Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why Is Hackdom Dangerous?

Why should anyone waste her valuable time complaining and detailing the hackdom of a small character in the public sphere? It's a good question, and one that is difficult to answer in good times when most people feel successful. It's difficult to answer in an era of the prosperity gospel. And it's especially difficult to answer when the public has a whipping boy to bear the brunt of their actions. But times have changed, and the darker side of conservative intellectual thought has crawled up out of the basement to take its rightful place, a place bought and paid for by decades of service by the faithful. Bloggers such as Megan McArdle intone in careful phrases cloaked in pseudo-intellectual jargon, but the less-circumspect bray their loathing to the skies.

On his radio show yesterday, far right talker Bill Cunningham — who Sean Hannity
considers a “great American” — claimed that people who are poor in America are
not poor “because they lack money.” “They’re poor because they lack values,
morals, and ethics,” said Cunningham.

This is the second day in a row
that Cunningham has verbally attacked the poor. On his Monday show, he declared,
“Among the so-called noble poor in America…[b]irth control is not used so
illegitimate children can be brought into the world, so the mom can get more
checks in the mail from the government.”

At The Corner, Jonah Goldberg approving posts e-mails that carefully explain that helping the poor is good, but being forced by the government to help the poor is bad. (Therefore if your church demands that you tithe, they are stealing from you and violating the Ten Commandments.) However, Jonah would post e-mails suggesting everyone stuff and roast their mothers instead of Thanksgiving Day turkeys if it would make him a buck. Only the gullible take Jonah seriously. The Atlantic, Reason, and The Economist took McArdle seriously, and so do a lot of bloggers.

Does it really take nothing but a university degree and a carefully cultivated upper-class accent to fool people into taking an immoral dilettante seriously? Does an overpriced pair of shoes transform one into a caring person? Does a Land's End dress confer intellectual heft?

Look at this. Look at how lovingly McArdle describes the lives of herself and her friends. Look at the disgust she shows, the disdain and absurd, insulting assumptions she makes about people on welfare.

It is undoubtedly easier to stay thin if you have nicely cooked low-calorie
prepared food at easy disposal, a shiny gym with a personal trainer to go to,
some control over your schedule so that you can use it, and lovely clothes to
show off a well-toned figure. The life of a welfare mother affords few pleasures
beyond television, comfort food, and whatever entertainment she can get up with
friends on a $0 budget.

The nice (morally superior) meals, shiny (clean) gyms, the lovely (slender) flowing clothes. Versus the cheap, common, low-life pursuits of television and fatty food and desperate search for entertainment. The cheap, nasty, brutish, immoral, obese life versus the moral, refined, slender, sophisticated, educated life. Could it possibly be any more obvious? Why would anyone listen to these people?


Anonymous said...

Since blogs have become more mainstream, I've read a lot of articles by journalists lamenting the fact that the quality of their profession was going to be adversely affected because of it. I used to dismiss it as hogwash, since there are plenty of good blogs and the ones that suck are easy enough to ignore. Now, I think they might have been right. Lots of papers are heavily laying off staff from their newsrooms because of advertising cutbacks and the like. A lot of these bloggers that are being picked up by the pros are probably being bought at a low price that couldn't sensibly be offered to a trained and/or seasoned journalist with experience. Hence, you get the McArdles and her ilk, who are under-trained and over-confident in their abilities, but are otherwise inexplicably paid for this sort of nonsense writing.

Gee, Megan. People who have more free time and money to exercise and eat better don't weigh as much as those who don't. Cracking observation.

Susan of Texas said...

Heh, she's the Wal-Mart of blogging.

Anonymous said...

Great analogy. Cheap, low quality and impervious to exploitation.