I’m reluctant to type the words “Charles Murray is wrong,” so instead let me say that Charles Murray is too generous in his Sunday piece on the elite’s disconnect from the rest of America. He’s spot-on in identifying how socially, culturally, politically, and geographically isolated today’s elite is, but he ends the piece this way:
The bubble that encases the New Elite crosses ideological lines and includes far too many of the people who have influence, great or small, on the course of the nation. They are not defective in their patriotism or lacking a generous spirit toward their fellow citizens. They are merely isolated and ignorant. The members of the New Elite may love America, but, increasingly, they are not of it.
While I’m sure this describes some people, much of the New Elite does not, in fact, love America and is, in Murray’s phrasing, defective in its patriotism. Today’s elites — not just here, but in Europe as well — are increasingly post-national. Murray writes that “the New Elite clusters in a comparatively small number of cities and in selected neighborhoods in those cities,” which is correct, but he doesn’t seem to get (or at least didn’t write) that these “comparatively small number of cities and in selected neighborhoods in those cities” are increasingly part of a distinct transnational community. Marx and Engels were wrong when they wrote that “the working men have no country” — but that description is increasingly apt for large parts of the post-American New Elite.