The American Dream, as defined by Bush’s inner circle

George Will is like William F. Buckley in that once every six or 12 or 18 months he rouses himself from his divine self-contemplation for five minutes and says something alive and worthwhile. Here, via Ramesh Ponnuru at the Corner, is one of those times:

Alberto Gonzales could not even leave high office without advertising his unfitness for it. As he habitually has done, he reminded the nation that he has “lived the American Dream,” which he evidently thinks is epitomized by his success in attaching himself to a politician not known for demanding quality in assistants. Gonzales then demonstrated how uncomprehending he is of essential American values. He said: “Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father’s best days.”

Well. His father married and had eight children—nine wonderful days, days even better, one would have thought, than any of the days his son spent floundering at the Justice Department. Furthermore, Gonzales’s father had the fulfillment of a lifetime spent providing for his family. But what is any of that, Gonzales implies, compared with the satisfaction of occupying, however unsatisfactorily, a high office? This implicit disparagement of his father’s life of responsibility and self-sufficiency turns conservatism inside out. It is going to take conservatism a while to recuperate from becoming associated with such people.

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The reader who sent me the item writes:

Gonzales’s parting remarks sound very much like the way Rice talks about herself, as you’ve noted. What is it with these people?

LA replies:

They’ve been taught to believe, and the culture keeps confirming them in the belief, that to be a non-Caucasian and have a professional career culminating in a high level government position means that one has a “remarkable story,” which somehow makes one a significant and exceptionally admirable figure. Note furthermore that it is not any actual accomplishment that makes such people or their “story” remarkable, it is simply the fact that (1) they are nonwhite, and (2) they were promoted to certain jobs. The underlying assumption is that it is so difficult for a non-white or non-male to get hired for professional and government positions in America that one who has done so has achieved some great thing, as though he were a Columbus, a Pasteur, an Edmund Hillary! The truth is that in today’s America every mediocre non-white has every door eagerly opened to him. Yet such is the corrupting effect of racial preferences, that these people actually believe that in being handed jobs and careers they did not deserve but got on the basis of their race, they have heroically overcome impossible odds.

It’s a further variation on Auster’s First Law of Majority-Minority Relations in Liberal Society: given the inverted standards introduced into race relations by the belief in equality, the less deserving a nonwhite actually is, the more deserving he thinks he is.

Stephen T. writes:

Alberto Gonzales’s disparaging of his father’s life spent working hard manual jobs (a life without a single good day!) is not the first example of the Bush inner circle’s contempt for, and/or morbidly fascinated fear of, that kind of labor. Remember a few months ago Karl Rove indicated that his plan to flood this country with multi-millions of Mestizo Mexicans was “so my son won’t have to pick tomatoes or clean hotel rooms”—a fate apparently worse than the replacement of Anglo American culture with the chaos and degradation of Mexico. Even the president’s non-stop rhapsodies about the incomparable glories of Mexican labor actually reveal a sort of condescension and revulsion toward the kind of work they do. I’ve noticed that people tend to over-romanticize both the virtue and difficulty of manual labor when they secretly know that they would never, ever, under ANY circumstances, be caught dead doing it themselves.

John Bonaccorsi writes:

Are you sure it’s a law of Majority-Minority Relations? It seems unlikely to start working in Whites’ favor when they will become a minority in a United States with a mestizo majority.

P.S. You are always free to print my entire name.

LA replies:

It’s not about numerical majority versus numerical minority. It’s about “dominant” group versus “oppressed” group, white versus nonwhite, better abilities versus worse abilities. So long as nonwhites (whatever their relative numbers) don’t do as well as whites, and so long as liberal society exists, the law will hold. Also, I think even in communities where whites have become less numerous than nonwhites, nonwhites continue to be called the “minority.” They are still the “minority,” because despite their greater numbers they are not representative of the still-existing dominant culture and its standards; the whites are.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 03, 2007 09:18 PM | Send

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