Way back before the 2016 election really got started, I recall watching National Review’s David French learn on twitter what the word “cuckservative” meant. It was an amusing thing to watch as he went back and forth with some alt-right types. I could tell he was feeling like a cool kid picking up slang from the in-crowd on the playground. Then he realized that the “cuck” they were referring to was him. He then set off blocking half the internet. It was an amusing example of just how isolated these people are from us.
The chattering classes are supposed to be the interface between the Cloud People and the Dirt People. Before the explosion of mass media, the chattering skulls would go on the three Sunday chat shows to tell us what to think, while pretending to tell us what our rulers were thinking. Usually, these people had a column in one of the big city broadsheets or they were a “reporter” in Washington. This worked as the Dirt People had nothing against which to compare it and we never got to see these people outside of their roles.
Mass media has some unexpected consequences. For example, we get to learn much more about the commentariat. A super cuck like David French has put his whole life out on the internet, so he’s not fooling anyone. They say familiarity breeds contempt and the general hatred of the media is most likely due to the exposure that comes in the mass media age. That and their lies are much more easily exposed. When some popinjay goes on a rant about something, we can easily find where he said the opposite in the past.
Another result is the strange isolation of the media from the rest of us. Read biographies of old newspaper guys and one of the things that stands out is their working class lives. It was not just that they were the sons of toil, they remained in that world. In 1934, it was not weird for a big city newspaper reporter to live in the same building as a plumber or bus driver. Carl Bernstein never went to college but worked his way up from the copy boy at the Washington Star. Today, no newspaper in America would hire a guy like him.
This isolation has a another facet to it. The volume of media means the number of people thinking of themselves in that world is massive as well. Then there is the overlap between the academy, government and the media. When Obama took office, over 100 media members quit and went to work for the new administration. As the managerial state has grown and matured, it has absorbed the mass media with it. Look at the major chat shows and you often see people who have been in government, media and the academy.
These blurred lines mean the sense of community has grown. The people covering the Imperial Capital no longer see themselves as natural adversaries of the people they cover, unless those people are seen as a threat. The fawning over Obama by the press corp even embarrassed Obama. Contrast that with Trump, who is viewed as an outsider. The conspiracy to rig the last election by the CIA/FBI/DOJ has largely been ignored by the media, because they see the principles as their neighbors, allies and friends.
A more amusing reminder of this great divide between them and us was the heavy breathing last week about the so-called “intellectual dark web.” Someone from alt-right central casting, name Bari Weiss, wrote a piece declaring a group of old warhorses the new radicals of the internet. Like all women writers of her age, Mx Weis employs the autoethnographic style, popular with the womyn in gender studies. It’s mostly a feeble attempt to cast herself as edgy, because she knows people who think they are edgy.
That was the point though. This was not written for the broader audience, if it even exists for publications like the New York Times. It was written for people in the media. It was the sort of self-adulation you see on award shows. From the perspective of someone like Mx. Weis, Ben Shapiro is super-edgy. Anyone inside the managerial class, offering the slightest resistance to the prevailing orthodoxy, is a rebel. It’s not a lot different from the guys at prep school who cut class to smoke weed. To their peers, they are bad boys.
The old paleos were able to see the managerial state forming up. They were surprisingly prescient about what would happen to the politics of both liberalism and conservatism, as practiced thirty years ago. What they did not anticipate is the merging of corporate culture, multiculturalism and the mass media into the managerial state. They can’t be faulted for it, as no one could really anticipate how new technology would accelerate the growth and evolution of the American ruling class. In the 90’s, the smart people predicted the opposite.
The managerial class has achieved class consciousness. If you are working at the New York Times, the American Enterprise Institute or a government agency, you see the people in these roles as your colleagues. They are the people with whom you socialize and gossip. Their kids go to school with your kids. You live in the same exclusive neighborhoods. Not only are the people outside that world strangers, they vaguely feel like a threat, with their inability to vote correctly and complaints about diversity.
Unlike ruling classes of prior ages, this one is not entirely endogamous or closed off to outsiders. Like the Chinese imperial exam system, Dirt People with something on the ball can test into this world. But also like the exam system, the American managerial class is becoming immune from new ideas and innovation. What passes for creativity is simply neologism filled recitations of the one true faith. If Jordan Peterson is your idea of a radical thinker, you’re living in an intellectual waste land. A world where Bari Weiss makes sense.