CRB: Sanctimony cities

This morning we conclude our preview of the new (Winter) issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Thanks to our friends at the Claremont Institute, I have read the new issue in galley to select three pieces to be submitted for the consideration of Power Line readers. As always, wanting to do right by the magazine and by our readers, I had a hard time choosing. You, however, can do your own choosing at the heavily subsidized price of $19.95 a year by clicking on the link above and accessing subscription services. At that price the CRB affords the most cost-effective political education available in the United States of America. Subscribe by clicking on Subscription Services at the link and get immediate online access thrown in for free.

In the 2009 book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West, Weekly Standard senior editor Christopher Caldwell looked into Europe’s dire future. It is an eloquent and prescient book that makes no concessions to the imperatives of political correctness on the subject of the book’s subtitle.

The current issue carries Caldwell’s timely essay “Sanctimony cities.” In the essay Caldwell seeks to capture the world of the urban haute bourgeoisie, i.e., the world of the anti-Trumpers. Caldwell observes along the way: “Trump understood something no Republican had understood in decades. The partisan division in the United States was less about ideology than about sociology. Ideology was there, of course, but it arose from the sociology: you look at life differently when you write the rules than when you have to submit to them.”

Writing for a quarterly publication, Caldwell must have worked up the essay before Trump’s inauguration last month. Nevertheless, this could have been written yesterday:

Elites have full-spectrum dominance of a whole semiotic system. What has just happened in American politics is outside of the system of meanings elites usually rely upon. Mike Pence’s [Chevy Chase] neighbors on Tennyson Street not only cannot accept their election loss; they cannot fathom it. They are reaching for their old prerogatives in much the way that recent amputees are said to feel an urge to scratch itches on limbs that are no longer there. Their instincts tell them to disbelieve what they rationally know. Their arguments have focused not on the new administration’s policies or its competence but on its very legitimacy.

Despite its length, the Caldwell essay merits your time if you seek to deepen your understanding of the present situation. It is also one of the issue’s “four essential essays for understanding the Trump era,” as institute president Michael Pack puts it in a letter to subscribers.

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