Surf’s Up! “The New Liberal Aristocracy”


Barack Obama in the Hawaiian Surf


“Limousine liberals” are scarcely new.  They’ve been around for a very long time.


Teddy Kennedy (D-Chappaquiddick) was a great advocate of women’s rights.  He also fought for white suburban kids to be bused an hour or two away to failing inner city schools while his own children attended tony private prep schools that the parents of his targets, whom he routinely denounced as racists, could never have even hoped to begin to afford.  Robert Redford builds a large personal residence near his ski resort at Sundance, Utah, felling hundreds of trees in order to clear a place for it in the woods while opposing any and all other development in the area (even serving as the chairman of the Provo Canyon Sewer Commission in order to give his preferences the writ of law).  John Denver sings against development in the Rocky Mountains while violating numerous environmental and zoning regulations on his own large estate in Aspen, Colorado.  The Washington Post, having supported Obama’s call for higher taxes on the “wealthy,” carefully takes significant steps to ensure that its own investors needn’t pay them.  Politicians (e.g., Walter Mondale and the insufferable Joe Biden) diligently cultivate their personal images as generous, caring champions of the poor and the needy by taxing others while, as it turns out, themselves giving virtually nothing to charity.


Peter Schweizer wrote a blood-curdling book on this subject a few years ago, under the title Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.


And now Victor Davis Hanson, the Stanford-affiliated classicist and commentator, has provided an enlightening update on our new masters in this article.


Surely, though, the peasants ought to just shut up and be grateful.


In the meantime, I’m thinking of running for political office myself, on a platform of seizing my neighbors’ property and their bank accounts and dividing the proceeds up among those who vote for me.  My plan is not only to win political power but to go down in history as a secular saint.  Make your campaign contributions to me large and soon, or you’ll be on my list.



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  • David Kent

    I nominate “Teddy Kennedy (D-Chappaquiddick) was a great advocate of women’s rights” as the funniest statement of the week. Unfortunately, most people won’t get the irony of combining “Chappaquiddick” with “great advocate of women’s rights.” But, if I remember correctly, Teddy didn’t remember Chappaquiddick either. Rich.

  • Kent G. Budge

    I kind of like the term “penthouse proletariat” myself. I seem to recall Petr Beckmann as the originator, but I wouldn’t bet on that.

  • Scott Lloyd

    Dan’s astute observations here highlight an all-to-common aspect of human nature. The remark about Redford reminded me of NIMBYs (“Not In My Backyard”) the type who move into a rural area, build an upscale home, and then try to slam the door on everybody else. I’ve seen it time and again as a newspaper reporter covering municipal government.

    I saw it most recently among one affluent segment of the populace in Draper, Utah, who moved into that historic farming community relatively recently but who stridently opposed the extension of the UTA light rail line into the city on the grounds that it would mar their pristine country-squire lifestyle.

  • kap

    I’ve observed this before in the Book of Mormon. It’s small testament to the books authenticity. Laman and Lemuel are consistently accusing Nephi (or Lehi) of plotting to do something, that they themselves are plotting to do. I suppose at some point I’ll read through and catalog all the accusations they make, but this realization was an eye opener for me in looking at politics. I’m not sure if it’s human nature of just part of the internal calculus that takes place in a scheming mind. But whenever you see someone making accusation in politics, look for precisely those very things in their behavior or agenda and you won’t be surprised (but most certainly disappointed).

    Of course, the exception is, sometimes there are “just” accusations, but generally, those accusations that are made in order to win or maintain power are covered by the Laman and Lemuel rule.

  • Seth James Nielson


    As a staunch conservative myself, I wish I could say that the book “do as I say, not as I do” was an accurate piece. We bought it for my father-in-law for Christmas and (as we guiltily do) read it before we gave it to him. As an academic researcher, I went back looking at 2-3 of the original articles cited and found that several were taking the quotations insanely out of context. This was several years ago, so I don’t remember which ones. If you’d like I could try and dig up a copy of the book and find the examples I’m talking about.

    While I agreed with the premise of the book, it was one I decided I could not recommend.

  • John Ziebarth

    I’ll vote for you. What’s my share?

    • danpeterson

      It depends on how much we can extract from the worker bees — who, by the way, had better darn well not complain, lest we denounce them as greedy and — why not? — racist.

  • Barbara Parker

    Dan, we see this same problem in Republicans, in local politics, who are of the tribe of Ephraim who want to enslave Manasseh in promoting ill-legal immigration to line their pockets and yet expect society to fund the educating, medicating and incarcerating of their cheap labor, all the while labeling themselves as compassionate.

  • andrew h

    While I have long enjoyed John Denver’s songs, especially “Rocky Mountain High,” the hypocrisy of the song always bothered me. In the opening lines of the song Denver states right out that he moved to Colorado in his late 20′s, then a few verses later he states that he doesn’t understand why “they”, “try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more/More people, more scars upon the land.” SO it is OK for him to move there and live there and enjoy it, but anyone who comes in after him and wants to do the same thing that he is doing is a “scar upon the land” talk about bold hypocrisy!