Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Daily Caller Exclusive: Chapter 14 excerpt from Coulter’s ‘Demonic’

FOURTEEN

Status Anxiety:
Please Like Me!

The same mob mentality that leads teenaged girls to bully another teenager to the point of suicide compels people in all walks of life to engage in all sorts of appallingly bad behavior. Usually, the fragmented conscience of a mob means violence. But there’s also a species of intellectual mob, relying on praise and ridicule to enforce its views. Many people, especially in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, would rather be punched in the face than be sneered at by the elites. We call them liberals.

The mob mentality is irresistible to people with a desperate need to be popular, those who are perennially afraid of getting a bloody nose in the playground of life. This is why conservatives can never be a mob. By definition, it’s not a mob if it’s called a mob, denounced by the chattering class—the media, politicians, college professors, and celebrities. Anyone who doesn’t mind being sneered at by The Daily Show and other temples of the status anxious is not susceptible to groupthink. Recent studies on high school bullies found that bullying behavior is driven by status anxiety. People with some status, but not the highest status, bully others because of their need to climb the social hierarchy.

As the New York Times summarized the studies, bullying behavior is correlated with “how much the student cares about being popular.”

People who think of themselves as sophisticated professionals who would never hiss “slut” at a girl for dating her friend’s boyfriend are driven by the same desperate need for social acceptance. They’re just appealing to a different in- group. As Eugene Lyons said of communist-sympathizing liberals in the 1930s, “Under the guise of a nobly selfless dedication they were, in fact, identifying themselves with Power.”

What most people care about is their standing in their own worlds— not what people they will never meet might think of them. The Dixie Chicks insult President Bush in London, not in Lubbock, Texas. The liberal mob operates not only by terrifying nice, law-abiding Americans with bottle-throwing lunatics, but also by imposing a powerful group-think on public discourse. Le Bon says it is the human instinct to imitate that makes fashion so powerful. “Whether in the matter of opinions, ideas, literary manifestations, or merely of dress, how many persons are bold enough to run counter to the fashion?”

Self-styled intellectuals— virtually all residents of New York City— appeal to the imaginary New York Times editor they fantasize is listening to their every hoary declamation; lawyers take positions that will make them superstars at the next ABA convention; actors strike poses that they think will make them seem intelligent and passionate.

Who cares what people in Missouri think of them? Without a flicker of self- examination, craven suck- ups fancy themselves Thomas More standing up to King Henry VIII, when, in fact, they are Richard Rich, who testified falsely against More, resulting in More’s decapitation and Rich’s promotion.

Singer Lady Gaga has bragged that she is “mastering the art of fame,” which consists of an adolescent’s imitation of the in-crowd. The mob demands total chaos in sexual traditions, morals, and decorum—but fascistic uniformity when it comes to opinions. As Le Bon says, “It is by examples not by arguments that crowds are guided.”

Gaga has made a name for herself beyond her music for supporting gay marriage and denouncing the Clinton- era policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. For this, she has been hailed as a visionary in the Washington Post, which called her “smarter than the average pop star.

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