Friday, May 5, 2017
by The Zman
“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” - "The Great Gatsby"
"While writing yesterday’s tirade about the conservative industrial complex and their poverty pimps, I kept thinking about the weirdness of the people who populate the upper reaches of the conservative think tank rackets. They obviously make enormous amounts of money doing very little, which is not the world of most Americans. They don’t keep regular hours at work, coming and going as they see fit. They live in communities that are set apart from the rest of America. They have little interaction with normal people.
None of this is new. Normal people learn quickly that the rich are not like the rest of us, despite the Hemingway quip to the contrary. The lack of want changes a man. Struggle, fear and the sleepless nights are the crucible of resourcefulness and creativity. The result is not just resourcefulness, but caution and prudence. It is the instinctive understanding of risk that comes from failure, what economists call moral hazard, that is at the heart of prudence. Pamper a man long enough and he loses this.
It is most obvious with our carny folk. Young people go into the circus hoping to become stars, but most spend their youth waiting tables, doing odd jobs and never doing more than some small parts in small productions. Some kick around as extras, making a decent living, but working hard. These are usually very sensible people because they know how hard it is to maintain their spot and they appreciate how quickly it can go away. It’s not an accident that these are the most right-wing people in Hollywood.
Then we have the stars who are magically plucked from the gutter and made rich, glamorous and famous. It’s rare for a mega star to have had a long apprenticeship or have struggled in bit parts for a long time. They tend to hit it big early in their career. Whatever sense they had is quickly squeezed out of them and they become spoiled toddlers, complaining about the unfairness of the world. Meryl Streep is a classic example. She hit the acting lottery and now lectures the peons about our lack of morality.
Now, Streep was probably nuts before she entered the carnival, but it does not take long for someone living like a noble to start thinking they are noble. If serendipity led you to a one-percent lifestyle, you can be forgiven for thinking that you were chosen. Further, you can be forgiven for thinking that things like hard work, prudence and loyalty are a sucker’s game. After all, the people who cherish those things live down in the valley, while you live up on the hill with the rest of the Cloud People.
This seems to be the dynamic in the managerial elite. They went off to college, ticked the right boxes and were magically transported to the top of society. Look through the biographies of famous pundits, media people and public intellectuals and you don’t find a lot of time in the fields with the sons of toil. Instead, you see biographies like the perhaps soon-to-be-president of France. Macron was literally plucked from the crowd, like Billy Ray Valentine from "Trading Places." Why would Macron value hard work and struggle?
The consequence-free world of the ruling classes not only makes them reckless; it makes them contemptuous of the lower ranks, particularly the middle class. It’s probably why the American Left adopted the anti-bourgeoisie language of Continental Marxists, despite living exaggerated versions of the bourgeoisie lifestyle. It just felt good. That appears to have been the motivation of those who sponsored Barak Obama’s political career in Chicago. The aging radicals who sponsored him knew he would offend normal people.
This witch’s brew of reckless disregard and seething contempt is on display in this story about Left’s next great mongrel hope. A California Democrat looking to flip a House seat in next year’s midterms believes he can appeal to both sides of the aisle - and even pitch progressive ideas to President Trump. Ammar Campa-Najjar, a 28-year-old communications staffer and former campaign worker of Mexican and Arab heritage, says his background and resume put him in a position to succeed in the red district he hopes to represent. “I talk about never being Arab enough in Gaza, Hispanic enough in the Barrio or American enough in the post-9/11 world,” he told The Hill during a recent interview. “I just don’t come in with this preconceived notion of prejudice. It allows me to have an open mind and be tolerant, see the world from their vantage point.”
I don’t know about the Arab and Mexican stuff, but I do know the reason he went from rent boy to political rock star is that he is “not American enough.” If he was an Irish guy named O’Shea, he would be working the business end of a shovel, rather than entertaining the Cloud People. Like an actor waiting tables, this guy’s whole existence is about cultivating a look in the hope of catching the attention of the right people. He may as well be an actor, as he is just playing a character he thinks will be in demand in the big show.
Read the rest of the article and it is clear that Ammar is as dumb as a hamster. He’s just repeating phrases he has picked up as an extra in his minor gigs in Washington. But, he has the look in demand with the Cloud People and he is about as alien to the native stock as you’re going to get, so he has a future in Progressive politics. It’s not hard to imagine a Prog version of Tom and Daisy Buchanan backing this clown’s political career because it let’s them piss on the little people, who they detest so much.”