In a terrific column at Real Clear Politics, pollster Scott Rasmussen highlights what he calls the “gap between the nation’s political elites and the rest of the nation” when it comes to desiring control over others. At the New York Times, left-wing Josh Barro accidentally did the same by declaring his mission statement on the issue of reclining airline seats.
The example Rasmussen uses is the left’s view of stock, the kind which millions of Americans own outright or through 401k accounts. Last month when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. was looking at an acquisition of Time Warner (and with it CNN), Vox’s Matthew Yglesias used the moment to preach against buying non-voting stock.
“It’s a little mysterious,” writes Yglesias. “The value of a share of stock stems from the fact that owning it entitles you to a small slice of control over the enterprise.”
In his column, Rasmussen correctly points out that no one in the real world thinks that way. Everyday Americans just want a decent return on their investment, not the right to muscle anyone else. “Most [Americans] think of what they can do every day to make life just a little bit better for themselves and their families,” Rasumussen writes, and then concludes…
If they invest wisely, they prepare for the future. If they work together with others in their community, they make their community stronger.
At the end of the day, the difference is simple. The political world relies on coercion. Most of the nation prefers cooperation.
Over at the New York Times, Barro sees the luck of where he’s seated on an airplane as an opportunity to coerce others. The title of his post says it all, “Don’t Want Me to Recline My Airline Seat? You Can Pay Me:”
When you buy an airline ticket, one of the things you’re buying is the right to use your seat’s reclining function. If this passenger so badly wanted the passenger in front of him not to recline, he should have paid her to give up that right. …
Instead of counting their blessings, or buying extra-legroom seats with some of their extra income, the tall have the gall to demand that the rules of flying be reconfigured to their advantage, just as everything else in life already has been. …
Now that’s just wrong.
This is closer to extortion than coercion, but the same principle applies: Rather than be a gracious human being to the poor soul behind him, Barro seeks a petty profit from the power of his position. And this from a man who probably makes a 1% living already.
If this unearned sense of moral and intellectual superiority were restricted to the page, no one would care. Unfortunately this frightening mentality is becoming the accepted norm in our mainstream media and government. What we used to call being a bossy jerk is now defined as smart, even compassionate. (see: Care, Obama)
Every once in a while, though, through small moments like these, we get a glimpse at the Id of elite Leftists – young smugs fighting for power and control over a world they have never experienced or even lived in.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC