15.11.18

ELYSIUM IS A DYSTOPIAN MOVIE, LAPUTA A SWIFTIAN SATIRE.

Chris Matthews had a lucid sign-off Monday evening.


He delivered it in a measured way, and it's not the usual overwrought stuff where you might need a transcript to follow it.
Remember “Gulliver`s Travels”? Remember the land that Gulliver discovered where the people were ruled by a group of well-educated elite who lived on this flying island? The rest of the people looked up to and saw hovering up in the sky above them looking down on them.

Well, Jonathan Swift called that flying island of intellectuals Laputa. Its population consisted mainly of the sophisticated, the [finely] academic sort who were fond of mathematics, astronomy, music and technology, but absolutely useless at putting their knowledge to any practical use. They were so lost in thought they couldn`t actually function in the everyday world.

Well, yet, the people on this flying island of intellectuals were able to dominate the people down on the land below them which, of course, caused enormous resentment by those people down on the land below them. I read today that the Democratic party from which a majority of college grads now vote now controls almost all the country`s most highly educated congressional districts, the party that once represented the working people of this country, the skilled workers, the electricians, plumbers, masons and carpenters, now it`s the home room of the college crowd. The party of the town is now the party of the gown.

In other words, it`s beginning to resemble Jonathan Swift`s flying island of Laputa populated with the educated elite looking down literally on those below them. I hear people, I agree with politically, blaming the Democratic Party`s loss of the working party on race. Working people they say are simply angry at the progress of minorities and the arrival of darker-skinned immigrants into the country.I think that`s way too convenient and far, in way, from a complete explanation. One at least the Democratic leadership off the hook. And two, of saying the majority of Americans working class are hopeless bigots.

Well, let me offer a more measured explanation for the Democrats` loss of support among working people. It`s that the Democratic Party is focused in recent years on addressing the topics and concerns of members of the party who are its better educated and also its better off.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
Nice of you to catch on, Chris, after working for several years to drag Hillary's pantsuited cankles across the finish line, that despite her talking like a Laputan whenever she perceived Herself as among fellow Laputans.

The idea that Wise Experts really don't know best has been with us for some time.  National Review's Jonathan Tobin uses it to examine the idea of voter inefficiency, as in too few Democratic votes in the Electoral College and related sins, and finds it wanting.
The disease isn’t so much the rise of ideological politics, a phenomenon that dates back to Newt Gingrich’s ending of a 50-year Democratic reign in the House — which was in no small measure a justified reaction to the go-along-to-get-along spirit of Congress at the time. Rather the disease is Congress’s abdication of power over the course of the 20th century as the administrative state — the unelected bureaucrats running various agencies — replaced the legislative branch as the true maker of American laws. That left the Supreme Court as the only check on an out-of-control executive branch.

Creating an even larger occupying army of politicians in Washington won’t fix that problem. The populist revolution that has transformed the Republican party under Trump, and that may yet spread to a Democratic party whose restive left wing is just as sick of D.C. power brokers, is rooted in resentment of the governing class. The idea that the country needs more such people, no matter how they are elected, demonstrates just how out of touch the liberal elites at the Times have become.
It wasn't so much Congress's abdication of powers as it was Congress's acceptance of the Fatal Conceit of Governance by Wise Experts leading to Congress passing, and mostly Democratic presidents signing, legislation full of "The Secretary shall issue ..." language.

It didn't work.  And the Normals have more power than the Balnibarbians had.

They've also understood this for some time.  Consider a 2005 Jesse Walker review of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?  (There's nothing wrong with Kansas, the Laputans, er, Wise Experts, have messed things up.)  It came to this, and Chris Matthews probably had a front-row seat for it either at Holy Cross or in Tip O'Neill's office.  "The hardhats of Charlestown [Massachusetts] didn't face a laissez-faire Democratic Party that ignored their economic interests and a Republican Party that appealed to their values. They faced a big-government Democratic Party that was actively working against them and in favor of a wealthier group."

Mr Walker is writing about a gentrifying Boston, and the expansion of the colleges and what later became information technology office parks displacing the factories and railroad yards.  He could with equal force have noted that the integration of Boston's public schools required the shanty Irish of Southie to accommodate desegregation, not the lace-curtain Irish of Chappaquiddick.

His conclusion notes that the coastal gentry didn't quite have to land their island on rebellious provinces to destroy agriculture or literally crush rebel armies: the police power of the state was good enough.
As for the Republican-red Great Plains, it's curious that in a book on why Kansans have turned against liberalism, Frank never mentions rural resentment of environmental regulations, which have effectively expropriated the property of many small landowners and provoked an intense grassroots revolt.

In short, perhaps the Great Backlash regards liberals as an elite because sometimes, just like conservatives, liberals really do act like an elite. You can do that when you have a powerful government at your command. Back in the Progressive Era, Eastern reformers offered a platform of "scientific" management, of giant enterprises and giant government working for the collective good. This set the template for the most destructive species of 20th-century liberalism: the liberalism that bulldozed neighborhoods to build freeways, that flooded farmers' land to erect the Tennessee Valley Authority, that drafted kids to fight in what Bob Dole so accurately called "Democrat wars." [Hyperlinks added -- Ed.]
Mr Frank has since recognized that the gentry, including in Massachusetts, are sometimes their own worst enemies, and that Laputan, er, Learned Elite discourse practices are off-putting.

It cannot be a bad thing for Mr Matthews to be bringing those tidings to nerdland.

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