Sunday, September 27, 2009

Conservative Elitist Guilt

NRO's got a piece by Victor Davis Hanson in which he accuses Barack Obama, our Commander-in-Chief, of being (gasp) a college administrator.  The horror!  And his evidence: Obama does things which can be compared to things a college administrator does.  Like surround himself with smart people and ignore conservatives who attack him.  Obama also thinks he's better than other people (apparently unaware of the presidential tradition of being on-par with the common man) and keeps trying to convince people that he's right and that they should adopt his policies.

And no, I'm not joking.  This is it.  He wrote two fucking pages worth of this crap, and this is the best he's got.  Oh, and czars.  Obama uses czars, just like college administrators do.  And overall, Obama's an ivory tower intellectual who just doesn't know how the common man thinks.  Commen men, like Victor Davis Hanson.  And oddly, I was thinking about the fact that Hanson is writing for the National Review, and they're generally not known for hiring Schlitz-drinking schlubs to write for them.

So I looked up his Wiki page and lo and behold: Hanson's a college professor educated in the classics.  He's even written books that would bore me to tears.  Get a load of this:
His mother was a lawyer and judge, his father an educator and college administrator.... Hanson received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1975 and his Ph.D. in classics from Stanford University in 1980.
Indeed.  Hanson's mother was a judge and his father was a (gulp!) college administrator.  And mind you, that's the exact phrase he used to describe Obama, both in the title of the piece, as well as throughout the post.  And Hanson is a PhD from Stanford.  Stanford.  I sure wish I was elitist enough to get into Stanford.  And a doctorate in the classics, no less.  I was dumb enough to get a workingman's degree in accounting.  Needless to say, Dr. Hanson's a career professor.

And this is the guy criticizing Obama for being a college administrator.  I mean, the whole piece is dripping in scorn against Obama for being a dreaded "college administrator," while ridiculing university culture.  He even attacks Obama for being a community organizer, because professors also complain that they're not paid enough.  Except...Hanson was the underpaid professor, while Obama was actually helping people.  And unless I missed it, it doesn't seem that Hanson mentioned his college background in any of this.

And before you type a comment suggesting that this is standard projectionism, I assure you, you're wrong.  This is yet another self-loating conservative who wishes he was a beer-drinking, NASCAR-watching, tobacco-chewing, hardworking, real American schlub, because that's what the Republican Party has been reduced to.  They've so thoroughly adopted Southern Inferioty Complex as a party platform that their most accomplished people are simply embarrassed at their own accomplishments. 

So guys like Hanson write long articles attacking their opponents for their own faults, simply as a way of atoning for not being a white southern slob.  His column was a fairly pointless attack, as the only folks who might possibly see the connection Hanson's trying to make are people who already hate Obama.  So the whole thing just serves as a sad admission of shame on Hanson's part, because the person he's heaping scorn on is most assuredly himself.  Yet another conservative intellectual bites the dust.


Mike Goldman said...

I don't see why this isn't standard self-loathing projection? I mean, I see that you specifically addressed the question but I don't see how you resolved that it is something different.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Mike - I see what you're saying and even felt that I hadn't explained that part better. But a big part of that is that I think it's dismissive to simply label this "projection" and move on. Because this really is a different from that.

I think of projection as being more about an attack defense. For example, when Rove attacks Obama for politicizing the Whitehouse, he knows what a filthy hypocrite he's being. His entire point is to smear Obama with something that he infamously did, and at best, his opponents will say "But that's what you guys did" and neutral observers will imagine that both sides are just as bad. And because it's well known that the Bushies did it, it's a smear on Obama to put them in the same category. Plus, Rove just gets a big kick out of this sort of thing because he's a major league douchebag.

Projection is also used by people who are clueless that they're describing their own behavior. They see everyone as being like themselves and so when they attempt to use empathy to put themselves in the other side's shoes, they end up only describing themselves. For example, conservatives are political fascists who ignore reality, so it's only natural for them to think that EVERYONE'S a political fascist and assume bad motives on their behalf.

But Hanson's attack was different, as it was no sort of attack at all. Nobody's going to hate Obama for being like a college administrator. The very idea of this attack was absurd and the specific examples he gave were truly sad. Even diehard Obama haters aren't going to be repeating this one.

But Hanson can't be ignorant to the fact that he's describing himself. He knows he's been a professor surrounded by academics for several decades and he hates it. It embarrasses him that he's an ivory tower intellectual in a movement that uses ivory tower intellectuals as punching bags. He's not actually trying to smear Obama as much as he's joining in on the fun. And this way, he gets to attack Obama while distancing himself from his own past and (best of all) have something original to add to the discussion. After all, there are only so many ways to write "Obama sux" before it starts to get redundant.

So while Hanson's attack can be called "projection," I think that understates the epic sadness of what he wrote. After all, this is a man who once devoted his life to a worthy endeavor that most folks would be proud of, but because he's latched onto a movement that demonizes PhD professors who teach the classics, he's now trashing his life as well as the life of his father. And that's a tragedy worthy of Homer.

I should add in all this that Hanson is apparently a registered Democrat who felt that the party left him after 9/11. So it's not like he's a lifelong conservative who also happened to love the classics. Rather, he's a conservative convert trying to impress his new friends by shitting on his former self. Oh, and unless I'm mistaken, he no longer teaches. And he gave up the classics awhile back and had been teaching military history.

Anonymous said...

I should add in all this that Hanson is apparently a registered Democrat who felt that the party left him after 9/11

VDH is an Imperial Valley Dixiecrat and gentleman subsidy farmer with a Hoover Institute gig.

He's a Democrat the way Velveeta™ is cheese.