Every once in a while I feel the need to read George Will. Not sure why. Parenting has really cut down my Sunday-morning political show watching, so I don’t get my fix there anymore. Just crazy, I guess.
Anywhoo, the odd title “Condescensional Wisdom” caught my eye today on the Washington Post site. This ought to be interesting, especially since few are more condescending than George Will. Well, what you get is a snide obit for economist John Kenneth Galbraith who died recently. Galbraith was an advisor to JFK, and a “liberal” economist in the sense that he wasn’t an apologist for capital (for a more friendly obit go here). Unlike other economists, Galbraith seems to have actually known something about what it’s like to be an actual person, not just a quantifiable abstraction.
So obviously, George Will isn’t going to like him. But do we really have to slag on the dead, George? So what if William F. Buckley was a better downhill skier! (you have to read it)
What really struck me about this “opinion” piece is the following passage, referring to Galbraith and other critics of 1950s American advertising culture:
“Americans were what modern liberalism relishes — victims , to
be treated as wards of a government run by liberals. It never seemed to
occur to Galbraith and like-minded liberals that ordinary Americans
might resent that depiction and might express their resentment with
Conservatives like to whip out the “liberals love victimhood” line. And it ocurred to me as I read George Will do it for the gazillionth time that Conservatives actually like to be victims. They nurture their sense that they are ordinary folk who have been wronged by elitist Liberals. Please, George Will is not one of the ordinary folk. This is just the latest version of the frontier narrative about hapless white settlers being attacked by vicious Indians (e.g., “Custer’s Last Stand,” a.k.a., the Battle of Little Bighorn). Aggressors like to portray themselves as righteous victims.
I rant, I rant.