In a Constitutionally classless society like the United States, intellectual snobbery/elitism is often the default form of pervasive bigotry that is allowed to permeate society. Other forms of monetary and racial discrimination are more noticed and consequently more frequently criticised.
Unlike modern Britain, pre-1917 Russia or pre-Revolutionary France, the United States was founded on a the basis of classlessness. But herein lies an inherent contradiction. The human world, like the animal world, both consciously and unconsciously ranks things. Primitive societies rank people by their usefulness. In such societies, the strong are valued over the weak among men and the fertile valued over the infertile among women.
Feudal societies tended to make things easier by dictating one’s worth by virtue of birth-right. The same can be said of the Hindu caste system, only with an added spiritual component.
But in a society like America, one has the opportunity to make up the rules of snobbery as one goes along.
During the US Civil War, people had to grapple with racial snobbery, something which in parts of the US lasted in a formal sense, into the 1960s.
During the so-called Gilded Age of the late 19th century, wealth was a go-to form of snobbery although the imposition of a Federal Income tax and later, the Great Depression, tended to mitigate the public display of such attitudes by the early 20th century.
But since the time of the Vietnam War, intellectual snobbery has become the defining movement in all-American snobbery.
The 1960s was an era where most Americans had a decent economic living standard and it was also an era where southern segregation ended, white kids listened to black music and America’s external might appeared to be strong.
However, the Vietnam War helped solidify a plague upon American society which exists to this day.
During the war, many young American men were drafted into the armed forces.
One of the more common ways to avoid serving in Vietnam was going to a college or university. Such individuals were exempted from the draft for all intents and purposes.
Because of this, one had a supposedly equal society where those outside of a university environment died in the rice paddies of South East Asia whilst college educated young men partook in the pleasures of the affluent American 1960s.
Although Richard Nixon ended the use of drafted soldiers in 1973, America has yet to recover from the ingrained intellectual snobbery born of the Vietnam draft.
Because all societies, including communist ones have various types of snobbery, it often requires a new snobbery to replace the old. Because many of today’s wealthy in the west prefer to make money rather than spend it, the idea of Gatsby style snobbery looks set to remain in a bygone age.
Because black and white culture is increasingly integrated, it is hard to think that a white kid listening to primarily black hip-hop music would be conspicuously racist.
Yet intellectual snobbery remains. Not only this, but it is actively cultivated by the liberal elite who rather than concealing their snobbery like a wealthy man driving a cheap car or a racist pretending to be neutral on the subject; actively promote it.
Hillary Clinton calling Trump supporters a ‘basket of deplorables’, was a crucial example of this as was Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globe awards in Beverly Hills.
One sees this snobbery everywhere from the liberal British comedian Dom Joly ridiculing conservative social media users who do not use spell check to US commentators like Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert who continually deride Trump voters as ‘stupid rednecks’, as though their votes do not count because of the baseless assumption that they are not highly educated.
Even if all Trump voters were poorly educated, why should this matter?
Modern democracy is about people having representation in exchange for taxation. In the 20th century, the franchise was broadened to include all adult citizens except the criminal. It is not about how intelligent, how rich, how white, how black, how female or how tall one is.
Furthermore, an elongated and expensive education is no substitute for common sense, psychological maturity and experience in the real world.
When the war ended in 1975, many of Vietnam veterans came to resent the war and oppose much of what it did to society. In this sense Vietnam veterans adopted the same ‘opposition with hindsight’ attitude to the war as the rest of America.
Yet ultimately, the liberal movement did not attract many of these men. In many cases however, the conservative movement of the post-Vietnam era did.
The veterans could not relate to the college educated snobs who wrote hippy rock songs about the war while smoking pot and impregnating the local women, while they, the draftees were in South East Asia being shot at from the trees.
Even though many of these college/university students were anti-war, their daily realities were far removed from the men who were actually fighting the war. Many of the soldiers felt that many college educated individuals in the anti-war movement condescended towards them, rather than even attempt to understand let alone relate to them.
This is why many of these men voted for the hawkish Ronald Reagan in his landslide victory of 1984. Where Reagan’s liberal Democratic opponent Walter Mondale was unintentionally condescending, Reagan was a masterful communicator who had a way of making people feel included irrespective of their status in society.
Until the liberal elitists learn this, they may be out of power for a long time. The liberals did as good a job at losing as Trump did at winning.
Liberal elitism remains a key reason for both.
Now watch Adam Garrie talk about his disdain for the intellectual elite:
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.