I followed a link from one of my usual daily reads to Angelo Codevilla’s of-linked most recent essay, After the Republic and read it with the usual sense of renewed depression which usually attends me on reading a disquisition on our current political/social conditions. (Wretchard at Belmont Club and Victor Davis Hansen also produce pretty much the same results – what oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed.)
Especially this paragraph:
Who, a generation ago, could have guessed that careers and social standing could be ruined by stating the fact that the paramount influence on the earth’s climate is the sun, that its output of energy varies and with it the climate? Who, a decade ago, could have predicted that stating that marriage is the union of a man and a woman would be treated as a culpable sociopathy, or just yesterday that refusing to let certifiably biological men into women’s bathrooms would disqualify you from mainstream society? Or that saying that the lives of white people “matter” as much as those of blacks is evidence of racism? These strictures came about quite simply because some sectors of the ruling class felt like inflicting them on the rest of America. Insulting presumed inferiors proved to be even more important to the ruling class than the inflictions’ substance.
Repeating the last sentence for emphasis: “Insulting presumed inferiors proved to be even more important to the ruling class than the inflictions’ substance.” Especially since the tidal-spew of insult from that we think of as the bi-coastal ruling class, the gatekeepers, the fortunate 1%, the intellectual class and the media darlings towards ordinary, working-class and middle-class residents of what I have begun thinking of as Flyoverlandia has achieved tsunami-depth in the last few years … indeed, the last few months.
They hate us, they hate us, they really, really do. The automatic sneer, the curling-upper-lip snobbish and very public contempt on display of late in any number of arenas is honestly getting to be too much to take. It was bad enough seeing the Tea Party trashed and demonized, and an otherwise agreeable, competent female and locally popular politician like Sarah Palin savaged by the national media minions of the ruling class – all because she wasn’t a member, or the spouse/spawn of a well-established member of the bicoastal ruling party club. The usual social justice class warriors who have somewhat of a sense for history (a diminishing number, let it be noted) lament and condemn the cruel snobbery of the Victorian upper classes, but honestly, I can’t see how they can keep a straight face when doing so, unless catastrophically deprived of any sense of irony. It was bad enough being put off ever listening to Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion, when it became very, very obvious that he actually despised the people who made up real-life communities in Flyoverlandia.
But I do think that Codevilla has caught one aspect right; the vicious joy of insulting presumed inferiors without any thought of consequence has now overtaken a large number of people and organizations whom you would have thought would know better, both in an economic sense, and in a political sense. Hillary Clinton and her so-called “basket of deplorables” is the culmination of this kind of contempt brought to its full and nasty flowering. The brouhaha over gay weddings and the insistence on group bathrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms being open to anyone claiming identity with a gender at variance with their actual genitalia is another – and exacerbated when an individual expressing objections or even just mild reservation gets condemned as the worst sort of bigot. Then, there is apparent willingness of the NFL to go all out for demonstrations of good-think with regard to Black Lives Matter. You might think that an enterprise which depends on the goodwill of an audience to consider avoid antagonizing a large portion of that audience … but then Hollywood – by which I mean those who produce movies and broadcast entertainment – have been contemptuous of Flyoverlandia’s mainstream, socially conservative, mildly religious values for decades. This was noted in this book, originally published in 1992 and do not appear to have paid much of a price for alienating a large mainstream audience.
Until now, anyway; is it all coming to a head, with residents of Flyoverlandia setting their teeth and drawing a line in the sand? I suppose one can think of the enthusiasm for Donald Trump as an indicator that yes – people are fed up and pissed off. Falling viewership for NFL games this season so far might be another, although there might be other explanations for that. Are there other theaters in which Flyoverlandians are resisting, or even hitting back against the contemptuous bi-coastal ruling class? Discuss.