The Revolution Comforts the Comfortable

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey kneels in front of George Floyd’s coffin during a service for the deceased in Minneapolis, Minn., June 4, 2020. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
The class war in our country isn’t a matter of the poor vs. the rich; it’s a matter of business class vs. first class, E-Class vs. S-Class.

Where the Left goes, squalor follows.

The scene in militia-occupied Seattle is entirely familiar, the same kind of theatrical filth that has been a part of American counterculture from Woodstock through Occupy Wall Street. These are the idiot children of the American ruling class, toy radicals and Champagne Bolsheviks playing Jacobin for a while until they go back to graduate school. The actual poor, oppressed masses of the world may sometimes live in squalor, but they do not generally live in squalor by choice. For Caitlyn from Georgetown, playing poor is the woke version of playing cowboys and Indians, but playing cowboys and Indians would make you a Very Bad Person, even if, like Senator Elizabeth Warren, you chose to be an Indian.

The squalor is a sideshow. More to the point, it is class camouflage.

There is no revolution in these United States by the poor and the excluded against the rich and the powerful. Instead, there is a civil war among certain members of the broad affluent class against the adjacent affluent cohorts. There is no hatred in this world quite like the hatred of a $100,000-a-year man for a $200,000-a-year man, except maybe the hatred of a $200,000-a-year man for a $200,002-a-year man.

The class war in our country is business class vs. first class; in automotive terms, it’s E-Class vs. S-Class. Everybody’s comfortable. And that produces some odd outcomes: Nobody’s going to do one goddamned thing about how they conduct business in Philadelphia or Chicago or any other corrupt, Democrat-dominated city, but there are going to be some “new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility,” and we are going to be treated to — joy of joys! — a deep national discussion on whether some Broadway stars don’t have it quite as good as other Broadway stars. The bloody-snouted hyenas have looked up from the kill just long enough to announce the creation of the Goldman Sachs Fund for Racial Equity.

It’s always the same thing: Our newspapers are full of intense interest in Harvard’s admissions standards but have very little to say about New York City’s dropout rate. People can’t help being fascinated with themselves and their peers. If you want to know what is on the minds of the leaders of the American ruling class, it’s no secret. They’ll tell you, if you ask — and if you don’t.

George Floyd is still dead. Jacob Frey is still mayor of Minneapolis. Medaria Arradondo is still the chief of police. More than a third of black students will drop out of high school in Milwaukee. But Forbes has announced a change in its in-house stylebook and will henceforth honor the woke convention of uppercase Black vs. lowercase white. And George Floyd is still dead. Jacob Frey is still mayor of Minneapolis. Medaria Arradondo is still the chief of police.

Oh, but they got James Bennet, the opinion editor at the New York Times. And surely that is something? It is, indeed, a very useful illustration of the E-Class vs. S-Class divide. Bennet was fired after purportedly endangering the lives of black Times staffers — a charge no mentally normal adult actually takes seriously — by publishing a guest column about the riots and the Insurrection Act by Senator Tom Cotton. The campaign to end Bennet did not come from America’s poor black communities as the workers of the world looked up, stunned, from page A24 of the New York Times — the venom came straight and undiluted from 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y., with Bennet’s underlings and juniors more or less putting him on an ice floe and pushing him out to sea.

Bennet was pushed out on behalf of marginalized black Americans, which necessitated that Bennet immediately be replaced by . . . a well-off white woman who went to Georgetown and Columbia and won a Pulitzer Prize for writing about that great loathsome theater of American middle-class anxiety: restaurants. (“The real price of inexpensive menu items,” the Pulitzer people summarized.) Well-off white women from elite colleges run the diversity-and-sensitivity racket like the 17th-century Dutch ran the tulip racket, like the De Beers cartel used to run diamonds. Big Caitlyn is getting paid. Affluent white women are the main E-Class beneficiaries of the current headhunting project to clear a little room at the top, just as they have historically been the primary beneficiaries of affirmative-action programs, contracting set-asides, and other programs to help out the poor disenfranchised Georgetown alumni out there in the cold and dark.

George Floyd is still dead. Jacob Frey is still mayor of Minneapolis. Medaria Arradondo is still the chief of police. But Kathleen Kingsbury — do I have to tell you she’s from Portland? she’s from Portland — has moved up a step at the New York Times, and promises not to publish any opinions someone might have an opinion about. And George Floyd is still dead. Jacob Frey is still mayor of Minneapolis. Medaria Arradondo is still the chief of police.

The friction is worst where people are socially and professionally adjacent to people to whom they are not economically adjacent: all those Facebook peons vs. Mark Zuckerberg, all those laid-off Atlantic staffers vs. Laurene Powell Jobs, merely affluent professors vs. seriously rich university trustees, all those less-successful Glee veterans vs. Lea Michele, whom they’ve decided after lo these many years to ritually denounce. Accused of racist “microaggressions,” the crime of our time, Michele apologized and even groveled a little. She probably is entirely sincere.

And so Rachel from Glee has been knocked down a peg, and Colin Kaepernick is taking calls.

And George Floyd is still dead. Jacob Frey is still mayor of Minneapolis. Medaria Arradondo is still the chief of police . . .

Kevin D. Williamson is a former fellow at National Review Institute and a former roving correspondent for National Review.
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