Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rank Hath Its Privileges

Special schools for special people!

Shorter Ross Douthat: By letting billionaires flood the primaries with money, we have reduced the effect of money in politics and strengthened the democratic process.

Now that I have read Douthat's Privilege: Four Years At Harvard, Most Of Them A Virgin (review pending!) it is clear that getting into a prep school is the worst thing that can happen to a person. Little Ross's school brainwashed him into believing that he was one of the best and brightest and that it was only a matter of time before he took his rightful place as a world leader. When his manifest destiny declined to manifest, he did not reassess his expectations, examine his talents, needs and wants, and adjust his life plan accordingly. He kept reaching for that transcendent moment in which greatness would finally be his.

Douthat parlayed his prep school education into admittance to Harvard, even though he didn't know why he wanted to go there beside career advancement, didn't want to go to a school without a core curriculum, and often skipped classes. He kept falling for girls who already had boyfriends, living proof that they were considered desirable by his peers, and became serially disappointed when he could not find a soul mate, a perfect woman whose transcendent love would transform them into heroic figures. He half-envied, half despised the liberal student activists, who became minor campus heroes for raising wages for Harvard employees,  but could not join them because they were all just dirty hippies and he had long ago rejected the mess and chaos of liberalism for the rigidness and conformity of conservatism. No heroism for Ross.

And when 9/11 happened, he freely admitted that here was another chance at heroic transcendence that he just let pass on by. He was not about to let anything interfere with his career in conservative politics. Douthat was born an upper-class white male on the East Coast and he knew in his bones that all he had to do was show up and he would be given everything that he felt was his due. But he wasn't promised comfort and ease and a pleasant life, he was promised greatness.  And if Harvard couldn't transcend him into greatness, perhaps God can. All Douthat has to do is demand that everyone follow God's Word,  be God's little hall monitor, and Douthat's holiness and sanctity will shine out for all to see. He will have transcended his body, which betrayed him by being ordinary and average instead of being like all the richer, better looking, better connected,  smarter, more athletic, and more successful prep school stars that he envied from afar.

So no, Douthat sees nothing at all wrong with billionaires distorting the electoral process.

[C]onsider what would have happened without the rich cranks. Mitt Romney, who attracted far more big-money support overall than any of his rivals, would have probably followed up his near-win in Iowa and his victory in New Hampshire with an easy win in South Carolina, and the primary campaign would have been, to all intents and purposes, finished after that. Instead of having the Republican nomination decided by millions of voters nationwide, it would have been decided by the voters in just three states – and, of course, by Romney’s sturdy donor base.

An extended primary season, which has featured competitive races in dozens of states instead of just a few, hasn’t necessarily been good for the Republican Party’s general election prospects. But it has produced a far more small-d democratic outcome than the alternative universe where Adelson and Friess stayed on the sidelines and Romney wrapped things up early. Because of their donations, the frontrunner has had to confront actual voters day after day and week after week, in Wisconsin and Nevada and Alabama and everywhere in between. The results haven’t necessarily been pretty, but they’ve supplied a campaign — as the historian Gil Troy suggested last fall — whose “length and fury are proportional to the electorate’s size and the presidency’s importance.” If this is a subversion of the democratic process, it’s taking a pretty unusual form.

Democracy means that every billionaire has the right to shape elections, instead of just a few billionaires. Who says that the Republicans are trying to squash voter's rights? They're going out of their way to be inclusive!

Some members of our ruling class creates chaos and death just to show how heroic they are as they overcome all the obstacles they create for other people, knowing that their wealth and privilege insulates them from actually suffering any negative consequences. It's hard to be a war president without a war, or a saint without sinners. Fortunately, creating enemies out of nowhere can easily be arranged.


Grung_e_Gene said...

He went to Harvard!!! I can now discount everything and anything he has to say about anything and everything.

But, it must have been hard for Ross, who was born in 1979 and graduated Harvard in 2002, to enlist and do 3 tours over in....

Oh that's right! Back in 2002 and 2003 with the rush to War Douthat was, as Matt Taibibi reminds us, sneeringly writing,

The National Review’s obnoxiously-titled “Kumbaya Watch,” pitched as “the latest in anti-American commentary from the left.” In that column he hounded critics of the president and/or those who didn't advocate immediate war against the Muslims, and wondered aloud about the political bias of organizations like ABC News (they wouldn’t let their reporters wear American flag lapel pins!).

War like poverty and loss of health insurance coverage, having your job out-sourced is only for those Americans who haven't been bathed in Douthat's crimson showers...

Anonymous said...

"it is clear that getting into a prep school is the worst thing that can happen to a person"

Please do not confuse Ross Douthat with a person. Seriously.

Also, "upper-class white male on the East Coast" is not really a demographic, let alone a psychology.

Mr.Wonderful said...

So we need "rich cranks" to assure that elections aren't dominated by rich plutocrats--kind of a "good cop/bad cop" model of candidacy. Got it.

Is it belaboring the obvious to say, "Jesus, what an asshole"? Then so be it.

RubyTea said...

I'm so looking forward to your review! I assume the book has the long form version of his "I was making out with a sexy blonde girl, and all I got was bored and disgusted with myself" classic tale?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Rank Hath Its Privileges

Yes, and this is why this horrible clown has a column at the NYT.

Anonymous said...

And he was a late convert to Catholicism! He wasn't even born to it!

Mandos said...

"long form version"

I see what RubyTea did there...