Politics Magazine

The Myth of the Champagne Socialist and the Limousine Liberal

Posted on the 23 December 2014 by Calvinthedog

JMS writes:

For Champagne Socialists and Limousine Liberals

(who know it’s safe to masochistically support socialist / communist systems which have serious hope of coming to pass)

it’s all about the social signalling.

I have been around people like this my whole life. Not very rich people but people who definitely have some money and are still quite liberal. I used to be very active in the local Democratic Party in Orange County, California. I was also active in a group called Campaign for Economic Democracy. These people were absolutely sincere. They were not advocating something because it will never happen.

Also it is extremely difficult to be like this because as you get up into the moneyed classes and start living in moneyed neighborhoods and working at high paying jobs, just about every single person around you is a rightwing asshole. So everyone at work will be a rightwing asshole. Work will turn into a minefield. All of your neighbors will be rightwing assholes. Those neighborhood barbecues are going to be painful. If you are doing business, almost all of the businessmen you will be working with will be rightwing assholes. Have fun doing business with them when they find out your politics. Your colleagues in your profession will almost all be rightwing assholes. Those conventions are going to be awfully lonely.

Truly rich liberals/socialists making over 350K/yr are not common. I have met a few of them. I used to work in a law office, and there were some leftwing and liberal attorneys there who made that kind of money. I know my boss, a liberal, did. He loved JFK and hated McNamara for instance. All due to the Vietnam War.

But the truth is that the moneyed classes, which means everyone making over $106K/yr (top 6%) are rightwing. Period. You won’t find a lot of liberals or certainly God forbid socialists among these types. Instead your class will be swarming with rightwingers. Among the truly rich making over $340K/yr (top 1%), liberals are not very common, and socialists are truly rare. Even among the upper middle class making $75K/yr or more (top 20%), liberals are not common, nor are socialists. I almost think you might find these types more among the rich than among the mere upper middle class.

In short, all of this about champagne socialists and limousine liberals being phonies is nonsense. It’s a red herring. I have met quite a few such types, and they are quite sincere. They really are ready to take a pay cut or a cut in their net wealth due to their politics. I know it is hard to fathom. Also they are not masochists. They think they are doing the right thing, and they really do not care about money all that much. They think they have plenty anyway. They are dedicated, passionate ideologues – true believers in an unpopular cause.

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