Vanguardism Rears Its Ugly Head

Shorter version of Emmett Rensin’s post at the Democratic Party has become elitist. The rest was inevitable. This stuff was all explained a century ago.

When the vanguard of the proletariat is distinct from the proletariat, it will inevitably become increasingly separated from the objectives of the proletariat. Darned proletariat just doesn’t know what’s good for them. Maybe that’s because it always involves being bossed around by the vanguard who get pretty busy flying from international convocation to international convocation in their private jets.

12 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    I was a bit amused by this line in a recent Peoria Journal Star column about Senator Cullerton’s proposed mileage tax:

    “Remember, Cullerton hails from Chicago, a once-brawny burg of rough-and-tumble politics that now wages battles against evils such as goose liver, trans fat and bottled water. This is the same do-gooder who pushed Illinois to eliminate smoking from bars, therefore making smoking and drinking much safer experiences.”


  • walt moffett Link

    how long before the songs of praise begin for Singapore’s Managed Democracy or some sort of of gender/race/etc neutral voter test begin outside dorm room bull sessions, after the 2020 Great Reapportionment?

  • steve Link

    Yup. Before you know it, the Democrats will be nominating their own billionaire.


  • Modulo Myself Link

    The proletariat is too busy being bossed around by managers and supervisors to worry about what a Brooklyn liberal thinks about them on facebook. The rules that bother most poor people concern showing up for your shift regardless of whether you can find care for your sick child, paying bills and the debt collection notices on times, obeying the police and not having an attitude.

  • michael reynolds Link

    Hah! I had just texted this link to my son and was coming over here to point you to it, Dave.

    It’s a brilliant piece, and I have a feeling it will make an impact. Of course it’s clever as well in that the author carefully sidesteps the specifics of issues like race and gender because that would do nothing to help his cause.

    And there’s the problem that in terms of politics people, right and left, really are rather stupid. The difference is that right-wing stupidity takes the form of dumping on whoever you think is vulnerable – gays, blacks, Latinos, woman. While Left wing stupidity takes the form of moral narcissism, the ostentatious wearing of hair shirts, and a sort of communitarian readiness to accept any sort of drivel so long as it comes from someone with “professor” or “activist” attached to their name.

    Working class whites are “conservatives” and working class blacks and Latinos are “liberal” and neither is served by the political class because of several factors, including the fact that a lot of people want unicorns and insist on unicorns when no unicorns exist. They’re trying to get the political system to do impossible things.

    They’re also underserved because they are easily manipulated, generally by racial or class resentments, which makes them suckers and no one serves suckers, suckers get cleaned out. The GOP deal of “let us destroy the unions and we’ll say some more bad stuff about black people to stroke your erogenous zones,” is sucker bait, and boy did the suckers bite.

    But while conservative stupid is nastier than liberal stupid, the fact that millions of allegedly intelligent kids think we’re going to spend a trillion dollars to create millions more unemployable English majors is every bit as stupid. Bernie Sanders’s budget rests on an assumption of 5% growth. Five percent. Forever! Yay! Shouldn’t be a problem. This revolution will pay for itself and we’ll be welcomed as liberators!

    A more honest Vox piece would just admit that we are becoming way too much a democracy and way too little a republic. People who may be geniuses at their job, or brilliant at raising kids, or whatever, turn stupid when confronted by the complexities of government. They instinctively want to simplify in the mistaken belief that they will then understand trade policy or middle east politics. On the right that simplification is Trump and on the left it’s Sanders.

  • Andy Link

    Is there any irony in there Michael?

  • jan Link

    Apropos was the author’s observation that:

    The Daily Show, a program that more than any other thing advanced the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that its opponents were, before anything else, stupid. The smug liberal found relief in ridiculing them.

    It’s this constant mocking of the common people, done by liberal intellectuals — so patronizing and antagonistic — which serves no purpose other than to take their political opponents down to their knees. In a way the working class is deflecting their anger towards this liberal arrogance by supporting a man who forcefully demonstrates the same arrogance right back in their face.

  • Modulo Myself Link

    Stewart is deeply supportive of the American military. He’s also a professional wrestling fan. He’s no intellectual. He gave the star treatment to whatever guest came on, regardless of party. The ‘common’ people he tended to mock were rich Republican politicians and media figures of the Bush Administration. Plus he happened to think the Tea Party sucked.

  • Jan Link


    Even though the excerpt included Jon Stewart’s daily show as an exemplary format of liberal arrogance, my comment was meant as an overall one dealing with much of the attitude of the left. IMO, mocking is seen on the right too, but not in such quantities and with such absolutism. BTW, I enjoyed Jon Stewart. Many of the absurdities he underlined in his dialogues were classic.

  • Ben Wolf Link

    Michael, it is difficult to imagine you wrote that without awareness of its incoherence and self-contradiction. But I do believe if anyone can, it’s you.

  • steve Link

    “It’s this constant mocking of the common people, done by liberal intellectuals — so patronizing and antagonistic”

    Meh. I grew up around the Midwest. We were mostly broke. We made fun of New Yorkers and people from California. Still do. When i was younger we folks from the Midwest were tougher. We didnt whine and do the victim thing. Now they are a bunch of pussies. Pussified by the right wing media. Pathetic.


  • Gray Shambler Link

    Maybe Jon Stewart doesn’t have beliefs, except that Jon Stewart should do well. Like a good politician, or preacher, a comedian feeds off what the audience wants to hear instinctively. He doesn’t shape the audience, they shape him. And by the way, his is the same schtik over and over again.

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