There are so many complex intertwining aspects of the Kavanaugh nomination that it boggles even the minds of people who, by the definition of their employment, have to hold the ideal of juggling opposing information. Complicating the basic issues of human dignity and privacy which pervade the process is the fact that most folks have no idea what it feels like to be truly socially and economically privileged and have little time or energy to develop an imagination to put themselves in that place.
There are basic forms of privilege that men feel, the privilege to catcall, to leer, to assume advances are welcome and to think this is the case even though there isn’t the impulse to follow through. There are additional privilege as white men that exist that allow them even greater flexibility to do so. White supremacist ideology isn’t reserved for avowed racists, it permeates the culture. Up another level is the assumptions that come along with being white, male and economically advantaged.
I had some exposure to this when I attended a prep school and later when dealing with students from Ivy League universities “as equals” engaging in activism. I had even greater exposure when I’d managed to weasel myself into a few Fraternity parties and other assorted functions reserved for that class. Enough exposure and enough reading allowed me to imagine some of the rest. I can’t for the life of me go completely “there,” but I do have enough in my own experience and in my own head to “feel” some of that privilege.
What so many are missing is how that enshrined mentality affects this curious state of play we find ourselves in currently, not just as far as this nomination but in the culture as a whole. At the junction of understanding what the wider agenda is, feeling that justified in a way and knowing still that the impulse is so utterly antidemocratic especially if we continue to believe in liberal democratic principles there is a tsunami of confusion that spins the steadiest of heads.
I’ve seen first hand how little understanding of the middle class the wealthy elites have, how casually they brush aside social norms and set thresholds of behavior that allow none of the boundaries the rest of us have. Classism, is much as Racism and Sexism is a growing prevailing disease in this country and the fully known privilege of the members of the exclusive club of truly wealthy elites, most of which still attain wealth, at least initially, through inheritance, is becoming legion. Like those fully emboldened now to show their true racist colors, the blatantly classist few are out there with their antidemocratic beliefs in full display.
Kavanaugh’s nomination as well as the man himself are rife with this ideology. The ideology of sheltered assumed superiority and privilege based on breeding and wealth and the assumption of being above the law and above codes of normalcy reserved for the rest of us. An example of this in plain sight for as long as I can remember is DKE the fraternity at the heart of many calls to police (and a subsequent eviction) in New Haven, and one which Kavanaugh was briefly a member is only one of many examples of this mentality enshrined in universities across the country. Institutional think tanks like the Reason foundation and the Club for Growth clean up the beer soaked assumption and often pill these suckling pigs off the teat of fraternity life and legitimize the assumption of superiority through breeding. These institutions lie at the juncture of early American ideals of land holding intelligentsia and a particularly and ironic strain of Libertarian white male supremacy that finally feels comfortable outing itself after Obama.
Make no mistake, there is a direct attempt to hijack our liberal democratic ideals and become a democratic republic in name only. There is a concerted effort to de-platform any attempt to bring this to the masses and create any sort of popular push-back against it. It is not solely Republican as many corporate Democrats come from these same institutions.
Kavanaugh is one shot after many and many more still to come. The information war (more irony as Alex Jones co-opted the notion for his own gain) has been in session for decades and through this president, at this time, it is raging full on. The war for democracy is in full swing and at this very moment democracy is losing. Where that war goes, and it can’t be partisan, will not only determine the fate of our liberal democracy but other liberal democratic countries throughout the world.