October 18, 2020

Clerisy heresy.

I'm reading "An Ex-Liberal Reluctantly Supports Trump/How historian Fred Siegel came to appreciate the president’s defense of ‘bourgeois values’ against the ‘clerisy’" by Tunku Varadarajan (WSJ). 
[Fred Siegel] sees [President Trump] as a champion of "bourgeois values," under threat from the "clerisy," Mr. Siegel's word for the dominant elites who "despise" those values. He regards Mr. Biden as a "captive" of this clerisy, and running mate Kamala Harris as the "embodiment of it."...
By 2012... Mr. Siegel had developed an exceedingly low opinion of President Obama, whom he describes as "a faux intellectual with preacher's cadences and an academic veneer." In his opinion, "the worst thing" about Mr. Obama was "his effect on race relations. We couldn't have the cold civil war we have now without Obama, because he, in a very cunning way, exacerbated all of our racial tensions." 
Under Mr. Obama, Mr. Siegel says, "racial grievance" took on a "new legitimacy, and it came from a president talking in asides, and saying things between the lines. He didn't push back against anything, not even against the idea that Michael Brown said 'Hands up, don't shoot' in Ferguson [Mo.], which was just a fabrication."... 
"Ferguson allowed Ivy League grads to assert their 'natural leadership,' in opposition to lowlife cops and guys with pickup trucks -- again, the deplorables." In Mr. Siegel's understanding, wokeism holds that "the important truths are already known, and that the American aristocracy has to impose those truths on the country." These are "given positions" -- irrefutable and sacrosanct. Wokeism, he says, is a "perilous threat" to America and particularly to the First Amendment. "It says we don't need debate. We don't need free speech. We don't need freedom of religion. We need to obey."...

90 comments:

Michael K said...

His book, "Revolt Against the Masses" is particularly good.

This short book rewrites the history of modern American liberalism. It shows that what we think of as liberalism—the top-and-bottom coalition we associate with President Obama—began not with Progressivism or the New Deal but rather in the wake of WWI, in disillusionment with American society. In the 1920s, the first thinkers to call themselves liberals adopted the hostility to bourgeois life that had long characterized European intellectuals of both the left and right.

Pretty good analysis. "Liberals" was adopted to replace "Progressives" after Wilson's Fascism made "Progressive" less acceptable.

Mark said...

Old clueless conservative misinterprets the black experience.

Why you hold this up as insight is beyond me, but I am sure your older white commentators will agree.

Joe Smith said...

This guy is on to something. Especially about Obama being a phony. His own justice department, led by radical wingman Holder, verified that the 'hands up' thing was a hoax.

All of these pointy-headed liberals and academics (sorry AA) have no idea of 'real' America.

The America of men and women grinding out blue collar jobs just trying to get by and feed their families.

Men and women who play in softball leagues on the weekends and bowling leagues on Friday nights. People who love high school football and drink beer out of a can.

People who lease or rent, and when it's time to do a big house remodel, put down laminate floors and granite tile, not Brazilian mahogany and Calcutta marble.

They've never had grease under their fingernails and, despite lofty degrees from Ivy League schools, can't drive a stick shift or change a tire.

They've never had leftovers two days in a row, and if they had, it would be something from that little Michelin Star place that just opened in Georgetown.

And country music? Don't even get me started. They've only watched Ken Burns' series (if that) and treat it like an anthropological excursion...look at all the hicks.

And if they knew any of this when they were kids, or grew up blue collar, then they clearly despise it now.

Fuck them all...they don't know America.

Lurker21 said...


Read Siegel's book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class. If I had to pick one book that explains how we got where we are now, that would be a serious contender for the honor. It's not encyclopedic. It's more of a sketch. His subject is how the elitist attitudes of liberal intellectuals in the 1910s and 1920s came to dominate modern liberalism, displacing earlier populist, progressive or social democratic views. If nothing else, it's a good thought piece and possible corrective to the view that all evil goes back to Wilson or the Roosevelts.

Wince said...

I concur, except for the "reluctantly".

Carol said...

George Will used that "clerisy" term in Statecraft as Soulcraft in 1983.

Must be an acolyte.

Aggie said...

It truly is a class war. In past eras, class wars were along the lines of aristocracy versus the peasantry, or along hierarchical lines of wealth and social position. But all of that is blurred now. Now it's a class war that is based on your belief system, and it's terribly insidious. It cuts across wealth, social position, education, and increasingly, race. The new class war is not about any of society's physical trappings, except maybe a bias that inherent with urban and rural dwellers. I'm pretty highly educated, and my social circle is too, mostly. We're all deplorables though.

BidenFamilyTaxPayerFundedCrackPipe said...

By 2012... Mr. Siegel had developed an exceedingly low opinion of President Obama, whom he describes as "a faux intellectual with preacher's cadences and an academic veneer."

In his opinion, "the worst thing" about Mr. Obama was "his effect on race relations. We couldn't have the cold civil war we have now without Obama, because he, in a very cunning way, exacerbated all of our racial tensions."


That is it. That is so spot on.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Full agreement with all of that, but mainly I wanted to note that Siegel did a really good City Journal “10 Blocks” podcast this week about the “crisis of liberalism”.

That podcast is consistently excellent with a wide variety of interesting guests saying something worth hearing.

hombre said...

Clarity vs. “clerisy.” The ring of truth. Refreshing.

Jupiter said...

He regards Mr. Biden as a "captive" of this clerisy, and running mate Kamala Harris as the "embodiment of it."

He's got Biden right, although I don't see any evidence Biden minds being captured. He we will go along with whatever works. But he's got Harris all wrong. Harris is a stupid whore. She isn't smart enough to follow the logic of the ideology she fronts for, she just laughs and parrots the lie of the week.

daskol said...

That’s about right. The Dem platform has all the intellectual sophistication and depth that I had as a 15 year old.

buwaya said...

K.Harris isn't the "embodiment" of the clerisy.
You have to go to a university for that. You need an actual believer to be that.

K.Harris is a very different cat. She's the usual sort of creature that inhabits systems like these. An amoral operator that just does what needs doing to get ahead. I doubt she believes in anything.

The Drill SGT said...

WSK?

No matter. I don't have a subscription, but agree with both points:
- Obama poisoning wells
- Clersy dismantling our culture

Achilles said...

This guy has courage. Unlike a lot of people.

Multiple stories today of Trump supporters being attacked viciously by Biden supporters.

Crickets from the sources that Ann reads.

Ann seems to be hiding from a lot of things that are only reported on "Trashy" news sites.

tim in vermont said...

I think that the real “ex-liberals” are the people running the Democratic Party.

RichardJohnson said...

Not having a subscription to the WSJ, I can't view the entire article, so I don't know if the article mentions a book that Fred Siegel has written.
The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class.

This short book rewrites the history of modern American liberalism. It shows that what we think of liberalism today – the top and bottom coalition we associate with President Obama - began not with Progressivism or the New Deal but rather in the wake of the post-WWI disillusionment with American society. In the twenties, the first writers and thinkers to call themselves liberals adopted the hostility to bourgeois life that had long characterized European intellectuals of both the left and the right. The aim of liberalism’s foundational writers and thinkers such as Herbert Croly, Randolph Bourne, H.G. Wells, Sinclair Lewis and H.L Mencken was to create an American aristocracy of sorts, to provide a sense of hierarchy and order associated with European statism.

Like communism, Fabianism, and fascism, modern liberalism, critical of both capitalism and democracy, was born of a new class of politically self-conscious intellectuals. They despised both the individual businessman's pursuit of profit and the conventional individual's pursuit of pleasure, both of which were made possible by the lineaments of the limited nineteenth-century state.

tim maguire said...

Nice to see growing recognition of the vacuousness of Obama, a man of decidedly pedestrian intellect whose praises were endlessly sung by the cultural elites. And, of course, the damage that can be done by such disconnect between reality and perception.

gadfly said...

So Fred Siegel, an ex-liberal (is that possible?), is against learning and knowledge and Trump is his champion. That sounds right given Trump's intellect, but if you have no learning or knowledge, how could he possibly defend a concept of called "bourgeois" anything? I suspect the president cannot define the word, let alone be aware that social concepts such as mediocrity cannot and does not exist inside his narcissistic world.

Wake up, Freddy!

CWJ said...

I don't think the clerisy required Ferguson to assert their self arrogated natural leadership. But other than that, there's nothing in the quoted excerpts with which I disagree.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

This is why we have teh 2nd Amendment
To shoot anyone who thinks they can get rid of the 1st.

It's kind of like Asimov's Foundation series

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Slag it all you want, but postwar Western middle-class culture made all this possible, folks. I’ll miss it, but at least I get to watch postwar Western middle-class Progs chewed up and spit out by the very things they professed to want. Always entertaining.

gspencer said...

Ask Amy Wax about her battle defending "bourgeois values" while employed at a liberal law school.

tim in vermont said...

"That is it. That is so spot on.”

My thought exactly. And remember when the U.S. was unable to negotiate a deal to keep some troops in Iraq to keep it from going to hell? You know who was responsible for that failed negotiation? Joe Biden, but don’t worry about Joe! He came out of it with a 1.5 billion dollar contract awarded to his brother.

The Obama Administration was a complete corrupt shit show.

buwaya said...

"misinterprets the black experience"

What does the black experience have to do with anything?
That stuff is relevant only so far as its propaganda value is useful.
Or that some propaganda line can be attached to it.

All that is in aid of a white vs white caste war. Black people themselves are not combatants but a small part of the terrain over which the two sides fight.

Political Junkie said...

Aggie...Agree and my circumstances are similar. Also, if Aggie reflects your college, then I attended your rival. Both are good schools, but I never considered A&M because I preferred Austin of the 1980s over Bryan/College Station.

Michael K said...

Blogger gadfly said...
So Fred Siegel, an ex-liberal (is that possible?), is against learning and knowledge and Trump is his champion.


gadfly pretends to be a member of the clerisy but I have yet to see a valid point made by him. There is a reason why your team has gone back to "Progressive." Like Wilson, you are the real Fascists. The billionaires running your candidates are similar to the Thyssens and Krupps that funded you-know-who.

Psota said...

Siegel (and others) are realizing very late in the game that we are living through very ideological times...but that the ideological battles are being fought in the cultural and racial arenas, rather than in politics.

BidenFamilyTaxPayerFundedCrackPipe said...

gadfly - YOU wake up. Despite Trump's flaws - his flaws are nothing compared to the LIE Machine that is the modern democrat party. YOUR party.

Wilbur said...

Mark said...
Old clueless conservative misinterprets the black experience.
****************************************************************

I would love to hear how you interpret the black experience. Please enlighten us.

Achilles said...

buwaya said...

K.Harris isn't the "embodiment" of the clerisy.
You have to go to a university for that. You need an actual believer to be that.

K.Harris is a very different cat. She's the usual sort of creature that inhabits systems like these. An amoral operator that just does what needs doing to get ahead. I doubt she believes in anything.


She doesn't even have pride.

She can put people in jail for things she did and laugh.

Only a terrible person could support something like that.

gilbar said...

K.Harris is... the usual sort of creature that inhabits systems like these. An amoral operator that just does what needs doing to get ahead. I doubt she believes in anything

Serious Question
*IF* we lived in a Fascist Dictatorship, or a Communist Totalitarianism...
does ANYONE think that Kamela would NOT be working for the Government?
does ANYONE see her going to a gulag instead of ratting out her neighbors?

Achilles said...

gadfly said...

So Fred Siegel, an ex-liberal (is that possible?), is against learning and knowledge and Trump is his champion. That sounds right given Trump's intellect, but if you have no learning or knowledge, how could he possibly defend a concept of called "bourgeois" anything? I suspect the president cannot define the word, let alone be aware that social concepts such as mediocrity cannot and does not exist inside his narcissistic world.

Wake up, Freddy!


I am pretty sure gadly is the dumbest person posting on this blog.

He has some stiff competition.

But his posts are longer than the others generally.

BUMBLE BEE said...

I just saw a Biden/Harris commercial which stated that Obama and he led us out of the 2009 recession Next commercial, Samuel L Jackson, with the backdrop of KKK behind him spoke of black voter suppression by the KKK. Sam, (those guys were democrats BTW), then went on to imply Trump wanted that too. Neither were by DNC, but by PACs. These PAC commercials Flash their names in tall skinny letters at the bottom of the screen so fast you can't get to the name of the PAC, which is embedded among them. %100 shuck and jive.

tim in vermont said...

Mark has got nothing because he knows that the hard drive is genuine and that anything he says on that subject is just going to amplify the issue, therefore, like Howard, he just throws out drive-by taunt attempts and runs and hides.

n.n said...

He must be a yesterliberal. That said, wokeism is an ideology of muddled and drowsy, that, among other things, embraces diversity of color and other class-based bigotry.

n.n said...

“crisis of liberalism”

Liberalism is divergent. Libertarianism is organic. Progressivism is unqualified monotonic change. Conservativism is moderating. Principles matter.

narciso said...

A very good piece, siegel is an iconoclast, he voted for mondale in 84, like krauthammer, then gop in 2008 (I assume for palin, because mccain gave no reasons) and 2012,

Two-eyed Jack said...

Not enough quotation marks. Missed "running 'mate,'" for example. Quotation marks serve to subtly alter the reading voice in your head. With enough quotation marks you can ratchet it up to Pee-wee Herman intensity.

Lurker21 said...


Skepticism about academic elites isn't so much hatred of learning and knowledge as it is a recognition that intellectual elites are acting in their own interest when it comes to politics and policy and that their prescriptions aren't necessarily in the best interest of the rest of the country. Surely democracy allows non-intellectuals to speak their own minds and present their own views on what is in their own and the country's best interest. Public intellectuals and academics aren't always speaking with greater knowledge and learning when they talk about national affairs. Sometimes they are just mouthpieces for ideological views. That's especially true today, given the degree of ideological conformity that universities and the mainstream media demand.

If Obama divided us racially, it was more by omission than by commission. He didn't make much effort to bring the country together. It's unlikely he could have done anything to narrow the right-left, Republican-Democrat chasm even if he tried, but he doesn't seem to have attempted much to bring Black and White together in any meaningful way. Perhaps he couldn't. Whites took his election to mean that racial division was over. Blacks understood it as a step towards addressing problems that had been around for decades. There was going to be more African-American self-assertion whatever any president did, and it wasn't going to come from the bottom up, but from younger, educated, middle class activists (not necessarily Black) who think that their moment has come.

Achilles said...

Segregation now. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever.

Democrats have been racists for their entire existence as a party.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

She's the usual sort of creature that inhabits systems like these. An amoral operator that just does what needs doing to get ahead.

I'm not one to reference Harry Potter, usually, but:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXoCg_q1YEU

Skeptical Voter said...

To parpaphrase an old Reagan qoute. "It's not that our liberal friends are ignorant. It's just that they know so much that isn't so."

I look at Gadfly's comments (and also think of one of my progressive friends) who declares that Trump has "no learning or knowledge". Yup--Trump never did learn what passes for learning and knowledge among our progressive friends in the clerisy. Their heads have been stuffed with "learning and knowledge" of a sort that turns highly credentialed people in to educated fools. At the end of a long professional life amongst highly credentialed people (you have to be highly credentialed yourself in order to run with that crowd) I can say that I met more than a few such fools. Cheer up Gadfly, you've got lots of company in the clerisy--assuming that you're a member--a fact that, based on the level of your comments, is not in evidence.

tim in vermont said...

"The FBI has a duty to inform us. If they believe this was maybe Russian disinformation, they should give us a defensive briefing," Johnson told Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures."

"If, for example, they also believe that what information this whistleblower gave us is fraudulent, that would also be a crime, and FBI should tell us that."


Hard to argue with that.

Readering said...

I miss Obama.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Obama's most magnificent gift: He could give one hell of a speech. As long as he had a teleprompter. No teleprompter, then it was just a series of "ums" and "ahs" and "let me start overs." Of course, speechifying is all he could do.

Yancey Ward said...

The Democratic Party as it stood in the 1990s is on the way out- you see it in the all 70+ year old "leaders" of the party (the same applies to the Republican Party, too, but in a very different and important way). You can't make common cause with radical extremists to acquire political power- history is unequivocal about the outcome- once the moderates do so, the radicals are the ones who take the power, not the moderates that used the radicals to acquire it in the first place. It doesn't matter if it is done through violent means or electoral means- the radicals, even if far smaller in numbers, have far more intensity and far less moral scruples, and the moderates just crumble before them.

If Biden wins next month along with the Senate going Democrat, Biden won't serve even a single year if he doesn't sign bills expanding the Supreme Court, legalizing and making citizens of all illegal residents, paying reparations to blacks, anything the Green New Deal advocates propose, and start seriously restricting the sale of firearms. The radicals always have Harris in the batter's box, and Biden knows it. If he resists them (and the same applies to Pelosi and Schumer, by the way), they will simply be replaced by any means necessary. The radicals have the whip hand, and they know it and are now using it ruthlessly.

Chuck said...

Wait a minute! Fred Siegel is cited as an "ex-liberal"?

He's a fellow at the Manhattan Institute? When, exactly, was he a liberal? Tunku Varadarajan does a history of Siegel's presidential voting history, which is an odd mix of moderation and "crank." Siegel wasn't a conservative for much of the late great Bill Buckley's career. The last time he was a real liberal may have been during the Nixon Administration. And as far as being a libertarian, it seems that Siegel does that now to hold down a paycheck as a Manhattan Institute fellow.

Nice work if you can get it.

So he's a dubious "ex-liberal," and he gets his paycheck from an organization whose lifeblood is conservative Republican donors. And this is supposed to be an inspiring conversion moment?

Unknown said...

gadfly is the perfect example of the clerisy. Pretentious, vapidly stupid and one-dimensional in worldview, puts down accomplished people while sneering at their alleged lack of education and intellect - he's got it all.

RigelDog said...

Wow, he gets it. He really really gets it. And what a perfect description of Obama and his sleek facade and his poisonous mendacity.

Maillard Reactionary said...

Siegel is right about Obama, but I would add that he was acted in a treasonous fashion when he was President. What a disgrace.

Jupiter is right about Harris. So is buwaya. Her evil has many facets, being wet at both ends is only one of them.

Joe Smith said...

"Nice to see growing recognition of the vacuousness of Obama, a man of decidedly pedestrian intellect whose praises were endlessly sung by the cultural elites."

Obama was the result of liberal white guilt and a quota hire mentality.

DanTheMan said...

>>Old clueless conservative misinterprets the black experience.

Thanks for making the author's point so plainly.

You pretend there is ONE black experience. The correct one, of course, that fits with your "enlightened" view of the right way that black people think.



Greg The Class Traitor said...

gadfly mumbled stupidly...
So Fred Siegel, an ex-liberal (is that possible?), is against learning and knowledge

Being against modern American academia is a basic requirement for anyone who is FOR learning and knowledge.

Unlike you, gadfly

Greg The Class Traitor said...

If Obama divided us racially, it was more by omission than by commission.

Wrong.

Identify politics is about dividing people. Dividing based on sex, on skin color, on religion. It's about ginning up hatred of the Other.

It is the soul of the Left, and Obama is and was a hard core Leftist.

For Obama it was a feature, not a bug.

As it will be for any other elected Democrat.

If you want America to come together, you need to vote Republican until the Left gives up on Identity Politics

Marcus said...

Mark said...
"Old clueless conservative misinterprets the black experience.

"Why you hold this up as insight is beyond me, but I am sure your older white commentators will agree."

Mark is both a racist and and ageist. Hopes to impress the ugly, thirty-something feminists by his "fits the narrative" remarks. As another commenter said, let's hear Mark lecture us ignorant whiteys on the Black Experience. Liberal dick raises his hateful head, hoping for Inga and Chuck's approval

THEOLDMAN

On Nov 4th, I'll be sure to be back to laugh and gloat in his online face

tcrosse said...

We have a so-called Left that’s contemptuous of the Workers and Peasants, but admires the Oligarchs. Marx and Lenin would be shocked.

tcrosse said...

An occupational hazard of academics is the temptation to pronounce outside of their specialty.

tcrosse said...

An occupational hazard of academics is the temptation to pronounce outside of their specialty.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Had seen an anti Trump commercial that said Joe would restore the ACA thus providing health care for millions. Reagan provided that no person would be turned away from a not for profit hospital's emergency room. Paying for it was another issue. I then realized my family's age group had few members who had health insurance. We had payment plans. Someone tell someone that health insurance didn't always exist.

Bilwick said...

"We don't need free speech. We don't need freedom of religion. We don't need to debate. We just need to obey."

Every collectivist's wet-dream society. Ellsworth Too hey couldn't have phrased it better.
Reminds me of something I thonk Glenn Reynolds wrote: that when Obama got elected, "liberals" changed their bumper stickers from "Question authority" to "Obey."

Bilwick said...

Achilles wrote that he thinks "gadfly" may be the dumbest person posting on this blog. That reminds me: where has Inga been lately?

Bilwick said...

I first heard the term "clerisy" back in the Sixties, in the column of Harriet Van Horne of the NY POST, then NYC's "liberal" tabloid. Van Horne was what I called "a liberal old lady in tennis shoes"--all feeling, no facts. As William Buckley wrote about Eleanor Roosevelt, her life was one eternal war against the syllogism. She thought she was a member of the clerisy. If she were, that's not saying much for the clerisy.

Caligula said...

[Fred Siegel] sees [President Trump] as a champion of "bourgeois values," under threat from the "clerisy," Mr. Siegel's word for the dominant elites who "despise" those values."

Glad to have him on board, but (1) plenty of Trump's supporters will admit he's more boor than bourgeois, and (2) the "clerisy" continue to practice bourgeois values even as they publicly disparage them (possibly because they see the value in them, yet think it unreasonable to expect their social inferiors to do so?)

Sebastian said...

So, Althouse, exish-liberalish, do you disagree with Siegel about the stakes in this election? If so, why? If not, why stay on the sidelines?

Drago said...

The attacks against Siegel remind me of LLR-lefty Chuck's racist and vicious attacks against Pediatric neuro-surgeon Ben Carson when LLR-lefty Chuck asserted Carson should be made Secretary of the Dept of Black People.

Its pretty amazing that LLR-lefty Chuck wasnt banned for such a racist and nazi-like comment as that.

In Althouse's and Meade's defense, they were clearly already prepared to ban LLR-lefty Chuck for his long history of dishonest postings.

Bruce Hayden said...

“So Fred Siegel, an ex-liberal (is that possible?), is against learning and knowledge and Trump is his champion. That sounds right given Trump's intellect, but if you have no learning or knowledge, how could he possibly defend a concept of called "bourgeois" anything?”

An excellent counterpoint in this YouTube video: I was wrong about the Democratic Party #walkaway

This young woman, first as a teacher, then as an ER nurse, explains her progression from a life long Democrat, from a Democrat family, was able to throw off the blinders of leftist enforced groupthink. Interestingly, she really started her progression when she first heard GW Bush talk about "the soft bigotry of low expectations", which was exactly what she was seeing as a public school teacher.

gadfly said...

@Michael K said..
Blogger gadfly said...
So Fred Siegel, an ex-liberal (is that possible?), is against learning and knowledge and Trump is his champion.

gadfly pretends to be a member of the clerisy but I have yet to see a valid point made by him. There is a reason why your team has gone back to "Progressive." Like Wilson, you are the real Fascists. The billionaires running your candidates are similar to the Thyssens and Krupps that funded you-know-who.

I am not pretending to be anything. Clerisy by definition are learned persons and I have made no such claim. I am not nor have I ever been liberal, progressive nor Fascist but I am opposed to stupid gangsters like our president. I don't support any presidential candidate and I have no idea (nor do I care) who the Thyssens and Krupps are. If billionaires are bad, what about your buddy Trump?


@Greg The Class Traitor said...
gadfly mumbled stupidly...
So Fred Siegel, an ex-liberal (is that possible?), is against learning and knowledge

Being against modern American academia is a basic requirement for anyone who is FOR learning and knowledge.

Unlike you, gadfly


Read my entire comment Greg - I am commenting about Trump. The word "academia" appears nowhere in Althouse's post and is therefore not the subject here. So who indeed "mumbled stupidly?"

mikee said...

The urge to make others obey is as old as life itself. This authoritarianism has been cast aside only recently, for a few centuries, in limited parts of the world, in limited ways, yet that slight raising of the boot off prostrate humanity's face allowed the entire world to rise from a pre-industrial age (stone age to iron age, at least) to the present glory of technology in a few generations.

Now those wearing boots want to push down harder, again. To hell with them.

gadfly said...

Blogger Bilwick said...
Achilles wrote that he thinks "gadfly" may be the dumbest person posting on this blog. That reminds me: where has Inga been lately?


So, whosoever disagrees with Bilwick, who has no personal opinion (and with Achilles who unwillingly became Bilwick's brain) are really dumb. This from a Trump fan who obviously has no understanding what "dumb" really means . . .

Facts not attacks, please. Neither I and to the best of my knowledge, Inga, do the uncalled-for-name-calling thingy which used to be foreign to conservatives on this blog.

M Jordan said...

Wow! Seriously, wow! This Seigel fellow is speaking for me but in much better words. Calling Obama a faux intellectual was maybe my favorite part (and trust me, as a faux intellectual myself I know one when I see one). Not only was he a faux intellectual, he was a faux athlete. He was a terrible basketball player (I played, I wasn’t bad but I know bad when I see it) but we were required to exalt his prowess.

Reluctantly supporting Trump is the proper approach. All of us began that way and remain that way to some degree. But support him we do because of everything Seigel said here.

Michael K said...

If Obama divided us racially, it was more by omission than by commission. He didn't make much effort to bring the country together.

Like Greg, I disagree. Every incident that involved race, he was quick to choose the side of the POC. A concerned neighbor calls the cops when a confused old professor tries to get into his house by other than the front door. RACISM!

A local security guard who is attacked by a black kids shoots in self defense. RACISM! "If I had a son..."

Ferguson cop is attacked and shoots in self defense. RACISM! Not even Obama's "wing man" could get his DOJ to agree.

Obama was not passive on race.

Drago said...

The Poor Man's LLR-lefty C**** gadfly: "Facts not attacks, please. Neither I and to the best of my knowledge, Inga, do the uncalled-for-name-calling thingy which used to be foreign to conservatives on this blog."

Inga called every single Trump voter a treasonous traitor and racist.

Every. Single. One.

And she did it repeatedly.

But it surprises no one that gadfly, like all supporters of the left, had a little history reset this morning.

It makes writing today's talking points so much easier.

gadfly's biggest problem? Well, aside from being a not very bright Poor Man's LLR-lefty C****, everyone else remembers quite well what was said and written.

But take heart gadfly, you and Team Left are closer than ever to having your Ministry of Truth take control of our memories.


tim in vermont said...

"So, whosoever disagrees with Bilwick, ...”

Oh no, gadfly, your track record of being a moron is long and storied. Your shilling for Biden is a big part of it.

tim in vermont said...

"Blogger Readering said...
I miss Obama”

Oh don’t worry, I am sure Biden can surpass even the corruption that characterized the Obama Administration.

William said...

What's the difference between bourgeois values and working class values? As I understand them, they both encourage doing an honest day's work, staying on the right side of the law, being faithful to your spouse, and taking proper care of your children. These values work for both truck drivers and CPAs. They're not wildly aspirational. Most people can hit most of the marks most of the time....There are lots of happy marriages among academics. I wonder why they're so down on middle or working class values. Maybe they want to be free spirits like the artists and intellectuals they spend their lives annotating.....Trump hasn't lived by middle class values, but neither has he spent his life proclaiming them to be fraudulent. Who's the bigger hypocrite?....Rap stars aren't hypocritical. They don't live according to bourgeois values and their music is openly hostile to such values. They're really down on police, but one notes that the people who murder them are fellow rap stars rather than cops. I can't imagine a life more doomed to failure and tragedy than one lived according to a rap star's ethos and one more immune from public criticism.

Bilwick said...

Gadfly certainly exhibits one of the identifying traits of the Dumb Guy: making unwarranted conclusions from inadequate evidence.

Banjo said...

"Old clueless conservative misinterprets the black experience."

Racism and ageism in one tweet. Well done, sir.

tim in vermont said...

"Another reporter asked Biden about the FBI seizing his son Hunter’s laptop and Biden put up his hand up, walked away and refused to answer her.”

It’s this kind of shit. When did this become acceptable in America? The Obama Administration.

Michael K said...

I am not pretending to be anything. Clerisy by definition are learned persons and I have made no such claim. I am not nor have I ever been liberal, progressive nor Fascist but I am opposed to stupid gangsters like our president.

gadfly, you pretend to agree with the clerisy and therefore you are pretending to be one. Also, you err when you describe them as "learned." They are "credentialed" and that is a good definition of them. I keep asking you lefties to come up with examples of Trump's behavior or "lies" and you never do. "Stupid Gangster" is another of the left's vague attacks. You don't like him because he is leading the other team, or tribe as buwaya would put it. The billionaires who are running the Democrat party have no interest in your welfare. Maybe Soros is hoping for chaos and cheap bargains as things fall apart.

RichardJohnson said...

gadfly
So Fred Siegel, an ex-liberal (is that possible?), is against learning and knowledge...

Anyone with a minimum of Internet searching skills can find out that Fred Siegel is a Professor Emeritus and has written a number of books, in addition to numerous blog and journal articles. As such it is rather stupid to conclude that Fred Siegel "is against learning and knowledge."

When you say stupid things, don't be surprised that you also get called stupid.

buwaya said...

" corrective to the view that all evil goes back to Wilson or the Roosevelts."

Wilson was a key figure. This was when the US went off and adopted, officially, some of the European "liberal" ideas. I am talking of continental views of liberalism, not really the English version of it.

European liberalism was anti-clerical and pro-state. Their program was to destroy the ancient local, feudal and communal social stuctures, and leave the individual naked to the state, in every respect. They took over education, almost in toto, where they could get away with it, forced single languages on the people, expunging their ancient speech. They threw out local laws and customs and intermediary institutions.

These things are why the Catholic Church came up with ideological positions like Subsidiarity, as it was mainly the Church that fought back on all this.

Lenin was not the first to adopt many of his policies and attitudes. Much of what he was about he absorbed from the air, so to speak, of the general European intellectual consensus. He, and the Russian "intellectual" milieu of the day, just pumped it up to its logical limits.

buwaya said...

In the historical analogy game, the Mexican Cristero war is rather interesting.

This was mainly a peasant uprising against the "liberal" centralizing Mexican government (recently fully established after the main events of the revolutionary wars), that was intent on pushing its anticlerical program, half French Third Republic, half Soviet.

The Cristeros rose, and fought, but were failing. But they then hired a superb general, the ex-Huertista Enrique Gorostieta (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrique_Gorostieta), who believed in little that the Cristeros did, but won battles for them anyway, and in the end died in their service.

The Andy Garcia movie "For Greater Glory" is very good on the whole business.

Gorostieta=Trump?

My father-in-law came from the Cristero heartland of rural Jalisco, was there for much of it, and fled to the US as a consequence.

buwaya said...

"What's the difference between bourgeois values and working class values?"

They are peasant values.

hawkeyedjb said...

Something that marks the modern 'clerisy' is their absolute hatred, their loathing of the working and middle classes. Hillary showed it in spades, thankfully. Kamala shows it. Joe is so far gone from his pedestrian roots that he has adopted the condescending, spiteful attitude that goes with contemporary Washington swampism - just watch his interactions with the poor schlubs that try to question him. Be aware, always, that most of official Washington hates you.

Big Mike said...

The British learned that we are not a particularly obedient lot all the way back in the years 1776 - 1781. Now it's time for the "Woke" to learn the same lesson. Hopefully with less blood spilled.

Hopefully.

Jamie said...

I wonder why they're [academics or the "clerisy," that is] so down on middle or working class values.

I think it's because they are convinced that they have chosen those values, individually and as a result of careful study, rather than having merely received them. There's no limit to what a bright person can consider herself to have reasoned out if she tries.

The "learning and knowledge" pull quote that several commenters have been using as a jumping-off point more properly ought to be stated "academia" - and I think it's pretty inarguable that Trump really does have little respect for academics (the broad discipline or philosophy, not the people who pursue it, though I think he probably doesn't respect them either). And there are a lot of wicked smart people who share his disdain for a system that, today, tells you what to think instead of teaching you a way to use your reason (note that I don't say "teaching you how to reason" - though of course that's how the academy characterizes what it does). But it's fundamental to the identity of academics to believe that they have come to their positions through more exalted means than the tried and true "what worked for my parents and grandparents will probably work for me" method.

That method is the essence of conservatism: keep what works; change gradually, only as needed, and only what is needed; avoid change for change's sake. It's an algorithm - and it seems to me that many, perhaps most, academics hate algorithms, even though they work, because algorithms are clunky and inelegant compared to a lovely proof. But especially in the so-called "liberal" arts, the proofs rest on unprovables like "2+2 smells like orange."

Lurker21 said...


Fred Siegel is more of an ex-liberal than Colin Powell is a Republican, but to argue about a word in a headline, rather than the content of the article is rather picky.

"Clerisy," as applied to politics, is a term that goes back to Samuel Coleridge. Like TS Eliot later, Coleridge used it in a positive sense. For Coleridge and Eliot, the clerisy were the educated, teaching and writing class, who were also connected to the established church and the landed gentry, and hence a conservative force.

That seems like a very quaint and wrong-headed view, given the radicalism of intellectuals throughout modern history. Certainly it's no longer the case now, if it ever was in the US, that a clerisy of that sort exists. Siegel's book traces some of the reasons why today's clerisy is not conservative, though the change has a lot to do with larger structural transformations in the economy and the culture, not just with what one writer or another felt and thought.

And, yes, today's clerisy does cling to bourgeois values for itself, even as it disparages them publicly.

Kirk Parker said...

gadfly @ 12:07pm illustrates the accuracy of Vox Day's observation: any comment that begins "So..." is certain to be a dishonest and bad-faith restatement of the position being argued against.

Lurker21 said...


Ronald Radosh has a critical article about Siegel on the Bulwark today. He recalls that he and Siegel were both democratic socialists in the eighties and into the early nineties, though both were moving to the right. He disagrees with Siegel about Trump and "bourgeois values," but his critique seems to be more about Trump's personal life and values, which haven't reflected solid middle class virtues. If Siegel were to rewrite the article he might suggest that Trump's relationship to "bourgeois values" was similar to his relationship to Christianity. He doesn't "exemplify" it by any means, but can be seen by the solid middle and working classes, as by Evangelicals, as an ally.

What's also interesting in the article, is how much those on the left, like Siegel (at that time) and Richard Rorty were expressing themes that are now regarded as Trumpian in the eighties and nineties. Concern about what offshoring, downsizing, deindustrializing, mass immigration, globalization and the emphasis on financial gains, rather than on productive industry were more common among liberals and the left in those days than among the Reaganite conservatives or Bushite Republicans.