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I never could "get into" Bell's Crowd Culture. This micro review kinda makes me want to try again, but only "kinda." The book falls into "snobbish conservatism," which I've never much cared for.

We tend to think of liberalism as elitist. Liberalism, after all, dominates higher academics. Its attitude pervades the wealthiest, whether evidenced by the scary idiocy of Melinda Gates' donations or the general mindset of "country club Republicans" who embrace degenerate moral norms and eschew all religious pursuits, except the most banally ritualistic ("Christmas and Easter Christians"). Liberalism controls all the levers of power. Liberalism is elitism. If you want to rise above the rabble, then think like a liberal. If you don't think like a liberal, you are a dolt and/or reprobate, deserving, at best, pity for your innate idiocy.

But conservatism has a deep (very deep) snobbish streak. I could give a dozen examples, but Henry Adams' Education is a good candidate for "Exhibit A."

The snobbishness figures heavily into conservative libertarianism and its disdain for the common man. Mencken's coverage of the Snopes trial is this strain's "Exhibit A," but perhaps the most shocking is Albert Jay Nock's bizarro-anthropomorphization of beggars who dig in the garbage. Such men, he explained, used to disgust him, but didn't anymore because it suddenly occurred to him that they morally aren't any better than dogs and ought to be judged accordingly: not at all.

Although I dislike liberalism's elitism and conservative snobbery, they're not the same thing and, in particular, have a crucial difference.

Liberal elites want to control society because it's filled with scum-sucking rabble. Conservative snobs want to hold themselves aloof from society because it's filled with scum-sucking rabble.

Both liberal elitism and conservative snobbery miss the larger point of Christianity that the likes of Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day emphasized: all people are made in God's image.

But conservative snobbery is preferable because it respects the image or at least gives it room to develop. Liberal elitism neither respects the image nor gives it room to develop, but rather, expects the image to serve its mental construct of how things should be.

Conservative Snobs on the Rabble: "Fug 'em. Let 'em wallow or figure it out for themselves."
Liberal Elites on the Rabble: "Fug 'em. They'll do what we tell them."