From the New York Times:
Trumpism is all about the fear of losing traditional privilege.
By Paul Krugman
Oct. 1, 2018
I’ve spent my whole adult life in rarefied academic circles, where everyone has a good income and excellent working conditions. Yet I know many people in that world who are seething with resentment because they aren’t at Harvard or Yale
Did I ever mention that I went to Yale and my first professor job was at Yale?
, or who actually are at Harvard or Yale but are seething all the same because they haven’t received a Nobel Prize.
Did I ever mention that I received a … Well, never mind. The point is that I, in contrast to my pathetic ankle-biting rivals, have attained a Zen master level of harmony and peace with the world and with my (not unexalted) position in it.
And this sort of high-end resentment, the anger of highly privileged people who nonetheless feel that they aren’t privileged enough or that their privileges might be eroded by social change, suffuses the modern conservative movement.
In contrast, I, Paul Krugman, am universally known for my sunny, charming, gracious disposition with never a bad word to say for anybody. Just send me an email disagreeing with any one of my ideas, and you’ll see!
… Indeed, my guess is that his privileged roots are precisely why he’s so angry.
I very much ran with the nerds during my own time at Yale,
I did mention I was at Yale, didn’t I?
but I did encounter people like Kavanaugh — hard-partying sons of privilege who counted on their connections to insulate them from any consequences from their actions, up to and including abusive behavior toward women.
In contrast, Dr. Prof. Blasey Ford came from a family that barely scraped by, what with her dad having to make do as president of Burning Tree Club. Not Augusta National, but Burning Tree. Burning Tree has to be barely the 6th best Alister MacKensie course in America, after Cypress Point, Augusta National, Crystal Downs, the Valley Club at Montecito, and Pasatiempo. Sure, a whole bunch of Presidents belonged to Burning Tree, but still: sixth best MacKensie course.
And that kind of elite privilege still exists.
But it’s privilege under siege. An increasingly diverse society no longer accepts the God-given right of white males from the right families to run things, and a society with many empowered, educated women is finally rejecting the droit de seigneur once granted to powerful men.
My wife, the yoga instructor, was reading a most informative book, Lord Mandeville’s Presumption, and I happened to pick it up recently. It had page after page documenting how the naive but beautiful heroine was ravished due to droit de seigneur by some kind of cruel aristocrat, like that hoity-toity WASP Brett Kavanaugh.
… Instead, it’s about the rage of white men, upper class as well as working class, who perceive a threat to their privileged position. And that rage may destroy America as we know it.
Paul Krugman has been an Opinion columnist since 2000 and is also a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on international trade and economic geography. @PaulKrugman