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

Sunday, March 05, 2017


In an all too common occurrence at American colleges and universities, a mob of leftist students and a few outside agitators shouted down Charles Murray, a well-respected researcher who used solid science to draw conclusions that conflicted with their ideological beliefs but the students couldn't refute. Intellectually incapable of debating Murray in a civil setting, the mob forced Murray out and injured a professor during the melee. As an aside, why is it that right-wing student organizations don't this with the frequency and fervor of the leftist students? Oh, well.

The tuition at Middlebury College is $66,000 per year. The student population is generally white, progressive, and elite. Liberal writer Myron Magnet, an ex-English professor at Middlebury, comments on the Middlebury students:
... their very privilege should make these students want to pay close attention to what Murray has to say, since his most recent book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, has much to report about them and the part they played in a presidential election that may change the American political landscape for a long time to come. White Americans have fractured into two distinct classes, Murray argues. There are the Middlebury kids and their ilk: moneyed, well-credentialed (if ill-educated), and brought up by parents who arranged their playdates, soccer games, SAT tutors, summer “enrichment” travel programs, and résumé-building community “service” activities. These kids belong to a culture that values career, hard work at your job (if not much creativity at it), finding a mate with the same background and staying married to her or him, and bringing up your children with equal care. By contrast, there are the high-school grads or dropouts, whose low-skilled jobs have vanished, who either never marry or get divorced—producing carelessly brought-up broods of children in either case—who have gotten hooked by the millions on prescription pain-killers, whose health is poor, and whose lives are short.

This latter group forms a significant portion of the Trump electorate. And one of the things they voted against is the smug self-righteousness of the Middlebury grads and their Ivy League-bred cousins. Never Trumpers like to talk about the insufferable tone of the man from Queens: his barroom crudity, his Twitter-brief utterances, his personal vituperation, his contempt for the mainstream press, his hyperbole and boastfulness, his exaggeration, his anti-globalism, his ignorance. How divisive! say the critics. But how do you think the group of less-privileged white Americans whom Murray identifies would hear the self-cherishing, Ivy League snobbery of a Barack Obama, with his contempt for those benighted Americans pathetically clinging to their God and their guns, as the arc of history sweeps them away? And how do you think they feel about the politically correct shibboleths that make the Middlebury kids and their ilk feel they don’t have to listen to anything that doesn’t allow them to revel in their moral superiority to the unenlightened multitudes—and that justifies their privilege?
There is an moral arrogance on the Left that has already resulted in backlash from many in this country. Nothing exemplified that more than Hillary Clinton's characterization of supporters of her opponents as "deplorables." In my view and with hindsight, she lost the election when she uttered that word. The Russians had nothing to do with it.

But what of the "deplorables"? They do not fit nicely into Myron Magnet's construction of low-education ne're-do-wells. A significant percentage are successful members of society—some individualists, others more group-oriented; some college-educated, others not; some corporate people, others in the trades—all trying to raise good kids; most accepting of a broad range of social constructs, and all concerned about the direction of this country.

One thing unites them—they don't like being lectured to about what is moral and what is not, what will "save the planet" and what won't, what groups threaten us and which are our friends. They instinctively believe that big, centralized government creates more problems than it solves. They don't have the time or the inclination for virtue signaling (a.k.a., moral preening), and they recognize the rank hypocrisy associated with it.

Push back by the deplorables has so far has been gentle. I hope that continues. It may not.