Who would have thought that Billy Corgan and Peggy Noonan would ever be on the same wavelength? Apparently, they are. I suppose that it’s not that far fetched, as Billy seems to be a pretty liberal guy, and Peggy was thinking about putting her weight behind Team Obama in 2008.
However, I’d like to concentrate first on Noonan’s article, Why So Many of us Resent the ‘Elites’. (Note to Peggy: You became the ‘elite’ when you admitted that Obama’s so-called first class temperament *durr hurrrm* was pulling on your heartstrings.) She writes:
Over decades the Greeks turned their government “into a piñata stuffed with fantastic sums” and gave “as many citizens as possible a whack at it,”…Much of this is well known, though it is beautifully stated. But all of it, Mr. Lewis asserts, has badly damaged the Greek character…
Thus can great nations, great cultures, disintegrate, break into little pieces that no longer cohere into a whole.
And what I get from my mail is a kind of soft echo of this. America is not Greece and knows it’s not Greece, but there is a growing sense – I should say fear – that the weighty, mighty, imposing American government itself, whether it meant to or not, has for years been contributing to American behaviors that are neither culturally helpful nor, as we now all say, sustainable: a growing sense of entitlement, of dependency, of resentment and distrust, and an increasing suspicion that everyone else is gaming the system. “I got mine, you get yours.”
Bingo. Or, put in Smashing Pumpkins-Corgan Speak on As Rome Burns:
We are the new gods
same as the old gods
we’ll take all your blood
and turn it into mud
As Rome burns…
Forgiveness all your days
to count what you can’t save
we’ll take out one good eye
and leave a world to fall behind
as Rome burns…
Billy is right—we live in a society of men who think they’re gods. They think they can “plan” 14 trillion dollar economies. They use the tax code for social engineering. And when all their planning starts to crumble because people are complex, confusing creatures they demand more power. Suddenly, you find yourself in New York City (or some other liberal enclave) and the elite are trying to control how much trans-fat, salt, and sugar is in your diet. Instead of America, your home town starts to resemble the a statist themed episode of The Twilight Zone.
And, Billy, forgive me if my conservative take on your lyrics doesn’t sync up with your original meaning, but I also can’t help but think about people trying to count savings when the dollar is worth nothing and better used as kindling during a cold winter. Many of those same people (i.e., liberals) would forgive the economic blowback of anti-business policies and continue to vote for the latest repackaging of the progressive agenda. As Rome burns indeed, Mr. Corgan…
I suggest you and Peggy meet up sooner rather than later. You probably have a lot to talk about. The President is “in over his head” and folks are starting to feel [Melancholy] and the Infinite Sadness. Perhaps you lament voting for the man, and can ask Peggy why she ever considered doing so in the first place.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go read Andrew Klavan. He’s on to something, here.