Interesting piece here in the always excellent New York Review about class in American politics. Sarah Byam had a good piece here on Tuppenceworth a few years ago about how the right deny that class exists whenever there’s any debate about economic priorities. To do otherwise would give the lie to the official line that there’s no such thing as class. Like a huge version of the Ritz, rich and poor alike are equally entitled to partake of the American Dream.
And yet, the NYRB piece makes clear, turn the debate to cultural matters and it’s suddenly all Liberal Elites and Privileged Ivy-Leaguers. Verboten most of the time, class resentment is a powerful tool when the issue is gay marriage or Terri Schiavo. It takes some neck to peddle this line when you’re the Yalie son of a president, but that’s never in short supply on the populist right.
It’s the same trick as Michael McDowell pulls when he complains about people playing the race card, which, he assures us, will lead to strife and unrest. See, only people who disagree with Michael can play the race card. Apparently botched deportations of schoolkids, arrests on the morning of a deportee’s wedding and the constitutional abandonment of Irish-born children don’t cause racial unrest at all. That’s all caused by liberals. And uppity foreigners.