That paradigm being, as explained by John Steele Gordon, that peps can be divided into three groups. The mass of good, but ordinary people. Sheep. Not really bright enough to figure out what is good for them, they are easily swayed. They are swayed by the second group; the politically powerful. The wolves:
The second group, far smaller, are the affluent, successful businessmen, corporate executives and financiers. Capitalists in other words. They are the establishment and it is the establishment that, by definition, runs the country. They are, in the liberal paradigm, smart, ruthless and totally self-interested. They care only about personal gain.
It is in the third group that we find our liberals. These are the folks who selflessly protect the sheep from the wolves.
[T]hose few, those happy few, that band of brothers, the educated and enlightened liberals, who understand what is really going on and want to help the members of the first group to live a better and more satisfying life. Unlike the establishment, which supposedly cares only for itself, liberals supposedly care for society as a whole and have no personal self-interest.
Gordon explains that this paradigm, which can be traced back to the late 19th century, once made sense. It actually reflected a reality. But no longer.
The sheep are now richer, better educated, and able to look out for themselves thankyouverymuch. And to wonder if liberals are "non-establishment" folk acting absent of self-interest, we need to look no further than Al Gore and his carbon trading scheme that will make him even richer, very likely the world's first Carbon billionaire. Liberals don't get more "establishment" than the likes of Pelosi and the Kennedys. What about these sheep protectors?
What has the liberal leadership become? It garners more Wall Street money than the Republicans. The high-income brackets favored Obama. The shriller the populist or nihilist—think everyone from Arianna Huffington to Michael Moore to Noam Chomsky to Gore Vidal—the nicer the home. Think of the vast diversity of such celebrity hypocrisy: John Edward’s “two nations” is defined by his own vast estate—and those outside it. Michael Moore profits in the millions from, of course, damning profit-driven capitalism.
A Sean Penn or Oliver Stone praises the egalitarianism of Latin American thugs whose socialist utopias would jail both in short order if they ever moved in pursuance of their egalitarian rhetoric. The Obama populist team hires Wall Street insiders to bail out friends, whose firms they will shortly join when out of office.
A Nancy Pelosi shouts slogans from the barricades, while her husband subsidizes her aristocratic liberalism through a network of arcane deal-making. Chris Dodd worries about the roguery of credit card companies while he finagles an Irish getaway “cottage” through influence peddling. The list could go on.
So, why do "liberals" still act as if the paradigm was valid? And, perhaps a more interesting question posited by VDH; (hint- it's not about they hypocrisy):
What are we to make of the George Soroses and Warren Buffetts and the club of the mega wealthy preferring the populist rhetoric of Barack Obama? Why did a “redistributive change”, “spread the wealth” Barack Obama move into a million-dollar mansion, or a “truth to power” Valerie Jarrett make out like a bandit from questionable insider Chicago real estate deals, or Rahm Emanuel cash grab as a director of a scandal-plagued Freddie Mac, or raise-our-taxes Timothy Geithner’s in the most tawdry fashion avoid taxes? In short, why the liberal fascination with money and privilege—and populism?
He offers three explanations. Choice one? Guilt. Praising a populist agenda assuages the guilt one feels for the extreme privilege one lives in.
Choice two? A tad more complicated.
There are never consequences for crazy theoretical positions; money and status ensure insulation from high crime, welfare dependency, or the pernicious culture of the underclass.
Obamamism’s targets are wannabees, who lack the proper sophistication that real wealth ensures. Again, note the hatred of Sarah Palin and her followers: how dare this upstart sell her memoirs, this winking, you-betcha tart whom we’d never let in a Georgetown party. For many, liberalism, in contrast, is the proper social accoutrement for big money, a tasteful indulgence like driving a XK-150 Jaguar rather than an Escalade, cruising in a Gar wood boat, or having hardwood, machine-worn hickory floors in the kitchen instead of linoleum. Yes, snobbery is part of high liberalism. It is a fashion marker that says: “I want high taxes, because for me they are as superfluous as white lace and crystal.”
We don’t associate hardball, tawdry shenanigans with the creation of the Buffett, or Turner or Gates fortune. Even modest fortunes like that of democratister Terry McAuliffe do not receive careful scrutiny when we understand their creators are “with the people” and for whom money-making was always incidental, a brief pause between public service.
Libearls, you see, made money "the good way." Or, for a good cause. They're not like the greedy capitalists. I mean, they're "like" them, but not "like like" them. IfyouknowwahtImeanandIthinkthatyoudo.
Liberal elites cannot be harmed by (extremely) high taxes, because (simply) they have a ton of money. Besides, they set up some trust years ago, and yada yada yada...
The rest of us?
The push-back to all this is not Republican, but a populist distrust of elites and the cozy government they craft. Americans by and large not only resent higher taxes, but feel that the additional revenue makes things worse not better, by either politicizing public service or corrupting the nature of the recipient. The rich liberal has others go to the DMV for him. The lower middle class gets a job at the DMV. But the middle class waits in line for hours for service from the SEIU clerk behind the window, who can’t be fired as a loyal constituent of big government.
So much for the elites protecting the sheep from the wolves. The elites have become the wolves. For our own good, you see, 'cause we're to stupid to know what's good for us.
Leave that to Michael Moore and Sean Penn and Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore. Your betters.