The Current Crisis

Hating the Middleclass

Nobody does it better than the Liberal.

By 4.29.10

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WASHINGTON -- The Liberals hate the middleclass. There I said it, and I am glad. Once again I am a truth teller, in this case speaking Truth to Stone Heads. So certain am I of the truth of my asseveration that I honestly doubt any Liberal will take issue with me. Can you imagine a Liberal coming forward and saying: "Wrong Tyrrell! I love the middleclass." Well, I guess I can imagine it because Liberals are effortless liars. Yet what specifically about the middleclass might the Liberals adduce to demonstrate their affection? The middleclass's Sobriety? Hard Work? Love of Country? Love of Liberty?

The Liberals' contempt for the pulchritudinous Sarah Palin is obviously fired by their hatred of the middleclass. She has said nothing that many ordinary Americans have not said privately, though she does it with charm. I was particularly charmed by her playful taunt directed toward the Prophet Obama at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville in February where she said: "How's that hopey, changey stuff working out for ya?" At the time his polling figures were low, not as low as they fell later but low, and not much was "working" for him. Things have not improved.

What seems particularly to offend the Liberals is that she is from Middle America and from a state whose citizens pride themselves in self-reliance. Then too it has to hurt that she is so easy on the eye while being the antithesis of the feminist. By the way, has there ever been a comely feminist? Yes, Gloria Steinem had her moments, but then as the years went on and her gripes and disappointments multiplied her anger got the best of her, and today her face looks like a gnarled fist. Governor Palin could teach her a lot, starting with a pedicure and maybe a prayer. That is another thing that brings the Liberals to a boil, Palin's being a person of faith. For some reason religion really alarms Liberals, unless it be the religion of the Prophet Mohammad. Now there is an evolution in Liberal thought I would not have anticipated.

The Tea Party movement is another perfectly middleclass phenomenon that sets off fires of indignation with the Liberals. I could understand if they simply disagreed with the Tea Partiers. The Tea Partiers favor freedom, limited government, low taxes, and addressing the staggering debt that government is piling up. These are values that Liberals do not champion. But the Liberals have to go further, depicting the Tea Partiers as violent racists. Once again we see how fluently the Liberals lie, starting by lying to themselves.

Last week during a seminar at the Heritage Foundation on my new book, After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery, Michael Barone, surely one of the most learned political observers of our time, made a very instructive point. While writing his fine book, Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan, he discovered that there was in the late 1930s a growing resistance against the New Deal's spreading governmental tentacles. Very much like today's Tea Party movement Americans were becoming uneasy about the cost and coercion of FDR's huge government projects. Moreover, as Amity Shlaes has demonstrated in her recent book, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, the New Deal was not ending the Depression but lengthening it.

Barone now believes that had World War II not arrived this late-1930s Tea Party manifestation would have supported a stiff challenge to FDR's precedent-breaking third term. He speculates that there is something about America that makes many of its citizens relish their freedoms and suspicious of government involvement in areas Americans envisage as off-limits to government power and inefficiency. That something is the Constitution, which might explain why Liberal judges want to be free to ignore it or disfigure it.

Yes, the Liberals hate the middleclass, and I think I tripped across the reason for their hatred while finishing Hangover. Whereas conservatism is fundamentally a temperament to delight in reality, in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Liberalism is fundamentally an anxiety. The environment? The Constitution? The middleclass? Liberalism is an anxiety about reality. The Liberals prefer fantasy to reality -- hence their fluency in lying about the Tea Party movement and the pulchritudinous Sarah Palin.

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About the Author
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: the Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn't Work: Social Democracy's Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery.