The Progressive Imaginarium 

“T-Bone” lives in the progressive Imaginarium.   

Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) conjured him up as his fake pal from the ’hood. The “Bone” would now and then materialize to prep the yuppie Booker on his street cred.  

“T” was the umbilical cord of authenticity with the underprivileged black community for Booker—the vegetarian, Rhodes scholar, Stanford- and Yale-educated, privileged child of two IBM executives.  

“Corn-pop” also resides in the Imaginarium. Good ol’ Joe Biden from Scranton occasionally would summon the “Pop.” Supposedly he was one tough, African American, razor-wielding gangster that the youthful Mighty Joe Biden won over.  

But first, as a lifeguard of an inner-city swimming pool, defiant, and armed with his own 6-feet of chain, Joe told us he taught Pop the meaning of obedience.  

In his impromptu séances, Joe has conjured up lots of Imaginarium denizens. Along with Corn Pop, there was the anonymous bully—son of a donut shop owner—whose head Joe slammed down on the counter. The felony? The brute had insulted his sister and the Biden family name.  

Never believe that after a half-century in Washington politics, the multimillionaire beltway Biden has gone soft. He’s still the authentic white, working-class brawler. The scion of coal miners, Biden boasted of wanting to take Donald Trump behind the proverbial gym for a trademark Biden whomping.  

Jussie Smollett’s alt-white bullies also dwell in the Imaginarium. They were hunting for nonwhite prey with bleach and a noose. Unfortunately, they picked on the wrong guy and met the knight Jussie in the wee hours of the morning in Chicago’s subzero temperatures.  

The diminutive Smollett fought them both off—while still holding his sandwich and using his cell phone. 

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, checked into the Imaginarium, along with their TV interview host and fellow Montecito mansion-dweller Oprah Winfrey.  

The royal couple’s new $15 million home is not far from Oprah’s $90 million estate. Recently in an interview, the two detailed all the racial slights they suffered from the apparently inveterate racist British royal family. 

One royal supposedly even inquired about the possible skin tones of their soon-to-be-born, young son Archie. Such were the Torquemada inflicted pains that the hip young royals had to suffer from these Heart of Darkness imperial leftovers!  

Oprah sympathized. She, too, had been a victim of systemic racism when a clueless Swiss clerk once declined to show the world’s most famous celebrity a locked away $38,000 crocodile purse.  

It was difficult to determine whether Oprah’s gripe hinged on the alleged race-based arrogance of the minimum wage clerk. Or, as Oprah put it, “Obviously ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ is not shown in Zurich.” 

In the progressive fantasy house, people come and go, like the prep-schooled Smith coed, Oumou Kanoute. She says she was rousted from her lunch, apparently by a working-class privileged janitor, a security guard, and the kitchen help. Supposedly these deplorables could not tolerate the presence of a proud black woman in their midst.  

That most of what Kanoute alleged was a demonstrable fantasy earned her a slot in the Imaginarium.

It’s crowded there with Native American tribal elder Elizabeth Warren, Latino Hilaria Baldwin, wife of Alec, black activist Rachel Dolezal, Native American medicine man Ward Churchill—and robust dynamic hands-on president Joe Biden, who has yet to give a press conference or an unscripted talk. 

What explains this packed house of left-wing fantasies? 

First, a toadying media prefers being woke to being factual and honest. It eagerly hypes any perceived conservative as a clickbait racist, sexist, or homophobe on the slightest of pretexts.  

Second, the professional classes and rich are in a dilemma of needing to damn the inequity and nastiness of Western consumer capitalism, which they themselves have mastered.  

The woke privileged certainly are not willing to give up their own insatiable appetites that are the fruits of their one percent existence. So they play victims and strain to invent interaction with the authentically poor to remind us of their common-man bona fides—and relieve their guilt.  

Three, politicians, academics, media people, and celebrities are not necessarily muscular folk and their soft life bothers them. So now and then they are reinvented as chain-carrying, counter-slamming, Chicago-brawling toughs.  

Fourth, race increasingly is divorced from class. So what happens when upward mobility renders old-style class conflict and oppression inert?  

The elite victim then turns to race as something that is not so fluid a status as class. A Meghan Markle or Oprah can enjoy being among the most privileged on the planet, and still say they suffer from crocodile-purse racism and royal high-handedness.  

So because the West is a self-critical, affluent, tolerant, and leisurely place, the number of the victimized has grown to far outnumber the vanishing pool of victimizers.  

And the Imaginarium is now bursting at the seams.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004, and is the 2023 Giles O'Malley Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson is also a farmer (growing almonds on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author of the just released New York Times best seller, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation, published by Basic Books on May 7, 2024, as well as the recent  The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump, and The Dying Citizen.

Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

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