I’m having way too much fun re-reading James Burnham’s Suicide of the West, and can’t resist sharing a few more gems from this wonderful book. Back in the 1960s we began to speak of “limousine liberals,” the worst being those who supported forced busing to achieve racial integration but sent their own kids to exclusive and homogeneous private schools. Today we have “Gulfstream liberals” who jet between their multiple mansions and hector us about our carbon footprint while excusing their own through bogus “carbon offsets.” Burnham had their number (page 190-191):
The more significant achievement of liberalism, by which it confirms its claim to being a major ideology, is its ability to handle the problem of guilt for large numbers of persons without costing them undue personal inconvenience. This is does by elevating the problem to representational, symbolic, and institutional levels. It is not necessary for me to go in person to the slum, jungle, prison, Southern restaurant, state house, or voting precinct and there take a direct hand in accomplishing the reform that will unblock the road to peace, justice, and well-being. Thanks to the reassuring provisions of liberal ideology, I can go about my ordinary business and meanwhile take sufficient account of my moral duties by affirming my loyalty to the correct egalitarian principles, voting for the correct candidates, praising the activists and contributing to their defense funds when they get into trouble, and joining promptly in the outcry against reactionaries who pop up now and then in a desperate effort to preserve power and privilege.