Christopher Lasch diagnoses the “thinking classes”

“The thinking classes are fatally removed from the physical side of life-hence their feeble attempt to compensate by embracing a strenuous regimen of gratuitous exercise. Their only relation to productive labor is that of consumers. They have no experience of making anything substantial or enduring. They live in a world of abstractions and images, a simulated world that consists of computerized models of reality ‘hyperreality,’ as it has been called-as distinguished from the palpable, immediate, physical reality inhabited by ordinary men and women. Their belief in the ‘social construction of reality’-the central dogma of postmodernist thought-reflects the experience of living in an artificial environment from which everything that resists human control (unavoidably, everything familiar and reassuring as well) has been rigorously excluded. Control has become their obsession. In their drive to insulate them selves against risk and contingency-against the unpredictable hazards that afflict human life-the thinking classes have seceded not just from the common world around them but from reality itself.”

“Upper-middle-class liberals, with their inability to grasp the importance of class differences in shaping attitudes toward life, fail to reckon with the class dimension of their obsession with health and moral uplift. They find it hard to understand why their hygienic conception of life fails to command universal enthusiasm. They have mounted a crusade to sanitize American society: to create a ‘smoke-free environment,’ to censor everything from pornography to ‘hate speech,’ and at the same time, incongruously, to extend the range of personal choice in matters where most people feel the need of solid moral guidelines. When confronted with resistance to these initiatives, they betray the venomous hatred that lies not far beneath the smiling face of upper-middle-class benevolence. Opposition makes humanitarians forget the liberal virtues they claim to uphold. They become petulant, self-righteous, intolerant. In the heat of political controversy, they find it impossible to conceal their contempt for those who stubbornly refuse to see the light-those who ‘just don’t get it,’ in the self satisfied jargon of political rectitude.”

Bonus: Paul Kingsnorth

“This process accelerates under its own steam, as Weil explained, because ‘whoever is uprooted himself uproots others’. The more we are pulled, or pushed, away from our cultures, traditions and places — if we had them in the first place — the more we take that restlessness out with us into the world. If you have ever wondered why it is de rigueur amongst Western cultural elites to demonise roots and glorify movement, to downplay cohesion and talk up diversity, to deny links with the past and strike out instead for a future that never quite arrives, consider this: they are the children of globalised capitalism, and the inheritors of the unsettling of the West, and they have transformed that rootlessness into an ideology.”

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