Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Et in Arcadia ego

Dinocrat, in an excellent post on the attitudes of mainstream media journalists to their country, wonders if it is that they have lived protected lives.

Part of it comes from the media companies having been monopolies, with the tenured, arrogant cultures of monopolies — so at odds with the normal rough and tumble of business. Part of it comes from the cloistered oddness of living a life of being in school until adulthood, then graduating into a job the nature of which is to comment (from what standpoint of knowledge and experience?) on all the lives going on around you. Possibly most important, part of it comes from there being no obvious link between your product and your paycheck.
He extends the last point about what they get for what they do.
The structure of the compensation of a (young) journalist resembles in some respects that of a welfare recipient. It is thus no wonder that the attitude of some journalists is resentment towards an oppressive superstructure. They don’t feel themselves a part of the economy, the incredible wealth-creating machine of the last hundred years in the West. They see it as wholly other. Some journalists of our acquaintance are completely innocent of the knowledge of how America (and themselves) came to be so well off. They vaguely think it had something to do with Samuel Gompers and the New Deal, but their actual knowledge of the economy (and in a sense, their participation) is nil. It is no wonder that they, and the other cloistered and tenured welfare recipients in university humanities faculties, are so ignorant and suspicious and resentful.
His explanation is quite similar to that given by Robert Nozick to explain why intellectuals are so adverse to capitalism. For him, the decisive moment is the move from school, where intellect is rewarded with the top honours, to the Big World outside, where it is only one of many virtues, and by no means the greatest, that earn prestige. Resentment ensues.

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