The American Interest
The Middle East & Beyond
Published on November 8, 2012
The Government We Deserve

We briefly interrupt this multi-part series on “What’s Wrong and How to Fix It” to comment on—you guessed it—the elections.

What can I possibly say that hundreds of other people have not already said, or are about to say? It’s a challenge, I admit. There’s obviously no point in telling you what happened, only the possibility of telling you why it happened. But most of that is obvious, too. Most, but perhaps not all.

To start with the most obvious observation, it’s a bit attention-arresting to compare serious opinion polling that shows a deep disquiet within American society (the polls about whether people think the country is moving in the right direction, especially the polls about whether people think their children will have better or worse circumstances then they have had, and several other key survey markers) with the status quo outcome of the election. Despite all of the ambient anxiety out there, the American electorate decided to keep the same President, keep Republican control of the House and keep Democratic control of the Senate. After the most expensive elections in world history, essentially nothing will change.

What could this possibly mean?

It could mean that the dominant two-party system rigged the elections again, albeit legally, thus illustrating the old adversary culture adage that if elections could really change anything they would be illegal. This is not a trivial accusation, but I doubt it explains very much about what happened on Tuesday.

It could mean that people are anxious and want change, but that the kinds of change they want cancel each other out politically. So, for example, those worried about the size of government being too large and too expensive were neutralized by those who park their anxieties into a hope that government will solve their problems.

It could mean that while a lot of people know that the current big government status quo is failing, they don’t trust Republicans to do any better with a small government alternative. The extremism on view from most Republicans this year, although not necessarily from Mitt Romney, determined a good deal of the outcome—especially in the Senate races once thought to be close, which mostly went Democratic. A lot of people will think this means that the country is more leftist than before, but I think it just means that, in the judgment of many, the Republicans have drifted way too far right of center. (Defeated parties often do this in electoral democracies, so the Republicans are right on script after their 2008 loss).

All that is, as I say, is obvious. Also obvious is the breakdown of the presidential vote. If you are a wealthy, relatively elderly married white male who does not live in a big city, you voted for Romney. If you are a relatively poor, young, non-white urban unmarried female you voted for Obama. If you are a Latino or Asian voter, or a Jewish voter, you voted for Obama. If you are a Protestant, and especially an evangelical Protestant, you voted for Romney. If you don’t fit either combination exactly, well, you figure it out, and there are so many ways to slice and dice the sectoral and demographic data that it’s a day job for some people.

It’s not my day job, but it’s obvious that as the country shifts demographically the political implications make themselves known. So in the gender data available, for example, we know that while married females show only a modest preference for the Democrats, that unmarried women (and to a lesser extent unmarried men) show a greater preference. But the fact is that there are increasing numbers of unmarried people, and that obviously torques political outcomes.

Also pretty plain is the fact that national characteristics—urbanization, ethnic identification, gender and age characteristics, in the main—now outweigh regional factors far more than before. So, for example, Latinos are now 11 percent of the population and about 8 percent of the electorate, and that matters politically in and of itself. But even here Latino influence is felt not just in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, but also in Florida, Colorado, Iowa and even Virginia.

Note that none of this need have anything to do with specific constituency interests, assessment of discrete policy questions or even ideology. It has to do mainly with broad notions of affinity. It’s about identity politics writ large. That is why culture war issues play such a large part in contemporary American politics, despite the fact that they have almost no bearing on the future power, prosperity and vitality of the country. These highly emotional moral issues track with affinity and identity far more readily than do complex public policy questions about taxes and banking and healthcare and energy and national security and all the rest.

So if all that is obvious, what’s not obvious? I have only two notions to impart for now.

When swing state voters were asked in exit polls why they voted as they did, a lot of people said they chose Obama because the economy is getting better little by little. They gave him the benefit of the doubt not only on grounds of affinity, that he really cares about people (and it was here, I think, that Romney’s 47 percent remark was the most injurious single thing he did to himself to lose this election), but also on grounds of getting results. Clearly, the trends, rather than the objective reality, helped the President, just like they helped FDR in 1936: A year ago or so unemployment was a bit above 9 percent, and now it has fallen to a bit below 8 percent. Yet still the political chatterati thought the President was very vulnerable on account of the economy.

But he wasn’t vulnerable because a large number of people have come to accept the unacceptable and the unnecessary as the new normal. They are resigned to a sluggish and malfunctioning economy. They are frustrated, exhausted, confused and dispirited to the point that they don’t expect much more. They’re tired of teasing themselves into disappointment.

This isn’t because the average voter really understands the complicated impact of globalization/automation and plutocratic malfunctioning in the economy. It’s just that people have gotten used to bad news about the economy to the point that it has become a kind of white noise. They have not become angry, for the most part, about the outrageous extractive greed of the private-sector financial industry and the public-sector patronage parasitism that together have been sucking the lifeblood out of the economy. Rather, they have become fatalistic, passive and drawn like a moth to the glittering escapism of our vapid celebrity culture. It’s bread and circuses, and most people seem to be okay with that. That’s maybe not so obviously what this election means.

Closely related, and also not especially obvious judging from what’s on offer to read these days, is that American society doesn’t know what it’s for anymore. In the absence of a worthy national challenge or ambition, we have defaulted to a pale imitation of a “moral equivalent of war”, to recall William James’s famous locution. (I’ll tell you what that pale imitation is in just a moment.)

At one point early in our national history we were really possessed with the idea that the American experiment was something very special: an unencumbered embodiment of Enlightenment rationality, something new under the sun in a vast and rich New World. We also had a continent to conquer and an overarching attitude to justify it: developmentalism. We had to subdue nature, build up the land, become prosperous. We also had something to show to the world in our manifest destiny, and as American power waxed we moved from being merely an exemplar of political best practice to being a far more active agent of global change. We then spent six straight decades dealing with Depression and existential threats from totalitarian enemies, even as we lugged our exceptionalist baggage with us, embellishing its history along the way.

And now? For most people in this country the innocent joys of Enlightenment optimism have long since evaporated in meaningless abstractions and unanticipated latter-day complications. The continent is long-since conquered, prosperity is ours beyond the wildest dreams of our forefathers, and most of us seem to get increasingly less kick out of each new gadget and electronic tchotchke that comes along. There are no monsters abroad breathing down our necks, try as some might to find one or two. We’ve soured on the idea of building other people’s nations for them and on teaching them how to be good democrats. We don’t even care much for space exploration. The result is that we don’t know what to do with ourselves anymore. So, many people do what comes naturally: They take what seems to be an unalloyed good idea, one seemingly ratified by the virtuous narrative of American history, and proceed to mangle, misunderstand and misapply it. That good idea, of course, is equality.

American history can be read as the continuous extension of the equality principle. American society originally enfranchised only propertied males of a certain religious conviction, but, as everyone knows, over time citizenship, voting rights and an increasingly explicit array of civil right were extended to those of heterodox religion, to people of color, to women and now, evidently, to those of every possible variation of sexual taste.

So what’s the problem here? The term “equality” in American political discourse always meant, until quite recently, equality of opportunity in the broad sense of life chances, not equality of outcomes or status in a narrow, materialist sense. It also meant equality before God and before the law, so that no human being could be justifiably instrumentalized or robbed of basic dignity. But now the simple distinction between equality of opportunity, understood as a broad description of human potential, and equality of outcome, seen in narrow material status terms, has been muddied.

It has been muddied with no little help from an activist, post-modernist academe whose legions of earnest assistant professors can prove to you that a person’s circumstances have nothing to do with his own behavior or judgment based on anything like right and wrong, but that everyone is essentially a victim of their genetic endowment and social circumstances. (That this pseudoscientific form of predestination tracks exactly with a certain theological tradition that is rarely if ever mentioned, but never mind.) For way too many people, the “natural aristocracy of talent and virtue”, as Jefferson called it as he wrote to John Adams, has given way to a kind of embarrassment that anyone might actually be better at anything than anybody else.

One can see this at play in one of the Obama campaign’s secondary slogans visible at Chicago headquarters Tuesday night, where the term “equality” sat alongside “hope” and “justice”, entirely without context. One can see it in the blithe, closely related insistence that discrimination against homosexuals (in the military, with respect to marriage and particularly with regard to child-rearing) is exactly the same, historically, morally and otherwise, as racial or religious discrimination. It isn’t exactly the same (which most emphatically doesn’t mean that most forms of discrimination against homosexuals are justifiable). Yet all nuance, all distinctions, get washed away in the headlong and apparently accelerating embrace of a completely undifferentiated egalitarianism. Such was evident in the results of so-called gay marriage plebiscites in Maine and Maryland, which might not have passed (like 32 such efforts before) had not President Obama endorsed the notion under the duress of his Vice President’s flapping yap back on May 7.

But then again perhaps these measures would have passed anyway. This is what happens when cultures have nothing better to do, no collectively accepted reason to gird themselves to achieve something important. They become intellectually lax as well as morally decadent. The latter was also on display Tuesday in Maryland, where I live and vote. Marylanders said okay to vastly expanded government endorsement of gambling. Why? Essentially, because other states (namely, nearby West Virginia) do it too. Note that this is not about whether gambling should or should not be legal; it’s rather about using gambling explicitly as a vehicle for raising revenue for the state, which, in my view, changes entirely the political and moral context of the issue from one of forbearance to outright endorsement.

It’s hard to beat the “other states do it” argument for its moral illiteracy. When a child argues to his parents that so-and-so is also doing something dangerous or unseemly, we recognize it immediately for what it is: self-indulgent and self-exculpatory pleading of a particularly short-sighted sort. Because other states prey on the psychological vulnerabilities of certain citizens to exact the most regressive form of tax imaginable, we have to do it, too? When West Virginian politicians stoop to that sort of exploitation, the sin is on them. If Marylanders want to cross the state line to indulge, that, similarly, is on their consciences. But Marylanders have now shown their willingness to run a moral race to the bottom, earning their very own obloquy and responsibility for the consequences as a result. One wonders how those who voted for Question 7 will feel now when one of their children cries to them that “other kids are doing it.”

As we race here in Maryland, and elsewhere in the country, from Bedford Falls to Pottersville, decadence in its several forms, as well as resignation over the state of the American political economy, is, I‘m afraid, also what this election was about. It’s no big deal in terms of democratic theory. With but a few and extreme exceptions, people get the government they deserve. Virtuous societies get virtuous governments, and, well, you get the point.

Or is all that obvious, too?

  • Anthony

    “Frustrated, exhausted, confused, and dispirited” just about sums it up – as well as bread and circuses; which brings to mind “the rank-and-file citizen prefers to accept the ready-made pre-financed, pre-fixed parties, in which in most cases he is permanently enrolled as in a religious brotherhood.” Democracy first killed itself in ancient Greece and may be doing it again in the contemporary United States as observed by a former professor of mine. He also mentions that most voters ploddingly vote straight tickets, for one party, year after year – humans of easy habit with little genuine political discernment. “Or is all that obvious, too.”

  • LeeM

    Being a Green party type liberal I am delighted to see that you have explored the thesis that “…the dominant two-party system rigged the elections again”.

    You started with another important observation, there are several reasons why America is coming up against challenges that neither of the big two Presidential candidates can frankly discuss without blasting huge frightening holes in the multiple constituencies both candidates needed to win the election.

    So both of the big two candidates finally settled on gladhanding the electorate.

    The recent storms on the East Coast of the US are $50 billion dollar messages that we are in for at least 50 years of bad weather that will continue until atmospheric CO2 drops below 350PPM. Neither of the big two political parties is willing to wrangle with the measures and changes needed to reduce CO2 levels substantially.

    • Ron Abate

      While every sane scientist agrees that CO2 has contributed to a warming of the globe, there is very little consensus regarding how much warming is due to natural factors and how much due to anthropogenic factors. The is far less agreement in the scientific community that the warming will prove catastrophic. This, obviously, does not apply to those scientists whose livelihood is dependent upon alarmism. As for the occurrence of more extreme weather events, there is even less evidence that it is being caused by AGW. The Medieval Warm Period had temperatures higher than today, was global, and was not caused by the burning of fossil fuels. If you would like to stay abreast of the uncertainty regarding the causes of global warming I recommend Dr. Judith Curry’s blog Climate Etc. at judithcurry,com. For additional information regarding the science of climate change the award winning science blog run by Anthony Watts is a great source found at “wattsupwiththat.com. Studies have found that people with science backgrounds are more likely than people without science backgrounds to be highly uncertain and skeptical regarding the claims of the alarmists. Both blogs boast a science heavy following.

  • cacrucil

    On the one hand, the people really don’t like the government – at all levels – because they believe that it is corrupt and benefits the wealthy and the well connected (such as public employee union members). They also don’t like contemporary Capitalism, as they feel that globalization has allowed the wealthy to make a lot of money by moving manufacturing, and many service jobs, to the third world.

    I have been gorging on post election socio – political analysis – that is how I came to this article. The consensus seems to be that the GOP can improve, and perhaps reclaim it’s dominant position – if it 1. is more friendly to latino voters, and 2. is less socially conservative, so as to appeal to suburban women. There is very little talk about the issue that matters most to the average American, namely, jobs that pay well enough for people to stay in the middle class. This shows the class bias of the commentariat (and this includes most of liberal commentators.) Reporters and centrist intellectuals do not generally live in communities that have suffered tremendously due to de industrialization.

    Whichever party figures out how to make Globalization work for the middle class will become the majority party. I guarantee it.

    Maybe we need to take a hard look at the kind of apprentice programs that they have in Germany, which are closely tailored to the needs of potential employers.

    • Adam Garfinkle

      You have hit upon a crucial point: how to create American middle-class sustaining jobs on a mass scale under current global economic and technological conditions. That is indeed the right question, and it’s true: neither party has a clue how to answer this challenge. I take this point up at some length in the full version of my forthcoming e-book. So please stay tuned.

  • mike

    Dear Lee, conflating these storms with co2 has already been shown to be totally false.

  • Portia

    Thank you for your insight. I agree very much with what you’ve said about the prevalent misunderstanding of what “equality” means or ought to mean. I would go further and say that “equality” as it is understood today is leading to new instances of institutionalized inequality. For example, I used to support same sex marriage but voted against it in my state as I have become convinced that legalisation is not an end in itself, rather it is a way of normalizing homosexuality and creating a protected class of citizens. I personally am not particularily interested in the sexual proclivities of my fellow citizens, nor am I religious. However, I respect the right of various religious people not to sanction what they see as sinful behavior. The agenda of the same sex marriage folks is to silence not just those who are hateful, but any disagreement or disapproval. Once the “rights” of gays are entrenched by our Supreme Court, which will happen eventually, churches will not be allowed to “discriminate” and will be obligated to marry gays regardless of their own beliefs. People are already being persecuted for expressing anything but positive opinions regarding this issue, and soon enough those who disapprove, however reasonably, will be prosecuted as well. This is just one example; there are many others.

    • Adam Garfinkle

      I agree with everything you say about the agenda of the same-sex marriage activists, and thanks for saying it so well. It’s why I voted against the Maryland ballot proposition despite its careful wording to protect religious freedom.

    • Mikaela

      When people say “same sex marriage,” they simply forget that they are talking about a practice that began in Europe a couple of centuries ago, as a result of the Napoleonic Code: the CIVIL MARRIAGE. On the one hand, I find it ironic that most of the republicans feel like “protecting” this type of marriage against gay people. The civil marriage is a form of government regulated business (yeah, it was and it is basically a business, read about the French Revolution and the birth of the bourgeoisie). On the other hand, I don’t understand why gay people want to get into such business just for the sake of “equality.” The civil marriage is like a sinking boat nowadays (just look at the divorce rate, plus, don’t forget how painful a divorce is!) so why fight for boarding on it? It just seems to me that both sides (against & pro same sex marriage) are fighting for a lost cause (not to say for the wrong reasons!).

  • George Orwell

    Perhaps the election was all about ‘me.’
    When people have been comfortable all their life, comfort isn’t nice, it is a necessity.
    Perhaps they looked at the two candidates and decided Obama was the one that was less likely to affect their comfort.
    Certainly, he is all about denying that any of the problems we face require any effort on our part.
    Obama says can give free healthcare to 30 million people and it not only doesn’t cost anything but it actually saves us money! You can argue that we need to give free healthcare to every American but only an idiot or a dissembler can argue that it going to decrease health care costs overall.
    Obama says we can produce our energy using methods that cost 3-10 times as much and it won’t hurt the economy, it will create millions of jobs and bring on a new era of prosperity. As a scientist, I think the arguments of the global warming alarmists are silly or mendacious but even if you accept that AGW is the greatest threat facing humanity, the solutions advocated will result in a greatly decreased standard of living for all and will push the poorest below a survivable level. This is true because without modern farming methods that are very energy intensive (which energy cannot be produced using renewal sources at all, much less cheaply), we simply cannot produce enough food for almost 7 billion people.
    Obama says we ain’t going study war no more and that everyone will love us for it.
    Obama says (or rather acts like) deficits don’t matter. That we can sell a trillion dollars of debt to a quasi-governmental body that gives us freshly created cash in return and that there will be no consequences in the real economy.
    The list goes on and on. We can have everything we want without effort, give everything to everybody without cost, live with everyone on the planet without conflict. There are no hard choices, no compromises with reality, nothing but pie in the here and now, forever and ever.
    That is the message that resonated with the electorate and it is how we live now.
    I love my comforts but I don’t expect them to be free. However, I live in a society so out of touch with reality that the majority believes that everything is free and we only have to wish it to make it so. How can you argue with that mindset?

    • Adam Garfinkle

      I think you make a good point generally, but with two flaws as regards the recent election. First, it’s not just Obama and the Democrats who are guilty of magical thinking; the GOP is deep into illusions of its own. And second, what you point to is nothing new. This strange condition has afflicted our political class since at least 1991, if not longer. What I point to, I think–bad economic news becoming white noise and the absence of a national purpose–are new to this election.

    • Steve

      Before the revolution, Lenin worked to create social chaos believing that the party would emerge victorious and it did. So it is not entirely cynical for me to suggest that, while Obama and Company must know that their policies do risk a financial collapse, they might not view such an outcome as entirely unacceptable. They might even see it as a necessary step to attaining a radically transformed country.

  • john blade wiederspan

    Once upon a time, the GOP was a party dedicated to limiting the size/scope of the Federal government. Kevin Phillips said of the Democratic Party, when they opened the tent to the “outsiders”, “They walked in and the middle class walked out”. The GOP, by default, became the home of the social conservatives and it allowed them to win. They no longer had to care about fiscal restraint. Now, the social right is the Moral Minority and the GOP can’t claim the limited government mantle. Unless they reject the one and return to their roots, the GOP will continue to lose.

  • Matthew Schultz

    “Virtuous societies get virtuous governments, and, well, you get the point.”

    To what extent do you think MacIntyre was right in his seminal After Virtue?

    I have hoped he was wrong, but I wonder if that is merely wishful thinking at this point. (I would say the same even if Romney had won.)

    • Adam Garfinkle

      Let me point you to Joseph Wood’s essay in our July/August 2011 issue. He talks about McIntyre and AFTER VIRTUE there. As for me, well. McIntyre’s approach is so bound up with his Catholicism that I have trouble separating out the non-denominational argument. I am not of exactly the same view as his about the Enlightenment. But on balance, yes, I agree that societies create governments after their image, and not the other way around–what Samuel Taylor Coleridge referred to critically as the talismanic notion of government. Hence if a society is venal and corrupt, there’s little hope for a virtuous government.

  • Jayne I

    Oh my, “Bedford Falls to Pottersville.” Wiki describes Pottersville thus : “The ensuing town is called Pottersville, which is a sleazy and dangerous city filled with … unhappy people with meaningless, amoral lives.” …
    Ugh !

    Whoever came up with the crazy concept of moral relativism, anyway? There are some who – desperately, albeit with little hope – desire virtue in life and leadership. Shrug.

  • Pelino

    I have been following your multi-part piece on “What’s wrong” with great interest, but I have to say that this article left me cold. Less than 60% of eligible voters participated in the election, which is a point you do not even mention. If there is a greater sign of political disinterest, I don’t know what it is. This is despite the hotly contested nature of the election, the billions spent in advertising, and the seemingly uncertain outcome right until the end. You are commenting on the apparent moral relativism that afflicts the United States, the lack of a sense of purpose, and the societal shrug at persistent bad news, but the biggest vote of all was to just ignore it. Why almost half of Americans are choosing to effectively disenfranchise themselves strikes me as being an issue that you have to grapple with if you are trying to explain contemporary politics.

    • Adam Garfinkle

      Well, if you’ve been following my posts you know that I do acknowledge and deal with voter alienation–and I do so in a few places. But I don’t think this year’s turnout is all that significant one way or another. It was slightly lower than the turnout in 2008 and 2004, but higher than in 2000. In other words, the phenomenon is obviously important, but it’s not important specifically just to the 2012 election. My observations on bad economic news becoming white noise and the novel absence of a national sense of purpose ARE specific to the 2012 election. That’s why I made them.

  • Fred

    Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.

    ‘What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?’ thus asks the last man, and blinks.

    The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea; the last man lives longest.

  • http://snapperheadsoup.blogspot.com/ snapperhead soup

    There’s been much talk of the GOP being the party of ‘old white men’–though majority of white women voted for Romney, but MSM is committed to feminist spin–and how it lost the 2012 election by failing to win over the Hispanic or brown vote. While the Hispanic vote may be a time-bomb for the GOP–if current demographic trends continue–, the brown vote was not decisive in the 2012 election. Romney lost because he failed to win over sufficient number of white voters, especially in the Northern states. Also, the huge swing among Asian-Americans toward Obama in both the 2008 and 2012 elections undermines the MSM narrative that GOP loses elections because if it favors privilege. Asian-Americans are more ‘privileged’ than most white gentiles in education and jobs. If the GOP is the party of wealth, privilege, and success, the majority of Asian-Americans(and Jewish-Americans) should have voted for the GOP.

    So, why did the GOP fail among so many voters who should be its constituents according to the MSM narrative? Before we delve into that, consider what had long been the winning themes of the GOP.
    Republican’s pro-business position used to win over the superrich and the affluent. Republican’s theme of patriotism used to work well among blue collar whites. Republican theme of suburban middle class values and solid small town values used to win over the white middle class. Republican theme of the Great White Man and the American Dream won it respect among aspiring immigrants who wanted to melt into the world of the Great White Man. There was also the issue of crime, mostly black crime.

    The end of the Cold War meant the loss of the patriotic theme for Republicans. Though 9/11 and ‘Muslim Terrorism’ trope worked for awhile for the GOP, Bush loused up the War on Terror as badly as Johnson messed up Vietnam. Also, as time passed, even the staunchest conservative Americans began to wonder if the Muslim Threat was all that it was cooked up to be. And if indeed there was a Clash of Civilizations, why did Bush say Islam is a religion of peace, and only a handful of radical Muslims are causing all the trouble? On foreign policy, many conservatives came to prefer Ron Paul’s ‘isolationism’ to Bush’s ‘interventionism’, and when Romney the chickenhawk rattled his saber about more wars, it turned a lot of white blue collar people off–as many have friends and relatives whose sons died or were crippled in the seemingly senseless War on Terror; especially for Ron Paul Republicans, such saber-rattling means ‘kissing Zionist ass’.
    In the late 70s and early 80s, many blue collar whites did vote for Reagan out of patriotic reasons. They never forgot how liberals ‘stabbed the American military in the back’ in the Vietnam War, and they were shocked by how nation after nation fell to communism around the world following the fall of Saigon: Mozambique, Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, etc. And Carter seemed especially pathetic with the Iran Hostage Crisis. And of course, there was the problem of inflation.
    But that was then, this is now. There really isn’t any patriotic issue to get all worked up about. There is the theme of Obama the mulatto globalist puppet of International Jews, but as mainstream media and the GOP are dominated by Jews, it’s impossible for the GOP to go into ‘racist’ and ‘antisemitic’ mode. GOP can foam at the mouth about ‘Russkies’, ‘Muzzies’, ‘Chinks’, and Hugo Chavez, but it cannot call out on domestic enemies at home. Indeed, the liberal Jewish media, through their control of news and Hollywood movies, have encouraged white conservatives to channel their bottled-up rage at foreign ‘enemies’. So, if whites are angry about black crime, they must keep mum on the issue and channel their rage by fuming about all those Muslim Terrorists killing ‘white Jews’ in Israel. Thus, ‘muzzies’ serve as surrogate blacks in the white conservative mind. Whites must project their domestic frustrations on foreign targets(and Jews encourage this since without such outlets for white rage, it may eventually come around to fixing on the real enemy of whites: the Jews. Why have liberal Jews in Hollywood made anti-Muslim movies like TAKEN? Why is liberal Jewish Hollywood remaking RED DAWN as yellow peril dawn?). Whites cannot discuss Jewish power, and so their suppressed rage is diverted at Global Terrorist Muslims, International Hindus, and International Chinese–away from the International Jew. Even so, there’s nothing like the Evil Empire(of the Cold War) or Imperial Japan(of WWII) anymore to rile up the white American blue collar patriots.

    GOP also used to have a winning formula in appealing to suburban voters. This was especially useful in the 60s and 70s when White Flight from black urban blight and crime reached its peak. Back then, white fear of black crime was fresh on many white suburbanites. But since then, successive generations of whites have grown in the safe suburbs, and they don’t feel this fear of blacks. And their parents didn’t say much about white flight since it sounds ‘racist’. And suburban schools, no less than urban schools, are filled with politically correct propaganda. And white kids enjoy black culture from a safe distance: rap music, sports, and even interracist porn with the explosion of the internet.
    At one time, white suburbs were seen as a refuge from black crime. Today, many white suburbanites just see the suburbs as an extension of gentrifying downtown areas of big cities. Many white suburbs have been yuppified and SWPL-ized, what their Starbucks cafes and other cosmopolitanisms.
    Suburbs used to model themselves on small towns; indeed they were like small towns surrounding the big city. Today, most wealthy suburbs model themselves on downtown gentrified living. They have become far more liberalized. This SWPL-ization of the suburbs needs further research and looking into. (Of course, the fact that many affluent white suburbanites were indoctrinated in politically correct colleges also account for the big shift. In a way, conservatism is a victim of its own success, i.e. many successful white conservative sent their kids to good colleges, and those colleges turned their kids into supporters of ‘gay marriage’ and ‘diversity’. Also, since conservatism favors respect for authority, conservatively raised children may paradoxically be more receptive to authority figures in higher education. This is surely the case among Asians: they are from an authoritarian/conservative tradition/culture, but their emphasis on respect for authority makes them perfect teacher’s pets of political correctness.)
    GOP used to have the Cold War to win over many patriotic blue collar white Americans and the Crime War to win over many white suburban voters. But especially when Clinton adopted harsh anti-crime policies and threw a whole bunch of blacks into the slammer–and drastically reduced crime rates–, the Crime War became less of an issue for many white suburbanites. Again, conservatives were the victim of their own success. They lost the suburbs partly because Clinton the New Democrat adopted many conservative policies.

    Conservatives also used to have the economic war and culture war card. Economic War won over the superrich. When top tax rates used to be over 70%, many rich folks went with GOP for the simple reason of not wanting to be bled dry by the government. But once Reagan reduced tax rates and New Democrats more or less accepted the bargain–along with ‘free trade’ and financial deregulation–, there was less urgency for the rich to side with the GOP. After all, the rich are vain and narcissistic, and it’s much more fun to culturally hang around ‘creative’, ‘innovative’, and ‘expressive’ liberals than with ‘square’ ‘whitebread’ conservatives. Again, the GOP was a victim of its own success.

    And then, there was the Culture War which pitted decent Americans against the freaks and decadents. This used to win over many middle class people to the GOP, especially when freaks and radicals of all kinds went crazy in the late 60s and 70s. But consider the sudden shift in the style of the radicals and freaks. Gays used to act really freako and turn off many people. But the new gay style is very conservative, respectable, and more ‘middle class than middle class’. So, gays no longer come across freaks but as the new Ozzie and Harriet(or Ozzie and Harry as the case may be). And if Jewish radicals used to turn off many white conservatives with their nasty and virulent personalities and outrages, most liberal Jews tend to be very respectable and ‘bourgeois’ in style. There aren’t a lot of Abbie Hoffman or Andrea Dworkin types anymore telling people to ‘steal this book’ or howling ‘all sex is rape’.
    The face of the New Jew is David Remnick. And even the so-called socialist Naomi Klein looks like a total yuppess than some crazy leftist radical talking crazy in the 60s.
    And feminism abandoned its overalls and handkerchiefs and embraced femininity and sexuality. Though feminists reviled Camille Paglia when she appeared on the scene, Paglia-ism has won. Feminism used to divide the generations. Young girls in the 80s and 90s wanted to be attractive and were pissed off with first generation feminists who were telling them it’s wrong to be a ‘sex symbol’. Today, feminists of all stripes have embrace sexiness, and even hook-up culture is seen as ‘empowerment’. Such sexual sensibilities and attitudes may not be conservative, but in making peace with the biological fact of sexual differences–women wanna look good and sexy–, feminism became less of a turn-off for many women, even anti-liberal women.

    Anyway, since liberals and leftists adopted the conservative look and style, it became more difficult for the GOP to frame the Culture War as one between respectable decent folks and outrageous freaks. When gays put on corporate suits and diligently work in office buildings, they come across as more respectable than many white conservatives with ass tattoos and body piercings. When gays and liberal Jews are more likely to listen to classical music and read Shakespeare than white conservatives, what does it mean to be culturally conservative? And when liberal women now wanna be sexy, the old conservative trope of feminism as ‘movement of big fat ugly Jewish women’ no longer works.
    Some might say this has all been a Saul Alinskite plan of the Left to use ‘conservative respectability’ to worm into the heart of Americana and change it from within. And I’m sure some leftists really flatter themselves that they are doing just this. But, it seems most liberals, leftists, and gays just got sick of the whole radical ugliness of the 60s and early 70s. They ‘grew up’ and matured, and they got ‘corrupted’ by the material privileges that comes with taking part in capitalism and wealth-creation.

    The GOP also lost the immigrant vote. Among some groups, this could be understood simply in terms of poor Third World immigrants wanting more freebies from Big Government. Given the voting pattern of Mexican-Americans and Central-American-Americans, this is no surprise. The more interesting data of the 2008 and 2012 elections concerns the massive shift of the Asian and young Cuban vote from the GOP to the Democrats. Not all immigrants are the same, and indeed Asian-Americans(especially East Asians and Hindu-Asians) are very different in their mind-set, sensibilities, aspirations, abilities, and attitudes from Mexican-Americans and the like. If the GOP is the party of success and middle class values, why would so many Asian-Americans vote for the Democrats?
    It’s because America today isn’t America 20 yrs ago and because the image of the Great White Man isn’t so great.

    Among immigrants, ability and aspirations matter in how they think and vote. Mexican-Americans, rather low in their abilities, don’t have much in the way of aspiration. Many Mexican-Americans instinctively feel that they aren’t going to rise very high, and so they stick with the party of more handouts. But Asian-Americans, like earlier waves of European-Americans, have both the ability and aspiration to rise higher. Many European immigrants in the early part of the 20th century held the Anglo-American White Man in awe and aspired to use their abilities to enter Anglo-American society–and even to become Anglo-Americans themselves. There was a time when Asian-Americans held the Great White Man with great respect and fear(and with fear comes respect). In their home countries, they likely got their image of American from news reels of General Douglas MacArthur and John Wayne & Charlton Heston movies. White Man Big and Tall and Great and Awesome! White American Man Big Superpower and Victor over Japan and Protector of Free Asia from Bad Commies!
    Unlike Mexican-Americans, Asian-Americans knew that they had the ability to join white society, the World of the Great White Man. Their abilities matched their aspirations.
    So… what happened?

    Asians, who are mad about success and upper mobility, discovered that the Great White Man was not so great. Many Asians found themselves getting better grades and going to better schools than whites. So, incrementally, Asian-Americans came to feel more like Jews. Instead of seeing White America as awesome, they saw it as something they rise above. An element of contempt crept into their feelings toward whites. Also, Asian-Americans discovered that among whites, liberal and Jewish ones were smarter than mediocre conservative whites who are into Creationism, gun hoarding, Nascar, Rush Limbaugh, and ass tattoos. So, if the Great White Man trope still existed for Asian-Americans, the new Great White Man was the urban liberal white or the Jew.

    Another factor was the slow but steady decline of the white middle class(as the backbone of the American Dream). When America used to be defined by the solid white middle class as the hallmark of Americanism, most Asian-Americans wanted to belong to that class, especially as many had memories of poverty back home. But as the white middle class began to shrink and Asian-Americans strove for higher success, the ideal of the American Dream in the form of White Middle Class-ness began to lose its appeal. The new objective for aspiring Asian-Americans to strive for and emulate was the urban SWPL global ‘creative class’. Very liberal and Democratic.
    Even 20 yrs ago, an Asian-American might have thought a good life in America was having a steady job and affording a home in the suburbs. But with Section 8 Housing and easy credits handing out home loans to every dumbass, the suburban ideal lost its appeal. The newly and truly affluent and privileged were found to be concentrated in the ‘Europeanizing’ big blue cities.
    But what led to the demise of the White Middle Class? Free trade and globalism and ‘ownership society’ that cheapened the ideal of the American Dream. Again, the GOP was the victims of its own success.

  • http://snapperheadsoup.blogspot.com/ snapperhead soup

    We tend to see American society in terms of conservatives and liberals. But how deep is liberalism among liberals? And what exactly is liberalism in an age when the biggest struggle for justice involves cross-dressing transvestites? Ever since the demise of economic Marxism, many commentators have noted the rise of ‘cultural Marxism’. Could it be that economic liberalism is over and has been supplanted by ‘cultural liberalism’? Sure, there is big government, but it seems to exist mainly to collude with and bail out Wall Street and big corporations that provide most of the funds for politicians of both parties. In terms of economic policy, there may be no great difference between the two parties. Republicans did little to curtail big government. GOP used to talk of term limits but when they took Congress in the 90s, they dropped it like a hot potato. Both parties are for Wall Street, free trade, rich getting richer, meritocracy, and etc. If GOP is the party of the rich, how come the richest areas in America–the downtowns of big cities–are totally blue and Democratic? How come Silicon Valley is almost entirely Democratic? How come Facebook and Google gave 99% of their donations to Democrats?

    Of course, liberals are aware of this. Especially since the Clinton presidency, the ‘New Democrat’ policy of the Democratic Party has favored free trade globalist business and entrepreneurs over the blue collar working class. The new Democratic elite saw the white working class as unreliable–many were Reagan Democrats, ‘racist’ in Archie Bunker fashion, and overly ‘patriotic’. The Unions were also seen as arrogant, corrupt, and etc. If Jewish elites supported Obama to tame the Negroes, Jewish elites in the 90s supported Clinton to tame the Unions. Clinton and Gore gave us NAFTA, and the great sucking sound was heard across the nation. But Democrat elites didn’t mind stabbing the white working class in the back since GOP was even more globalist and free-trader and wouldn’t be able to attract them either(and the 2012 election proved it). The liberal Silicon Valley kings of the 90s wanted globalism. They wanted to work the entire world to rake in their profits. They didn’t want to get entangled in fights with unions in American factories. Much better to build factories in China, India, Vietnam, and Puerto Rico. And Hollywood wanted to expand its franchise all over the world, and globalism was key. Hollywood liberals say they love diversity, but they sure don’t care about ‘cultural imperialism’ and ‘cultural genocide’ carried out by (Jewish-controlled)American culture around the world.

    Liberal elites, not ‘rich conservatives’, were the main beneficiaries of globalism and stabbing white working class in the back. (To be sure, unions were indeed corrupt and rotten and deserved some kind of butt-spanking. In order to survive, unions too have become globalized. No longer patriotic and pro-white, it now panders to illegal workers in America.) These facts are pretty dire. The fact is globalist liberals have been getting richer and richer while others have gotten poorer and poorer. NY has one of the biggest wealth gaps in the world. It’s a city of financial lords and professionals and.. waiters and cabbies. If Americans woke up to this fact, the globalist liberals–many of them Jews and liberal wasp turncoats–could be in trouble. The fact is ‘economic liberalism’ is dead. Unions are dead unless they are government unions. But when push comes to shove, even government unions are coming under pressure in blue states like NY, Michigan, and Illinois. And though Democratic elites publicly howled about the Republican governor of Wisconsin, they were secretly happy with his policies. They were happy to have a ‘conservative’ do the dirty work for them. Easier to shift the blame.
    Also, ‘affirmative action’ is really a war waged by rich white liberals on poor whites. It’s not rich white/Jewish lawyers or rich white/Jewish doctors or rich white/Jewish computer engineers who are being hurt by ‘affirmative action’. It’s ‘working class’ white firemen and police men and other whites working at the lower rungs of society. Liberal elites wasps and Jews satisfy black demands by sacrificing lower-rung white jobs to blacks while the elite jobs are mostly kept by rich white/Jewish liberals. Notice that the Jewish share of the economic pie at the top keeps expanding while the white working class and middle class share of the pie keeps shrinking. This is the new economy of the liberal elites.

    Since liberal elites are economically no different from pro-rich Republican elites, the only way to maintain liberalism is as a ‘culture’, and so there is ‘cultural liberalism’. Since liberal elites are rich and getting richer, they can only prove their ‘progressive’ worth by cooking up stuff like ‘diversity’ and ‘gay marriage’ and ‘green’ consciousness and ‘slut pride’ and other nonsense.
    In a way, liberals have become the new conservatives in their appeal to cultural issues. Remember how rich conservative used to win over a lot of non-rich people through cultural conservatism? School prayer, pledge of allegiance, family values, and etc? Yeah, like George H.W. Bush really cared about the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. Since economic conservatism had little to offer to many non-rich folks, the appeal was to affectations of culture.

    Now, liberal elites, the richest people in America, pull the same thing. And so, we have one hysteria after another about ‘homophobia’ and ‘war against women’. While it may seem that liberalism is triumphant, it is actually in big danger. Beware when everything seems to be going your way; one can easily mistake dusk for dawn. When the tidal wave reaches its peak, it’s about to tumble and crash. The end of the Reagan presidency and the election of George H.W. Bush and the fall of the communism seemed as though conservatism was triumphant. But in fact, it was a time when American conservatism was in most danger. It lost its greatest and most useful foe: the Evil Empire. It was badly losing the Culture War, and the New Economy was being created by liberal boomers like Steve Jobs.
    The moment when conservatives seemed most victorious was really just a swan song, especially since without the great enemy of communism, conservatism just got gutless with Bush and Quayle or mean and nasty with Gingrich(or bland and dull with Dole).
    Similarly, 2012 is not a good time for Dems. It doesn’t matter if they’ll win all future national elections. Without the GOP as the Evil Foe, Dems will have to bear all the blame. And the divisions within the Democratic party will start to widen, especially as Democratic Party is really owned by superrich Jews and privileged gays. Blacks, browns, and others will start wondering why Jews and gays got so much while they got so little. With the demise of ‘evil white man’, it won’t be so easy for Jews and gays to lay all the blame on ‘evil greedy nasty racist mean-spirited toxic odious noxious conservative white guy’ for all social problems. What will become plain for all to see is that the Democratic Party is the party of the superrich. It’s the party of rich Jews and gays who used ‘diversity’ to defeat white wasp conservatism. Blacks and browns have been USED by the Democratic elites. They never owned the party. Obama has been a useful cover for Jewish power. And Jewish elites in the Democrats will of course keep on using cultural liberal gimmicks like the ‘historic first female president’, the ‘historic first Hispanic president’, and etc. But as each president sucks up to superrich globalist Jews, it will become evident that all these politicians are puppets of rich globalist Zionist Jewish power. If white conservatism can play one role in the future, it is to exploit this division within the Democrats. Even if white conservatives can no longer win national elections, they can get revenge against Jews. Another thing white conservatives can do is support Palestinian rights, just like Jews supported black rights in South Africa under apartheid. Eye for an eye.
    Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter yammer about ‘takers’ and Hispanics, but if they had real courage, they would admit, “Jews did this.” And neocon moles in the GOP likely colluded with liberal Jews to undermine white gentile power.

    Since economic liberalism is pretty much dead, the new liberalism survives as cultural or symbolic liberalism. Same thing in China. Economic communism is dead and in its stead there is cultural or symbolic communism: Maoist symbolism to shroud the ‘culture of greed’. Since the Jewish-black alliance has been weakening over the decades, there is the symbolic alliance via the mulatto Obama who was totally the creation of Jewish money and power.

    Paradoxically, it could be that so many privileged liberals are culturally liberal because they are behaviorally and economically conservative, the corollary being it could be so many underprivileged conservatives are culturally conservative because they are behaviorally and economically so liberal.

    To clarify this, what do we mean by ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’.
    In this case, ‘conservative’ means hard-working, success-driven, concentrated and focused, intelligent, disciplined, family-oriented, responsible, community-oriented, and trustworthy.
    And ‘liberal’ means fast and loose, unstable, reckless, easy-going, immature, self-indulgent, hedonistic, self-centered, and etc.

    Now, there are many trashy liberals, but elite liberals are behaviorally very ‘conservative’ as defined above. They were good little kids, did their homework, focused on success, responsible and trustworthy, mindful of others, and later become responsible parents. For them, such habitual ‘conservatism’ is second nature. They take it for granted since it’s in their behavioral blood. They don’t wax about conservative values since they have so much of conservative behavioral instinct in them. If you’re responsible by nature, you don’t have to think constantly about the value of responsible behavior. People without legs think about having legs. People with legs just use them and walk around to do other stuff; they don’t think about legs. Elite liberals, being behaviorally conservative nature, don’t think much about ‘conservative’ values since it defines their behavior every moment of every day. Having conservative habits is enough. They don’t need the habit turned into a ‘value’. (In contrast, many unsuccessful and irresponsible conservatives cling to ‘conservative values’ since it serves as some kind of compass in their topsy-turvy unstable lives.) Just like people with legs don’t walk just to walk, those with conservative habits don’t use them just be conservative. People walk to go to places. And elite liberals use their conservative habits to liberally venture into new ideas and possibilities.
    This may be where Jews have a decisive advantage over East Asians. Jews have conservative habits but use them for liberal venturousness. East Asians have lionized conservative habits as the highest virtue. So, if Jews study hard to think new thoughts and do new things, East Asians study hard to maintain the old virtues. Jews have conservative habits but liberal attitudes. East Asians have conservative habits and conservative attitudes. It may be changing in the US as East Asians become Americanized, but it seems more like they are bowing before the new boss: the Jews. As such, Asians will always be followers than leaders.

    While dumb and trashy liberals, lacking conservative habits, indulge in stupid liberalism–like Lindsey Lohan among others–, liberal elites work with a higher form of liberalism. Having conservative habits, liberal elites went to good schools, worked very hard, are very dedicated and committed, very serious and sober in their thoughts. For them, liberal freedom doesn’t mean obeying the lusts of guts and groins as the case is with trashy liberals. It means using higher freedom to find things of higher value and deeper meaning. There’s a world of difference between a trashy liberal whose culture revolves around video games or gossip magazines and higher liberal whose culture revolves around classical music, serious literature, and intellectual stuff.
    The difference is the higher liberal has conservative habits–plus of course higher intelligence–that drive him or her to freedoms of higher value. There’s a big difference between readers of People magazine and the New Yorker.

    Consider the author of BATTLE HYMN OF TIGER MOTHER, Amy Chua. She’s a liberal but a habitual conservative. And though her husband may be easier-going than she is, he too is a habitual conservative as he’s focused on studying, going to top schools, being a responsible father and husband, and etc. If you were to just look at their habits, they are very conservative. And though Chua says her friends were shocked by her hard parenting ways, the fact is most high liberal parents are also into success, hard work, stable relations, and drive their kids to make the social climb.
    Most Jews are habitually conservative, and it’s because their habitual conservatism comes so naturally that they don’t bother with conservative values but instead on using conservative habits to find, discover, and conquer new things.
    A values conservative looks at the hammer and waxes about its importance as a tool. A habits conservative–or higher liberal–just uses the hammer to hit the nails; he thinks of the hammer not as the end but as a means to other ends.

    It is no wonder then that so many Jews, elite wasps, and East Asians have become liberals. They mostly take their habitual conservatism for granted. Why think conservative when conservative habits are a part of your very being? Why not use conservative habits to be liberal and adventurous in thought? Also, even as conservative habits are very useful, they are kinda boring, ‘lame’, and square. Especially in America where everyone is supposed to be marked by his individualist ‘difference’, it’s not enough to be a model citizen with responsible conservative ‘bourgeois’ habits. One has to have some spice, some pizzazz, and that comes with liberal affectations. So, if you’re a habitual conservative who went to good school, has a good job, a loving family, and etc, it’s all very nice but it’s ‘boring’ and ‘lame’. You want to be ‘different’. And so, there is the affectation of ‘cultural liberalism’. So, in the areas of habits, you could really be as conservative as a Mormon, but by going to art galleries and praising some post-modern art or by espousing ‘gay marriage’, you can come across as ‘different’, ‘special’, ‘radical’, ‘rebellious’, or whatever. Or, if you’re a successful Hollywood producer, you might win some ‘culturally eccentric’ points by having a Che Guevara poster in your office. But these are mostly affectations. Do higher liberals really want to live in a social order run by the likes of Che Guevara? Do higher liberals really want to live next to poor blacks in the name of equality? Do higher liberals really want elite institutions to look like America? For the sake of fairness, do Jews really want Wall Street to be only 2% Jewish? Does Amy Chua and her husband really want to live in a ‘diverse’ community with too many blacks and browns? Chris Matthews says he lives in diverse Washington DC but his neighborhood is actually almost entirely white. And notice how Hyde Park is closed off from the rest of the black community in the South Side of Chicago. So, much of liberalism is really an affectation than a form of real-life practice. And so much fuss of this affectation is made because it diverts our attention from the sheer phoniness of elite liberal reality.

    For most Christians, Jesus is just a symbol or affectation worn as a golden necklace. Cultural liberalism has the same kind of appeal. That way, higher liberals can live the good life of stability and privilege but put on airs of ‘social justice’ and ‘being radical’.

  • Anthony

    In a capitalist society, one is bombarded with inducements to maintain a life-style that promotes scapegoating or looking away; that is, a capitalist society is essentially a market culture underpinning definning labels. Get ahead or stay beyond (of whom and what) inclines our predilections/rationalizations. The insecurities of capitalism propagate a scarcity psychology generally which induces the view that others not so endowed (or perhaps better endowed) are threats (either potential competitors or structural impediments). Often times those possessed by a scarcity psychology will convince themselves of the nefarious nature of others. Unfortunately, the racism, chauvinism, sexism, class bigotry, etc. activated by this psychology militates against real understanding of forces challenging 21st century social organization.

  • Bebe

    What a tedious post: Mr. Garfinkle must have entered a contest for the sourest sort of American Interest. It is unfortunate, Mr. Garfinkle, you think “…American society doesn’t know what it’s for anymore.” I suppose, having made manifest dominion over the North American continent, subjugated the non-European peoples, extracted earthly wealth untold to fuel the Bessemers of Pittsburgh and Youngstown to build the railroads, AND vanquished Nazis and Commies while day-tripping to the moon, we can rest assured that America has lived up to its promise. “Why, what could she have done being what she is?/Was there another Troy for her to burn?” I suppose that the duties of being restorative trustees of our beautiful lands, of caring for the less fortunate of our society with alms and work, of living up to the ideals of a country utterly changed and re-born 150 years ago in the War Between the States and now called to mind in these few present years are not splashy enough for you. Still the hand that can write the phrase “…which most emphatically doesn’t mean that most forms of discrimination against homosexuals are justifiable…” (and, thus, some forms of discrimination against homosexuals are indeed justifiable) about his fellow citizens might not move to laud ideals of citizenship which lead to righteous and just acts. Gambling? I am grateful for the reminder of silly Maryland and its blue laws. The meager virtue in this post is saddening: you have a vaunted position as a journal editor from which to offer a vision far better than one that sputters that “equality” measures occur “…when cultures have nothing better to do….” For my own lowly part, I can give a better-self example only to my family, my employees, and my few “causes,” but I do so performing tzedakah.

  • Adam Garfinkle

    Well, if my post was so tedious, why did you bother to finish reading it, or to respond to it?

    As for your comments, they combine misreading, mis-thinking and a completely unacceptable ad hominem remark.

    As for your misreading, I never said there weren’t worthy goals for 21st century America, and you name some of them I happen to share. I said that none of these goals seize the national imagination at present in a manner nearly comparable to past ones, and so give the sense that as a nation we have no project upon which a vast majority agrees. Those are two different things, but you missed that somehow.

    As for mis-thinking, yes, I do believe that there are some few forms or discrimination that may apply to homosexuals when equally cherished values clash because the nature of the issue differs in kind from, say, racial discrimination. No one should be made against their will and religious beliefs to provide a facility for homosexual marriage, in my opinion, because the violates freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. There are also complex issues regarding surrogate parenthood and adoption, because the well-being of the child is an equally relevant consideration to a homosexual “right.” None of these exceptions apply to racial discrimination, because that is discrimination based on a primordial condition of birth, not a choice of behavior. If you don’t understand the distinction, you can’t think.

    You also conflate “equality” with “egalitarianism”, also not the same things.

    As for telling me what my obligations as an editor are, you are way out of line. I try to be an analyst and a critic in the best sense of word. If I think the results of the election are worthy of some somber reflection, I am going to be honest with my readers and say so. You apparently think it’s my job to hide my honest assessment and be a cheerleader instead.

    How should I characterize such utterly banal comments? As tedious, perhaps.

  • Bebe

    One reads to learn something new, Mr. Garfinkle. From this post I learned that Richard Nixon was not far off the mark about some journalists.