Elena Kagan is — let's face it — a Jew. Georgie Anne Geyer ponders what this means to you and me and the man in the next street:
[S]hould she be approved, it will mark the first time in history that no Protestant has been a member of the supreme judicial body of the land."Protestant" is Geyer's shorthand for "the Eastern Establishment," which is her shorthand for wealthy and well-mannered white people who dwell "in polished and unostentatious enclaves, in New York, Newport and Palm Beach," just as the Founders intended.
The court would have six Catholics and three Jews, and what a change that would be for the country founded on a "Protestant ethic."
See, the Founders believed that "the interest of their class...was the interest of the nation." And they were right, because as the Eastern Establishment flourished, so too did the nation, as evidenced by the flourishing of the Eastern Establishment.
This process culminated in the election of George H.W. Bush, who was the Ben Hancock of our time:
George H.W. Bush was the last president of the Eastern Protestant Establishment, and there is little question that the values that informed him from that heritage led to his becoming such a great, balanced and successful president.Now we're preparing to shoehorn yet another Jew into the SCOTUS, and the courtly era of Bush the First seems very far away indeed. As Geyer says, "the Americans who gave us affirmative action now may effectively need affirmative action programs for themselves." Pobrecitos!
Soon, one can imagine a new old movie being made of "the Protestants," sort of like an American Western where the song is over but the memory lingers on.Yes, it's just like whatever that means!
No, wait. On second thought, it's more like whatever this means:
Or, to lift the entire scenario to a far (far!) higher and certainly more elevated level, one might remember Thomas Mann's great novel, "Buddenbrooks," the iconic story of the decline of a Northern German industrial family, which travels the famous literary route from the first family days of the military, to the second of the commercial class, to the final days when the last generation lives only in and for the theater.Mayhap. On the other hand, there's a part in Treasure Island where Jim hides in a barrel. So who's to say?
Anyhoo, the Protestants have labored mightily to ensure that American society would not be closed and elitist. This was a noble and generous idea, though not, perhaps, an entirely wise one.
It's not that Geyer dislikes Jews, or anyone else. It's just that she tends to prefer the Eastern Protestant Establishment, like all thoughtful people who appreciate Civilization. It's nothing personal, though: Ethnic arrivistes like Kagan may seem vulgar and contentious and ill-bred, "at least compared to the old establishment with its fine manners. But that is simply natural, for the new groups, no matter their talents, have no common faith, principles and duties at their core."
One must be tolerant, within reason, no matter how culturally and spiritually defective one's inferiors may be. This, too, is part of the Protestant legacy.
Speaking of which, the Protestants really are great, aren't they? I mean, seriously. They're just really, really, really...great.
The form that America took from this remarkable group of people is the form that every progressive country in the world must start with, as it tries to develop. This is why communism gave way to social democracy and why Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Tunisia, and even monarchical countries like Oman and Bahrain are essentially involved in the original Protestant thesis.And what is "the original Protestant thesis," exactly? Oh, you know...good manners, noblesse oblige, sexual discretion, summering in Kennebunkport, the Five solas, hostility to the Welfare State...stuff like that. You know it when you see it, basically.
Be sure to turn in next week, when Geyer laments that baseball has become much (much!) less gracious and civilized since Kenesaw M. Landis died.
UPDATE: I edited this post to remove a couple of jokes that, on reflection, weren't very funny.