Tuesday, April 15, 2008
On this day:


To follow up on my last post in response to a comment, here are my main objections to Obama's San Francisco snobbery:
  • I cling to the right to keep and bear arms because I believe it to be an essential guarantor of American liberty.
  • I cling to the Christian religion because I believe it to be true, and that it is only through the love of truth that man's true nature is fulfilled.
  • I cling to the idea - which was made into a reality by the U.S. Constitution - that America is a sovereign nation, and that as such it has both a right and a duty to establish and enforce reasonable limits on immigration.
To suggest that those who worship their Creator or believe in gun rights or support reasonable restrictions on immigration do so out of bitterness - and to assume that this bitterness is due to material deprivation - is condescending, snobbish, and flat-out wrong.

As Rich Lowry said today on NRO:
At bottom, this is a profoundly insulting point of view. Consider Obama’s formulation. He makes it sound like no one would be a hunter or a Christian absent economic distress, that economic circumstances drive people into such atavistic habits. Has he considered that some people simply enjoy hunting? And view the right to bear arms as a guarantor of American liberty? As they used to say, "God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal."

The assumption is that only liberal attitudes are normal and well-adjusted: If only these small-town people could earn more income, get an advanced degree, and move to a major metropolitan area, then they could shed their chrysalis of social conservatism.
Thomas Sowell was even more blunt in assessing what Obama said:
Speaking privately to supporters in heavily left-liberal San Francisco, Obama let down his hair and described working class people in Pennsylvania as so "bitter" that they "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them."

Like so much that Obama has said and done over the years, this is standard stuff on the far Left, where guns and religion are regarded as signs of psychological dysfunction — and where opinions different from those of the Left are ascribed to emotions ("bitter" in this case), rather than to arguments that need to be answered.

Like so many others on the Left, Obama rejects "stereotypes" when they are stereotypes he doesn’t like but blithely throws around his own stereotypes about "a typical white person" or "bitter" gun-toting, religious, and racist working-class people. ...

Obama is also part of a long tradition on the Left of being for the working class in the abstract, or as people potentially useful for the purposes of the Left, but having disdain or contempt for them as human beings.

Karl Marx said, "The working class is revolutionary or it is nothing." In other words, they mattered only in so far as they were willing to carry out the Marxist agenda.

Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw included the working class among the "detestable" people who "have no right to live." He added: "I should despair if I did not know that they will all die presently, and that there is no need on earth why they should be replaced by people like themselves."

Similar statements on the Left go back as far as Rousseau in the 18th century and come forward into our own times.

It is understandable that young people are so strongly attracted to Obama. Youth is another name for inexperience — and experience is what is most needed when dealing with skillful and charismatic demagogues.

Those of us old enough to have seen the type again and again over the years can no longer find them exciting. Instead, they are as tedious as they are dangerous.
Now, I think Sowell stretches it a bit when he compares Obama's feelings toward the working class to those of Marx and Shaw. In Obama's case, it's more an attitude of condescension (and maybe even pity) than contempt. And in today's America - which with all its problems is still the best place in the world for the underprivileged to make their way in life - that sort of unjustified stare-down-your-nose condescension is the source of far more middle and working class bitterness than economic deprivation or class envy.