Posted on | March 23, 2013 | 55 Comments
Friend of the proletariat Matthew Yglesias (Photo: Matt Roth)
The news that left-wing
blogger employee of Slate magazine Matthew Yglesias has purchased a $1.2-million townhouse in D.C.’s Logan Circle neighborhood has produced much chortling. Yglesias, after all, mocked property rights as the “myth of ownership.” Andy at AOSHQ says:
So, party at Matty’s this weekend? I mean, I’m sure he won’t mind if we crash the joint, what with that myth of owning private property and all.
Twitchy enjoys the rich irony, but before the “Occupy Yglesias” movement encamps on his patio — “a converted Victorian rowhouse, the unit has original exposed-brick walls and a private patio” — let’s observe a couple of key points:
- Yglesias is entitled — He is, after all, a graduate of the Upper East Side’s prestigious Dalton School (annual tuition, $38,710) and a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University (annual tuition, $54,496), so you don’t expect him to be hustling on the Internet for nickels and dimes, do you? No, he’s a fully-credentialed member of the meritocratic elite and therefore entitled to the prestigious positions he held at The American Prospect, The Atlantic Monthly and the Soros-funded Center for American Progress before landing at The Washington Post Co.’s online loss-leader, Slate.
- He has his progressives defenders — Politics is a team sport, and one of Yglesias’s ideological comrades sniffs that critics are “playing ‘gotcha’ politics” (which thoughtful progressives never do, y’know) and defends the role of the intelligentsia in the struggles of the proletariat: “Yglesias can only be a hypocrite for purchasing an expensive home in a buyer’s market if you believe that class sympathies can only be extended to people in the same class as the sympathizer.”
Journalism is a job, not a monastic order or a missionary crusade.
It’s ridiculous to expect writers to take a vow of poverty, even if their job requires them to pretend to believe in egalitarianism.
And certainly Yglesias isn’t stupid enough to believe that crap.
Wake the hell up, you people.
Sometimes people ask me how it is that, unlike 89 percent of the press corps, I’m not one of the Democrat Party’s hired liars. Well, by the time my small-town Georgia editor offered to nominate me for a Nieman Fellowship — Harvard! — I was already a 34-year-old married father of three, owner of a three-bedroom bungalow on the west side of Rome, Ga., and couldn’t see any way to afford a year at Cambridge, even if I’d been accepted in the program. And I didn’t want to give those stuck-up elitist Ivy League bastards a chance to turn me down.
The Babysitter Snitch Act of 1993
Also, by the time my editor handed me the Nieman application, I’d started becoming disillusioned by the dishonesty of the Clinton administration. Having been born and raised a Democrat, I’d always thought my party was for “the little guy,” but once Clinton was inaugurated — and I’d not only voted for him, but had a Clinton-Gore bumper sticker on my car during the ’92 campaign — I quickly realized that he intended to do exactly jack shit for me and my family.
Yeah, there was a lot of talk about “working families,” and a few token tax credits (including one that would have required us to report our babysitter to the IRS), but Clinton taught me a valuable lesson: The Democrats are a power-hungry mob of special interests, and the typical American’s interests aren’t special.
So while the Clintons were ostentatiously pandering to their various pet cliques, and hoovering up corporate campaign contributions with a single-minded avarice that would make any Republican blush, I became disillusioned and angry — angry at myself for having been such a complete chump as to buy into the Democrats’ phony populist hustle.
It was just about that time that we got a new editor at the Rome News-Tribune, a fellow named Tommy Toles who had once been press secretary for legendary anti-communist Rep. Larry McDonald. Evidently having seen some glimmer of potential in my occasional op-ed columns (mostly humorous) and thinking me within reach of common-sense persuasion, Tommy began quietly handing me articles and magazines. One of the magazines he gave me every month was The Freeman, journal of the Foundation for Economic Education, a leading advocate for the Austrian School of economics (Mises, Hayek, et al.)
At first, I resisted these free-market arguments. Unlike certain other Democrats, I’d never been a socialist, but my parents were FDR liberals and my dad had spent 37 years as a member of the Machinists union. Insofar as I actually knew anything about economics, I was a standard-issue Keynesian and had gleefully mocked Reagan-era supply-side policy as “trickle-down economics,” never bothering to understand exactly what I was mocking. Yet as I encountered The Freeman month after month, and as I simultaneously undertook an autodidactic course in history and political philosophy — building a massive home library of works I’d purchased from used bookstores — the weight of evidence convinced me of my ignorant errors.
Proleterian Ideas, Bourgeois Lifestyles
All of this is by way of explaining why I see Yglesias’s entrance into the bourgeoisie as a teachable moment. Perhaps it is impossible for Yglesias to recognize the significance of the contradictions between his philosophy and his lifestyle, but surely there are others in the progressive blogosphere — less entitled, less elite — who might suddenly have a lightbulb over their heads: “Hey, wait a minute! How come I’m out here scraping for spare change and working a day job to support my advocacy for progressivism, while Comrade Yglesias is cashing in?”
Where’s your $1.2 million townhouse, proletarian blogger?
Progressivism as an ideology is bankrupt, a phony utopianism, a Quixotic pursuit of an egalitarian ideal that can never exist in reality.
Progressivism as a career opportunity for clever cynics — well, that’s another thing, and quite a lucrative enterprise indeed.
But I never applied for that Nieman Fellowship, so I missed out on the indoctrination sessions, and have spent the past 20 years unlearning the dishonest Democrat Party gospel on which I was raised. Along the way, I made a surprising discovery: Becoming a conservative doesn’t require you to stop hating Republicans. You just hate some Republicans — the vicious backstabbing crapweasels — for different reasons.
And like the man said, “One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up.”
Also: Hit the freaking tip jar. While I was recently named Editor in Chief at ViralRead, the new gig hasn’t yet begun paying me Yglesias-style megabucks, and the continuation of this entrepreneurial endeavor requires me to preserve the customary fee-for-service relationship with readers, at least for the next few weeks.
I would almost feel guilty getting paid for it.
Almost, I said.
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! You might have noticed the Professor hasn’t quit his day job, or bought a million-dollar townhouse.
How can someone write dozens upon dozens of articles in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement and then think nothing of dropping a cool million on a condo? . . .
Remember when Yglesias compared the evil rich Mitt Romney to Hitler?
It pays well to hate Republicans. Aleister is correct: Yglesias frequently waxed rhapsodic over Occupy Wall Street. But he wasn’t the one getting raped in a tent in Zuccotti Park, was he?