Peggy Noonan was opining yesterday about the conflict between global elites—that is, citizens of the world—and the little people who are forced to pay the price of bad policies.
She began with Germany, where, she explains, the supremely virtuous and arrogant Angela Merkel and her supporters can easily shield themselves from the predations of the million Muslim refugee invaders they just let into the country. Anyone who disputes the policy is declared a bigot.
Ms. Merkel had put the entire burden of a huge cultural change not on herself and those like her but on regular people who live closer to the edge, who do not have the resources to meet the burden, who have no particular protection or money or connections. Ms. Merkel, her cabinet and government, the media and cultural apparatus that lauded her decision were not in the least affected by it and likely never would be.
Nothing in their 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.”
From Wall Street to Silicon Valley to Hollywood the global elites live within a bubble of personal self-interest. They care about themselves and no one else. They do not identify with a nation and do not feel any loyalty to their nation. They are citizens of the world, a guardian class of the enlightened, destined to rule the rest of the world. Plato would have been pleased.
Noonan describes Wall Street:
On Wall Street, where they used to make statesmen, they now barely make citizens. CEOs are consumed with short-term thinking, stock prices, quarterly profits. They don’t really believe that they have to be involved with “America” now; they see their job as thinking globally and meeting shareholder expectations.
Silicon Valley is not much better:
In Silicon Valley the idea of “the national interest” is not much discussed. They adhere to higher, more abstract, more global values. They’re not about America, they’re about . . . well, I suppose they’d say the future.
And Hollywood is just as bad:
In Hollywood the wealthy protect their own children from cultural decay, from the sick images they create for all the screens, but they don’t mind if poor, unparented children from broken-up families get those messages and, in the way of things, act on them down the road.
Charles Murray has already made the point. The elites who concoct schemes for social progress are less likely to live them out than are poorer citizens. Elites get married and try to have stable homes. Poor people do not get married, but have families where one woman is bringing up four children from four different men. The poor woman is living the ideal more closely than is the elitist woman who developed the theory at Harvard.
We are lacking in patriotism:
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.