Today’s spotlighted TAC article is John Derbyshire’s “Prole Models,” in which he looks at what prospects the Tea Parties may have to overcome the bipartisan elite — our home-grown American equivalent of the “Inner Party” of Oceania in Orwell’s 1984.
Present-day Oceania—or, as we say, “the West”—isn’t nearly as brutish as Orwell’s dark vision. We have open merit-ocracies in which intelligent prole youngsters, far from being liquidated, are welcomed into the upper classes. Nor are those upper classes a tightly organized Inner Party ruthlessly dedicated to self-preservation. They are only a loose—though increasingly endogamous—stratum, a sort of free-range Inner Party. They do have a common ideology, to be sure, but it is comparatively rational and humane, as state ideologies go, rooted in Enlightenment universalism and disgust at the excesses of industrial-age nationalism, colonialism, and racism.
The Republican Party of today nonetheless displays a shadowy resemblance to Orwell’s dystopia. Listening to conservative intellectual acquaintances gushing over the Tea Party movement, I hear Winston Smith’s diary entry murmured in the background: “If there is hope, it lies in the proles.”
Derbyshire is an inveterate pessimist, of course, but he sees in the recent primary victories of Sharron Angle and Rand Paul at least the ingredients of an interesting battle. Get his take here.
Also, be sure not to miss John Mearsheimer on Israel’s self-destructive drift toward apartheid and Jack Hunter on the madness of Obama’s Afghan policy.