What do the following three events have in common: the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals trying to throw out the California recall election, the Dixie Chicks' announcement that they're leaving country music and the continued French refusal to assist America's efforts in Iraq?
The answer is that they're all the products of an increasingly bitter, desperate, but determined elite, whose exploits are the subject of a fascinating new book by Laura Ingraham, "Shut Up and Sing."
We used to think of the elites as the monied class who went to all the celebrated schools. Ingraham demonstrates the obsolescence of that description and explains that today's elites are defined not by their economic status, but by a common state of mind. They can be recognized by their allegiances -- for Harvard over the Heartland -- rather than their pocketbooks and pedigree.
With wit and clarity Ingraham provides the salient characteristics of the elites, in general, before going on to explain the various subcategories of the specimen, including the mainstream media, academia, the cultural elite, the world citizens' lobby and the activist judiciary. She depicts them through their own words and actions rather than her subjective opinions about them, which she provides in due course.
The elites -- according to the elites -- are brilliant, they eschew moral absolutes, disdain religion, particularly the Christian religion, and they hail (largely) from places outside "fly-over" country and look down on those inside it. They are mostly anti-military and have a paternalistic attitude toward the protected categories -- race, sex and otherwise -- and believe that without themselves, these groups will flounder.
The elites are committed globalists who are more likely to defer to the United Nations than promote America's national interests, and their natural political home is the Democratic Party. But according to Ingraham, "the GOP has its share of elites, too."
Ingraham also explores how the elites gained prominence in our society, properly noting that their ascendancy wasn't the result of a single event. "It has been building, morphing, and spreading for a very long time." Quite intriguing is her observation that "Most would think that it all begin in the 1960s, but surprisingly enough, today's poisonous elites have their roots in the antebellum South." How can that be when they tend to have a sneering contempt for that very region of this country, along with the other areas that comprise Al Gore's red states? She answers the question in Chapter 2.
Ingraham also has her finger on the pulse of the movement to expunge Christianity from America's public square and its popular culture. She does an excellent job summarizing this dangerous and disturbing trend.
One group Ingraham takes to task is "the judicial elite." Many, mostly political liberals, defend the practice of activist judges in interpreting the Constitution through the prism of their own subjective preferences rather than the original intent of the Constitution. They harbor an elitist attitude that essentially says that we know better than the pedestrian legislature and the body politic what is good for America and we're going to interpret the Constitution as we see fit. The end justifies the means.
A recent example of this was the radical three judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals throwing out the California recall election, only to be overruled -- amazingly -- by the full Court.
Ingraham also exposes the "tolerance" and "diversity" peddlers in our universities and public school system who betray their hypocrisy in reserving tolerance for those with whom they disagree and disrespect for all others.
Ingraham's book is not, however, merely a laundry list of offenses committed by the elite. It analyzes their inner workings, their motivations, their agenda and their progress. As importantly, it offers a prescription for the ordinary Joes and Sallies among us to fight back.
She urges that conservatives take on the elites head-on in the market place of ideas, where she believes we can prevail if we maintain the courage of our convictions and refuse to cower to the intimidation tactics of the elites.
"Shut Up and Sing" -- an admonition to outspoken Hollywood and other entertainment types-- offers a truly insightful and learned perspective on modern society. It is a comprehensive and devastating critique of the elites whose stature and credibility will diminish in direct proportion to the number of Ingraham's fine book in circulation.