Note: Lots of additional material this week. Over on Taki I have a post up about the great holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Movie. Behind the green door I have a post up about the YouTube/Livestream subculture. For those looking for some soothing sounds of reasonable analysis and conversation, here is some of that.
A recurring feature of the government Covid efforts is the people issuing various public health edicts violating those edicts. The self-righteous lectures about mask wearing from a sanctimonious politician are followed by pics of that politician going around without a mask at some swanky event. Restaurants all over the country have been closed, but special exceptions are always made for the politicians. These stories of official perfidy have become a staple of the outrage media.
One of the more amusing examples was from Rhode Island where the governess there has been carrying on like an overprotective mother, demanding that everyone stay home for the holidays. Meanwhile she is getting tanked up with other hens at a wine and paint party. The latest is the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, who has been telling people to stay in hiding for the holidays. Meanwhile, she had a big family bash at one of her mansions over Thanksgiving.
Of course, these stories are waived around as examples of the hypocrisy and sense of entitlement common in the political class. There is an assumption that the people contradicting their own lectures know the lectures are nonsense. They know the mask wearing and other rules are ridiculous. They just like playing dictator. In contrast, these stories are sometimes presented as examples of how these people think they are above the rules, as if they are members of an aristocracy.
The latter is probably closer to the truth. The fact is, few people in elected office have the smarts to know if any of these policies make sense. It is monkey see, monkey do with these local politicians. They see a politician in another state getting noticed for an innovative torment and they race to match it. We live in the age of gesture politics, which means showing you care is all that matters. Covid allows these tiny tyrants to show they care by imposing restrictions on the rest of us.
What we are seeing is the results of the managerial class that formed up in the last century, having become class aware. These people see themselves as more than just experts tasked with managing society, the economy, education and so on. They are now an indispensable class, the fulcrum of society. There is no aspect of society that is off-limits to their machinations, because in their understanding of themselves and their role in society, no area of society can exist without their attention.
Therefore, you never hear any mention of constitutional liberties or constitutional rights when they are holding forth on their latest Covid edicts. You will also note that with some rare exceptions, political alignment has made no difference. Politicians of both parties have been participating in the orgy of rulemaking in response to Covid. What we have seen this year is the mask drop. The political divide in America is no longer Democrat and Republican, but the managerial class and the rest of us.
This new class awareness comes with a strong moral component. They see themselves as an elect, chosen by the people, based on merit, to manage society. It is why they often carry on as if what they are doing is a great burden. Like a mother saying “this will hurt me more than it will hurt you” when disciplining her child, the new elect carries on as if their duties are a great burden. Every new lecture, every new edict, comes with the sense that they are sacrificing for the community.
It is the old Calvinist concept of the predestination of the elect, secularized and democratized, into an obtuse form of entitlement. From the outside, these people look like self-important poseurs, oblivious to the damage they are causing. From inside the managerial class, they see themselves as heroes of a great cause. They are selflessly battling the Covid monster in order to save our democracy. The fact that no one voted for any of this is completely lost on them.
Another Christian element to this is the conflict over free will. On the managerial side, they no longer believe they are accountable in any formal sense. Governor Cuomo can cause the death of thousands of old people, but he is not responsible. On the other hand, some guy tries to keep his business open and he is accused of being a super-spreader, the angel of death. The elect has received grace, while the rest are condemned to suffer the torments that come for the damned.
There is also the old radical sensibility at work too. The radical always imagines herself as the vanguard of the people. She is free from responsibility, because her actions are intended to create the conditions for revolution. She can blow up women and children in a terrorist act, because her intentions are pure. She is not judged by the death and destruction she causes to the innocent, but by her fidelity to the cause and her willingness to sacrifice on behalf of it.
This turns up in the Covid edicts. These petty tyrants take pleasure in punishing the non-compliant, as it provides an opportunity to show how much they care. Like the radical bomber, they rationalize the damage they are doing, imagining themselves as the shock troops of social revolution. The great reset stuff and the build back better jabberwocky is the beacon on which they have fixed their gaze. They are leading us to salvation and nothing can stand in their way.
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