Ross Douthat is Right

Ross Douthat is Right September 20, 2012

Mitt Romney, who is the moral equivalent of tofu, does not tell us who he is, but he tells us volumes about who he thinks we are and what the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism wants:

Were Mitt Romney’s now-famous comments at a fundraising dinner in May — in which he appeared to write off 47 percent of Americans as self-pitying freeloaders with no self-respect — a window into the elusive “real Romney” and proof that his moderate-seeming façade has always been a sham?

Who could possibly know? Romney has built his career, in business and in politics, on telling people what they want to hear in order to persuade them to let him manage their affairs. This is a man who tried to get to the left of Ted Kennedy in their 1994 Senate race and to the right of Rick Perry in 2012. The idea that he would reveal his true political beliefs to a group of people he’s trying to flatter, cajole and spook into giving him more money may be appealing to his critics, but it isn’t necessarily convincing.

What these comments definitely tell us, though, is what Mitt Romney, master consultant, feels his “clients” in the Republican donor base want to be told about this election and what will inspire them to dig deep and give freely to his cause. Assuming those instincts are correct, his comments help illuminate the way many well-off Americans feel about their less-fortunate fellow countrymen – and it isn’t a pretty thing to see.

All that Randian stuff about Makers vs. Takers is a feature, not a bug, for the people nearest and dearest to Romney. And those guys don’t have a burning interest in abortion (hey! it keeps down the numbers of the riff raff, that’s why there are so many population control initiatives funded by wealthy benefactors), gay “marriage”, the HHS Mandate and all that other junk the little people apparently care about as campaign noise machine gins up the vote.

Don’t get too smug Obamaphiles. As Douthat points out, your guy holds the poor in the same contempt. And the apologists for Team Obama are, if possible filled with even more smug and fatuous elitism (hey if a “scientific fundamentalist” in the rock-solid field of “evolutionary psychology” says something who but a fool can doubt it?).

What both representatives of Caesaroligarchic power have in common is a lickspittle, spaniel-like devotion to the privileges of rich over poor and strong over weak–and an unerring sense of how to truckle to the former at the expense and demonization of the latter:

For rich Republicans, the stereotype is all about the money: They have it, other Americans don’t, and those resentful, entitled others might just have enough votes to wage class warfare and redistribute the donors’ hard-earned millions to the indolent and irresponsible.

For rich Democrats, the stereotype is all about the culture wars: They think they’ve built an enlightened society, liberated from archaic beliefs and antique hang-ups, and yet these Jesus freaks in flyover country are mobilizing to restore the patriarchy.

Both groups of donors seem to be haunted by dystopian scenarios in which the masses rise up and tear down everything the upper class has built. For Republicans, the dystopia is (inevitably) “Atlas Shrugged.” For liberals, it’s one part “Turner Diaries,” one part “Handmaid’s Tale.”

It’s not Left vs. Right. It’s our Ruling Class vs. the rest of us. Learn to think different. Learn to think with the mind of Christ. Learn the Church’s teaching. Otherwise, get used to slavery–and with chains you voluntarily put on.

“It is for freedom that Christ has made us free.” Those words were written by a man living under Imperial Roman Rule. From his freedom of soul–a freedom wrought by the One who said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free” would eventually come all our political expressions of freedom that we enjoy today. If we abandon the freedom of Christ in order to play go along get along with the state or the party, we will lose the political freedom as well and become slaves of the servile Caesaroligarchic state. Both Obama and Romney make that clear. They serve (and are) predators on the weak and poor. Caesar and Mammon do not love you. They see you as food. Jesus does love you and gives himself as food. The contrast could not be more striking.

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  • CJ

    “Jesus does love you and gives himself as food.”


  • IC

    Caesaroligarchic is the coolest neologism I have heard this year.

    And yeah, I agree with you more than not. This election season makes me want to vomit. They usually do but this one is special.

    • IC

      Those last lines are awesome, man.

  • Sam Schmitt
  • Ted Seeber

    “Both groups of donors seem to be haunted by dystopian scenarios in which the masses rise up and tear down everything the upper class has built. ”

    I damn well hope so, because the past decade has proven to me that I’m living in a dystopia scenario that the upper class has built.

  • Ted Seeber
  • Thomas R

    Getting past Mark’s, now fairly common, hysteria I thank him for the link. Douthat is an interesting guy I should probably read more of.

  • Ronald King

    Actually, this political machine and the socioeconomic class conflicts haven’t changed since I was born 65 years ago. “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

    • Confederate Papist

      Try 150 years…central government growth and the crony capitalism/handouts-to-certain-people/class stuff has been going on since the 1780’s and was largely thwarted successfully until the late 1850’s and early to mid 1860’s. Then it was game over.

      Anyone who thinks they want to get back to the “America of old” has no idea what that really is because they have never been taught what it was in skool.

      • Ted Seeber

        As you say, the seeds have existed since Federalism began in 1796, but I trace the actual beginning to the change in monetary policy (and monopolization of money creation) that started with bimetalism in 1873. For proof, I offer the history of a very small denomination of Christians, the Keilians, who founded Bethel, Missouri; and Aurora, Oregon. Keil was a utopian. In the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s his communes were highly successful, but bimetalism restricted their ability to create currency, and after his death in 1877, the communes quickly degraded. By 1883, both Bethel and the Aurora Mills communes had disbanded. The actual Mill at Aurora is now a museum dedicated to the history of the Keilians.

        My point in this story was, before 1873, there was enough economic freedom in the United States to allow such local experiments to exist. After 1873, Congress started using the power over commerce to create class structures and infrastructure to support capitalism.

  • Will

    And what do you have against tofu?

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      We’re dudes.

      And apparently the commenting software requires I be more verbose, so here I go…

      Phytic acid and plant estrogens!!!

  • My favorite thing about that article was all commenters at the New York Times saying that Douthat was utterly wrong to say that liberal elites regard Red Staters’ fundamental religious convictions to be obstacles to progress, and also that of course those fundamental religious convictions were obstacles to progress.