Home/Rod Dreher/Elites Vs. America

Elites Vs. America

Not gonna happen: Major League Baseball took the game away from Atlanta over voting law (Todd Kirkland/GettyImages)

Hannah Arendt, in her book The Origins Of Totalitarianism, writes of the elites in pre-totalitarian Germany and Russia:

The members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it.

With each passing day, I am struck by how committed American elites are to tearing this country apart for the sake of instituting their idea of social justice.

Consider this from the governor of Vermont:

In this screengrab from the Vermont health department website, you can find out who is eligible for the vaccine in that state:

If you are a 40 year old ordinary white Vermonter who doesn’t work in health care or public safety, you’re out of luck, whitey. BIPOCs and immigrants are vaulted ahead of you, simply because of their race and/or immigration status.

What an evil thing: to say that some people are allowed to get a life-saving vaccine before others, only because of the color of their skin or their immigration status. This policy is probably unconstitutional, and can only make people resentful. And Gov. Scott, note well, is a white Republican. More important, he is an elite. I’m sure he feels great about his great-souled self, condemning white people under 50 to struggling against Covid without a vaccine while giving BIPOCs and immigrants whatever they want.

You heard about the man killed today while attacking the US Capitol, right? His name was Noah Green, a black man who was reportedly a member of the Nation of Islam, the black supremacist group. He murdered a Capitol police officer, whose two children no longer have a daddy. According to the Washington Post, Green’s family said he was mentally ill, and paranoid. Billy Evans, the dead cop, was white. I think the media have done the right thing in not jumping to conclusions about a racial motive here, or a political motive. We just don’t know.

But look, if Noah Green was a white man who was affiliated with a white hate group, do you think the news coverage would be as sober and as responsible? Of course it wouldn’t. We all know this. There is still not one shred of evidence to suggest that Robert Long, the suspected Atlanta mass shooter at the massage parlors, was motivated by anti-Asian hate. But we have been living through countless hours and reams of print coverage about his racist act. When it comes to anything at all to do with race, I do not trust the US news media.

They’ll be just fine without my trust. But I am sure that I’m not alone. And they have 100 percent done this to themselves.

A reader writes:

Memory hole warning: Facebook has already deleted [Noah Green’s] account it seems.
Remember the time that Democrat terrorist tried to wipe out a bunch of Republican representatives and Senators, nearly killing Steve Scalise? Me neither or just barely. It got memory-holed quick. I’m predicting another memory hole here very soon.
But the violent protest by right wingers at the Capitol? That will be used as a bogeyman for years to justify surveillance state being turned towards dissidents on the right.

I was in the car today and heard this NPR All Things Considered story about the history of solidarity between black and Asian Americans. From the introduction:

And now, with heightened calls for solidarity between the Black and Asian American communities, we wanted to look at the relationship between them and how their civil rights movements have interacted. Joining us now is anti-racist author and consultant Kim Tran. Her research focuses on Asian American solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

So, with so many of these reported bias attacks on Asian-Americans being committed by blacks, NPR invited an activist on to manage the narrative. Here is a question from NPR host Ailsa Chang. Notice how leading it is, and how it is stated in the language of activism. NPR isn’t even trying to be unbiased here. This is not a question from a journalist; it’s a statement from a member of the diversity faculty:

Well, as you say, there has been tension between these two communities – Black Americans and Asian Americans. And even though the common goal of these two movements is to address colonization and to dismantle white supremacy, white supremacy has harmed Black Americans in a very different way than it has harmed Asian Americans. Like, Asians in this country have never felt what it’s like to be enslaved in this country, to be mass incarcerated, right?

Chang asks not one question of her guest, a self-identified “queer Vietnamese woman,” that refers to actual black assaults on Asian people. Nor does she bring up well-known phenomena like the black rioters’ attacks on Korean store owners in South Central Los Angeles in the 1990s — an incident that revealed to the nation the hostility between these two ethnic groups. She asks not one challenging question of this activist. Here’s Ailsa Chang in fact chastising her fellow Asian-Americans for not being committed to Black Lives Matter:

Well, where can Asian Americans start to better show up? Because at some level, it seems that there has to be some acknowledgement that they do enjoy greater privilege in this society than Black Americans do and therefore might be able to exert leverage if they were to fuse their movement with Black Americans.

It’s incredibly insulting to the intelligence of listeners. It’s straight-up activism. For all my adult life as a conservative, I’ve argued with fellow conservatives who say we should defund NPR. Now, though, I couldn’t make that case. NPR has always been liberal, but sometime in the last two or three years, it started operating like the Oberlin campus radio station.

Maybe Ailsa Chang didn’t ask hard questions because she had listened to this episode of NPR’s Code Switch podcast. Excerpt of a conversation between host Gene Demby and NPR reporter Alyssa Jeong Perry:

Once again, NPR is managing the narrative. All these attacks on Asian people are really the fault of white people. Besides, who is this researcher from the University of Michigan? Can we see the work? Because according to federal statistics from 2018 (the most recent stats available; the Justice Department did not publish Asian stats for 2019, and has not yet issues a report on 2020 statistics), no single race accounted for more than 27.5 percent of violent bias attacks on Asian-Americans. And that 27.5 percent figure came from blacks, who are only 13 percent of the US population:

That NPR Code Switch episode goes to unintentionally comic lengths to emphasize that actually, blacks and Asians work together to fight racism. They even cite Martin Luther King’s opposition to the Vietnam War as an example — as if that war, tragic and misguided as it was, was simply a matter of whites attacking Asians (NPR did not invite on any of the Vietnamese boat people who came here to escape communism). And NPR’s host once again cites as fact the unsupported claim that the Atlanta shooting was racially motivated. Read the transcript for yourself. 

This is one more example of elites in American culture ginning up race hatred on spurious grounds.

Here’s another example. In Georgia today, Major League Baseball decided to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest the state’s new voting law.

 

Joe Biden called the new Georgia voting law “Jim Crow on steroids,” a theme that has become common with Democrats. But an analysis of the law in The Dispatch, the Never Trumper site, detailed why this claim is groundless. Excerpts:

But attempts by prominent Democrats—including the president—to tie SB 202 to the Jim Crow era are incredibly disingenuous. For starters, the bill actually expands voting access for most Georgians, mandating precincts hold at least 17 days of early voting—including two Saturdays, with Sundays optional—leading up to the election. Voting locations during this period must be open for at least eight hours, and can operate between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Several states (including Biden’s home state of Delaware, which will not implement it until 2022) do not currently allow any in-person early voting, and plenty, like New Jersey, offer far fewer than 17 days.

Despite Biden saying the bill implements absentee voting restrictions that “effectively deny” the franchise to “countless” voters, SB 202 leaves in place no-excuse absentee voting with a few tweaks. It tightens the window to apply for an absentee ballot to “just” 67 days, and mandates applications—which can now be completed online—be received by election officials at least 11 days before an election to ensure a ballot can be mailed and returned by Election Day. The bill requires Georgia’s secretary of state to make a blank absentee ballot application available online, but prohibits government agencies from mailing one to voters unsolicited—and requires third-party groups doing so to include a variety of disclaimers.

Rather than signature matching—which is time-intensive for election officials—voters will verify their identity in absentee ballot applications by including the identification number on their driver’s license or voter identification card, which is free. If a Georgian has neither, he or she can, pursuant to Georgia Code Section 21-2-417, include a photocopy or digital picture of a “current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document” that includes his or her name and address.* When mailing back their ballots, voters must print their driver’s license number (or the last four digits of their social security number) on an inner envelope. (An August 2016 Gallup survey found photo ID requirements for voting were overwhelmingly popular: 80 percent of voters supported them, including 77 percent of nonwhite voters.) SB 202 also codifies ballot drop boxes into law; Georgia added them for the first time in 2020 as a pandemic measure, and the law now stipulates that there be one for every 100,000 registered voters or advance voting locations in a county, whichever is smaller.

Among other things (it’s a 95-page bill!), SB 202 allows election workers to begin processing absentee ballots two weeks before an election to avoid reporting delays, and requires them to announce the total number of ballots cast—in-person, absentee, early, and provisional—by 10:00 p.m. on election night so voters know how many outstanding votes remain to be counted. It also restructures the State Election Board, demoting the secretary of state from chair to a non-voting member.

One minor provision that’s received outsized attention is a prohibition on outside groups or people distributing money, gifts, food, or drinks to voters within 150 feet of a polling place or 25 feet of voters standing in line to vote. Polling places, however, can make self-service water receptacles available to voters waiting in line.

The Dispatch points out that President Trump’s unsubstantiated griping about voter fraud in Georgia has something to do with the Democrats’ reaction, but the Democrats are nevertheless reacting based on a lie. More:

A day after dozens of black business executives called on corporate America to vocally oppose the legislation, several major companies based in Georgia—which had until then remained above the fray—did exactly that. “The Coca-Cola Company does not support this legislation, as it makes it harder for people to vote, not easier,” CEO James Quincey said. Ed Bastian, chief executive at Delta Airlines, wrote that he “need[s] to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.” Some progressive activists have gone further, calling for various economic boycotts of the state—and Biden himself joined them in an interview with ESPN earlier this week.

“I would strongly support them doing that,” Biden said when asked by Sage Steele about Major League Baseball considering moving its annual All-Star game out of Atlanta this summer. “This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they’re doing in Georgia.”

[GOP state elections official Gabriel] Sterling [who fought with his own party against Trump’s claims] wasn’t pleased. “I think it’s morally reprehensible and disgusting that he’s perpetuating economic blackmail over a lie,” he told The Dispatch. “It’s a lie. This is no different than the lie of Trump saying there was voter fraud in this state. And the people who are going to be most hurt by [a boycott] are the workers in all of these places that are going to be impacted.”

Here, by the way, is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s short piece offering highlights of the law. Read it and tell me where the Jim Crow is.

The elites who run Major League Baseball did the woke thing instead of the fair thing, the truth-based thing — and now Atlanta is going to suffer. I appreciate how the Georgia state legislature is pushing back hard against attempts by Big Business to bully the state, taking away Delta’s $35 million tax break over its CEO attacking the law and mischaracterizing it as part of a corporate campaign against Georgia. We have seen Woke Capitalism bully state lawmakers at least since the 2015 corporate gang-up against Indiana for passing a state Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the state repealed after Big Business and the NCAA demanded it. At some point, conservatives have to start making Big Business pay a price for pushing around elected representatives over laws that have nothing to do with their corporate activities.

The point I want to make is that the Democratic Party and corporate elites (including MLB) are once again telling lies and inflicting economic pain to stir up racial hatred. One definition of a totalitarian society is one in which everything is politicized. What does a state compelling voters to show up with identification have to do with Major League Baseball? Or flying passenger aircraft?

A reader e-mailed today about the MLB cancellation:

I don’t know what it was about this that made me so mad. Is it that I’m reaching a boiling point with corporate wokeness? Is it that baseball, something that means so much to me and which has been a part of my life for so long has now become infected by this virus?
Regardless, when I saw this I thought about your recent posts asking people what we can do when things like this happen. Well, it’s not much, but I just emailed the league and my own beloved Cleveland Indians to lodge my complaints. I emailed the league to tell them I wouldn’t watch their All Star Game, wherever they move it to. I’m sure they’re shaking in their boots. But I also emailed my own team, which may have had no input in the league’s decision, to tell them I am boycotting their stadium this season. It’s the teams that can influence how the league acts, so if I have to hurt my own team, then so be it. Again, the team likely won’t even pay attention to my email. In the end, the league will probably lose $1000 from me. Peanuts. But it’s a start. I’m tired of all this.
For what it’s worth, here’s what I wrote to the team:

To Whom It May Concern:

This is the first time in my life I’ve ever written one of these types of massages. I just saw that MLB has decided to move the All Star Game out of Atlanta due to the State of Georgia passage of a voting reform bill. 
Let me just say that I am disgusted by the league’s action, which represents yet another example of the politicization of almost every aspect of our society by powerful groups and individuals outside of our government. I am an attorney. I read the Georgia bill to understand what it is and what it is not. It is not restrictive like some people are pretending, and it most certainly is not Jim Crow as a few people are dishonestly indicating. In fact, in some ways the voting rights of Georgia’s citizens have expanded. None of that really matters, though, because the league caved into mounting pressure by certain groups and individuals with an agenda, and responded accordingly. In the end, the league doesn’t really care what this law actually does. It’s about appearances and catering to certain interest groups.
I shouldn’t even have to say this, but with the way MLB has become so politicized, I will mention that I am not a Trump supporter or someone with any type of political ax to grind. I am politically agnostic in many things. But I am fed up with seeing these types of actions being taken by large American corporations again and again with little regard for the real facts at issue, the perspective of millions of people who see things differently, and while delving into political matters that have little to do with the corporation’s purpose. Please, just stick to baseball. 
Why am I sending this to you? As you can imagine, I have no intention of watching the All Star Game this year, which is something I watch annually. But now I’ve decided to take this one step further. I will not be attending any games this season at Progressive Field. This pains me a great deal. I have two little boys who have never been to a major league game before. I wanted to take them last year for the first time, but couldn’t due to the pandemic. This year I planned to take them multiple times, and to let them have a special outing with their grandad. But not this year. Baseball is special to me and my family. It is generational. It is dear to my heart. In my family, it is about fathers and sons. It is about players and teams from the past that we reminisce about and cherish. But not this year. 
I imagine this email will be cast aside. So be it. I will not support the league, and sadly my beloved Indians, because of the league’s actions. I know there are others who feel the same way. Please, please just stick to baseball. 
Good for you, reader. I hope there are tens of thousands of baseball fans just like you who write to your local team to tell them that you’re sick of this woke corporate bullying, and of them politicizing every damn thing.
I remind you of the Hannah Arendt quote that started this post:
The members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it.
These elites — media, political, medical, corporate, military, athletic — are destroying the fabric of life in this country for the sake of their ideological crusade. When the shooting starts, remember: they did this to us.

UPDATE: David Brooks, who says he strongly opposes the Georgia law, said today he is uncomfortable with big powerful corporations exercising political power. He’s right:

UPDATE.2: A reader this morning sends me the e-mail he sent to Major League Baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies:

Dear MLB and Phillies

I know no one will read this. I know my voice does not matter to you. I fell in love with baseball on October 21st 1980 when the Phillies beat the Royals in the World Series. I love baseball. Now you have decided to politicize the game. Baseball was always my escape from the trial and troubles of this world. Now its just one more politicized drag on the world with your recent decision to involve your self in politics (specifically a Georgia voter law). I will not be buying merchandise, tickets or anything else associated with MLB or the Phillies this year. Phillies baseball is something my father and I had in common. It was the one thing that held us together with our differing views on the world. That’s all gone now. I will not be taking my children to a Phillies game this year or buying them any merchandise. We will not be watching the All Star game this year, but you MLB will be safe and secure in your “politically correct” virtuousness. Stick to baseball only!

The elites of MLB really are ruining America’s pastime. I read since posting last night that the league was facing the possibility of a black players’ walkout if they didn’t do this. If that’s true, then politicized players are ruining the game. What a country we live in today… .

UPDATE.3: Apparently there was no threatened boycott by players. It was all corporate, according to ESPN reporter Howard Bryant:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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