The Establishment Speaks

I noticed three opinion pieces at The Wall Street Journal. They were published over the past couple of weeks.

Trump, Sanders and the American Rebellion
by Peggy Noonan

Trump’s America
by Charles Murray

The Young and the Economically Clueless
by Daniel J. Arbess

They are fairly typical mainstream views. And all of the authors are fully part of the Establishment. These are the voices of the ruling elite. They speak with authority and are taken seriously in the mainstream. Each author attempts to explain those crazy commoners, the great unwashed masses.

These people are worldly, smart, and highly educated. They have worked and hobnobbed among the wealthiest and most powerful. They do understand much about what is going, far from being entirely clueless. They occasionally make valid points and they are capable of describing some of the major problems.

Yet they never venture far from the mainstream views that rationalize away the deeper challenges and justify the status quo. I have to wonder if they understand more than they let on. Are their opinion pieces a form of propaganda? They are telling the stories that those in power want to be told. It’s part of the attempt to control the narrative. But have they repeated their lies so many times that they’ve come to believe them? Or are they genuinely so disconnected from the experience of most people that they simply can’t comprehend?

These are people who have access to all kinds of info. They even can contact insiders. And, of course, they are part of the intelligentsia. They know how the world works, at least on the level of power and wealth. They know how the rulers think and they know how the system is designed. But I get the sense that average people are mostly just demographic numbers to them. Their focus is extremely narrow, lacking any larger context and deeper insight. They know intimately the world they are a part of, even as they know so little of what happens outside of that reality tunnel and echo chamber.

What is odd is that I sense that people like this don’t see themselves as insiders, as part of the Establishment. The way they talk makes them seem like neutral observers and disinterested analysts. Yet their lifestyles and careers are part of the problems they describe. They are expressing concern that the boat is taking on water, which is why the last thing they want to do is to rock the boat.