Is Terry McAuliffe a Cavalier or a Roundhead? Joel Kotkin compares contemporary US society to the deeply divided England on the brink of civil war.
England, as you recall, was then divided into two irreconcileable factions, the Roundheads and the Cavaliers.
‘They grew to hate each other and they could no longer accommodate a national vision,’ Kotkin wrote of the Cavaliers and Roundheads.
In ‘Red, Blue and’So 17th Century,’ which appeared in yesterday’s ‘Outlook’ section, Kotkin recalls pre-civil war England’s ‘ideological and theological divisions running deep’ and ‘opposing factions so far apart they no longer seem to respect each other.’
Kotkin goes on: ‘Demographic trends suggest that Republicans and Democrats are less likely to live next door to each other, attend the same churches or subscribe to the same media.’
There’s just one thing wrong with the analogy: Kotkin lets the blue staters be the Cavaliers! Mon Dieu! A grimmer bunch of Roundheads the world has never seen! Oliver Cromwell would find them dour.
I suppose Kotkin lets the blue staters be the Cavaliers because the blue staters as our elites. But England’s Cavaliers had grace, were dashing and lots of fun (especially when compared with Roundheads).
A Cavalier would not care for tofu, rigid laws about smoking, or gun control. He would not want to behead somebody because of ideological differences.
The Roundheads wanted to remake society with a radical, new vision. The blue staters have replaced the fervent religious faith of the Roundheads with a secular faith. But the desire to reinvent society is the same.
The Roundheads were the professional politicians, while the Cavaliers were the good ol’ boys (though, like the good ol’ boy in the White House today, they often had blue blood).
The original JFK was definitely more of a Cavalier than a Roundhead (even though there were a lot of Roundheads in his administration), but the current one is not.
A NASCAR driver may not be as elite as Al Gore, but he’s much closer to the beau ideal than any thin-lipped, censorious New York liberal.
Please, Mr. Kotkin, don’t call us bad names.