December 27, 2012 by Ish
The quote of the day, which might have been Quote of the Year had it been written only a week later, belongs to the master and commander of U.S.S. Snark, Tam, in a recent comments thread:
We are seeing the divergent evolution of H. sap. prius, named for its inability to operate off pavement.
Is that not the perfect description for this new class of American society? I think that Homo sapiens prius is a far better term for this sort of people than “sheeple,” or “grass eater,” although both describe the same symptoms I feel that “grass eater” implies level of herbivorous herd mentality and a passive-aggressive approach to life and morality that is not present in Homo sapiens prius.
You see, while there are countless grass-eaters out there, passively grazing their way through life, there is an emerging class of people in Western society — the sorts that turn up their noses at the term “Western society” — that have emerged from their organic coffee houses, university liberal arts programs, and free-range, eco-friendly, co-op condos to ride herd over the grass eaters. Like the gentry of old, isolated from and yet ruling over the peasants in the fields. These people are not passive-aggressives, but rather an odd sort of secular humanist Pacifist Aggressive.
In a recent post from Sultan Knish, we get an interesting breakdown in how H. sap. prius behaves towards their bitter, clinging kin:
The gun control debate, like all debates with the left, is reducible to the question of whether we are individuals who make our own decisions or a great squishy social mass that helplessly responds to stimuli. Do people kill with guns or does the availability of guns kill people? Do bad eating habits kill people or does the availability of junk food kill people?
To the left these are distinctions without a difference. If a thing is available then it is the cause of the problem. The individual cannot be held accountable for shooting someone if there are guns for sale. Individuals have no role to play because they are not moral actors, only members of a mob responding to stimuli.
You wouldn’t blame a dog for overeating; you blame the owners for overfeeding him. Nor do you blame a dog for biting a neighbor. You might punish him, but the punishment is training, not a recognition of authentic responsibility on the part of the canine. And the way that you think of a dog, is the way that the left thinks of you. When you misbehave, the left looks around for your owner.
The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been “liberated” to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it’s because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it’s because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem.
The trick here is to recognize that the behavior that Sultan Knish attributes to the “cult of the left,” really comes in two connected but distinct forms. The “grass eaters” who go along just to get along, and really don’t care about any of this stuff. They just want to go to work, play with their kids, have full pantries, and 256 channels of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo*. But then you have H. sap. prius, who have occupied K Street, fill your teevee, and flooded the government at all levels. Believe it our not, these people are not actually interested in installing a new tyranny or living in a collectivist utopia… H. sap. prius are not Socialists, although they are currently being led around by them, but H. sap. prius doesn’t care one whit about politics. No, H. sap. prius only cares about their status in the eyes of their fellow Prius-Americans. They are what is left when you use Hanson’s Razor to carve away all of that icky individualism, self-reliance, and self-responsibility from the American people.
They’re not capitalists, but they are commercial. They aren’t interested in individualism, but in self-esteem. They don’t want a home on the frontier or the open range, but a home in the suburbs near a driving range. As Tam says, they have no ability to operate off the pavement.
* That’s a link to a piece by Zombie, not a link to that show, so it is safe to read. I can thankfully say I’ve never seen Honey Boo Boo (not having had TV since 2002-ish) but I’ve seen a enough clips to recognize that kid might be chosen Form of the Destructor.