I was once told by somebody who identifies herself as a supporter of the progressive left that giving dictionary definitions when a “progressive” uses a word or phrase wrongly is “something conservatives do.”
Strange, because not only I have often been corrected and told I am a typical neo — con extremist by supporters of big government, big science, big Pharma, big education and big everything, those who usually ‘identify’ as progressive, but I have never voted for a Conservative candidate in my life. Unfortunately the people who corrected me were invariably wrong because rather than looking in Webster’s or the Oxford English Dictionary they look only in Wiktionary. which at best only gives a part definition.
I happen to think dictionary definitions are important. If we humans are to communicate those who share a language must all have the same understanding of what words in that language mean. Thus when one comes across people who style themselves liberals advocating Stalinist policies of authoritarian central government, social engineering and state ownership of all enterprises one is duty bound to try to enlighten that person about political philosophy and particularly the fact that variants on Marxism like socialism, Stalinism and Maoism are the antithesis of Liberalism which is as close as any workable system can get to anarchism.
Most of the leading advocates of such “progressive” politics are left wing elitists who operate a double standard, not inflicting on their own privileged social class the privations they would visit upon the masses. There is a name for this political sub culture, Champagne Socialists.
Here, because purpose of this post is to annoy lefties a dictionary definition of Champagne Socialists may be of use to Cultural Marxists, New World Order global government supporters and all the academics, public employees, special advisers and other ‘tax eaters’ (h/t William Cobbett) who enjoy the high life at the expense of Joe the Punter.
champagne socialist n. deprecative (orig. and chiefly Brit.) a person who espouses socialist ideals but enjoys a wealthy and luxurious lifestyle.
Lefties claim there is no such thing as a champagne socialist even as the guzzle Bollinger and Lanson paid for either directly or indirectly by you and me and eat in the kind of restaurants where a main course costs the equivalent of a weeks earning for a minimum wage worker.
One of the UK’s leading left wing newspaper’s journalists recently outed herself as exactly that: a bubbly-guzzling hypocrite who, though writing about education for the privileged with a definite collectivist bias and posing for years as a chippy, radical socialist, has actually been sending her daughter to a private school, fancy uniform, straw boater hat, jolly hockey sticks and all. So how does she square that with her demands to abolish private education?
Given the views of many of her readers expressed in comment threads where they enthusiastically call for the death penalty for parents who choose private education, anyone who goes to church, and anyone who does not support same sex marriage, 1 million per cent taxes and a totalitarian global government you might expect Janet Murray’s article to be a letter of resignation — or, if she was feeling more courageous, a grovelling apology to all the private school parents who she “resented” for “buying privilege through private education”.
But it’s neither. Instead, it’s a kind of weaselish justification for being what she terms an “‘accidental’ private school parent”.
It was, she whines,just that “the local private school for under thirteens offered 8am-6pm hours and holiday care”. And what she “hadn’t appreciated was just how much the nursery was part of the school”.
Then, weirdly, it becomes a ‘J’accuse’ style diatribe, addressed to parents of children at comprehensives:
The state sector in education is full of parents buying advantage. They kid themselves that what they are doing is somehow morally superior. The truth is that every person who moves house to get into the catchment area of a better school, or suddenly develops an interest in religion to get their kids into a Church School rather than having to mix with the chavs at the local state school is using private wealth to play the system.
Needless to say, even the ‘oligarchical collectivists’ (see ‘1984’ by George Orwell,) who are her readers have managed to spot her hypocrisy. One comment read “I don’t get it Janet. You justify your own choice by criticising others who do the kind of thing you have done,” says one. Another adds: “the writer is making lots of money and is writing this piece to justify her snobbery.”
The shift in the Labour Party power structure, from grass roots working class movement to a vehicle for maintaining the status quo, with only a veneer of change added, happened some time after the 1918 Represtentation Of The People Act was passed by the national government under David Lloyd George, which extended voting rights to all men and to women over 30, thus paving the way for the working class vote to enable The Labour Party to compete with The Conservatives and eclipse The Liberal Party, certain elitists, aristocrats, wealthy business people and academics feared their elite social class would lose its grip on power. Led by The Fabian Society these new upper class leaders of the party that claimed it was a grass roots working class movement had only contempt for the working classes, whom they regarded as inferior beings.
George Orwell exposed the hypocrisy of these elite socialists soon after it had happened, in the second half of his polemical book The Road To Wigan Pier. Orwell had been commissioned to write a study of the terrible working and living conditions endured by the working classes in British industrial towns. What the wealthy, elitist members of ‘The Left Book’ club, which commissioned the study, hoped Orwell would produce was an argument for paternalistic socialism, with a government of enlightened, socialist elitists presiding like the Patrician caste of ancient Rome over the ignorant, stupid, ineducable, almost bestial lower orders.
What Orwell did produce was indeed a study of working class life, but he found among them intelligence, sensitivity and a rough edged kind of nobility in the way they endured the privations of life. In the second part of the book however, Orwell wrote an exposé of the patronising, condescending, self righteous attitudes of these wealthy, virtue signalling socialists. And he was probably the first to identify one of the most despicable traits of these people, their inability to tolerate anybody disagreeing with their utopian vision or pointing out the very obvious flaws in their ideas for solving social problems.
This was no trivial matter, just as it was becoming clear that both Germany’s National Socialists and Russia’s Communists were monstrously tyrannical regimes under which the working classes were as badly off as they had been under the old monarchies, Orwell had revealed that the Fabian socialists rather liked both, particularly Hitler’s policy of eugenics. So long as those born to rule continued to rule and those born to toil were kept in their place, The Fabian’s idea of Utopia stood.
Elitist Lefties never turn on their own kind, their belief in their own moral superiority is such that they see no contradiction in their raging against conservatives doing the very things they are busy doing themselves (Ah, but we are doing it for the right reasons,” they will argue): once Janet’s colleagues have come to terms with her defection to The Dark Side, many of them will stand by her. For, as much maligned Education Secretary Michael Gove pointed out when his education policy had been savaged by an editorial in The Guardian:
“…the Guardian has been edited by privately educated men for the last 60 years. But then, many of our most prominent contemporary radical and activist writers are also privately educated, at the most exclusive schools” he said. “George Monbiot the Marxist Environmentalist commentator was at Stowe, (according to my friend Colin who was also attended the school, the model for the school in Mervyn Peake’s surreal and subversive novel Gormenghast — made into a TV series in 2001, box sets available,) Seumas Milne of the leading advocate of a single European superstate run by appointed bureaucrats as a stepping stone to global government was at Winchester and perhaps the most radical new voice of all, the feminist and ‘Yooman Rites’ ranter — Laurie Penny (a nanocelebrity according to right wing magazine The Spectator — was educated at Brighton College, an exclusive girls school.
I know it’s embarrassing for Ms Murray to be caught out in her one rule for me another for the proles* hypocrisy, but at least one socialist Member Of Parliament will offer her a shoulder to cry on. Yes, little Miss “Everything is about race because I’se black” herself, Diane Abbot, after spending two decades denouncing private education as evil and (white, conservative) parents who choose private education as earthly manifestations of Enochian demons, sent her own son to private school, justifying her choice by saying the state system could not meet his needs.
Trouble is, from the illiteracy and innumeracy rates we are seeing and the levels of juvenile delinquency, state schools are not meeting very many pupils needs.
* This of course is the guiding principle of all socialist governments.
NB: this is an old article, updated somewhat, that is worth a rerun because the fragmentation of societies in the developed world is becoming extremely destructive.