by Doctor Science
Tom Junod posted at Esquire about the Tea Party's sense of injury: The Sore Winners: Will America's Super Minority Sink Us All?
This is what you hear again and again from the Sore Winners, whether you hear it from the professional Sore Winners or the Sore Winners who happen to be your friends: the conviction that no amount of financial success, political domination, religious hegemony or cultural currency is sufficient to take away the sting of being looked down upon.
It is one of the biggest dividing lines between liberals and conservatives: sensitivity. Liberals are supposed to be the sensitive ones, but even the liberals who worked themselves into a froth over George W. Bush never really cared very much about what he thought of them.
Annie Laurie posted about it at Balloon Juice, and in the discussion there El Cid perceptively commented:
This sense of the more privileged continually being aggrieved by the less privileged and less powerful, all expressed indirectly in terms of honor and community values and work ethics and so forth—this is the Lost Cause grievance mythology writ large across the entire nation from the Southern Strategy to the TeaTard screamers.The reference to Wyatt-Brown reminded me of his Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South, which talks about how the South was -- compared to the Yankee North -- more of what Ruth Benedict called a "shame culture" than a "guilt culture". One feature of a "shame culture" is that you actually *care* about what other people think, because honor -- being a worthy person -- is a matter of reputation, of public opinion.Since the earliest times honor was inseparable from hierarchy and entitlement, defense of family blood and community needs. All these exigencies required the rejection of the lowly, the alien, and the shamed… Honor and Violence in the Old South, Bertram Wyatt-Brown, 1983
I wonder if the Sore Winners Junod is talking about are unable to relax into their success because they are, on some level, in a shame culture: where wealth and power really don't mean anything if you're looked down upon. I wonder if this may also explain some of what Charles Murray babbles about in the Washington Post. He says that the Tea Party resents "the elites" -- but curiously, "elite" doesn't seem to mean "the wealthy", or "the people who actually run the country". He claims, basically, that pointy-headed bicostal intellectuals are "the elite", or maybe the "New Elite" -- while resolutely looking away from the nature of the upper class, its hegemony and perpetuation.
I had been thinking that Tea Party (and libertarian, and conservative, and Republican) resentment was directed toward the uppity: people who have the effrontery to think they're special (intelligent, cultured, etc.) even though they're not rich. But I'm now wondering if it's also the resentment people embedded in a shame (or honor) culture feel toward the merely guilt-ridden, who are *outside* the rules of honor: how dare they go around *not caring*!