“The same blunt truth applies to immigrants from… anywhere… If Ali cannot summon up gratitude for the fact that his parents were allowed to come here and humility about the role Pakistanis played in creating America, he should get on the next flight to Karachi and bother us no more.”
By: Tom Piatak | February 03, 2020
It was a revealing moment. Former GOP consultant turned Never Trumper Rick Wilson began ridiculing Trump supporters on CNN as “credulous Boomer rube[s]” who believe “Donald Trump is the smart one and y’all elitists are dumb.” Muslim activist and New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali joined in, mimicking the rubes’ supposed disdain…
Ali’s disdain was especially grating. Like Ali, my paternal grandfather was born in America to immigrant parents. Unlike Ali, he never would have expressed contempt for Americans whose families had built the successful, prosperous, and well-ordered society his parents had been allowed to enter. He was grateful to be in America and realistic about the role people with names like his had played in the American story.
The blunt truth is that America was a successful country before the first Slovak immigrant arrived, and America would have remained so even if no Slovak immigrant had ever been allowed to come. The same blunt truth applies to immigrants from Pakistan or anywhere else. If Ali cannot summon up gratitude for the fact that his parents were allowed to come here and humility about the role Pakistanis played in creating America, he should get on the next flight to Karachi and bother us no more.
The arrogance and mockery displayed in that CNN clip was far from unusual. It has become a defining characteristic of the social class with which Wilson, Ali, and Lemon identified themselves: the unmerited elites. Earlier incarnations of America’s elite class presided over a successful war for independence from the greatest empire on earth, the creation of the United States Constitution, and the settling and civilizing of the North American continent. They built up an economy that dwarfed all others while also providing a broader level of prosperity than was ever thought possible. They produced a succession of technological advances that stunned the world, culminating in the still-unequalled feat of multiple manned moon landings. And they created a culture that came to set the tone for the entire world, while also producing, at its highest levels, books, films, and music that attained the stature of art.
By contrast, the contemporary elite class has presided over widespread American decline, brought about in part by the succession of bad ideas they have embraced. These brainstorms included the idea that children don’t need both parents and that women don’t need men. That the widespread loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs is actually a good thing. That a foreign policy focused on nation building and projecting democracy into unstable authoritarian countries was superior to one focused on advancing American interests. And concluding that America was better off without an identifiable ethnic core or religious tradition.
The result of such wishful thinking is now evident. Abroad, endless wars in the Mideast that have achieved little while costing trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. At home, millions of children raised without fathers and hundreds of once vibrant communities made economically stagnant, while mortality rates of working-class whites have been increasing and unprecedented ethnic diversity is helping to fuel distrust in everyday life, as distinguished sociologist Robert Putnam reluctantly concluded. Without the open and obvious failure of one elite project after another, Donald Trump would not be president and our elite class would have far fewer people to sneer at, since most Americans would continue to accept its leadership.
As Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule noted after watching Wilson, Lemon, and Ali in action, “It’s perfectly rational for ordinary Americans to reject any possibility that this class should rule them, even if the alternative is Donald Trump.”