Victor Davis Hanson on the American desire to have it both ways:
Among elites there is almost a “Don’t touch or disturb that!” mantra. The law of the hothouse orchid reigns. Once our grubby ancestors created our infrastructure, we wish sometimes to ridicule and — use — it, less often to leave anything better behind for anyone else.
We want all the dividends of industrial society, but an 18th century wilderness at the same time. . . .
The redwood deck is beloved, not the falling coast redwood tree; kitchen granite counters are de rigueur, not the blasting at the top of the granite mountain; the Prius is a badge of honor, not the chemical plant that makes its batteries; we now like stainless steel frigs, but hate steel’s coke, and iron ore, and electricity lines; arugula is tasty, not the canal that brings water 400 miles to irrigate it; I support teacher unions and -studies courses in the public schools, but not with my Ivy-League bound children.
At the other end of the social spectrum, the underclass seems to be growing. . .
It is taboo to ask our failing youth a simple question, “What exactly have you done the last month to ensure your birthright to the world’s most sophisticated lifestyle propped up by advanced math, science, social stability, and political tranquility?”
It other words, our elite is becoming more elite and refined, while our non-elite is becoming more rough around the edges. But they share a disturbing commonality: both expect something that they are not willing to invest in.
(Via: Gene Veith)