One of the stranger things about this age is that even the fiercest critics of the ruling class are finding it hard to keep pace with the ruling class confirming their claims. Make some exaggerated statement about the Cloud People and before you have had a chance to defend it from critics, Cloud People have taken to social media to prove your point. It’s a cliché to say that satire is dead, but it really does feel that way. How can you satirize people who are everything you mock them for being, plus some extra to make the point?
A popular theme here is that the people who rule over us act like a foreign colonial elite, divorced from the reality of our daily life. They are not just physically removed, but spiritually and intellectually removed. As a result, they are entirely clueless about what animates our lives and decisions. This critique is meant to be an exaggeration to make a point about our elites. This editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Yale professor David Gelernter, however, is an example how it is hard to exaggerate these things.
The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know their real sins. They know how appalling such people are, with their stupid guns and loathsome churches. They have no money or permanent grievances to make them interesting and no Twitter followers to speak of. They skip Davos every year and watch Fox News. Not even the very best has the dazzling brilliance of a Chuck Schumer, not to mention a Michelle Obama. In truth they are dumb as sheep.
Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American. We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.
Now, Gelernter is one of the few good neocons in that he is much more in line with the original generation than with the successors. I had a short correspondence with him a long time ago and he was very nice. No, I am not the Unabomber. He had written an article about alternative file structures that I found interesting so I sent him an e-mail about it and we went back and forth on the topic. Unlike his neocon brethren, he does not sneer at the rest of us or endlessly advocate for our destruction.
The amusing part about this column is that it needed to be written. Gelernter is a Yale professor, which means he spends his days around Cloud People and future Cloud People. As a Trump supporter, he operates a lot like Dian Fossey, spending every day in an alien environment observing strange creatures. He no doubt has come to care for them and appreciate them, but their weirdness remains the main fascination. Yet, this is a place that is a training ground for the people who will one day call themselves our leaders.
Now, spend enough time in a foreign place and you will start to take on the attributes of the natives. You see that in the description of the “typical American” as something closer to a character from Dickens than modern reality. Whenever ruling class people talk about the rest of us they never mention business owners, the self-employed or senior managers in mid-sized companies. I deal with the latter on a regular basis and I rarely encounter a hard core lefty. They range from right-of-center to way over on our side of the divide.
That’s the strangeness of the current age. It’s not that the ruling class is physically removed from the rest of us, as in the feudal age or even at the peak of the industrial age. In those times, the people in the castles and mansions generally believed the same things as the regular people, at least spiritually. They also felt a duty to maintain order, not just in their own interests but in the interests of the populace. They may not have liked the peasants, but they did not hate them. They certainly felt a duty to look out for them.
In this age, the ruling class believes things that no normal person accepts. The tranny stuff is the obvious example. That will never be accepted by normal people as anything other than an insult to their decency. The Cloud People can bellow about this until they are swinging from a rope and the people will never accept it. Yet, among the Cloud People, gender fluidity is as sensible as worshiping Gaia. Our ruling class now has an entirely alien religion upon which is built their moral framework and world view. They ain’t us.
That’s another thing about this age. The Cloud People lack self-awareness. It’s why comedy is no longer funny. A sense of humor relies on a sense of self and a willingness to make sport of your side. That can only work on people when they are aware of their own foibles and quirks. For our rulers, their greatest blind spot is in the mirror. They imagine themselves as plucky underdogs fighting the man. They think they are nobly sacrificing for the greater good. In reality, they are selfish self-absorbed children throwing tantrums.
That’s why it is hard to be optimistic about a good end to a course correction. How do you reform a ruling class whose identity is based on its hatred of the people over whom it rules? How do you fix a people who are oblivious to the lives of the people they rule and oblivious to the reality of their own lives? It is easy to understand why the Maoists sent so many intellectuals to the rice paddies or gave them factory jobs pushing a broom. It’s hard to comprehend how anyone can be so clueless and self-absorbed, but here we are.