Whence Our Impoverished, Infuriating Culture?
The full gamut of our current institutional distress could have been foretold, writes Victor Davis Hanson blisteringly, by observing campuses in the mid-1970s:
The common denominator? If one were to survey the elite campuses around 1975 and talk to those in law school, poly sci, or the humanities, then imagine them 35 years later as our elite leaders in government, the media, the universities, the foundations, and the arts, one could pretty much expect what we now have.
The present symptoms that characterize both our popular culture and current governance — shrill self-righteousness; abstract communalism juxtaposed with concrete pursuit of the aristocratic good life; race/class/gender cosmic sermonizing with private school and Ivy league for the kids; crass and tasteless public expression; a serial inability to take responsibility for one’s actions; the bipartisan mega-deficits; the inability to cut pensions and social security for the baby boomers — from the trivial to the fundamental, all derive from a bankrupt cohort that came of age in the sixties and seventies.
We see the arrested adolescence and hypocrisy that come from that sermonizing generation, whether in Al Franken’s puerile face-making, the ideologically driven suicide at Newsweek, the steady destruction of the New York Times, John Kerry’s tax-avoiding yacht, the Great Gatsby Clinton wedding, Michelle on the Costa del Sol, Nancy Pelosi’s jet, Tim Geithner’s tax skipping, or the constant race-card playing of a Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters. Yes, one walk across the Yale or Stanford campus circa 1975, and one could see pretty clearly what sort of culture that bunch would create when it came of age and was handed power. If that is reductionism, so be it.