How the inconsistent rich and rewarded socialists want us to live
DAVID Thompson nails them:
For some, professions of egalitarianism and socialist belly fire are a kind of rhetorical chaff – a way to elevate oneself as More Compassionate Than Thou, while deflecting envy from below. (“Please don’t hate me for being richer than you. Look, over there – they have even more, or almost as much – let’s all hiss at them!”) Vicarious philanthropy – giving away freely other people’s earnings – is a remarkably effective ruse, so much so it seems to encourage a certain disregard for dissonance, as demonstrated, for example, by the Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger in this comical exchange with Piers Morgan. And by the Guardian’s imperious class warrior Polly Toynbee, whose rhetoric was contrasted with her actual lifestyle and was promptly reduced to indignant spluttering on national television. Similar obliviousness is also displayed by the millionaire actor Jeremy Irons, who denounces consumerism and asks, “How many clothes do people need?” All while owning no fewer than seven houses, one of which is a peach-coloured castle. No, you’re not allowed to laugh. Because his wife is also very Green and “deeply socialist.”
Brian Micklethwait adds:
If you demand consistency from people, be sure to be clear what sort of consistency you are demanding. I want Irons to carry on living as he wants to, using the money he has earned. I just want him to stop spouting unintelligent and uncharitable nonsense about how we poorer people ought to fret about our shopping habits. Let Polly remain unequally rich, and continue to enjoy her Italian holidays. Let her merely shut up about the goodness of enforced equality.