The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Operating in Pursuit of Ideals

The Global Elites, represented perfectly by people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, have a number of signature characteristics. They worship at the alter of political correctness; their politics is always (or almost always) left of center; they embrace multiculturalism without reservation; they make unilateral decisions that have a profound affect on millions of citizens (a.k.a. common people), but are so out of touch with the common people that they have almost no feel for what is best for those same people. Their work in the private sector has been limited or non-existent, so they have no feel for the struggles of those who run businesses or the people who work in them.

A case in point is Angela Merkel, Germany's beleaguered chancellor. Peggy Noonan comments:
Recently I spoke with an acquaintance of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and the conversation quickly turned, as conversations about Ms. Merkel now always do, to her decisions on immigration. Last summer when Europe was engulfed with increasing waves of migrants and refugees from Muslim countries, Ms. Merkel, moving unilaterally, announced that Germany would take in an astounding 800,000. Naturally this was taken as an invitation, and more than a million came. The result has been widespread public furor over crime, cultural dissimilation and fears of terrorism. From such a sturdy, grounded character as Ms. Merkel the decision was puzzling—uncharacteristically romantic about people, how they live their lives, and history itself, which is more charnel house than settlement house.

Ms. Merkel’s acquaintance sighed and agreed. It’s one thing to be overwhelmed by an unexpected force, quite another to invite your invaders in! But, the acquaintance said, he believed the chancellor was operating in pursuit of ideals. As the daughter of a Lutheran minister, someone who grew up in East Germany, Ms. Merkel would have natural sympathy for those who feel marginalized and displaced. Moreover she is attempting to provide a kind of counter-statement, in the 21st century, to Germany’s great sin of the 20th. The historical stain of Nazism, the murder and abuse of the minority, will be followed by the moral triumph of open arms toward the dispossessed. That’s what’s driving it, said the acquaintance.
It seems that all elites "operate in the pursuit of ideals." That is, they (usually, but not always) have only the best of intentions. When their decisions go bad as they often do, the common man is left to shoulder the burden. A bad economy, a Muslim immigrant "invasion" throughout the EU that has resulted in dramatic increases in violence and sexual assault, not to mention a spike in public assistance (shouldered by the common man) are examples of ideals that went bad—very bad!

But no matter, the elites were "operating in pursuit of ideals."

A recent example of this is represented by media coverage of Ibtihaj Muhammed, an obscure, Hijab-wearing U.S. fencing competitor. At least one commentator suggested that Ms. Muhammed should have been the person who carried the American flag (rather than multiple gold metal winner Michael Phelps). Why? multiculturalism, of course. She was the perfect example of elites' burning desire for inclusiveness, a desire so strong that it overwhelms almost everything else, including common sense.

Ms. Muhammed played right into this image, stating:
"I’m hopeful that, in my efforts to represent our country well as an athlete — that they change the rhetoric around how people think and perceive the Muslim community.”
The media elites swooned with fawning coverage. But since Ms. Muhammed was so interested in changing "how people think and perceive the Muslim community," it's notable that in the media's lengthy coverage of her, they failed to mention that she is virulently anti-Israel and has posted a significant number of anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian tweets since 2013.

Ibtihaj Muhammed is a minor story that exemplifies little except the media elite's burning desire to put halos around some who probably don't serve them, and devil's horn on others who dare to call out the elites.

Peggy Noonan expands on this thought:
Nothing in their [the elites] lives will get worse. The challenge of integrating different cultures, negotiating daily tensions, dealing with crime and extremism and fearfulness on the street—that was put on those with comparatively little, whom I’ve called the unprotected. They were left to struggle, not gradually and over the years but suddenly and in an air of ongoing crisis that shows no signs of ending—because nobody cares about them enough to stop it.

The powerful show no particular sign of worrying about any of this. When the working and middle class pushed back in shocked indignation, the people on top called them “xenophobic,” “narrow-minded,” “racist.” The detached, who made the decisions and bore none of the costs, got to be called “humanist,” “compassionate,” and “hero of human rights.”

... The journalist Chris Caldwell reports in the Weekly Standard on Ms. Merkel’s statement a few weeks ago, in which she told Germans that history was asking them to “master the flip side, the shadow side, of all the positive effects of globalization.”

Caldwell: “This was the chancellor’s . . . way of acknowledging that various newcomers to the national household had begun to attack and kill her voters at an alarming rate.” Soon after her remarks, more horrific crimes followed, including in Munich (nine killed in a McDonald’s) Reutlingen (a knife attack) and Ansbach (a suicide bomber).
In my view, the elites who will likely control our destiny for eight more years should not operate in pursuit of "ideals" unless those ideas also dovetail with the pragmatic interests of our country (its economy, its culture, its pursuit of law and order). Far more important, the elites should consider the impact of their "ideals" (e.g., bad trade deals, open borders, the demonization of police) in the context of the common people who live in it. Finally, the elites should recognize that blatant dishonesty and corruption are corrosive to any "ideal" that they do propose, making their words hollow and their actions suspect.

Noonan continues:
From what I’ve seen of those in power throughout business and politics now, the people of your country are not your countrymen, they’re aliens whose bizarre emotions you must attempt occasionally to anticipate and manage ...

I don’t have it fully right in my mind but something big is happening here with this division between the leaders and the led. It is very much a feature of our age. But it is odd that our elites have abandoned or are abandoning the idea that they belong to a country, that they have ties that bring responsibilities, that they should feel loyalty to their people or, at the very least, a grounded respect.
We are at a tipping point. I fear that we will tip in a direction that will lead to dislocation and heartbreak. But don't worry, our leaders are operating in the pursuit of ideals.