Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another landmark on my road to conservatism

Mr. Bookworm, who works in a fairly well-paid profession, has a colleague who dresses her innocent baby in Che logoed clothes; who rails against the Republicans as the party of the rich; who professes to spurn corporate interests; who speaks of Israel's imperialist oppression of the Palestinians; and who vehemently opposes the U.S.'s war for oil in Iraq. This same colleague lives in one of the more expensive parts of town; drives a large, gas-guzzling BMW; travels on vacation (in gas-guzzling airplanes) to fancy destination spots (staffed by underpaid workers); and does not give any indication that she does anything but spend all of her income on her bourgeois pleasures. Aside from finding her hypocrisy (and those Che t-shirts) unpleasant, they remind me of one of my early life impressions that, looking back, was a beginning step in my road to conservatism. I went to a quite prestigous public university (although don't let that confuse you into believing that the university successfully taught anything, at least on the humanities side). I remember the many classes I took, especially the history classes, where the professors really focused on a Marxist view of history. (This school was even then renowned for its Marxist flavor.) All well and good. Even then, I was fairly resistant to this teaching ideology, mostly because I thought it was jargonish, and couldn't understand it -- and wouldn't make the effort to understand it, as I suspected that there was little thought behind the three dollar words. What really struck me, though, was that these teachers, who were practically in tears when they spoke of such folk visionaries as Woodie Guthrie, and who mandated that we read very interesting but manifestly biased writers such as Studs Terkel, lived a life entirely inconsistent with their professed belief systems. They taught maybe three hours a week, had research assistants do the heavy lifting for the articles they were required to publish, and periodically burdened the world with these turgid, jargon-filled articles. For these efforts, they were paid the then-staggering annual salary of $90,000 -- courtesy of the State's taxpayers and my tuition bills. These professors lived without exception in extremely expensive houses in the hills, had maids and gardeners, traveled extensively, dressed well, ate at fine restaurants, and generally lived a life denied most people in the world. Many of them were interesting, thoughtful men (they were all men), who were, in their private lives, kind and humane. And I hated their hypocrisy. I never could reconcile the life they lived with the propaganda they preached to a bunch of empty vessels filling their classrooms. Hating their hypocrisy did not then cause me to question my self-identification as a Democrat because I saw them as a fairly small group amongst the "real" Democrats (the working men and women trying to make a better living, and fighting for truth, justice and the American way). I think, however, that these professorial types have taken over the Democratic party, as evidenced by Mr. Bookworm's colleagues. The power players in the new Democratic party have a political doctrine that is evenly divided between preaching class warfare to others and living the rich life themselves. (A certain Senator from Massachusetts springs to mind.) It seems to me that it's the Republicans who now practice what they preach: we all want and should have a shot at the good life, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, blah, blah, blah, and we want a government that gets out of the way and lets you do that, without any dated Marxist garbage cluttering up the playing field and ensuring that the rich get richer.... Squaring my party identity with my long-held belief system certainly makes life easier on my psyche. UPDATE: I've just learned, through a funny Jonah Goldberg article, that my professors were the first of the "Merlot Democrats."