March 17, 2018

How To Explain Limousine Liberals

One explanation might well be that some – like the Kennedy’s – have been living off of inherited wealth for several generations now. So the recent generations have never had to earn money, never had to endeavor to achieve upward mobility, much less endeavor for basic subsistence – and need never be concerned about having to do so. Thus one might accurately conclude that their “generosity” with other peoples’ money is (at least somewhat) derived from a coddled and insulated existence in which money (and acquiring it) is something that just happens.

Author’s Note: This is an unabridged version of “How to Explain ‘Limousine Liberals’” – one of the “communiqués” from the book Communiqués From the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. This communiqué is about what has seemed to be one of the great paradoxes of recent decades, that is: Why is it that many of the greatest beneficiaries of free-market Capitalism support the Collectivist – Progressive – Democrat ideas and institutions which seek its demise, and ultimately the demise of our nation? This was written to provide a (at least theoretical, and believed to be actual) explanation of their motivations. Dare I say that it was, perhaps, prescient; since it was written validation has been appearing in the media. This includes stories describing the wealthy building fortress-like shelters and formulating “bug out” plans (The New Yorker, January 30, 2017 issue, titled “Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich”); and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook proposing a “universal basic income” in late May, 2017. (But not, apparently, offering his fortune as seed money for his proposal to alleviate “income inequality” – so chalk this up to no-cost “virtue signaling” on his part). I believe that you will find the following to be an intriguing explanation for the underlying motivations of such limousine liberals:

Why is it that so many genuinely “rich” people are Progressives (and often uber Progressives)? After all, Progressive-Collectivist diatribes routinely castigate “the rich” (albeit they often lump the upper middle class in with the genuinely “rich”) – all the while implicitly adhering to, and promoting, the Marxist worldview that “capital” (inherently) exploits “labor.” It seems counter-intuitive, if not even politically and economically suicidal – but since we’re not talking about stupid people (in general), there must be one or more logical explanations.

One explanation might well be that some – like the Kennedy’s – have been living off of inherited wealth for several generations now. So the recent generations have never had to earn money, never had to endeavor to achieve upward mobility, much less endeavor for basic subsistence – and need never be concerned about having to do so. Thus one might accurately conclude that their “generosity” with other peoples’ money is (at least somewhat) derived from a coddled and insulated existence in which money (and acquiring it) is something that just happens.

Regarding such “idle rich” some have attributed their Progressive leanings to their assuaging a sense of guilt (though not feeling sufficiently “guilty” that they’re willing to forego their own privileged existence, but instead seek redemption by redistributing the “wealth” of others, particularly that of the middle-class who are “less fortunate” than the rich, to those who are even less “less fortunate” than the middle-class). In other words, they’re more or less engaging in the old practice of buying Papal dispensations – albeit rendered even less “credible” since they’re using other peoples’ money to do it. (One doubts that their particular camel will thread the eye of the needle, but that decision will be made at a much higher level than ours.)

Yet this seems an inadequate explanation, for amongst other things it does not explain the “limousine liberalism” of those whose wealth is not inherited, but (through the blessings of the free enterprise system) “earned.” This can include wealthy New York financiers to Hollywood celebrities to “high tech” billionaires. One would think that such people would be public defenders of free enterprise and preach the blessings of hard work and upward mobility (though perhaps this expectation should be less so for Hollywood types, and some tech types, whose fortunes are of the sudden windfall variety – not unlike winning a lottery – rather than “success after decades of hard work” variety).

It defies logic, but as we know many, many multi-millionaires and billionaires are “limousine liberals,” and many supporters of radical Left causes (e.g., as David Horowitz and Richard Poe exposed in their book The Shadow Party). How to explain this? One partial explanation may be that some feel it would appear unseemly or self-serving for such “privileged” people to profess the benefits of the free enterprise system that has so blessed them. This would be a understandable, and is why many of the “old money” crowd deem it déclassé to discuss, much less to flaunt their wealth, as is done by many of the nouveau riche.

But this still does not adequately explain the open hostility to the system that enables one to become a “limousine liberal” or in backing Democrat-Progressive candidates who (tacitly) call for replacing our free enterprise system with Collectivism.

Well, follow the money … and the power.

The Progressive political model requires a cadre of elite running the show (i.e., the “Progressive brain trust” defined elsewhere in these communiqués). The genuinely “rich” are de facto insulated from the economic consequences of Progressivism – after acquiring a critical mass of money taxes don’t and won’t impact one’s lifestyle; taxes only suppress those that are striving to acquire wealth – and by virtue of that and exercising influence through political (campaign) donations, they may consider themselves to be part of the Progressive ruling elite. They can also then confidently dismiss the politicians’ diatribes against the “rich” as mere show; kabuki theater that fools the lower classes and “useful idiots” into believing that the political wing of the Progressive elite is “fighting for them” and for “social justice.”

Similarly, the genuinely “rich” executives from several industries may owe most, if not all of theirs and their companies’ “success” to K-Street lobbying and crony capitalism. Finance (Wall Street) comes to mind – repeat after me: TARP bailouts – as do health insurance companies post-Obamacare and its subsidies. Not to mention so-called “green energy” companies essentially are a creation of the federal government.

The folks getting “rich” within these “private” companies are financially pragmatic – and are not about to rock the boat against the political wing of Progressivism that funnels to their industries billions of dollars forcibly extracted from the paychecks of “working families” – even if it means being the object periodic verbal flailing by politicians for show, or high marginal tax rates (for their after-tax “net” is still far higher than it would be absent the taxpayer dollars diverted to fund their incomes).

But it’s one thing to accumulate wealth and power. It’s a whole ‘nuther thing to preserve it.

Consider that these “limousine liberals” – whether intuitively or consciously – recognize that throughout history the truly wealthy (royalty and private wealth alike) have often been targeted and eliminated in “revolutions” – or even less drastic civil unrest. That once circumstances became dire enough for regular people, neither an army, the police or enormous amounts of money were sufficient to save “the rich.” So to hold on to great wealth, much less one’s life, a stable society is quite important for “the rich” – particularly someplace like the United States serving as an ultimate refuge offering both military protection and a rule of law.

Such folks also realize that there is not nearly enough “rich” money to ensure civil peace and for them to maintain their lifestyle. There are just too many “needy” and potentially “needy” – ironically ever more as the economy becomes more “Progressivized,” the “War on Poverty” having accomplished nothing but to increase the total number of people “living in poverty.”

And so how to maintain relative civil peace, yet still enjoy one’s millions and billions?

By buying civil peace with the middle class’ money! For while middle class households have far fewer monetary resources – they are much more numerous than the truly rich – and so in the aggregate have much more money that can be expropriated for “social justice,” i.e., to fund the welfare state. But of course the middle class can’t be allowed to know what is going on, or the “jig will be up.”

So how can our limousine liberals engineer this?

First, by appearing to the public to have a “social conscience” and not “greedy.” Thus we have Hollywood celebrities attending parties, err, charity fundraisers for this, that and the other lapel-ribbon festooned cause du jour. And we witness business and finance moguls attending political fundraisers for Democrat candidates. Not to mention corporations giving protection money, err grants and donations, to Left-wing anti-corporate organizations and “community groups.”

Second, by supporting “fairness” and “redistribution of wealth” and “progressive taxation” and “inheritance tax” schemes which do not materially impact them personally – but which fool the “useful idiots” and general public into believing that they do and/or eventually will – “fair share” operating as “false diversion.”

The fact that these programs, due to the taxes necessary to support them, do materially impede the ability of the middle class to enjoy upward mobility or to accrue its own wealth is just fine with the “limousine liberals” for: a) it doesn’t materially impact their own wealth, and b) middle-class kids won’t be beneficiaries of “affirmative action” and won’t be able to afford – and so won’t be competing with “Buffy” and “Muffy” – for the limited pool of slots in prestigious prep schools and Ivy League colleges. Thus the middle class and its diminished (if not crushed) hopes of upward mobility are just necessary “collateral damage” (though for civil peace the Progressives and “limousine liberals” deem it important to maintain the illusion that the dream of upward mobility remains alive).

Yeah, for the truly “rich” the progressive income tax takes a bite, but in the end doesn’t materially impact their lifestyle and is a “cost of doing business” vis-à-vis maintaining social peace via the appearance of “fairness.” The progressive income tax is devastating only for the little people who have aspirations for upward mobility – particularly “upper middle class” / “professional” class that make a living via earning “income” subject to “income tax.”

The real money is in capital gains and stock options and deferred compensation and offshore trusts and so on. After all, if the overall tax structure were really that “progressive” then there probably wouldn’t be any billionaires in the United States, and certainly if the inheritance tax were that effective we wouldn’t have Kennedy’s (and their ilk) living off of trust funds (or whatever) established by their ancestors several decades ago. This is not to advocate for a “progressive income tax” – merely to point out how the “rich” and the Progressive elite have gamed the system for their own benefit.

So consider the possibility that primary reasons for the existence of the “social safety net” is to “purchase” civil peace with the middle class’ money, while building and maintaining a permanent voting majority for the Progressive Party, i.e., the Democrats – not to promote “social justice.” The “limousine liberals” are socializing the cost of providing civil peace by placating the poor and other potentially envious and violent classes, and doing so “on the backs” of the strivers, i.e., the middle class. In other words, for the “limousine liberals” the welfare state and the progressive income tax that funds it is a form of “social insurance” – with the bulk of the “premiums” paid by the middle class, and the “claims” paid by the government.

Now you understand what motivates “limousine liberals.”

Communiqués From the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions: Click Here

Mr. Wigand resides in Florida. Comments or questions for him may be sent to: [email protected] — he will make every effort to personally respond to every email (except for spam or trolls).