Scrap at Yale Highlights New Social Divide: Global Elites Vs. Populist Realists

US Politics
on 9 Comments

A few months back, the brilliant and flawed David Brooks said that blue/red was giving way to a new divide in American society that would play out in ideology and partisan politics: globalist interventionist elites on one side, populist isolationist realists on the other. Hillary Clinton v. Chuck Hagel.

I was reminded of Brooks’s great insight watching a panel yesterday on C-Span of a December 8 conference at Yale on the Senate battle between Lamont and Lieberman, won by the wily Lieberman.

The panel was marked by a vituperative exchange between Liebermanite Lanny Davis, late of the Monica wars, and Lamontite Bill Hillsman of North Woods media, the populist genius behind Jesse Ventura. When Hillsman, wearing a striped western shirt, with his gut spilling proudly, called Lieberman a great liar who lacked independence, Davis in his blue suit became agitated and started yelling at the other panelist. When Hillsman accused mainstream Democrats of “sandbagging” Lamont by holding off on information and aid—in essence, dithering over its commitment to the official party nominee—Davis became apoplectic and prosecutorial. “Name names,” he kept shouting. A former Connecticut Democratic party chair (whose name I didn’t get) then named names, saying that Chuck Schumer and Bill Clinton had vacillated. Davis got even angrier, saying it was hearsay.

A good show. And it hardly mattered that the campaign was 6 weeks old. The wound is raw. David Brooks is dead on.

A few comments.

1. Brooks is an exponent of the globelites (as I am of the isopops); and let’s be clear, his elite truly is an elite right now: it’s a tiny minority. How many people maybe want to invade Iran? Or continue to rationalize the invasion of Iraq as a smart idea? Show of hands, please. Yet this elite is behind the wheel.

2. Brooks is our most sociological pundit, god bless him; but he is given to indirection, and he did not have the cojones to throw in my favorite metric, Jewishness. Lanny Davis is a classic arrived Jew; he broke ground in the 90s (along with me and Brooks and all the other Jewish meritocrats) and flowered in the establishment under the philosemitic Clinton. I have to assume Davis’s view of Israel is diaspora-nationalist. Like the views of the Jewish financial heavies who left the Democratic party to stick with Lieberman. Like the views of Senator Lieberman’s new in-law, Harvard’s Ruth Wisse (rhymes with Weiss), a Jewish particularist to a faretheewell.

3. One of Brooks’s professed idols is the late E. Digby Baltzell. The Penn sociologist will be forever famous for coining the term “WASP” in the 60s to describe the then-ruling elite. Forty years later, Brooks came up with his own acronym to describe the new elite: Bobos (for Bohemian bourgeois). Baltzell’s acronym stuck, Brooks’s is fast fading. Why? Bobos lacked WASP’s sting. Bobos was a soft, lifestyle metric: Latte drinkers of the information age. By eliding the Jewishness of the new elite—and yes, Jews are just a component of the establishment, but a significant one—Brooks fell painfully short of his model.

Let’s honor Baltzell’s great work. In naming the WASPs, he turned on his own people, deriding them as a “caste” that was holding on to status—which Baltzell defined then as corporate exec positions and club memberships—in defiance of the talented. The elite must represent the true talents of the society, Baltzell said. Who were those talents? Jews, he said; brilliant Jews, lamentably camped in “gilded ghettoes,” outside the establishment. Let them in! thundered the assimilationist Baltzell. And America did. Baltzell was blunt about the role of religion in elite culture; his 1964 classic was titled, The Protestant Establishment.

In Brooks’s book Bobos In Paradise, there are countless reference to WASPs, as the bad old order. 12 lines in his index for WASPs. 0 for Jews (who are only glanced upon in the text). I know why Brooks doesn’t want to talk about Jewishness, let alone turn on his elite. He worries, as many of my intellectual friends do, about the pogroms that will take place in Des Moines the minute the media elite say what any boob watching CSpan accepts: Jews are an empowered group, and deservedly.

J’accuse. By maintaining silence on this important matter that is close to their hearts, these journalists have violated their American oath: to inform the people.

As Brooks showed, and the Lamont-Lieberman debate confirms, this is a huge and important divide. Inasmuch as the globelite cannot admit that the war in Iraq was a tragic error, at a time when midstream America has come solidly to that conclusion, the elite is growing estranged from public opinion, and thereby violating Baltzell’s democratic principle, that it’s OK and necessary to have a ruling elite, but it must be representative. This divide plays out in terms of the Jewish presence in American public life. The Jewish leadership is globelite all the way. It is more implicated in the disastrous Iraq decisionmaking than the realists, and less implicated in the war’s grimmest consequences (there are more Buddhists than Jews in the armed forces, as I reported). Lamont/Lieberman was one wedge. Now comes another: Talk to Syria. Any realist will tell you we have to do that; the (largely non-Jewish) Iraq Study Group said so too. But Jewish leadership is against it. Bush will be too—next year. To be continued.

9 Responses

  1. Rowan Berkeley
    December 15, 2006, 2:10 pm

    You really should read Kevin MacDonald, Phil, applying what he understands to be evolutionary psychology to the Jewish Question.

  2. Timmy
    December 15, 2006, 2:37 pm

    I agree, McDonald fits right in with Weiss' ideology:

    "MacDonald has been accused of anti-Semitism by other scholars and has developed an extensive following among white supremacists and neo-Nazis. In October 2004 he accepted a literary prize from The Occidental Quarterly, using the award ceremony as an occasion to argue for the need for a "white ethnostate" to maintain high racial birthrates."

  3. Rowan Berkeley
    December 15, 2006, 5:35 pm

    I don't share MacDonald's belief a sort of natural selection that favours genes which – by a series of flukes – make people ethnocentric. But that is the basis of the scholarly discipline of evolutionary psychology, love it or leave it.

  4. Bill Pearlman
    December 15, 2006, 7:45 pm

    What a towering intellect that is the persona of little Philly Weiss. We must all shrink in the shadow of its glow. First, the wily Jew Lieberman who sand bagged the naive populist Ned Lamont. Of course he didn't do that alone. He was helped by the jewish cabal. Not all the Jewish meritocrats of course because it was barren ground until the 1990's when Phil Weiss came on the scene. But then of course David Brooks is a follower of Digby Baltzell, ( hows that for a name ) who somehow turned on his own people, the dreaded wasps. But now of course the wily evil demon Jews are the new wasps and the American people would surely rise up against them if they were only informed of these developments by the Jew dominated media. They don't know that they are only pawns in the elders of zion plot to rule the world. An IMPORTANT column much has every development that little Phil writes about is important.

  5. lester
    December 15, 2006, 9:24 pm

    first of all, liberman is not "wily" even with a one note campaign lamont would have won had their been a genuine republican candidate. like 70% of republicans voted for lieberman. over the republican who ran. liberman won because he is a bush republican. he favors ALL spending and all population halting liberal behaviours.

    second, david brooks is a retard not a genius. "bohos in paradise" is exactly the sort of warmed over middle america bs that ruined cultural studies as a genuine academic catagory.

    and yes, the beltway crowd believe they are the "wise leaders" and have, like strauss, fatally misinterpretted natural law to think that we don't need any protection from them.

    also, hillary doesn't have a chance. the last election was nothing if not a referendum on "the machine" ie the beltway and the people want no more of it. look for gore, clark or obama instead

  6. Alan
    December 16, 2006, 2:05 am

    One has to wonder if there can ever be anyone doing some critical work on Jews, their religion and customs etc. and not be labelled an anti-Semite.

    I guess it is impossible so far, but here is the funny thing: This libel is now being used so often that pretty much everybody now is an anti-Semite!

    150 countries voting against Israel in the UN? Hey, it's an anti-Semitic world.

    Mandela, Tutu, Carter call Israel an apartheid state? Easy, they are anti-Semites.

    MacDonald looking at Jewish history trying to come up with an explanation for their survival (when so many other ancient peoples vanished), high intelligence and power today? He must be an anti-Semite.

    University Professors looking at the power of the Israeli Lobby? Anti-Semites for sure.

    World public opinion considering Israel the greatest threat to world peace? They are ALL anti-Semites.

    And what about people like Tony Judt, Finkelstein etc? Self-hating Jews.

    Brilliant Anti-Zionist Rabbis who also happen to be holocaust survivors? Easy. Religious fanatics!

    "Am I to believe in every absurdity? If not, why this one in particular?"

    Sigmund Freud

  7. Bill Pearlman
    December 16, 2006, 2:45 am

    Alan:
    Like they say, if the swastika/kaffiyeh fits……….

    What makes you so interested in us, I really I'm curious about this obsession that you have with Jews and Israel. And yes when you focus on Jews has the source of the worlds evils has you and the rest of your crew do, yes your a bunch of anti-semites.

  8. Alan
    December 16, 2006, 3:39 am

    One has to wonder if there can ever be anyone doing some critical work on Jews, their religion and customs etc. and not be labeled an anti-Semite.

    I guess it is impossible so far, but here is the funny thing: This libel is now being used so often that pretty much everybody now is an anti-Semite!

    150 countries voting against Israel in the UN? Hey, it's an anti-Semitic world.

    Mandela, Tutu, Carter call Israel an apartheid state? Easy, they are anti-Semites.

    MacDonald looking at Jewish history trying to come up with an explanation for their survival (when so many other ancient peoples vanished), high intelligence and power today? He must be an anti-Semite.

    University Professors looking at the power of the Israeli Lobby? Anti-Semites for sure.

    World public opinion considering Israel the greatest threat to world peace? They are ALL anti-Semites.

    And what about people like Tony Judt, Finkelstein etc? Self-hating Jews.

    Brilliant Anti-Zionist Rabbis who also happen to be holocaust survivors? Easy. Religious fanatics!

    "Am I to believe in every absurdity? If not, why this one in particular?"

    Sigmund Freud

  9. Alan
    December 16, 2006, 3:53 am

    Pearlman,

    People like you can never figure people like me out.

    You live in a fishbowl, I try to explain the world.

    You demonize, I try to understand.

    You insult others; I try to learn from everyone.

    And you would be very surprised to learn that most Jews don't share any of your Biblical fantasies, fantasies that indeed are the source of a lot of evil.

    P.S. You may not know it, but Arabs are Semites? Which would make you who thinks Arabs are animals an anti-Semite?

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