Pretentious Snobbery Versus Common Sense

by Morgan Freeberg | October 10, 2008 9:44 pm

Dr. Melissa Clouthier dares — dares! — to make a distinction[1] between the two.

Sarah Palin inspires vitriol for many reasons among the smug knobby-headed class. The latest unguarded moment came courtesy David Brooks who called Sarah Palin a “cancer on the party[2]” to a group of writers from The Atlantic. (As AllahPundit points out, this outburst is a lot like Peggy Noonan’s opinion[3], also caught in an unguarded moment. And, of course, it differs little from Barack Obama’s “gun clinging” comment[4].)

Why do they dislike her so?

1. Her state school education and path to power devalues the elite’s Harvard training.
2. She’s homespun. Intellectuals despise homespun. They prefer the calculated indifference they’ve worked so hard to master over the years.
Red Sonja Palin3. Sarah doesn’t seem to care what they think. Perhaps her most grievous error is that she just doesn’t give a moose turd what David Brooks thinks. Everyone should care what David Brooks thinks. And Peggy Noonan. And the rest of the obnoxious snobs.

Here’s the thing, for those in the elite class, who go to parties and hang in social circles, they spend their time telling themselves a story: the story is that middle America is consumed with the provincial and that the provincial is horrible. It doesn’t occur to them that middle Americans have the same concerns and often discuss some of the same things as the elites, but that middle Americans have what is called a life which gives them a context in which to put these fancy-pants ideals. Many theories sound good in theory, but the small business people, and white and blue collar blokes have to actually live with the consequences of these theories know how they affect life practically.

What she’s talking about is What Is A Liberal? Part One[5]. It’s Yin and Yang[6] stuff. Before I connect that all together, take a look at what Melissa has to say a bit further down…

When a person has spent his whole life living theoretically, a person who lives real makes him feel insecure. The DC elites are no different than the actors in Hollywood. No wonder they all pal around together. At a certain point, their lack of concrete contributions and endless pontifications sounds hollow and empty. They want their lives to have meaning so they inflate their contributions in their own minds. No one dissuades them of the notion because they hang around people just like them.

Here’s a great example.

The oil companies are gouging us. You can tell they’re gouging us because these two gas stations representing two completely different companies are across the street from each other; the same night one of them raises the price from 3.929 premium to 4.199 premium, the other one raises it from 3.939 to 4.189. The same amount, more-or-less, to the same new price, more-or-less, within the same hour, more-or-less. Obviously there’s a conspiracy at work.

So let’s raise their taxes through the freakin’ roof.

If you live in the real world, you live in a world of cause-and-effect. A world of “butterfly effects.” And so, as ticked off as you may be at the oil companies, and as much as you believe in that kind of conspiracy, you still can’t get behind this because it’s ridiculous to think we’ll make it artificially expensive to peddle some product, and as a result, the price of that product will come DOWN.

So if you’re Yin, you may feel anger like anybody else, but you get over it. You live in a world of IF…THEN. The Yang live in a world of protocol. “S’poseda.” You’re s’poseda cut your carbon emissions. You’re s’poseda behave humbly so the rest of the world likes us more.

The decision-making is always externalized to someone else. And that “someone else” is always some vague, non-corporeal, undefinable entity. “Them.” “The People.” “Everybody.” “Us.” “Out There.” You dare to make this distinction, after awhile you see this everywhere. I see it in this Charles Gibson interview with The Messiah — Gibson explicitly asks him “what will you do different from what the current administration is doing now” (or some such)…and here comes the reply. The People have lost confidence. It’s always someone else making the decision that matters.

People who populate this whole other world, have good reason to be jealous. Once they own a task, a task that depends on real decisions being made by an individual who’s directly responsible for how things turn out — they’re lost. And they know it. They’ve spent too much of their lives living theoretically…spooning out the right answers to please others. Ignoring cause and effect.

There are some social skills involved in this. It is a certain brand of “smarts.” In a way. But it’s not the right kind of smarts to build anything; at least, not anything new. It certainly isn’t the kind of smarts compatible with “Change We Can Believe In.”

I remember one of my less-inspiring old bosses who was opposed to my retaining the title of “Senior Network Systems Engineer.” His argument was that the title of “engineer” was something like the title of “doctor.” You should have a certificate from somewhere, with a serial number on it, and a licensing board ready to pull it if you screw something up.

I can certainly see the logic involved in that. But I see a problem with it as well, because this isn’t something that’s based on the IF…THEN that engineering is all about. Such a rule is based on convention and protocol. Technology, people forget often, is the direct opposite of protocol. It is directly antithetical to doing things the way you’re “s’poseda” do them. Because if you’re always doing something the way someone else has decided you’re supposed to do them, how are you ever going to build anything new?

And yeah, that’s why we have this rage at Sarah Palin. It isn’t the traipsing around out there hunting moose and field-dressing the carcass. It’s knowing how to do it — and to find your way back, using only a compass. Melissa hit the nail right on the head. These people have lived their entire lives “living theoretically.” S’poseda, s’poseda, s’poseda. Deep down, they know this is not how things are built. This isn’t how anything was invented or discovered or provided, that we have today, that we use. It’s how you go about copying something somebody else has said or done.

They understand this difference deep down, themselves, without anyone else pointing it out. And so they find Sarah Palin threatening. But Barack Obama doesn’t threaten them one little bit. He’s plugged into the same collective power-structure, so he’s guaranteed to never show that anything is flawed, wrong or weak about it.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes[7].

  1. make a distinction:
  2. cancer on the party:
  3. Peggy Noonan’s opinion:
  4. “gun clinging” comment:
  5. What Is A Liberal? Part One:
  6. Yin and Yang:
  7. House of Eratosthenes:

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