Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The New Frugality and the Ruppie

       The election of Ronald Reagan was a seminal shift in the American experience.  That shift in thinking was reflected in Family Ties where Michael J. Fox portrayed an unabashedly materialistic young man by the name of Alex P. Keaton . Let us call Alex P. Keaton the first prototype of what we will now call a ruppie.  I will define the term shortly.

       Around the time of Reagan, and the fictional ruppie Mr. Keaton,  I witnessed the death of progressive thinking, and activism, on the college campus.  This shift was not entirely due to Reagan, and certainly the character of Alex P. Keaton is a symptom rather than a cause. The mechanics, and logistics, of that shift is a fascinating thing to ponder.  Regardless of the reason though, we have to deal with the effects. The effects have been enormous.  This process of shifting to the right has continued to the point that any program to help ease the plight of the less fortunate is viewed as socialism, and the average American now identifies with the causes of the rich. We maintain our believe in the myth of a classless society. The shock troops for this move to the right have been the ruppie.

       Now it is not unusual to hear young authors, and thinkers, scold us while they pitch their book or views.  We are called on the carpet for our excessive spending, and not living within our means as if social programs were a luxury we cannot afford. There are older critics to be sure, but the young modern day ruppie is more interesting. So, what is a ruppie?  A ruppy is our modern equivalent of the old yippie.  A ruppie is a yippie in elected office. Ruppies have the answers. Rand Paul, and Eric Cantor are poster boys for ruppies.

       Ruppies are wiser than us.  They read Ayn Rand, they wear cuff links, and they smell good.  They are fit.  They are rich, and we know of course that the rich are smarter than us, work harder, and deserve everything they snatch out of our hands. We know that even though it is naughty to say it out loud. We all want desperately to be ruppies ourselves.  Ruppies presume to tell us  how we are like children who squandered our allowance for frivolous and childish things.  We are told that we need "adults" to be in charge since we are incapable of running our own monetary affairs.  American is going to hell in a hand basket because of our spendthrift ways.  We have been bad. Not even God can help us, because God cannot make campaign contributions.  Business and greed will save us with the help of well paid ruppies.  Or at least those of us that are worth saving. Our evil socialist ways have been our downfall.  Only the stern Calvinistic intervention of the very brave (and the very well funded) will save us all from disaster.  They are our last hope.

       Most people in the establishment now parrot the ruppie message which has become our operative axiom.  It has become accepted that healthcare, and social security are an extravagance, while every advantage is given to the monied class to rape and pillage us, the environment, and even the whole world financially in a scorched earth policy that is nothing but the gospel of greed.

      Extremism on the left and the right are dangerous.  What alarms me now is how deviant our culture has become in its rush to embrace a materialistic worldview (which was, by the way, a legitimate criticism of Marxism).  I object to the soulless ghouls who believe in social darwinism.  The business of America should not be business.  The business of America should be people, with business taking a supportive, but secondary role.  I do know we have to pay the bills and I resent being talked down to by the ruppies and their elder allies. There is at least one possible antidote that I know of to the ruppie, and the nonsense they bring with them. That antidote  is the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The youth are waking up, and they are concerned about what they see.So am I.

No comments: