My Facebook Memories reminded me today that I shared this piece by John Stossel exactly a year ago. Given what’s transpired over the past year, it’s worth revisiting.
Stossel observes that America has historically been bereft of the “old aristocracy” of Europe, but this hasn’t stopped many self-anointed meritocrats – at least, those who pass as such – from upbraiding the rest of us about our moral, ethical and social failings.
This script plays out day after day, not only among elites but also among those of the countless millions of ordinary Americans who are influenced to one degree or another by this imposed ethos.
I’m reminded of an especially annoying account shared with me a few years ago by a very talented former co-worker. A native Alabamian with a palpable but cultivated Southern drawl, he enrolled in one of New York’s highly regarded Research I universities to complete a second graduate degree in his field. The course of study was an applied curriculum and he frequently was called upon to prepare projects to present to one of the classes.
The professor prefaced one of his presentations with the denigrating remark, “Let’s hear what Billy Bob has to say.”
Now, imagine the sh*t storm that would have erupted if this professor had prefaced a Muslim student’s presentation with something like “Let’s hear what Muhammad has to say” or an Indian Hindu student with “Let’s hear what Apu has to say.”
Granted, this professor technically can’t be defined as a member of the ruling class – he just rates as an enabler – but this kind of brazen elitist contempt for people in so-called Flyover Country and particularly the South certainly reflects the cultural legacy of our ruling class.
We Southerners have shared these accounts among ourselves for years. A relative related to me a few months about about how her daughter-in-law, who developed rather flat General American accent in the course of growing up as an army brat, always feels compelled to intercede on behalf of high school teacher who conducts an annual student tour of New York City. The teacher possesses a pronounced Appalachian twang, which frequently invokes the contemptuous obstinance of museum directors, tour guides and head waiters.
Granted, museum directors and tour guides do not rate as ruling class members, but their expressions of palpable aversion to this hapless educator and others speaks volumes about how successfully our self-anointed elites have sewn contempt for Southerners and other perceived bumpkins over the course of generations.
As I’ve said before, folks, I’m no Trump partisan, but I certainly understand and sympathize with the anger that has given rise to the Trump phenomenon.
Perhaps the serious blows dealt recently to Big Entertainment via the Harvey Weinstein revelations and to Big Media following new discoveries about DNC connections with the Trump Dossier will go a long way toward changing this dynamic.
Maybe the day is fast approaching when all or most of the facets of the Establishment left will be held to the level of contempt has Harvey Weinstein.
Yes, things may be changing – one can hope, at least – but for now, though, the ruling class still occupies the driver’s seat. As Stossel stresses, it still decides “which ideas are acceptable, which scientific theories to believe, what speech is permitted.”