fingerprint search that matched Porter with the poet. Investigators from the Massachusetts State Police aided in the apprehension and said Porter did not put up a fight. ''He told us the same thing he told the Illinois State Police, that 'I had a good 20 years,' " said Detective Lieutenant Kevin Horton, one of the Massachusetts investigators. Horton said Porter acknowledged who he is and ''said he was expecting this day to come."....
Porter's criminal history in Massachusetts began with a string of robberies. On Sept. 29, 1960, he robbed a Robert Hall Clothing Store in Saugus, brandishing a sawed-off shotgun. Porter herded customers and employees into a back room and ordered them to give up their valuables, according to the state Department of Correction. ''As a part-time clerk was reaching into his pocket for his cash, Porter, with no known provocation, placed his shotgun's muzzle against the back of the clerk's head and pulled the trigger, killing him 'execution style,' " the department's website states.
In 1975, Governor Michael S. Dukakis commuted Porter's first life sentence, and he began serving his second sentence. Dukakis tried twice in 1978 to commute that sentence, as well, but was unsuccessful. On Dec. 21, 1985, Porter walked out of a minimum-security facility, the Norfolk Prerelease Center, and didn't come back. He has been one of the 12 most wanted fugitives in Massachusetts ever since.
A biography on the website says Porter is ''a New Englander by birth, a progressive by politics, labor activist by ethical necessity, and a working man by trade." He is a labor-rights activist who has appeared on local radio and television programs, as well as on stages around the city, according to the biography. During his time as a fugitive, Porter had run-ins with the law at least five times, including once in Washington state and three times in the Chicago area, according to a Massachusetts law enforcement official involved in the investigation.
At some point last month, FBI investigators running Porter's fingerprints through a database came up with a match to the 1993 theft arrest, according to the law enforcement official. FBI investigators notified the Massachusetts Department of Correction, which notified State Police, and the hunt for Porter began anew. After running Porter's alias, Jameson, through Internet searches, investigators discovered their fugitive was an established poet who also had ties to a progressive Unitarian church on Chicago's West Side. Horton, the State Police Investigator, was at a loss yesterday to explain why, after trying to run Porter's prints for all these years, authorities finally got a match. ''We don't know," he said. Illinois officials could not immediately say yesterday when the state began putting fingerprints of all known criminals into a nationwide database.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
THE DEMOCRATS AS PLANTATION OWNERS
President Bush's Social Security initiative has gotten off to a shaky start. However, polls indicate that voters are warming up to the idea of personal retirement accounts. It's time for the Bush administration to start making crystal clear the core principles that distinguish its approach on Social Security reform from that of Democrats. Whereas Bush is selling his reform under the theme of an "ownership society," I would call the Democratic alternative the "plantation society." The "plantation society" is characterized by a wealthy class of owners who want to limit the choices, opportunities and freedom of working-class Americans.
According to public record, one of every three members of the Senate and one out of every four members of the House are millionaires. Despite popular stereotypes of Republicans as the party of the rich and Democrats as the party of the working class, the wealthiest member of the Senate (John Kerry of Massachusetts) and the wealthiest member of the House (Jane Harman of California) are both Democrats. Of the top six wealthiest senators, five are Democrats.
The ownership society has certainly found its way into Congress. But the wealthy Democratic owner class shows little interest in spreading the wealth and opportunity around. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, worth $16.3 million, is an appropriate spokesperson for the plantation caucus. This past week she stood at a press conference with other Democratic leaders stating uncompromising opposition to personal retirement accounts. The Democrats' message: no negotiation on Social Security until "privatization is off the table."
Certainly, Pelosi seems quite comfortable in her ability to manage her own millions. However, the thought of working Americans retaining a few thousand dollars each year of their own earnings to invest in a personal retirement account is so outrageous to her she won't even discuss it. The argument that a private account, ultra-conservatively managed, could at least double the retirement income produced by the current Social Security system doesn't seem to interest Pelosi. Nor does the idea that this would be privately accumulated and owned wealth.
When America's political class debated emancipating slaves, an issue that dampened enthusiasm for the idea was the thought that these slaves could simply walk off the plantation and integrate into the nation and live as free people. The owner/masters of today's Democratic plantation reject all attempts to roll back government and give working Americans more choice and freedom. The response is the same whether it's personal retirement accounts or choosing where to send your kid to school. Anything reducing government control gets rejected.
Ironically, most personal-retirement-account proposals simply make this option available. But even allowing the option gives too much freedom to working Americans for the Democrats. Apparently, we're all so dumb that not only can't we manage our own money, but we shouldn't even be given a voluntary option to do it.
My elderly mom serves coffee in a local convenience store to earn a few dollars to supplement the pittance she gets from Social Security and the few extra hundred dollars per month she started getting after my dad passed away. He worked all his life. If he could have put all the money he paid in Social Security taxes into a retirement investment account over all those same years, my mom would be in a different situation today. However, Pelosi wouldn't have wanted my dad to have the option to keep and invest his own money. I'm sure she would have thought that he wasn't as smart and clever as she is and shouldn't be allowed to manage his own money.
The black poverty rate today is double the national average. Black-household wealth is a fourth of the national average. Blacks suffer double jeopardy as a result of the work over the last half-century of welfare-state liberals like Pelosi. First, Social Security payroll taxes take away the few extra dollars that low-income workers could have otherwise retained to build wealth. Second, and perhaps even worse, welfare-state liberals have educated a whole generation of blacks that they can't take care of themselves. Skills in areas such as money management may be in deficit today. But they are in deficit because they weren't learned, and they weren't learned because of hanging on the government plantation. When do we let these folks off this plantation so they can finally start learning the essential skills for improving their lives?
Social Security reform, with a crucial central component of personal retirement accounts, is being threatened by elitist Democratic liberals. They preside over a government plantation over which they do not want to relinquish control. It's time to let the slaves free. Transforming taxes into ownership is an important way to do it.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
THE MONEY ELITE IS LEFTIST
Examining the political map of America, as I am obliged to do as I write the chapters of "The Almanac of American Politics 2006," reveals a previously unidentified segment of the American electorate, one which has been growing for some years now but has reached a critical mass and become a major force in one of our two great political parties: the trustfunder left. Who are the trustfunders? People with enough money not to have to work for a living, or not to have to work very hard. People who can live more or less wherever they want. The "nomadic affluent," as demographic analyst Joel Kotkin calls them.
These people tend to be very liberal politically. Aware that they have done nothing to earn their money, they feel a certain sense of guilt. At the elite private or public high schools they attend, and even more at their colleges and universities, they are propagandized about the evils of capitalism and globalization, and the virtues of environmentalism and pacifism. Patriotism is equated with Hiterlism. Their loyalties, as Samuel Huntington explains in "Who Are We?," are not national, but transnational -- they are citizens of the world with contempt for those who feel chills up their spines when they hear "The Star Spangled Banner." They are taught to have contempt for the economic contribution they make to their country as investors and to feel guilty if they make no other contribution. Their penance is that they must vote left.
Where can you find trustfunders? Not scattered randomly around the country, but heavily concentrated in certain areas. Places with kicky restaurants, places tolerant of alternative lifestyles, places with lots of art galleries and organic food stores and Starbucks competitors. The heaviest concentration is in the San Francisco Bay area, which, Kotkin says, has the largest percentage of trustfunders of any major metro area in the country.
The Bay area stands out in stark relief on the political map. It voted 70 percent to 29 percent for John Kerry in 2004, up from the 64 percent to 30 percent margin it cast for Al Gore in 2000. Without the Bay area's 1.15 million-vote margin for Kerry, California would have come within 82,000 votes of voting for George W. Bush.
Trustfunders stand out even more vividly when you look at the political map of the Rocky Mountain states. In Idaho and Wyoming, each state's wealthiest county was also the only county to vote for John Kerry: Blaine County, Idaho (Sun Valley), where Kerry stayed at his wife's imported Cotswold farmhouse on his much photographed skiing and snowboarding vacation, and Teton County, Wyo. (Jackson Hole), where Dick Cheney has a house and where Bill Clinton took a pre-election holiday after his pollster Dick Morris reported that a trip to the mountains focus-grouped better than Martha's Vineyard. Speaking of Martha's Vineyard, it voted 73 percent for Kerry, and nearby Nantucket, where Kerry's wife has another house, voted 63 percent for him -- indeed, Nantucket was one of only three of the nation's 100 fastest-growing counties that did not vote for George W. Bush. Massachusetts Catholics gave their fellow Massachusetts Catholic Kerry only 51 percent of their votes, but he won 77 percent in Boston, 85 percent in Cambridge, and 69 percent and 73 percent in trustfunder-heavy Hampshire and Berkshire Counties in the western mountains.
Where Democrats had a good year in 2004 they owed much to trustfunders. In Colorado, they captured a Senate and a House seat and both houses of the legislature. Their political base in that state is increasingly not the oppressed proletariat of Denver, but the trustfunder-heavy counties that contain Aspen (68 percent for Kerry), Telluride (72 percent) and Boulder (66 percent). You can see the trustfunders' imprint as well in New York. In 56 of the state's 62 counties, the Republican popular vote margin increased or the Democratic margin fell between 2000 and 2004. Five of the six counties that moved away from George W. Bush are trustfunder havens: New York (Manhattan), Ulster (Woodstock), Columbia (trendy Hudson River country), Otsego (Cooperstown) and Tompkins (Cornell University).
Monday, March 21, 2005
THE MEDIA ELITE IN AUSTRALIA
What has happened to Australia's media? Journalists have all but abandoned diligent and impartial reporting and become unelected and unaccountable participants in the political process, argues former head of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Professor David Flint. The following article is taken from Flint's newly-released book, "Malice in Medialand" (Melbourne: Freedom Publishing Co.).
During the Second World War, among the significant weapons the democracies had against Nazism were their media, especially radio. This continued during the Cold War. In the evil empires, it was a serious offence, at times even a capital offence, to listen to Western radio. During the last war a BBC producer would react to poor quality work by asking the offender this searching question: "Would you risk your life to listen to this?" This is the ultimate test. Would you risk your life to read, to see or to listen to this?
Of course, not all news and current affairs could, or even should, reach that standard. But when content breaches accepted ethical standards, when the highest professional standards are not being attained or maintained by those who claim to be at the quality end, then it is a question which could well be asked. Perhaps the Australian media and the public should use this as a benchmark for quality. Which stories, which programs, would pass this threshold?....
It is sometimes said that with the advent of TV news, the newspapers are no longer able to provide the latest news so they now provide analysis. Rather, instant news, without analysis, it is said, comes from TV and radio. This is in part true, and in greater part an excuse for the inexcusable. Television, too, is now afflicted with that vice, the seamless and confusing melange of news and comment. This affliction was ensured on the ABC by the effective amalgamation, against some Board opposition, of news and current affairs which, for reasons of self-evident propriety, had hitherto been separated. The result is that the reports, opinions and gossip of that ubiquitous corporate oracle, the gallery, slither and slide elliptically in and out of what is alleged to be the news. When this occurs on ABC radio, the often unaesthetic intrusion of the untrained journalist's voice, particularly in the early morning, at least gives the warning to the more wary that the listener is in for the received view of the commentariat.
For years now the elite media has campaigned to achieve its political ends in those columns and on those programs where they not only should not, and where they know they should not, assuming thereby that the Australian people are too stupid, too forgetful and too uninterested to notice, to care or where they so often are wrong, to remember. As Gerard Henderson puts it in the title of his report on the media and the 2004 election, "Political Journalism Means Never having To Concede Your Errors".
Martin Woollacott, a former foreign editor of The Guardian, in a recent lecture told his Australian audience, at least according to the sub-editor, that foreign correspondents are never neutral (Sydney Morning Herald, January 14, 2005). Those reporting a war in which their country is involved have particular difficulties - but elsewhere the public might have assumed a serious attempt at neutrality. In a description reminiscent of our own political journalists, he says foreign correspondents are "instinctive moralists" and as such, are activists. Those on the spot tend to operate as a collective. And on the big stories they take similar positions, constituting a kind of "moral corporation". For example, from the 1970s, they have been harder on Israel, which may explain their reporting of a massacre in Jenin which did not occur. They welcomed the revolution in Iran, and were unsympathetic to the Shah, which interestingly reflected the misplaced views of the Paris intelligentsia and the French Government who thought that the Ayatollah Khomeini was a Francophile, and also the unfortunate Carter Administration.
The campaigning media was at its most brazen in the 1999 republican referendum. As I noted in Twilight of The Elites (Freedom Publishing, 2003), Lord Deedes, the distinguished British editor and writer, wrote that he had rarely attended elections in a democratic country where the press had demonstrated "more shameless bias".
In 2001, the elite media was almost unanimous in campaigning, with the Greens and the Democrats, against a border control policy which had bipartisan political support and the overwhelming endorsement of Coalition and traditional Labor voters. (This may explain the practice of balancing comment on a range of issues by both major political parties with comment not only from the Democrats but also the leader of the Greens, even when their size was such that they were too small to have such status in the Senate).
If the elite media had had its way, Australia would be a republic - any sort of republic, provided the present Constitution were radically changed; we would have a new flag; our borders would be open to an increasing flood of clients of criminal people-smugglers; the federal government would have, on the basis of an inadequate report leaked to a supportive media, apologised to the so-called "Stolen Generation"; ATSIC would still exist, while the failed policy of throwing money at the indigenous issue would continue; welfare would be distributed to an increasing number of dependents without mutual obligation; sentences in criminal cases would be even more lenient; all indications of Christianity would be removed from public places; all cultures except the Judeo-Christian would be encouraged; the Howard Government would have been condemned for the so-called "children overboard" affair and for some sort of complicity in the Abu Ghraib affair; Israel, having offered Mr Arafat almost all of his demands except the right of return, and refusing to surrender to the Intifada now enhanced by suicide bombing, would be ranked among the rogue states; Saddam Hussein would be still in power; the Oil for Food programme would have continued and the US and UK blamed for the sufferings of the Iraqi children.
The elites are of course entitled to their views - but they are surely not entitled to requisition the news columns and news broadcasts of much of the nation's media, with the consequent flow-on to other media, nor are they entitled to expropriate so much of the current affairs programs of our taxpayer-funded public broadcasters to propagate their personal views..........
Sunday, March 20, 2005
AN IGNORANT ELITE
Immediately after September 11, Ward Churchill compared the victims in the Twin Tower to "little Eichmanns." Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.) more recently likened President George W. Bush's political methodology to what transpired in Nazi Germany. Earlier during the run-up to the Iraqi war, German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin smeared Bush with a similar Hitlerian analogy.
In fact, what do Linda Ronstadt, Harold Pinter, Scott Ritter, Ted Rall, and George Soros all have in common? The same thing that unites Fidel Castro, the European street, the Iranians, and North Koreans: an evocation of some aspects of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany to deprecate President Bush in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At first glance, all this wild rhetoric is preposterous. Hitler hijacked an elected government and turned it into a fascist tyranny. He destroyed European democracy. His minions persecuted Christians, gassed over six million Jews, and created an entire fascistic creed predicated on anti-Semitism and the myth of a superior Aryan race.
Whatever one thinks of Bush's Iraqi campaign, the president obtained congressional approval to invade and pledged $87 billion to rebuild the country. He freely weathered mass street demonstrations and a hostile global media, successfully defended his Afghan and Iraq reconstructions through a grueling campaign and three presidential debates, and won a national plebiscite on his tenure.
In a world that is almost uniformly opposed to the democratic Jewish state, Israel has no better friend than Bush, who in turn is a believer in, not a tormentor of, Christianity. Afghanistan and Iraq, with 50 million freed, have elected governments, not American proconsuls, and there is a movement in the Middle East toward greater democratization -- with no guarantee that such elected governments will not be anti-American. No president has been more adamantly against cloning, euthanasia, abortion, or anything that smacks of the use of science to predetermine super-genes or to do away with the elderly, feeble, or unborn.
So what gives with this crazy popular analogy-- one that on a typical Internet Google search of "Bush" + "Hitler" yields about 1,350,000 matches?
One explanation is simply the ignorance of the icons of our popular culture. A Linda Ronstadt, Garrison Keillor, or Harold Pinter knows nothing much of the encompassing evil of Hitler's regime, its execution of the mentally ill and disabled, the systematic cleansing of the non-Aryans from Europe, or mass executions and starvation of Soviet prisoners. Like Prince Harry parading around in his ridiculous Nazi costume, quarter-educated celebrities who have some talent for song or verse know only that name-dropping "Hitler" or his associates gets them some shock value that their pedestrian rants otherwise would not warrant.
Ignorance and arrogance are a lethal combination. Nowhere do we see that more clearly among writers and performers who pontificate as historians when they know nothing about history......
But something has gone terribly wrong with a mainstream Left that tolerates a climate where the next logical slur easily devolves into Hitlerian invective. The problem is not just the usual excesses of pundits and celebrities (e.g., Jonathan Chait's embarrassing rant in the New Republic on why "I hate George W. Bush" or Garrison Keillor's infantile slurs about Bush's Republicans: "brown shirts in pinstripes"), but also supposedly responsible officials of the opposition such as former Sen. John Glenn, who said of the Bush agenda: "It's the old Hitler business."
Thus, if former Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore breezily castigates Bush's Internet supporters as "digital brownshirts"; if current Democratic-party chairman Howard Dean says publicly, "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for" -- or, "This is a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good"; or if NAACP chairman Julian Bond screams of the Bush administration that "Their idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side by side," the bar of public dissent has so fallen that it is easy to descend a tad closer to the bottom to compare a horrific killer to an American president.
Is there a danger to all this? Plenty. The slander not only brings a president down to the level of an evil murderer, but -- as worried Jewish leaders have pointed out -- elevates the architect of genocide to the level of an American president. Do the ghosts of six million that were incinerated -- or, for that matter, the tens of millions who were killed to promote or stop Hitler's madness -- count for so little that they can be so promiscuously induced when one wishes to object to stopping the filibuster of senatorial nominations or to ignore the objection of Europeans in removing the fascistic Saddam Hussein?
There is something profoundly immoral for a latte-sipping, upscale Westerner of the postmodern age flippantly evoking Hitler when we think of the countless souls lost to the historical record who were systematically starved and gassed in the factories of death of the Third Reich.
Finally, in such a debased climate, it was no accident that Alfred A. Knopf published a novel, Checkpoint, about musing how to kill Bush. Nor was it odd to hear of a New York play, "I'm Gonna Kill the President," apparently centered around killing Bush. Late last year, a columnist in the Guardian, Charles Brooker, wrote to his British readers on the eve of the election :
"On November 2, the entire civilized world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. -- where are you now that we need you?" ....
The final irony? The president who is most slandered as Hitler will probably prove to be the most zealous advocate of democratic government abroad, the staunchest friend of beleaguered Israel, and the greatest promoter of global individual freedom in our recent memory. In turn, too many of the Left who used to talk about idealism and morality have so often shown themselves mean-spirited, cynical, and without faith in the spiritual power of democracy.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
AN AMERICA-HATING ELITE
The enormous wealth and leisure that followed from global capitalism and democracy insulated us -- creating an unreality about the sources of our privilege and naivete about why life was so bad outside our shores.
Consequently, some utopian elites forgot the free-market origins of their own riches and why they had the freedom and leisure to be so censorious of their own culture. Maybe they were guilty over our bounty. One way of enjoying an upscale American lifestyle, while simultaneously feeling pretty terrible about it, is to castigate the history and global conduct of the United States in the abstract -- without ever giving up much in the concrete.
How else could the currency speculator George Soros -- whose 1992 financial manipulations almost destroyed the Bank of England and thousands of its small depositors -- win praise from leftists for comparing President Bush's conduct to Nazism? The angry architects of MoveOn.org were neither poor nor oppressed. Nor were they bothered that their Soros millions originated from the financial losses of others. But they did reflect that the most strident anti-Americanism is largely found among our unhappy upper-middle classes.
Sept. 11 laid bare more of this three-decade-old pathology. Islamists were hardly romantic communists. Indeed, they were about as anti-liberal as one could imagine -- murderous, patriarchal, hating liberated women, persecuting homosexuals, anti-democratic to the core, and intolerant of all different ideas and religions.
Yet Al-Qaida, along with its sympathizers, had studied America well -- and thus was wise enough to cloak a fascist agenda in our own cliches of ``colonialism,'' ``imperialism'' and ``no blood for oil.'' That way such nihilists tapped into the self-doubt and anti-Americanism among many of our discontented advantaged, thus earning a pass if not praise.
That indictment is no right-wing caricature or exaggeration. University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill extolled the terrorists, libeling the dead in the World Trade Center as ``little Eichmanns.'' Michael Moore applauded the beheaders and bombers of the ``Sunni triangle'': ``Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not `insurgents' or `terrorists' or `the enemy.' They are the revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win.''
Friday, March 18, 2005
PRINCETON: VERY ELITE AND VERY LEFTIST
In Tilghman, the student radicals of the 1960s finally have succeeded in occupying the university president’s chair, not just his office. Since becoming Princeton’s president in June 2001, Tilghman (who graduated from college in 1968) has pursued an activist feminist agenda to remake Princeton into a liberal paradise that even Kim Gandy would love. Today, despite its long-outdated reputation as a “conservative” Ivy League college (F. Scott Fitzgerald famously described Princeton as “the pleasantest country club in America”), Princeton is rife with political correctness, multiculturalism, and liberal groupthink.
For a conservative alumnus like me, this is a terrible disappointment. But anyone who cares about the state of higher education in this country should be concerned that one of the nation’s oldest and most influential universities has been so thoroughly captured by the forces of left-wing extremism – the very forces now trying to run Larry Summers out of Harvard. For a picture of what Harvard will look like if the feminists get their way, just take a look at Princeton.
Tilghman is Princeton’s first woman president. It is widely believed among alumni that Tilghman was selected for the position based on her gender, not on her administrative or leadership experience. Although she is a highly accomplished molecular biologist, Tilghman had almost no executive-level experience in academia, business, or government prior to becoming Princeton’s president. In sharp contrast, Tilghman’s predecessor, Harold Shapiro, had served as the president and chairman of the board of regents of the University of Michigan, one of the nation’s largest public universities, before becoming Princeton’s president in 1988. And Shapiro’s predecessor, William Bowen, had served for five years as Princeton’s provost (the university’s second-highest-ranking academic and financial officer) before becoming president in 1972.
It is safe to say that had Tilghman been a man, she would not have been selected for this important position. Indeed, at the press conference to announce her selection, Tilghman declared: “It’s time for a woman president.” Why it should matter whether Princeton’s president is a man or a woman was left unexplained. The unspoken assumption, of course, was that women have been discriminated against in the past at Princeton, and fairness now required that a woman – perhaps even an unqualified woman – be appointed president of the university. For leftists like Tilghman, the legitimacy and efficacy of affirmative action to remedy perceived past discrimination is an unquestioned article of faith. Her own career is a testament to this belief.
As with other “elite” universities, Princeton’s faculty is overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic. A study conducted in September 2004 by the school’s student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian (known as the “Prince”), revealed that more than 90% of donations from Princeton employees went to liberal candidates this past election cycle, including $41,000 to Kerry versus only $250 to Bush. Princeton’s liberal faculty members view this gross imbalance with smug superiority. As computer science professor Andrew Appel explained to the Prince: “Does it surprise me that smart people should be supporting Kerry? No.” The message to Princeton students (and alumni) was loud and clear: only stupid people support Bush. While Appel and his colleagues deny that their political views influence what goes on in the classroom, conservative students on campus are sufficiently concerned that they have started a chapter of Students for Academic Freedom.
Cornell West is not the only prominent left-wing professor at Princeton. Princeton also is home to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, known for his incomparable skill in twisting economic facts and theories to fit whatever policies the Democratic Party supports; Clinton apologist Sean Wilentz, who infamously (and quite comically) warned House Republicans during Clinton’s impeachment hearing that “history will track you down and condemn you” for voting to impeach Clinton; author Toni Morrison, who, ridiculously, declared Clinton “the first black president” in the pages of The New Yorker in 1998; and the utterly execrable Peter Singer, a chaired professor of “bioethics,” who has argued in favor of euthanasia, infanticide, and bestiality.
Even less well-known professors at Princeton are thoroughly imbued with left-wing dogma. Take, for example, associate professor of religion Eddie Glaude. In a 2004 speech to Princeton students going into elementary and secondary school teaching, Glaude criticized the United States for being “selfish,” “full of hubris,” “a mean-spirited nation, free to hate those who are not like us,” and “suffering the effects of corporate despotism.” The speech was supposedly about John Dewey’s educational theory, but in today’s liberal academy, education and leftist politics are one and the same. Glaude’s ignorant display of self-righteous anti-Americanism should have been an embarrassment to Princeton, but the speech actually received positive coverage in the alumni magazine (which is run by the university).
By my count, there are only two (!) full-time faculty members at Princeton who are recognizably conservative. The first is the great Robert P. George, tenured professor of politics and founder of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, which brings conservative scholars and politicians to speak on campus. In 2003, Professor George was profiled in the PAW, which described him as “the heretic in the temple” and “an anomaly at Princeton.” George is a natural law scholar who opposes abortion and euthanasia (as well as capital punishment), and is a highly regarded public commentator on a broad range of legal and political issues. Not surprisingly, conservative students flock to him. But according to the PAW, that’s just too much for his liberal colleagues, who are made “uneasy” by George’s “widening influence” both on and off campus. Would George be able to obtain tenure today? I wonder.
The other openly conservative Princeton faculty member is Michael Doran, an assistant professor of Near Eastern Studies. (There may be others, but they remain cautiously inconspicuous.) Doran is a controversial figure on campus, due to his involvement with the Bush administration’s War on Terror (he is an expert on Saudi Arabia, Al Qaeda, and terrorism) and his close association with the preeminent (and right-leaning) Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis, himself an emeritus professor at Princeton who also has worked with the Bush administration. Despite impressive scholarly credentials, and strong student support, Doran’s prospects for tenure at Princeton have been hampered by his politics, which are opposed by other members of the History Department. Doran recently turned down an offer for a tenured position at Brandeis University. I hope he didn’t make a mistake.
Thus, while Tilghman routinely endorses the supreme importance of “diversity” to Princeton’s educational mission, she does not mean intellectual or political diversity. Nor is bringing more conservative faculty and students to Princeton one of her priorities. On the contrary, she believes that Princeton is not liberal enough! Despite a Prince poll taken shortly before the 2004 election that showed 62% of students supported Kerry versus 24% for Bush, Tilghman believes that Princeton needs more students with (in her words) “green hair.” And during last year’s commencement address, she urged students to follow in the activist footsteps of the “class of 1970 [who] shouldered their responsibilities as citizens of a free democracy to speak out for what they believed.”
Tilghman, like other liberal baby boomers, idealizes the 1960s, which she fondly remembers as a time of righteous anti-war protests (she has compared the Iraq war to Vietnam) as well as great progress in civil rights for women and minorities (as it surely was). Yet despite the even greater freedom, opportunity, and prosperity we all enjoy today, Tilghman’s public remarks consistently emphasize – as Democrats do when a Republican is in the White House – “how far we still have to go.”
From the start of her presidency, Tilghman has not hesitated to express her liberal beliefs in word and deed. Her speeches are full of tendentious liberal clichés about inequality (of race, gender, sexual orientation, et al.), discrimination, poverty, the “growing gap” between rich and poor, multiculturalism, environmentalism (Princeton is a hotbed of “global warming” hysteria), and (always) each student’s “obligation to make this world a better place for all of us.”
Thursday, March 17, 2005
FIGHTING THE BIAS
Few have a better understanding of the liberal media elite than Ari Fleischer, who spent several years deflecting the daily barrage of arrogant and accusatory media questions as the first White House press secretary under President Bush. His new book, "Taking Heat," has been panned by liberals for having no Bush-trashing moments in it. One can also safely conclude they're the ones who don't want you to read his chapters exposing the liberal ways of the reporters who baited him in the briefing room for three years.
Liberals looking back on the first Bush term would like you to pretend with them that the White House press corps was -- and is -- an intimidated pack of puffballs, offering no challenge to Bush as he leads America into that disastrous quagmire presently known as the democratic wave sweeping the Middle East.
Truth is, Fleischer was impressive in the nearly impossible job of keeping the anti-Bush hounds of the press at bay. They were harsh in the first days, when they were bitter about not getting to suck up to President Gore. They were hostile in the last days, as John Kerry's chances slipped away.
They were even bitter just weeks after Sept. 11. On Nov. 29, 2001, Newsday's Ken Fireman was already comparing a new Justice Department program for getting anti-terrorist tips to "what totalitarian societies like East Germany and the Soviet Union used to do." Then there was Helen Thomas, always throwing up bitter questions from the loony left at Fleischer. Before the war, she always tried to underline Bush's thirst for blood: "You people are acting like this is a conversion to democracy by the sword! How can you, I mean, are you going to kill all these people, to get democracy [in Iraq]?" Fleischer lists a lot of these inflammatory questions in the book to frustrate those delusional oddballs who ask: "What liberal media?"
Some on the left have lamely tried to challenge his charges. In one section, Fleischer notes that the stories he was seeing on partial-birth abortion always located "social conservatives," but wouldn't define Planned Parenthood or other abortion advocates as "social liberals." At the leftist website Salon.com, writer Eric Boehlert protested that if Fleischer had searched Nexis for "U.S. media mentions" of "social liberal" during Fleischer's days on the job from 2001 to 2003, "he would have seen the 725 matches it retrieved."
That's just lazy, sloppy criticism. You don't disprove liberal bias in the national media by citing a huge Nexis sample with three years of articles in hundreds of news sources, including every newspaper from Lewiston, Idaho to South Bend, Indiana to even little college newspapers like "The Justice" at Brandeis University. You also don't disprove bias in news reports by citing a sample that includes a lot of editorials and letters to the editor (where conservative writers aren't hesitant to use the label "social liberal").
So let's go back to what Fleischer was talking about -- the national media. Take a look at the most influential national media sources in Nexis and see how often they employed the label "social liberal" in the campaign year of 2004 -- the year when the socially liberal cause celebre of "gay marriage" took center stage. ABC? Zero. NBC? Zero. PBS's "NewsHour"? Zero. NPR? One, but only if you count Carol Moseley-Braun calling herself a "social liberal." NPR reporters weren't using it.
CBS? One, but only when a reporter explained Republicans attempted to tar Kerry with the loathsome label.
Even the major daily newspapers on the left couldn't bear to use the label in 2004. The Washington Post had only six usages, three in editorials, and three in news stories -- and only one of the news stories identified "social liberals" as a fact, as a Kerry constituency. The other two were only GOP attempts to "paint" Democrats as social liberals. Similarly, the New York Times also managed just six usages -- two in editorials, two in news stories about GOP accusations, and two admissions that social liberals walk the Earth.
One of the juiciest anecdotes in the book concerns ABC White House reporter Terry Moran, whose sharply opinionated questions make him look like he's auditioning for the role of the next Helen Thomas. On April 28, 2003, President Bush made a speech to Arab-Americans in Dearborn, Mich., proclaiming his confidence in the ability of the Iraqi people to create a new democracy and his commitment to helping build that vision. The crowd went wild in an emotional response. But ABC only gave the speech two sentences.
Fleischer asked Moran: Why so little coverage? "I couldn't get it on the air," Moran tells him, adding: "If they had booed him, it would have led the news." That's the national media we see too often. Arrogant, tendentious, partisan, unbalanced, unfair -- and in denial.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
A PITILESS LEFTIST ELITIST AT WORK
Any failure to accept her own soaring estimate of her worth invites the most ruthless attack from the indecent Leftist bully, Susan Estrich. There is a very informative photo of Ms Estrich here (or here)
I have rarely been this royally ticked off. As an opinion writer, it is indeed my business to feel strongly about subjects. However, nothing prepared me for the statements of Fox News analyst and law professor Susan Estrich calling for a feminist campaign against the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Estrich's grievance is that the newspaper has failed to publish enough articles by women (like her own syndicated column) on its editorial page. It was not Ms. Estrich's campaign that sent me into high orbit. In my view, the proposed use of an author's gender rather than an author's ideas to select articles is both artificial and anti-intellectual. However, it is a proposal worthy of debate.
But it was Ms. Estrich's vicious attack on Los Angeles Times Opinion Editor Michael Kinsley that was so shocking. Ms. Estrich used Mr. Kinsley's suffering from Parkinson's disease as easy fodder for her attacks on the newspaper. She insisted that his failure to publish women like herself is evidence that "your illness may have affected your brain, your judgment, and your ability to do this job." Ms. Estrich warned Mr. Kinsley that he is "digging a grave for [him] self." Described in the press as "belligerent" and "semiliterate," Ms. Estrich's tirades became increasing unhinged after it became clear that Mr. Kinsley would not yield to her ultimatums. Indeed, at one point, Ms. Estrich went to all caps in offering Mr. Kinsley "ONE MORE CHANCE BEFORE I GO PUBLIC." Before one charity event, she asked menacingly, "You want me to work that dinner about what an [expletive] you are?" After descending to calling Kinsley a "jerk," "fool" and other names, Ms. Estrich turned on Times Editor John Carroll when he complained to her that her attacks on Mr. Kinsley showed "extravagant malice." She responded by claiming defamation and telling him to expect a call from her lawyer.
It was Ms. Estrich's use of Mr. Kinsley's illness that hit some of us the hardest. Three weeks ago, my father, Jack Turley, died from complications of Parkinson's disease. A respected international architect, my father struggled for years to retain his dignity against the ravages of this merciless disease. During this ordeal, Mr. Kinsley was an inspiration. He is one of roughly 1 million Parkinson's patients in the United States, with 50,000 new cases added to that number each year. Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1994 at age 42, Mr. Kinsley did not allow it to stop his contributions as an editor and syndicated writer. While as a writer I have had my disagreements with Mr. Kinsley, his life with Parkinson's disease gave hope to countless families that it was possible to thrive despite the disease.
Ms. Estrich's personal attack on Mr. Kinsley reflects a common stereotype that a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease means that a person's ability to think and function is instantly compromised. In reality, Parkinson's can take many years before having significant effects on individuals. It largely causes physical, not mental changes, such as rigidity, tremors or instability. Recent drugs have greatly extended the workable life of Parkinson's victims. In my case, we realized that something was wrong with my dad when he asked me to knot his tie at my wedding more than seven years ago. The following week, he was diagnosed. He continued, however, to think and speak clearly for years — critiquing my opinion pieces on a weekly basis.
Of course, Ms. Estrich did not bother to research this disease. For her, Mr. Kinsley's illness was simply a vulnerability to be exploited in the name of feminist politics. In fairness to Ms. Estrich, this lack of decency appears to be the result of a more debilitating and insidious disease that "can affect [her] brain, [her] judgment and [her] ability to do a job": chronic myopic distemper (CMD).
Her use of feminism for such a vicious personal attack is a classic symptom of CMD. CMD is far more acute when an individual feels personally aggrieved and then translates that injury into a broader public grievance. Ms. Estrich noted that she was an example of a female intellectual in the neighborhood, but, like others, is not published by the newspaper on a regular basis. Ms. Estrich assaulted Mr. Kinsley not just because he failed to run enough women, but because he was running the wrong type of women. Ms. Estrich then criticized Mr. Kinsley for publishing women like Charlotte Allen, who she dismissed as someone that she had "never heard of" and apparently gender-neutered by her conservative philosophy.
In perhaps the most obvious symptom of CMD, Ms. Estrich still believes that she has been the model of decorum, actually crediting herself with "conduct[ing] myself with admirable restraint." Indeed, Ms. Estrich clinically observed that his refusal to publish her letter simply "underscores the question I've been asked repeatedly in recent days, and that does worry me, and should worry you" — that Kinsley is no longer rational due to Parkinson's disease.
Of course, the difference between Parkinson's and CMD is that the symptoms of the former (unlike the latter) can be treated. Yet, what is most disturbing is the silence of the feminist community in the face of an individual who, in the purloined name of feminism, has abandoned not just any sense of legitimacy but any sense of decency. Instead, dozens of feminists have publicly supported Ms. Estrich.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
'Liberal elite' ignoring reality
A blast from Boca Raton:
When I read the letters on this page, I am struck by the unanimity of opinion. I understand how suicide bombers are talked into blowing up themselves. It is called brainwashing by Wahabi imams. But brainwashing also applies to those who have only known, from birth, one political party. Now you have come down here and you are enraged that there are two political parties in southeastern Florida.
In the past year, the "liberal elite" have had to start admitting that maybe the president's actions have started to bring to fruition the spread of democracy in the Middle East. What most people now recognize is that he is unlike the majority of politicians. He means what he says. He doesn't change from day to day. He doesn't lead by following daily polls. What a marvelous change from other politicians.
Because of that, when he says Social Security will go broke if changes are not made, you can take it to the bank. The opposition says to you, don't believe it. The sad truth is that they couldn't care less about a future generation's retirement monetary help, they just want your vote. They have taken care of themselves. They aren't dependent on Social Security. Guess what Charley Rangel will get, or any of the others. They like to keep that a big secret.
All that can be hoped is that you will start thinking for yourself and not follow that brainwashed mentality.
Monday, March 14, 2005
FIGHTING ELITIST IGNORANCE ABOUT GUNS
They told us not to talk about politics or religion - not if we wanted to keep peace in the family. But they failed to mention guns. Bring up the subject of firearms in most circles and you get a pitying expression that says you aren't among the species that brought air-conditioning and Ingmar Bergman films to the planet.
It's this quick, cold cessation of discourse that makes it so hard to educate the anti-gun crowd to the realities of the matter. They regard people who own and use guns as children of a lesser god, incapable of reason and probably devoid of kindness and compassion. One doesn't talk with creatures like this; one has gate guards to keep them at bay.
And it is this elitist mentality, and the hopeless notion that you can hire people to protect you from harm, that drives the movement to do away with guns in our communities.
I could be wrong about some of these suppositions, but not by much. First among their beliefs, I think, is that humans have evolved beyond hunter-gatherers who struggled to reach the top of the food chain. We are kinder and gentler now, they reason, forgetting that this was George H.W. Bush's line, and the food chain is Trader Joe's.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
ACADEMIC ELITE GETTING CHALLENGED
My last column, “Forget Free Speech, Liberals Don’t Tolerate Campus Conservatives,” drew the ire and attention of thousands. Published online by GOPUSA and the Washington Times, it sparked still more debate on the issue of liberal bias on campus. Conservative professors from North Carolina, Wisconsin and across the country e-mailed their support. One celebrity endorsement came from former U.S. House Historian Christina Jeffrey, who currently presides over the South Carolina Association of Scholars. In her words, this past column was my “best ever.” ...
Of course, for every message of support, a legion of liberals gnashed their teeth. One angry reader just told me to “get a life.” Another insisted that I was a hypocrite for criticizing higher education without dropping out of school. And sadly, the next hundred-or-so arguments only got less intelligent from there.
However, one theme was clear from the holier-than-thou feedback of the liberal elite. The majority of them are still in denial. They refuse to believe that campus conservatives are anything more than a handful of rich brats and “Bible Belt” bumpkins. In their minds, we either drive to Duke in a BMW or spend our summers on mission trips. Not to knock luxury cars or spreading the Gospel, but in actuality, campus conservatives come from every walk of life. The money-hungry, nerdy stereotype of Alex P. Keaton, depicted by actor Michael J. Fox on the popular 80s sitcom “Family Ties,” has never been less germane than it is today.
Liberals also can’t stand the reality of our numbers. The 60s hippy generation represented a national movement, but campus conservatism is just a fad, right? There are over 200,000 College Republicans on campus, says College Republican National Committee Chairman Eric Hoplin. And, the College Republicans barely constitute the tip of the academic iceberg. Add in millions more conservatives that don’t like political clubs or vote Libertarian, and you begin to get the idea. Is it any wonder that America’s Leftist faculty has trouble dealing with my generation of students?
And make no mistake, America’s faculty is Leftist. Ever wonder what happens to all those failed, liberal politicians who espouse the famously unpopular tax and spend platform? They go straight for the ivory tower. Al Gore grew a beard and started teaching after losing Florida to then-Gov. George W. Bush. Joe Trippi, Howard Dean’s campaign manager, dropped his imploding presidential candidate to be a fall fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Remember Johnny Edwards? After his embarrassing loss, the University of North Carolina decided to create a “Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity,” for the former senator and vice presidential nominee. Finally, who could forget the famed professor-politician, U.S. Rep. David Price (D-N.C.)? As a member of congress, and Duke’s faculty, Price always has a job…even when he loses the popular vote.
Aside from these much-cited and sensational illustrations, the reality is that most professors are card-carrying liberals. Various studies and surveys indicate that faculty at elite schools, good schools, average schools, state schools, private schools and on down the line, tend to be overwhelmingly liberal. In many ways, contemporary campus conservatism is a response to these liberal professors and their collective attempt to proselytize my generation.
We resent the professorial endeavor to label conservatism as a disease. And, we refuse to let it go unanswered. On campus today, it’s considered acceptable behavior for a professor to plug liberalism in English 101, history or economics. It’s acceptable for universities to invite speakers like Ward Churchill, who compared the 9/11 victims to Nazis. It’s acceptable to ban conservative groups like the UNC-Wilmington College Republicans or UNC’s Alpha Iota Omega Christian Fraternity. Campus conservatives respectfully disagree.
And whether our professors like it or not, we have no intention of disagreeing quietly. We choose to air our dissent on Fox News and CNN, in the Washington Times and New York Times, and even in federal court. By necessity, campus conservatives are becoming columnists, commentators and First Amendment watchdogs. We are taking our case beyond the campus community.
And, the nation is taking notice.
(John T. Plecnik (JTP) is a 21-year-old law student at Duke University)
Saturday, March 12, 2005
THE FAR-LEFT ACADEMIC ELITE
From K-12 we fast forward to the elite halls of upper story education. In determining that the future of any nation lies in its youth we have had in the American colleges and universities a two-fold problem which emanates from leftist professors and curriculum. These dens of iniquity are the opening salvo to the future of our national security. We must either pay attention now or we will unerringly have to pay attention tomorrow. We have not as yet come to grips with the realization that we have people in our society who would sell us to socialism and communism for a dime. Basically they are deadlier than the Tories of the American Revolution, the Vichies of WW II France, the Quislings of Norway and our own fifth column of the Vietnam and Korean wars.
There are and have been many symptoms which glaringly have shown the bumps in the road. The study of Western Civilization, once mandatory for the educated, is now low priority for modern curricula. These days our pop culture universities focus almost entirely on the denigration of our country. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the outcry over a proposal to revive "Western Civilization" shows just how deeply the academic Left hates us. Of the eleven UNC schools surveyed, just a third still require a course in Western history or Western civilization. About two thirds require cultural diversity courses These courses are as foreign to the culture and the mores of a capitalistic and free enterprise system as oil is to water.
These people whom we allow to teach our children no longer hide their disdain. We have been so apathetic to standing up and ridding ourselves of these traitors that they no longer remain hidden under their rocks but now openly profess their isms to the world. This is what democratist domination of our congress for over 40 years in the 20th century has wrought. The Socialist professors in the universities and colleges began to mirror the predominant leftists in congress and in so doing felt no fear of reprisal. To this day not even the most activist talk show hosts have presented with clarity that we have at least 50 members of the congress who are members of the Democratic-Socialist Party of the United States. And those 50 are only the tip of the iceberg. Asking today’s typically naive democrat as to why he votes for that party is like asking the used car salesman if the odometer on that car is correct. You know that both of them have been altered but you just don’t know how far.
You may recall that when Castro visited the U.S. a few years ago to attend a summit meeting of sorts there were groups who fell all over each other to make sure that he got wined and dined. Yes, even church groups. It got to the point that if Castro visited with you it became a status symbol.
After his ouster from the so called presidency in Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev visited the United States and was besieged by our universities to speak and lecture within their hallowed halls. This was a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of human beings if not millions. Normally and in the interest of higher learning this would have been acceptable but not when our own American literates were shut out.
At one time our campuses were the bastions for objective research, freedom of thought, expression and intellectual exploration. No longer. The last 2 decades have shown that once the socialists became of sufficient strength they no longer would allow conservatives to lecture in open forum............even to the point of riots and threats. Academic freedom was gutted......
It is interesting to note that most of the bias problems emanating from academe is from those professors who deal mainly in the liberal arts. These would include philosophy, the humanities, the social sciences, psychology, cultures of the world, political science and sundry courses where students can gain hours to get out of school without having to learn anything. These professors who have student teachers doing most of the work are busy strolling the campus, coming to grips with nature, watching the birds, throwing peanuts to the squirrels and in general feeding on their delusions of Utopia and the ultimate socialist state. Generally speaking, the technical science professors do not have time for this kind of mischievous intercourse. These professors, on the whole, regardless of their political persuasion are too busy trying to teach math, physics, engineering and the like. With only about one third of college professors trying to do their work honorably, professionally, ethically and without political orientation you can easily surmise why the American campus is in such a sorry state.
Friday, March 11, 2005
When Elites Use Ad Hominems
By Tibor R. Machan
A book came to my attention with a promising title, so I bought and began to read it. The author is William M. Sullivan, a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the book is Work and Integrity, The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in America (2005).....
It may be recalled by some that the Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman wrote a book, Capitalism and Freedom (1962) in which he argues—yes, he actually argues—against professional licensing, making the case that a free society does not deserve to be burdened by such demeaning public measures, ones that treat professionals as requiring the supervision of a bunch of force-wielding bureaucrats. A free society can have its own watchdog agencies, ones, however, that do not have the status of the monarch but simply one among many service agencies like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval folks.
So what does Mr. Sullivan offer in rebuttal to this line of argument Friedman goes to great pains to develop? Nothing, not unless you consider calling Milton Friedman a “market fundamentalist,” someone among “those who allow their enthusiasm for the ideals of markets performance to develop into fanaticism,” an argument. Sullivan says that Friedman is wrong because he fails to make any room for non-market institutions doing something to enhance professionalism, whereas, of course, Friedman does
nothing of the sort. He simply wants to exclude coercive measures, which in Sullivan’s view makes him a fanatic....
But cheer up. When prominent scholars from very prestigious organizations lash out at various ideas with venom, you know those ideas are making an impact. And they should. Free market fundamentalism, like Criminal justice fundamentalism (a la the ACLU) or human rights fundamentalism (as per Amnesty International) can indeed be a wonderful thing and attacking it in such uncivil ways may give it something of a boost.....
Maybe we ought to thank the likes of Mr. Sullivan for showing how impoverished have become defenders of all the myriad government measures that treat people as if they were beholden to the state, not to their own conscience and the expectations of their free customers and clients.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
ELITISM AT THE MOVIES
"The Oscars came and went. Another spasm of self-congratulation and indulgence. Especially ironic in that the major movie studios are in serious financial trouble and people are staying away from theatres in increasingly large numbers. But Hollywood has never been concerned about people. If anything, the elites of North America's entertainment industry despise the people and all for which they stand. After all, Hollywood's fetishes are liberal politics, cosmetic surgery, publicity and sexual extremism, not necessarily in that order!
The nominated movies for this year's Oscars said a great deal. Million Dollar Baby, for example, was as much about euthanasia as about boxing and gave a blatant defence of the killing of the handicapped and the terminally ill. Little attention has been given to large-scale protests against the film by leaders of the disabled community. Similarly Vera Drake, which was seen by virtually nobody, was a lugubrious justification for abortion. As was the absurdly lauded Cider House Rules back in 1999, when the movie's makers gave public support to the pro-abortion movement.
Another hyped film, Kinsey, chronicled the life of an infamous sex-researcher. But it was hagiography. It didn't tell us, for example, that he was a homosexual masochist, or that he refused to condemn those among his research subjects who had raped children, some as young as 15 months. Nor did the film explain that Kinsey's absurdly inflated figures for homosexuality, adultery and promiscuity were gathered by concentrating on the prison population and a certain section of college students. In other words, tendentious nonsense that told us nothing about the sexual habits of Americans, but much about perversion within a specific group. Yet the movie depicts Kinsey as a persecuted genius and critics eagerly fell into acclaim.
None of this would be quite as objectionable if those on the other side of the debate were allowed to make movies and state their case. Fairness of access and freedom of expression, however, have never characterized Hollywood or, for that matter, the meager Canadian movie business. Which brings me to The Passion of the Christ and its predictable but shameful lack of any major nominations at the Oscars. All thinking people know why this happened. Simply, Hollywood is dominated by an anti-religious and left wing agenda.
With DVD and foreign sales The Passion made more than a billion dollars, and cost less than $50 million to make. An almost unprecedented financial success. You would think an entertainment culture obsessed with sequels and spin-offs has to be working on movies based on, say, any of the four Gospels, one of numerous Biblical stories or a biopic of a saint or religious leader. Instant stories, guaranteed to make money. But no. In fact, no major studio in North America has a religion movie in production. Such is Hollywood's hatred for orthodoxy, religion and family values that producers would rather go out of business than cater to genuine public opinion and admit that perhaps they were wrong.
The issue goes beyond religion to basic family values. Of the ten most successful movies of 2004 only one of them had an "R" rating. And that was, yes, The Passion. So the 10 movies that made the vast bulk of Hollywood's profits last years were family films, entertaining cartoons and a depiction of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Which should tell us something about what North Americans want to see at the cinema. When asked, members of the public repeatedly explain that they want less offensive language, less gratuitous violence and sexuality, less perversion and more reflection of reality and stability. Reality and stability, however, do not win Oscars and do not stimulate invitations to fashionable parties.
There are ways to fight back, as The Passion demonstrated. Another such movie is Therese, currently playing in selected theatres throughout Canada. In the United States this gentle and sensitive life of a nineteenth-century French saint did extremely well through word-of-mouth and an e-mail campaign among supporters. The mainstream media, of course, refused to recognize it. Fight back. You, your family and the culture deserve it".
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
PURE ARROGANCE AT WORK
Just read how this Leftist vandal (from Amherst, Massachusetts) justifies himself: Not the slightest recognition that there could be any argument for another point of view. We see instead the certainty of the robot and an utter contempt for the rights of other people and for free speech. And his claim that he feels guilty implies that he has in some lordly way at least permitted the Iraq war. That the war went on without his permission and in complete ignorance of him he cannot abide. He is incensed that he was not given a right of veto. And note his contempt for ordinary people who do not share his wisdom and refinement.
"Guilt can only weigh on a person's mind for so long before they crave the act of purgation; to get the weighty feelings of shame and responsibility out of the mind - or at least the guilty parties attempt to find some kind of peace if they cannot rid themselves of a screaming conscience that implicates and indicts its possessor.
That said, perhaps some readers will understand why my friends and I rip yellow ribbon "support the troops" magnets off of cars or wherever people have affixed them. By ripping off these ribbons, we find a way to deal with our guilt, as though with each ribbon swiped we take back a life that was taken by this senseless war started by our senseless president and those who support him.
I will never say, "support the troops." I don't believe in the validity of that statement. People say, "I don't support the war, I support the troops" as though you can actually separate the two. You cannot; the troops are a part of the war, they have become the war and there is no valid dissection of the two. Other people shout with glaring eyes that we should give up our politics, give up our political affiliations in favor of "just supporting the troops." I wish everything were that easy.
What they really mean is that we should just give up our will, give up our identities, give up our voices to those in power. Perhaps that's just the way people aligned with the right wing choose to get rid of their guilt: blindness and ignorance.
I listen to talk radio very often. It's important to know who your enemies are. The pundits on the radio are the pinnacles of guiltless, shameless wonders, and I am jealous. It must feel good to believe without question, to benefit from the blind belief of young men and women who chose to join the armed forces, to sit in a radio studio in New York and admonish the public to give in like the troops, to just follow orders, to live as just a number that will soon be etched into a gravestone that no one will ever see.
I look into the cars of people with "support the troops" ribbons as I speed past, trying to find some trace of recognition on their face, recognition of their guilt and the fact that they have given up. I usually see nothing; just a mouth moving robotically, singing the pop hits of today or the contemporary country wine of fake cowboys who share a lot with George Bush: no shame.
We say, "support the troops" so that we won't feel guilty about saying "no" to war. We reason that if we say that we support the troops, somehow we aren't monsters for not saying a word when the death tolls of U.S. soldiers climbed above 1,000. Those ribbons are yellow for a reason, they are not the mark of armed forces support, they are the mark of cowards.
Pundits on the radio advise their cowardly listeners to approach men and women in army uniforms and say "thank you." I cannot do that. Every time I pass a person in uniform I look long and hard at them and all I can think inside to say is "I'm so sorry." I want to apologize to them, to their families and to their friends. I feel sorry that we, the people, couldn't control our own government at the outset of this conflict when most of us knew deep inside that it was a mistake.
Where are we now? Are we in a better place? Is the world safer for democracy? No, it is not safer and we are not in a better place. In this war that we are fighting to somehow avenge the deaths of the Sept. 11 tragedy, we have amassed a field of body bags, the number of which almost matches the number killed in the terrorist attacks four years ago. Now, we stare at yet another request for barrels of money for this war by President Bush, while people in our own country search fruitlessly for jobs to feed their starving families, while every public school gets left behind, while our elderly are ensured an uncertain future of unpaid medical bills.
I guess we shouldn't think about those things though, right? We should just buy a yellow magnet and slap it on the butt of our car so we can sleep at night and just let our government do whatever they want. That's supporting the troops, right?
Two years ago my friend Eric called me out of the blue after almost five years of silence between us. We were in a band together when we were teenagers and he had joined the army around the time I was graduating from high school. He had to join the army; he had a son to provide for in the grand tradition of many young members of the armed forces. He called me to tell me that he was going back to Iraq, against his will. He was so sad and angry and scared. He didn't say it, but I know he was calling to tell me that he might die. I didn't say it to him then, but I felt such overwhelming guilt that I couldn't do anything to keep him from going back.
I haven't heard from him since. I don't know if he's dead, and my guilt is alive and well. I hope that all of our family members in harm's way return alive. Until then, I can really honor their sacrifice by demanding that it finally comes to an end".
(Article by Thomas Naughton, writing in The Daily Collegian)
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
An email from a reader who does not live in a trailer:
"Today on NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday" - "voices in the news" included Hillary Swank (from "Million Dollar Baby") who said, "I'm just a girl from a trailer park"
This is more Leftist elitism. Many "average folks" choose to live in a trailer park not only because they are lousy with money - but for the opposite reason - and the word "Just" indicates disdain for her own roots. Shameful. Such a choice allows many of "the poor" to buy their first home and to save some money - not exactly luxury, but more living space than most middle class "enlightened" Euros. And many of these "trailer park trash" live a lifestyle that the "elites" only dream of - out in the country, unchained from traffic jams, going hunting wnen they wish, spending time with family, getting drunk, etc - The "freedom" than the elites only dream of.
The elites are the ones that are not free of the chains of marching in lock-step to the demands of the Leftist producers and directors. And these elites don't have a clue - the "Redneck" culture that they mock is one of the cores of American values - the Scotch Irish culture.
And those who preach "sensitivity" to Blacks don't have a clue - many Black people in the South live in trailers - and Black culture is closely tied to the "trailer park" or "Redneck" culture - after all, the "Rednecks" lived alongside of slaves and freed slaves".