But who are these cultural revolutionaries? The conventional wisdom goes that this is the inner-cities erupting, economically disadvantaged victims of racism enraged over the murder of George Floyd. The reality is something more…bourgeoisie.
As Kevin Williamson observed last week, “These are the idiot children of the American ruling class, toy radicals and Champagne Bolsheviks playing Jacobin for a while until they go back to graduate school.” Most of the culling is taking place not in the streets, but in the faculty lounge, the corporate boardroom, the upstart real estate firm with a socially conscious Twitter footprint and a penchant for Mean Girls GIFs. The most high-profile casualty so far isn’t even a person but a maple syrup, Aunt Jemima, whose threat to world peace seems rather manageable.
Such superficial victories are a clear sign of the bourgeoisie’s soft hand. Meaningful police legislation, the kind that might prevent future George Floyds, currently being worked on by serious reformers, is a difficult push. Whereas reducing policymaking to maximalist slogans is easy; spray-painting a statue is even easier; whining about a visage on a syrup bottle is easier still. And ease is the currency of these weekend warriors ….
The Diana Oughtons of today aren’t about to start blowing up federal buildings, as did the Weather Underground. But they do share that mentality: in deploring their privilege, they’ve come to reject everything that bestowed it upon them, their history, their nationality, their traditions, their culture, most of the past and some of the present as well. As recently as a decade ago, President Barack Obama portrayed America as an imperfect but worthy project, applying its ideals of opportunity and equality to those still left behind. Today such incrementalism is a dirty word.
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