Via Atrios and MediaMatters, the Wall Street Journal had a strange article about the supposed fall of the WASP establishment. At times, it lapsed into borderline-offensive whinges about how darkies and Jews were pricing WASPs out of all the best neighborhoods. But I thought this point about politics was interesting:
The Protestant downfall can be attributed many things: the deregulation of markets, globalization, the rise of technology, the primacy of education and skills over family connections.
Yet many also point to the shifting dynamics of the faith itself, with mainline Protestantism giving way to the more fire-and-brimstone brands of Evangelicals in recent decades. The Episcopal Church, usually seen as the church of the Establishment, has seen some of the most pronounced declines in recent years.
Rev. Mark S. Sisk, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, said the polarized landscape of religion today hasn’t favored more moderate faiths like Episcopals.
“When it comes to elective office, I can’t think of anyplace in the country where being a middle-of-the-road Episcopalian would be a great plus,” he said.
The decline of the Yankee Republican is quite striking. You see it with elected office, where the Thomas Keanes and Nelson Rockefellers of yore have been replaced by ranters like Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani that nut from Buffalo who sent around racist emails. You see it at the National Review, e.g. with Chris Buckley. And even though we just had a WASP president from a very established northeastern political family, his greatest political coup was forsaking mainline protestantism to commune with the snake-handlers.
This may not seem like much to people who aren’t ethnic northeasterners (like I am). But it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that the phrase “old Yankee Republican” will soon make no sense to anyone