The liberal elite has been redefined. Call it the Ruling Class, and the rest of us the Country Class.
In the last issue we published one of the longest pieces ever to appear in The American Spectator, Angelo Codevilla’s “America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution.” We knew it was a tour de force when we published it, but we had no idea of the reach that it would have. As soon as the issue found its way to our subscribers and onto the newsstands, we started getting calls, emails, letters, and the rest. “Required reading,” we were told. “Essential.” “A must read.” And so on. After a couple of weeks, we posted the piece on the Spectator website, and more comments came piling in. And a couple of days later, Rush Limbaugh spent his entire show-three hours-talking about it. “I very seldom use the word important,” said El Rushbo, “and Angelo Codevilla’s piece is important.”
It then went viral on the Internet. Our website was jammed for days, the piece was discussed on hundreds of websites, and none of us involved with the Spectator could go anywhere without hearing about “this fantastic piece by Codevilla.” The essay has now been turned into a book, available early in September on www.spectator.org, and in the bookstores. The whole episode has restored our faith in the impact that a small opinion journal can have.
Rush Limbaugh remarked that a lot of things fell into place when he read “America’s Ruling Class,” and indeed they do. Consider a few of the people and issues floating around the newsrooms: Elena Kagan. John Kerry’s yacht. Chelsea Clinton’s royal wedding. The Obama challenge to the Arizona immigration law and the federal court’s first response. Obamacare and the people who will run it. Congress’s 22 percent approval rating. A hundred thousand new federal employees. The NAACP and the Tea Party movement. And many more.
A huge issue for the Ruling Class is guns, and we devote considerable space this month to the question of gun ownership and the Second Amendment to the Constitution. A 2009 CNN/Opinion Research poll found that more than 75 percent of Americans believe the Second Amendment “was intended to give individual Americans the right to keep and bear arms for their own defense.” But don’t count many of the ruling class in that 75 percent. You won’t find them clinging to their guns and their religion.
First, gun lawyer Dan Peterson explains the splendid victory in the recent case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, where the Supreme Court ruled the Constitution actually meant what it said and found the gun ban ordinance in Chicago unconstitutional. Decided by a 5-4 majority, it is no less telling in what it reveals about the four dissenters in the case.
Like all card-carrying members of the Ruling Class, the high court’s liberals hate the Second Amendment and don’t believe it actually means what it says. Guns are not politically correct, you see, and even though the Constitution clearly protects the right to have them, these elitists know better what is good for us. In their minds it is fine for the Constitution to protect things it does not mention such as abortion, sodomy, and racial preferences, but things specifically mentioned? Please.
Jim Antle, one of our political reporters, discusses the politics of gun ownership and the dilemma faced by a powerful organization in maintaining its clout, particularly as it tries to influence the Ruling Class while defending the interests of its Country Class members. The National Rifle Association has become one of the largest, richest, and most feared lobbies in Washington, with a vast and vociferous membership. It can have enormous impact on issues involving guns, and has been successful on many fronts. But at times-including the present-it has struck compromises offensive to its vast membership in order to maintain its political power.
One thing you can count on is that the battle over guns is one the Ruling Class wishes would just go away — but only on its terms, of course.