Freud noted that human beings like to "project" their own undesirable feelings onto others. The wisdom of that observation became clearer than ever last week as a mounting hysteria infected the elites of the English-speaking world. The rage of the privileged classes was on full display as they projected onto citizens their own vices: ignorance, resentment, and irrational anger.
- The signing of the Arizona immigration law, followed by the slow realization from opinion polls that it was broadly popular, elicited paroxysms of hatred for the American people from the Establishment.
For example, veteran New York Times columnist Frank Rich’s May 1 op-ed included a full helping of the standard code words that enraged members of the media traditionally use to denounce voters who aren’t obeying their rightful masters: "angry," "virus," "hysteria," "vicious," "bigoted," "apoplexy," "slimed," "snarling," "notorious," "incendiary," "rage" and so forth and so on.
- Meanwhile, in Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown called a cheeky voter "bigoted" after she dared question his immigration policy.
- And in Massachusetts, , the dean of the Harvard Law School, Martha Minow, one of President Obama’s oldest confidantes, denounced one of her own students for writing an email expressing open-mindedness on the forbidden topic of race and IQ.
Bizarre as it may seem, the potential Supreme Court nominee publicly condemned a private message to a few acquaintances written six months ago—even though it had only been dug up and leaked to the Black Law Students Association by a romantic rival in a petty catfight!
In other words, citizens are winning the debates, so elites would rather demonize than discuss.
Yet, as comical as the last week has been, the power of elites to shut down freedom of speech, to ostracize, to impose dumb dogmas as loyalty tests, must never be underestimated.
Arizona’s SB1070 and immigration: by the end of a tumultuous week, Democratic Party leaders were in disarray as their efforts to turn the illegal immigration controversy into a racial struggle between Hispanics and whites had badly backfired.
The Democrats have long tried to goad Latino voters into viewing enforcement of the laws as a racial insult. But there has never been overwhelming evidence that the average Hispanic-American citizen really shares the Latino Democratic elites’ obsession with opening the border.
For example, in 2006 Arizona voters passed—over the usual bipartisan opposition of the states’ elites—Proposition 200, which required individuals to furnish proof of citizenship when applying for benefits or to vote. Latinos gave it 47 percent support. That’s far more than you would expect from elite assumptions that Hispanic voters' race makes them mindlessly biased in favor of illegal immigration.