Recently I saw some TV clips from MSNBC and CNN, one critiquing Herman Cain, the other an interview with Michael Moore. They both reminded me that one of strangest aspects of modern American society is the system of indulgences that permeates our entire culture.
In a nutshell, our American elites, even if well-meaning with real concern for the less fortunate, have adopted the medieval practice of compartmentalization. Loud demonstrations of general progressive piety exempt one from consistency. Our medieval ancestors could practice usury if they helped repair a collapsed nave or joined a Crusade, as traditional Christianity tried to deal with an imperfect world of important Christians who did not wish to live by their doctrine.
Today, liberalism puts a comparable burden on its elites: can one occupy Wall Street and still enjoy the luxury of that iPhone 4s? Did the university professor in Zuccotti Park worry about Wall Street when his TIAA-CREF account used to return 8% plus per annum? Can we still jet to Tuscany and worry about carbon footprints? Can we live in Chevy Chase, Malibu, or Woodside and be stalwarts on the barricades of racial integration and multiculturalism? How can we make $200,000 a year as assistant vice provost for diversity affairs, when a part-time lecturer gets 1/5 for the same class a full-time, top-step professor teaches?One can do all the above, in fact, so long as you feel--or pretend to feel--really, really guilty about it; to those with this skewed worldview, manifesting feelings of guilt is seen as evidence of one's innate virtuousness, all outward signs of wealth and privilege to the contrary.