Saturday, April 25, 2009

Don't You Know our Place?

Mark Steyn nails it, as always, in explaining the left's sneer at the rubes who participated in the
Tea Parties:

My old editor, Charles Moore, has a piece in the London Telegraph on the 30th anniversary of Mrs Thatcher's arrival in Downing Street. Very pertinent, as Britain regresses to the basket-case Seventies. But this passage, I think, has relevance to the American elite's view of the current Tea Parties. Charles quotes the leftie writer Hanif Kureishi's condescending dismissal - "Thatcher, like the Queen, is basically vulgar" - and adds:
Without having Hanif Kureishi's exalted, exquisite, Nancy-Mitford-style sensitivity for class distinctions, I do see that the combination of Mrs Thatcher's beliefs and her social origins (and perhaps also her sex) is toxic for people like him.
People like Mrs Thatcher – state-educated, lower-middle-class, provincial, female – were not supposed to question the 1945 state-socialist settlement. To its architects, such people were of no account. They were neither poor enough to attract romantic sympathy, nor grand enough to be entitled to power. They were expected to know their place.
There's a lot of that in that CNN reporter's coverage of the Tea Parties: You'll be getting your $400 Obama "tax credit". So what's your beef? Why don't you know your place?
These people also are "neither poor enough to attract romantic sympathy, nor grand enough to be entitled to power". Which is why the media feel free to sneer. In the long run, a society can function without Susan Roesgen, but not without a small-business sector and a middle-class that's able to retain the fruits of its labors.

I have an undergraduate degree from a state school. I earn enough to pay the mortgage and keep the car on the road but not enough to take a vacation anywhere I'd actually like to go. I firmly believe there's nothing better than a good cold beer (domestic) and any clothes I own bearing a designer label were bought for me by my mother during one of her weekly scavenger hunts at the local second hand stores. I am, like my fellow tea partyers, as common as dirt.

There is a long standing tradition of working stiffs like me wearying of our "betters" dismissive attitudes and history doesn't favor the elites. After all, they need me, and my kind, a lot more than we need them. Fair warning, the common folk are feeling uppity.


CGHill said...

I have no idea where I fit into the class structure - Upper Lower, or maybe Lower Middle, or something like that. But the idea of seeking "validation" (gawd, I hate that word) from self-proclaimed cultural arbiters is utterly repellent, and if they want to lump me in with, say, Pond Scum, I shrug and float on.

Carol said...

Good way to look at it. Sadly, I often put too much stock in being taken "seriously". I am trying to learn to float, though.